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Interview with Tony Robbins and Inspirational Stories

Aired January 27, 2013 - 21:00   ET



PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, he's back.

TONY ROBBINS, SELF-HELP AUTHOR/MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: It's time to retool. It's to say, where is the next opportunity?

MORGAN: Tony Robbins, here to change and inspire life.

ROBBINS: Life is not about me, it's about we.

MORGAN: The secret to success.

ROBBINS: That's all business is. Add more value than anybody else does, and you'll have a chance to win.

MORGAN: On becoming stressed.

ROBBINS: Happiness is not here every moment and happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be. Meaning is.

MORGAN: And keeping America great.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.


ROBBINS: We used to be able to have a dialogue, and today, it's you're right, you're wrong.

MORGAN: With inspirational stories and people that you'll never forget.


MORGAN: The moment you were shot, what goes through your mind?


LANCE CORPORAL CASEY WILSON, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I went to combat, you know, four times. But I count my life as my fifth combat. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBBINS: I haven't found any place where the human spirit is limited.

MORGAN: Tony Robbins for the hour. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.


MORGAN: Good evening. In the week that President Obama was sworn in for his second term, America is facing the next four years with great promise and much uncertainty. It's been a rough time for the nation with the struggling economy, Hurricane Sandy, and the tragedy, of course, in Newtown.

Americans are looking for answers and for hope. And Tony Robbins is one of the best guys I could think of to give us both of those things. He's changed lives around the world. Now he has a message for you and America. And he's brought some rather special guests with him for this extraordinary hour.

Tony, welcome back.

ROBBINS: Thanks for having me back.

MORGAN: I can't think, as I said, of a better guy, really, to have here, because I get a feeling -- and it's a really overriding feeling -- that America is hurting right now. America feels vulnerable, fearful and you see this because of the gun crisis --


MORGAN: You see it because of the financial crisis. There's just a crisis of confidence generally amongst Americans. Do you feel that? And what is the answer?

ROBBINS: Well, there's no single answer. I mean, you're not going to change the world overnight, but you can change yourself. And I think that the biggest challenge that we face is we're not just missing our confidence because we're out of control, we're missing our confidence because we need to retool.

The world has changed. And most people say you've got to deal with change. Change is automatic. Progress is not. If you're going to make progress, you and I have to develop more than just self- confidence. We have to have self-discipline and self-control.

You know, we're part of a culture that, for decades, has taught people, reinforce your kids for whatever they do and build up their self-esteem. You can't get self-esteem from somebody else. You have to earn it from yourself. Self-esteem is esteem from yourself. And you only get that by pushing yourself to do things that are incredibly difficult.

When you have discipline and self-control and a sense of confidence or certainty, that's when people are able to change their lives. And our country has had a series of events that has produced enormous uncertainty. We need to retool, not just get more confident.

MORGAN: I mean, on the positive, some of the great periods in American history have followed extremely bad periods, you know, post- the Second World War.


MORGAN: It's the Allied country on its knees.


MORGAN: And he rebuilt America.


MORGAN: And in spectacular fashion. So there is a precedent. And it's not like this is the worst time America has been through, and not by a long way. So I think perspective probably has to be brought into this, right?

ROBBINS: It's perspective, but it's also understanding that there are seasons. And every season gives a different, you know, benefits. Every season has different pains or problems. If you were born in 1910, by the time you were 19 years old, it was 1929. As you were coming of age, people were jumping out of buildings.

By the time you were 29, it was 1939, the war looked like it was going to end, with Hitler going back. That group of people that went through developed emotional muscle, not just intelligence, but a readiness that allowed them to change the world. And I just think this is our season for development. That's not being just positive, it's just saying here's the truth, when trauma happens, it either destroys you or it drives you. And we have to make the choice of what we're going to use it for.

MORGAN: Let's take a listen to something that President Obama said at his inauguration speech this week.


OBAMA: A decade of war is now ending.


An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless. For we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands -- youth and drive, diversity and openness, an endless capacity for risk, and a gift for reinvention.

My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.


