Be More Practical

Have you seen “I Am Not Your Guru?

It’s the new Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix following six days at a Tony Robbins Seminar.

It’s good movie, but there is one point that stuck out. One sentence, hidden in the middle of the documentary, that struck me.

Tony was telling the story of his childhood. His mother was violent and unstable. Tony was talking about it and said, “I had to learn practical psychology.”

Practical psychology.

Tony didn’t have time for fancy ideas, for debates about what the ego means, to take classes, or to write papers. He didn’t have time to learn the history of psychology. He needed some fucking good ideas. He needed them right away.

So he read everything he could find on the topic, and he started applying it to his life.

Tony didn’t wait for seven years to get a degree in psychology. He absorbed ideas and tested them in real time. He threw away what didn’t work, and kept what did.

Tony learned practical psychology.

And it’s kind of fucked up that we have to stick the word practical in there.

It’s kind of fucked up that real life psychology isn’t just called psychology. That we don’t call academic psychology, impractical psychology. Because the psychology that you can use in the real world should just be psychology.

Tony overcame his childhood. He learned that he had an inclination for psychology. But he didn’t go to college to spend a decade getting a credential. He was practical. He was entrepreneurial.

He went out and started helping people. He decided to test the ideas of psychology by how valuable they were to the people he was coaching, and the people who came to his seminars. This involved a lot of marketing and sales and flash. But it worked. He took the ideas from impractical psychology, and he helped hundreds of thousands of people improve their lives.

Imagine how much worse off the world would be if Tony Robbins was a professor of psychology at Fresno State. Teaching some bullshit Psych. 304 course about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to one hundred 19-year-olds who really don’t give a shit.

It’s horrifying to picture.

What makes Tony Robbins a massively valuable human being is that he is firmly rooted in being practical. In applying ideas to real problems. But, the education system most of us go through is rooted in teaching us to be impractical. School and college are about being intelligent, well-rounded, obedient, but almost never practical.

If you are in college, or school, or studying anything, there is a quick test I want you to do right now.

Put the word practical in front of the thing you are studying, and if it isn’t redundant… RUN.

Because the world doesn’t have time for you to waste on impractical philosophy, or impractical mathematics, or impractical English lit. The world has problems, and there are far too many people playing with ideas, but not doing anything in reality.

So bust out of impractical academics. Forget about fighting for a credential. Go out and find some real problems, test your ideas, and create some real solutions.

1 Comment

  1. Love it – thanks ryan! I studied psychology and nursing and i honestly couldn’t below to either profession due to their lack of long-term practicality. I’m now a life coach and couldn’t be feeling more practical in my application of knowledge with myself and others. You make an excellent point!

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