Tony Robbins shares with us an anecdote about a time in his past that changed his entire attitude about money and scarcity
The day that my financial life changed it came in two parts. I was driving – I’d been working really hard. I was a young man working on this business that I was in at the time and, you know, I was working 18 hour days and I was totally broke. I mean like trying to make sure I had enough gas to get from one location to the next. And I had just finished like 11:30 at night. I was driving down the 57 freeway in a place called Pomona, California. Not a great part of town at that stage, almost midnight, and I was emotional.
I just kept thinking to myself why is it I’m working so hard and I’m still not succeeding. And I was mad about it. And I hit this tipping point inside and I don’t even know what triggered it but I got really emotional. I literally pulled off the side of the freeway and I’ve always had these written journals and I still have the journal to this day and I wrote in giant letters the secret to living is giving. And then I started crying. And it was one of those beautiful moments and it just like I realized I was so focused on what I was getting I was not focused on what I was giving enough. And so for about six months that really emboldened me and I did really well. And then I had some frustrations, some failures and then I got mad because the people I counted on had not followed through. And I found myself totally broke again. I mean like nothing, down to like twenty something dollars not knowing how I’m going to feed myself. And I reached out to a friend I loaned $1000 to and he kept avoiding my calls. I was madder and madder. Like I helped him when he was in need and he won’t even give me my money back. And in the midst of all this anger I had to figure out what to do so I’ve always been a pragmatist. So when I was just 17 I was on my own I used to save the money, go to the smorgasbord on my bike, load up for the winter, eat everything I could and so it would last me a day or two. And, you know, pay the least amount of money for the most food. So I thought there’s a smorgasbord but I lived in Venice, California, and there’s a place called Marina del Rey just three miles away and it’s a very wealthy environment.
And on the water there’s a place there called El Torito. It’s a restaurant, it’s still there. And it’s very nice, it’s on the water, boats going by. And they had an all you can eat salad bar, taco bar. So I said I’m going to go there. So I didn’t spend the money on my car for the gas for the three miles. I’ll walk there. I’m not going to pay for parking. I was monitoring every dime. Total scarcity. And I got there and I loaded up. I ate everything I could possibly eat and while I was sitting there eating the door opened and a very attractive woman came in and I was waiting to see who her boyfriend or her husband was going to be. And there was no boyfriend or a husband. There was a kid about this tall and he was dressed in a suit and a little vest. And he came – he held the door open for his mom. He pulled out the chair and sat her down. He was just such a gentleman. And then he stared in his mom’s eyes and he was just so – I don’t know it was just so loving, so there, so present. And it moved me. Even my selfish little stupid place I’m just moved by the love he had for his mom, the respect he had for his mom. I don’t know what it was but I went and paid the bill and I had $17, $18, $19 dollars left, whatever it was I put it in my pocket, you know. Hang on to what little money I had left. I think it was like $5.95 for all you can eat in those days or something like that. And I walked up to this little boy and I said hi and I shook his hand and said what’s your name and – I don’t really remember his name. I think it was Ronnie. He says I’m Ronnie I think it was. I said Ronnie, you are such a gentleman. I said I saw you open the door for your lady. I saw you pulled out the chair. I said you are a class act
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Source: Big Think
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