MORGAN: So the president there sounding upbeat, but acknowledging that it's been a tough time and that there are challenges, obviously, ahead.

How is he doing, do you think? Because a lot of this comes from the leader in terms of the spirit of a country, I think.


MORGAN: In terms of its ability to resurge, if you like. Is Obama the right man? Do you like what you see for maybe the second term Obama already?

ROBBINS: Oh, I love the man I voted for originally. And I actually went to a meeting with 18 of the top tech executives, the guys that started Google and and in the meeting, everybody was a big supporter. And I said, "Mr. President, I love your heart. I absolutely believe in your intelligence. I know you care. I voted for you the first time." But I said, I'd love to know how it's going to be different -- this was part of the election -- when there's such demonization going on.

I think that's the significant problem in our country. It's not one person. It's -- we used to be able to have a dialogue and today, it's you're -- you're right, you're wrong. And that process happens in the gun debate. It's happening everywhere in this country.

So I had a conversation with him. And I said, listen, you know, if you think that the solution that you're telling me that you're going to do in your next term is that you're going to raise taxes on the wealthy, as we've done, I said, I'm more than willing to pay that. I mean I'm supportive of that.

But I said that will raise $80 billion. It's even less now because they cut it from, you know, from $250,000, as you know, up higher as the cutoff rate. So that will run the country for eight days, $10.4 billion a day. That's not even going to scratch the $1.1 trillion.

What else are we going to do? And he said, well, I think what's going to happen is, you know, the Republicans are going to have me to kick around. There's not an election and we're going to start working together. I said as long as there's demonization, as long as you're making them wrong and you're making -- they're making you wrong, there is no chance of coming up with an intelligent compromise. That is the single issue that's got to shift.

And what's wonderful is the president afterwards, a lot of people are -- one man came and grabbed my hand and he said, I think that's enough of this conversation.


And he said, no, Tony has given us some creative attention. And he pulled me aside afterwards and he said, I'd like you to come to the White House, sit down one-on-one and let's talk about this, because you have to have a unifying message. We're missing that right now.

MORGAN: Like you say, I mean everything has changed for America --


MORGAN: in a sense. It was this great, all-encompassing superpower. Now there are many rivals for that position. And that will only increase over the next few decades. And America has to respond. And it can't respond perhaps in the way that it would have done 50 years ago.

ROBBINS: Well, and in addition, I mean the president has his hands full, to be fair. I mean, if you talk to him about the worst day of his presidency, Sandy Hook -- I mean, he's dealt with things most people don't have to deal with.

But you're right, there needs to be a unifying vision. We don't -- we're not -- there is someone saying, Kennedy, we're going to go to space or we're going to have this war on poverty. Right now when our goals are to pay our bills, it's pretty hard to get people to find the greatest power in themself when what they're aspiring to is depressing.

And I think that's not just the president's fault, we individually have to find that. But it's true, our leadership of our country has got to say, this is where we're going to go. It's painful now, but here's what we're going to get to. If where we're going to get to is we can pay our bills and we're going to be, OK, that's difficult.

To be fair to the president, I think when you've seen tears in his eyes, it's really been about the issue of really there being a future for young people for the next generation. I think he really sincerely cares.


MORGAN: But, Tony, tell me this, though. What do -- what is this future going to be in terms of America, Incorporated as a business model? Because a lot of the things that America used to be great for -- manufacturing, for example -- they've changed so dramatically, and become so global, you can't really just go back and do that again, even if you had the money to do it. America needs to find other business models, doesn't it?

ROBBINS: Well, it is. It's in the middle of it. We're in the middle of that process. And honestly, in manufacturing, there's been growth, primarily because we've found these new technologies to bring us energy. We have more natural gas, as I'm sure you know, than Saudi Arabia has oil.

So there are some changes. And people are coming back here because it's cheaper to do business in America. But I think it -- what's more important is the average American. The average American, if we're sitting and waiting for the government to come up with the answer for us, for the president to come up with the vision, you're going to have a problem.

