Tony Robbins Asks This Simple but Life-Changing Question at Every Single Seminar

Tony Robbins Asks This Simple but Life-Changing Question at Every Single Seminar

By Damian Clark

Successful and happy people don’t self-sabotage. They quietly quit the past.

I always thought my dad didn’t want me.

But then I saw a picture of him from the 70s. He was holding me when I was about 18 months and he had the biggest smile on his face. My dad looked so happy to have me in his life.

You placed interpretations on your childhood experiences. These decisions create beliefs that can rule your adult life.

Tony Robbins will listen to you talk about your last weight loss diet or an annoying loud talking work colleague. But then asks you a very powerful question that cuts straight to the heart of your self-sabotaging problems.

I had a list of failed intimate relationships, ugly clashes with dominant male managers at work, and lead a life of withdrawal.

The resolution to a path to freedom came through these 3 steps.

#1. Whose love did You crave?

“Whose love did you crave from your parents?” Tony bellowed at a participant in a seminar.

When you ask yourself which of your parent’s love did you crave as a kid, it’s not whose love did you receive.

Whose love did you fight to get attention for as a child?

Whose recognition and acceptance did you internally grasp for and change who you were?

When in the company of your parents, which parent did you change your behavior to get some encouragement from?

You may have needed to ignore that parent’s inexcusable behavior. To question it may have meant being ignored at the dinner table.

The answer to this question will be normally the opposite parent from whose love you did receive. You may have put one parent up on a pedestal. And the other you demonized.

For a couple of decades, I kept having these career-destroying passive-aggressive power dynamics play out with my authoritarian male managers.

At no stage did it occur to me that this could be related to my dad. Who was physically violent and an alcoholic to boot. And who I considered the devil incarnate.

A role I took on to avoid coping with the rath of my father was to be a quiet little mouse. This quiet little mouse role went left unchecked for many years. And developed into the ‘quiet man’ in later life.

Being aware of this was the first step in freeing myself from the past.


  1. Identify which parent’s love you craved as a child.
  2. What identities and roles have you created to try to gain their love?
  3. List the behaviors you had, and may still carry out, to gain their attention.

#2. How the childhood limiting beliefs are kept in place

You took on a set of behaviors that formed an identity to try to get the love from this one parent. Whether it be the role of a people-pleasing or that of the high achiever.

You position yourself today in such a way to keep these roles in place. Positioning means that you consciously and unconsciously, distort and manipulate how you appear to other people.

You look to control how another person views you.

There are many ways in which you relate to other people to keep your roles in place:

  • By telling half-truths.
  • Exaggerating those things that reinforce the personality you have created.
  • Say something that isn’t true but reason in your head that it’s okay to say it.
  • Communicate unnecessary parts of a story.

The roles you have taken on are not you. They are mental constructions that you have unconsciously put together, driven by your search for your parent’s love.

I had woken up with a sore neck. So I told my team at work I was going to the chiropractor. I don’t like normally telling people about any health concerns.

The following week I again woke up with a sore neck. I desperately needed to go to the chiropractor again. But I only just went last week. I started to feel anxious.

The reason for the anxiety was created was because being injured didn’t fit the role I had taken on. The role is that of the healthy fit yoga vegan guy. I thought to myself someone who goes to the chiropractor twice in 7 days doesn’t fit the role of a fit healthy person.

As I had been working on releasing this role, I did tell them. A few of them responded by saying I hoped I felt better soon.

All that anxiety for nothing.

After you repeatedly go through this process of being vulnerable, you get to a point where the anxiety no longer arises.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” — the Bible, John 8:32.


  1. How do you distort another person’s reality to keep your role in place?
  2. How often do you find yourself holding back from expressing yourself as it doesn’t fit the role that you project out into the world?

This exercise is not to be taken as self-criticism. But rather shining a light on the unconscious dominant force that has been playing itself out in your life.

Your path to freedom is identifying the darkness and not rejecting it. To be free and whole you need to accept the good, along with the bad.

#3. Accepting your shadow — A path to freedom

Those unconscious parts of yourself that have been playing themselves out for years, if not decades. If you don’t claim them, they will continue to show up in your future.

A common theme for those looking to resolve childhood issues is to blame the parent whose love you craved.

It’s easy to blame them for the bad things. But what about the good things that have happened?

I have met many people on the personal development path that are benefitting greatly from having messed-up parents. They are either putting a lot of time and effort into self-development. While others are using their experiences to help others.

So if you are planning on blaming your parent for the bad. Also, thank them for the good.

Not just at the level of thought. This is not an intellectual exercise.It has to be at the gut level. Your gratitude has to be all-encompassing. It has to be real.

My dad may have had a lot of bad habits, but he did make great things happen in his life. While he worked a full-time job, dad had bought and managed various retail businesses over the years. He did this to generate enough money to buy a farm. After many years of long hours and hard work, he realized his dream.

I led a life of withdrawal and I now, through accepting my shadow, show up in the world. I have for several years, alongside my full-time job, run several small businesses. The work ethic and dedication required to enable me to do this were through my dad’s example. Thanks, dad.


1. List the good and bad things you received from the parent you craved love from.

2. Be grateful for what has been given from these bad experiences. Look hard, there will be some area of your life that has benefited from these problems.

3. If possible express the blame to this parent, along with the good things that you have benefitted from. If this parent is not alive, write this down and speak it out loud.

4. Reframe how you see your parent. Look at them as a person, not as your parent. What makes up their personality? What problems did they have? What things were they good at? What things did they suck at?

5. At the core of embracing your shadow is being vulnerable. This means having conversations with people that you will be anxious about.

Concluding Thoughts

Stop walking through life like a zombie. Confront and heal the past to allow lifechanging experiences to take place.

Stepping out of out dated beliefs will bread new life into your lifeless family relationships. You will experience a new level of depth to the love you share with your partner.

Your dreams and passions from when you were young and have been failing to acknowledge for all these decades, can now be realized.

I hope you can use these steps as I have, which empowered me to take responsibility for my actions, free of blame and anger. And make objective decisions that have led to a fulfilling life.

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