I love Oprah. Go ahead, judge me. I don't feel a bit guilty about the pleasure I get from her shows. I love every over-the-top moment, from the scream-inducing giveaways to the broken family cry-fests. I'll watch 'em all. And damn, that woman can tell a story. But when I happened upon one of her "life classes", shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) featuring Tony Robbins, I said, "Whoa. Too much." Too many big white teeth in one room. How many huge personalities can one show support without egos exploding live onstage?
Tony Robbins is famous for his inspirational infomercials boasting big results for people he's helped pull out of poverty, despair, drug addiction and other afflictions. Starting in the 80s, he sold countless audio tapes and books and now travels the world, encouraging throngs of admirers to "Unleash the Power Within". Are you failing financially in Fiji? Tony can help! Are you stuck in a rut of misery in San Jose? Tony can help! His website shows upcoming events with titles like "Date With Destiny" and "Life and Wealth Mastery". Who wants to master life? Me! Me!
My initial reaction was, no way. I'm not watching this crap. This is far beyond anything Oprah would do and therefore out of my range of inspirational TV-watching capabilities. I told myself I'd give it 15 minutes and be done. But 15 minutes went by and before I knew it, I was into it. And Oprah was too. She'd planned to attend one of his live events, take a few notes and go home. Before she knew it, she was bawling like a baby. And so was I. He sucked me in because, like Oprah, he has a firm grasp on the human condition. He verbalizes the things you would never say, he confronts the pains you never could and he actually tells you what to do about it. It's up to you if you want to take his advice, but he's the one standing on a stage in front of thousands of people (at $800 a pop), cavorting with Oprah, and you're not. By the end of the show, Tony had Oprah and hundreds of others walking across fiery hot coals. Do I want to do that? No. But are there other things we can all do if we push our own limits? Absolutely.