If you've been on unemployment for 12 million Americans, those jobs are probably not coming back. It's time to retool. It's time to say, where is the next opportunity? Is it in health care? Is it in green? Where am I going to go to get the skills? Because no one else, unfortunately, right now, in the government is going to step up and say here's the pathway. So you've got to find it for yourself.

MORGAN: How morally responsible should being successful companies -- we've seen Starbucks do this and we've seen Apple begin to --


MORGAN: -- dip its toe in the water. And I've banged about it for a lot on this show.

ROBBINS: We talked about that the last time I was on the show.

MORGAN: Right. And then Apple, since then, has done something.


ROBBINS: I know.

MORGAN: But only a small thing, but, anyway, it was a start. But it's about the principle, really, of great American companies -- and in the tech world -- I mean, they lead the world. But a lot of the stuff is outsourced.


MORGAN: Outside of America. That doesn't really help the American jobs market, even though by being successful companies, they do in that way.

ROBBINS: Yes. I think you've got to look at it in a context -- just like you were talking about looking back through history. If you and I were having this discussion 100 years ago, 40 percent of Americans were farmers.


ROBBINS: Today, it's 2 percent. And we don't just feed America, we feed the world. When technology comes and displaces it, it's a chance for us to take those resources and redeploy them. What's missing is the leadership to say here's where you've got to go. The average person -- listen, I donated a million meals last year personally, not my foundation. We've done four million meals together. I believe in helping people that are down.

But if you take people for two years and you take care of them and you don't give them new skills, they loose confidence. They lose certainty. And I find that they're going to become institutionalized and not being able to be part of the new future. So I think our job is to say here are the tools to help you get to the next level of your life, so you can help create the new American revolution.

MORGAN: When you talk about this transformation, the post-traumatic stress.

ROBBINS: Yes. MORGAN: In all its guises, to post-traumatic growth.


MORGAN: It's an interesting phrase. Explain what you mean by that.

ROBBINS: Well, it's actually science, but it's not will-cutting (ph). And there aren't a lot of people -- most people know everything about post-traumatic stress, where someone has had an -- a trauma and it severely affects them for the rest of their life. They have shakes or tremors or headaches. They can't sleep, nightmares.

But there are people that have gone through the exact same trauma and they've found a way inside themself to trigger that into a drive where they no longer are broken and where they heal. And when they do, there's three things that people find who they've done the studies on.

If you make it to the growth side, where you're expanding and where you're able to deal with it, the number one thing is you find out they are more powerful than anything you ever thought, you're bigger than any event, that's if you're still alive.

The second thing that happens is you find out who your real friends are, not your Facebook friends, but people that care, that show up, and those relationships, Piers, they deepen. And the third thing is, it's almost like you had antibodies. You have this set of muscles that allow you to deal with things in the future. And what people do in that area is they decide, I won't be beaten by that, as corny as it sounds. They draw a line in the sand and go, I know if I continue down this road, my life is over.

They make that decision. Then what they do is they find something bigger than themselves to go after -- a mission. A woman loses her -- her, you know, family member to drunk driving and she starts MADD, for example. And now she's out there mostly against drunk driving, making that shift. She has a mission larger than herself. And then they start stacking the small victories. And out of that, they get emotional muscle and they're able to help other people.

MORGAN: Does it apply to any form of trauma or are there grades of trauma?

ROBBINS: I've seen it happen with people that have lost their children. I've seen it with people that have witnessed the death of people around them. People have lost limbs. So I haven't found any place where the human spirit is limited.

MORGAN: We've got a good example of that coming up. And after the break, I want to bring out somebody who's a survivor of a high school shooting. He's in a wheelchair.


MORGAN: He has an incredible story. He's a young man. I know that you've been working with him. And I want to find out what you think about this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: 911. Where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just had -- we just had a shooting at our school. We need to get out of here. Oh, my God there's like --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got a school shooting.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, ma'am. Everyone is running away, so --

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Where's the shooter with the gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. He was in the cafeteria and everyone just started running.


MORGAN: That was a chilling 911 call from last February's deadly high school shooting in Ohio. A 17-year-old opened fire, killing three students and wounding three others, including Nick Walczak, who was shot four times.

Nick and his mother, Holly, join me now along with Tony Robbins, my special guest for the hour.

Welcome to you both.



MORGAN: I remember this happening, another outrage involving guns in America. Let me start with you Nick, if I may. You were shot four times. You were paralyzed after what happened. You are in a wheelchair now. The moment that you were shot, what goes through your mind?

N. WALCZAK: What I -- what I really -- what was going through my mind was I had to get out of the high school and really nothing else flows through your mind. You just got to get away. You don't have any time to think about anything else.

MORGAN: And you were a fit, young, sports-loving boy at school and suddenly you're in a wheelchair. The moment of realization for you, when you know that that is going to be certainly, for the foreseeable future, your new life, it must be a crushing thing to have to deal with.

How did you deal with it?

N. WALCZAK: I had a lot of support. The community, my friends, and my family. Probably the best thing that I can ever ask for.

MORGAN: Did you despair?

N. WALCZAK: I mean, I did, yes. I did. But like I said, the community, friends, and family did help me out and they helped me not be so upset about what really happened and I just got to move on.

ROBBINS: Nick, I'm curious. Was there a stage where some part of you just realized if I stay in this place of pain, it will be for the rest of my life and then you made a decision to change? Or what -- what do you think helped you to start to make the shift besides your family? Or what was it that they did that helped you?

N. WALCZAK: Well, I had a lot of support from other people texting me and calling me that are in wheelchairs. And one of them, Scott Hassel (ph), he is in a wheelchair, and he -- great guy, he answers any question I have and --

ROBBINS: Was he involved in the shooting? Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt.

N. WALCZAK: No, he wasn't.


N. WALCZAK: He had a diving accident. And --

MORGAN: But he was able to talk you through, I guess, the psychological journey you were going to go on.

N. WALCZAK: Yes, right.

MORGAN: Cause he'd been there.

N. WALCZAK: Yes, because he's paralyzed, too, so he knows exactly what I went through and people will tell me, you know, "Yes, I know," like, if I tell him it's hard for me, it will be like, "Yes, I know." But --

MORGAN: But they don't know.

N. WALCZAK: You don't -- you don't know.

MORGAN: But somebody who's been paralyzed -- I mean, Holly, let me come to you. This is every mother's nightmare. This is your son. He is 17, as he was at that time, and suddenly his whole life changes. I guess your first feeling is, "Thank God he's alive," and then you have to deal with the fact that he is paralyzed.

What was that like for you as his mother? H. WALCZAK: It really didn't happen that way. It was -- I think it was just denial at first. You know, I said, "Nick was shot," like Monday, then somebody said, "Oh, he was shot to the shoulder." So, you know, like, "OK. Well, what happened? What is going on?" You see it all over the news. And then, when I got to the hospital, it was a lot different.

It was -- it was like, "Wow, this is my son." And I just remember him looking at me and he said, "Mom, I can't feel my legs." And that was the one of hardest things to hear in your whole life.

MORGAN: What is the prognosis they made?

H. WALCZAK: They said that they were cautiously optimistic when they came out of surgery, but -- so we're still hoping and praying. You never know.

MORGAN: Tony, it's interesting, I think, listening to Nick there that for all the love and support you can get from family, obviously led by Holly, but many friends, family, the texting and all the rest, that's all helpful.


MORGAN: In making you feel a little bit better. But actually, it was really the words for me a young man who had been through a very similar thing. Is that something you should look for if you get -- is that kind of --


MORGAN: Very particular support group that knows exactly what you've been through?

ROBBINS: Well, if somebody who's been through it but has an outlook that's positive. We call it a compelling future. All human beings, when we go to trauma, what will get us through today is if we have a promising enough tomorrow. And tomorrow may not be that I'm able to go run, but tomorrow is I can have a beautiful relationship; I can make a difference in the world; I can become a person who has impact.

That's the number one thing, something that makes you say, "There's something I value more than my today pain and it's a tomorrow that I want to create for myself." And he has that. You can see it in his eyes and we talked a little bit beforehand.

I'd be curious if you'd be interested, because the second thing that usually gets people through this, and I think through it, meaning have a quality lifestyle, you can have -- there are people who have all use of their limbs and they have a horrible life. They live in pain and frustration.


ROBBINS: And there are people who have been through hell on earth who have magnificent lives. It's really emotional fitness, but that fitness is a compelling future. It's managing your own thoughts and self-discipline and self-control, but it's also usually about having a mission bigger than yourself, and since you've been helped.

I always talk about each one, teach one, I wonder if you might be interested in going with me to some of the families of Sandy Hook and doing what was done for you, because I think if you have that experience, it will take you to the next level.

You're already doing unbelievably well. I had a chance to meet you backstage, but I think you could go to another level. What do you think of that?

N. WALCZAK: I would love that.

ROBBINS: Well, let's do it together.

N. WALCZAK: All right.

ROBBINS: Shake on it?



H. WALCZAK: Actually, he came to me a few days after the tragedy in Sandy Hook and actually said that me and some of my friends want to go there. We want to talk to them and tell them how it feels, you know, that you're going to be angry, you're going to be sad. Every day is going to be so different.


H. WALCZAK: And then it'll come back and then it will go away, you know. It's just -- you know, a whole healing process.

MORGAN: Because, to Nick, I guess, there are two traumatic situations. One is being paralyzed. The other one is actually having been shot in a massacre situation, which is really the stuff of nightmares, right.

I suppose my question to you is how hard is it for you? You seemed such a -- calm, confident young man despite what's happened to you. How hard is it when other shootings happened and you hear or read about it? Does that bring all back?

N. WALCZAK: Yes. And it brings me a little confusion, too. Like I just don't understand why all this happened. It's -- this isn't what the America was made for. This is, you know -- it's just sad, it's very sad.

ROBBINS: What can -- what can really make the difference is things happened in life when they're meaningless the pain never goes away. And I don't know the meaning and I am using my legs. But the people that I have dealt with so many times in your situation, it's when they can find, because this happened I can make something else better for another human being. That's when there's a meaning. There's a positive meaning. You wouldn't want wish it on anybody. But only people who have gone through spiritual pain have spiritual strength, the spiritual strength to heal other people. And I don't mean a religious sense. I mean, you saying it is very different than Piers or I or anyone else having sent someone.


ROBBINS: And you have that power because you made that shift in yourself. This could be the beginning of that journey.

MORGAN: Right. What ambitions do you have? I mean, has it changed your outlook? And you have particular goals now that you obviously want to get out of the wheelchair. But aside from that, have you set yourself things that you really want to achieve?

N. WALCZAK: Well, obviously, I had to -- I had to switch around my career a little bit that I was aiming for. But I -- I really just want a good career and --

MORGAN: What would you want to be?

N. WALCZAK: I wanted to be just an electrician in the union and I don't believe that can happen practically right now. So, I'm not sure. I'm actually taking now in Auburn (ph) class, which is an alternative study class, for any electrical components then I'm going to switch to small electronics instead and see what I can do with that.

MORGAN: Good for you. So the same kind of thing, just a different way of doing it.

N. WALCZAK: Right. Right.

MORGAN: Which is adapting to what has happened to you.

Well, look, Nick and Holly, thank you so much for coming in. It's an inspiring story in many ways. I mean, an awful story, but I think your attitude is actually the right one and I think Tony's right. Go to Sandy Hook, talk to the people they'll be desperately trying to work out, I guess, what their lives will be like and you're a great example of how you get back and you've get on with things. So, thank you very much.

N. WALCZAK: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, Tony and I will talk to a former Marine about the post-traumatic battles he's facing post-Afghanistan, another war zone, and now conquering at home.



LANCE CORPORAL CASEY WILSON, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I've been to combat five times. See what I've seen, the death, the funerals, been around a bunch of explosions. I have light sensitivity and PTSD. I've been through so much trauma.


MORGAN: And here on front line speaking out about his troubled journey back from war is former Marine Casey Wilson, who served in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq.

Tony Robbins helped him overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, something many American heroes suffer from. And Tony joins me again now with Casey.

That's a very powerful and moving address you gave there and you could see the effect, the physical effect. And you were shaking and you've clearly been through all sorts of trauma in different ways. Before you met Tony, what was -- what was your life like?

WILSON: I was doing a lot of current therapies, you know, psychiatry, psychology, which I started in 2011. 2010, I started doing -- trying to figure out my life because I went through a second divorce, and so, I didn't understand the whole process -- why was I feeling this way.

And so, I started to seek treatment at that time. I was -- I was going to acupuncture, healing touch, meditation --

MORGAN: Did it help, any of that?

WILSON: Yes, yes. It was helping to an extent; you know, like I said, I was just, you know, 20-plus years in the Marine Corps. I had severe trauma as a child, which I'd never realized it was a problem until, you know, I've just added more stuff after more stuff in my life.

ROBBINS: So, you had -- why don't you tell him what your symptoms were at the time?

WILSON: Basically, insomnia. I'd probably sleep probably about four or five hours a night, but I'd wake up every probably about 45 minutes to, you know, every hour. You know, I had severe tremors. I was -- before I knew of my light sensitivity, I was always had headaches and migraines that I had to go into dark rooms, take a nap and, you know, I would just -- I'd be breaking down myself in a sense. And --

MORGAN: What was the rock bottom moment for you?

WILSON: The rock bottom moment for me in a sense was -- it was after my second divorce, just being -- I pushed so many people away, couldn't figure out why I felt this way. I deployed eight times. You know, I went to combat, you know, four times but I count my life as my fifth combat, you know, deployment.

You know, I've been fighting myself prior to, you know, in my younger age until my age -- I am 39 years old when I met -- went to date with destiny, December 1st, where, you know, I needed to get a little bit of motivation because here I am about to retire from the Marine Corps. MORGAN: And Tony, I mean, there are tens of thousands of American servicemen and women who go through very similar trauma, it's been a terrible here for American military, constantly on -- on combat in various countries. What did you say to Casey? What do you say in this situation?

ROBBINS: Well, it's interesting, and we've done this with hundreds of wounded warriors and different soldiers. Inside every human being we have trauma, his is extreme trauma, and there's a personality in him that was beyond wounded. But inside of everyone, there's a part of you that's whole and strong, and that's truly untouched by the experience.

And so, what I had to do was find out his Spain and I felt that. But then I got him to connect to a part of himself that is whole, we gave it a name, the name was Tigger, this guy literally when he changed to that kind of personality, his glasses came off, he was able to see without the headaches. He stopped trembling and shaking like this for hours. All that stopped literally in a matter of minutes. And by an hour later, he was on stage where the group of -- you know about 2500 people from 80 countries, rocking them, sharing his mission for his life.

He found something greater than his faith. He found something he wanted to serve like he served his country, but now he's to serve other people to help them.

MORGAN: Is that a regular problem, do you think, for people that come out of the combat zone? Is that, you know, I've got some military in my family and when they're home, actually, even though they're still in, some of them, they get listless, they get restless. They start to feel strange just not being whether used to being, in that kind of dangerous environment.

WILSON: Well, we don't know how to -- how to open up or express our -- or tell our story either and that's also part of the problem. And the other part too as well is being accepted in society, you know, because there's a brotherhood in the services around the world.

And we have a problem when we come out of the service, you know, to the civilian world where people will judge us and use -- you know, if they find out about our trauma, in one way or another, will use that against us, you know? There is no brotherhood, you know, that I would say in the civilian community.

MORGAN: When you see people who have gone through what my previous guest, Nick Walczak, went through -- the school shooting, you know, a young man and all the trauma that goes with what happened to him, what do you think of that? What advice would you give him?

WILSON: Well, basically, he has to take back his life. You know, finding forgiveness and, you know, it's more -- finding forgiveness, you know, for himself so that he can find peace in his life. He has so much potential that he's able to basically going to be able to impact and change so many peoples lives. MORGAN: And Tony, is that a regular thing to do? If you feel too angry and bitter about what happened to you, that's such a huge barrier to be able to get through it.

ROBBINS: It's not just a barrier to get through it; science has shown that five minutes of rage, which you certainly have the right to have, or he would have the right to have, what he's been through in his life, will shut down literally your immune system for four hours. But what successful people do is they stack victories. That's also what we did with him.

We said there's a different set of rules integration. You can't come as a Marine. You've got to come as this guy who's whole. What was it like before? And when he tapped into this playful guy who has to jump in his step and is laughing, that's when the glasses came off and he said I want people to see my baby blues, you know? And people were cheering and he got to feel this connection with people at a human level. That's what changed it. But also, it's having something that you value more even than your pain. He values mission. He values being able to make a difference. He needed a new mission back here at home. And he's found that mission in lighting people up.

MORGAN: Casey, good for you, and thank you for your service.

WILSON: Thank you.

MORGAN: Which is still, actually, ongoing you told me, and wish you all the very best with it. And also, more importantly, with your life and the comeback you've made. It's extraordinary to see.

WILSON: Yes, thank you.

MORGAN: Good to see you.

Coming next, a true rags-to-riches story from a man who lost everything and is now worth $50 million. And it's all down to this man again, Mr. Robbins. We'll find out how he did it, coming up next.


MORGAN: I'm back with Tony Robbins.

President Obama is trying to jumpstart the economy and create more jobs in his second term. But, right now, millions of Americans are still out of work. And my next guest knows exactly how they feel.

Mike Melio is a business owner who lost everything in 2008 and I mean everything. Now he's overcome that financial ruin and runs two businesses with revenues of -- wait for it -- $50 million. And Mike Melio joins us now.



MORGAN: It's been a roller coaster ride, you've known Tony for 17 years, and you've been up and down in that period. Tell me quickly the journey you've been on.

MELIO: Yes. I started off coming from a very challenging background, single mother, raised by single mother, had no education and really no hope. And what I always say, I was -- I was lucky that I was put in front of an icon of empowerment.


MORGAN: No, he is. I mean, he's -- every time I talk to him, I feel empowered.

MELIO: It's true. And you know, what he is is an incredible educator. And by the grace of the universe, I was able to fall in the lap of this educator and he helped get me out of that place where I was, where there really was no hope.

ROBBINS: He was homeless at the time. But what I love about Mike's story is that Mike didn't just help himself. He built a small business to start with and one of those young women that worked for him was addicted to meth, is that right?

MELIO: Methamphetamine, right.

ROBBINS: Why don't you share with him the story of how you end up in your new business?

MELIO: Yes. A young woman had come to work for me a number of years ago and you could tell that something was wrong. And she was addicted to methamphetamine. She was a daily user of ecstasy. And I got her involved in Mr. Robbins' program. Within 30 days, she was completely off drugs.

And it turned out that her father, her dad, was incredibly successful in the metal recycling business and I got a call from him shortly thereafter that just said, "Anybody who has this kind of influence over other human beings, we need to do a business deal together."


MELIO: And he put up half a million dollars for me to start my company. He co-signed for a ton of equipment. He thought me the business. Seven months later, he allowed me to buy him out and a year later, then I just continue to grow, grow and grow and grow.

MORGAN: Amazing.

ROBBINS: Until 2008.

MELIO: Yes, until 2008.

MORGAN: So you built up this $30 million business and then you literally almost lost it overnight in the big crash of '08.

MELIO: It was interesting, you know. Four months before the crash, Tony calls me and says, "Mike, you need to prepare." And as everyone in the country kept saying, you know, we're strong; the economists were saying we are strong, and I didn't listen to him. And, you know, I should have listened to him.

MORGAN: Why wouldn't you listen to Tony Robbins?


MELIO: Things were going great. Things were going great.

MORGAN: But that was mainly thanks to him.


MELIO: Yes. That's so true.

ROBBINS: No, no.

MELIO: Absolutely true.

ROBBINS: You did it.

MELIO: And I'll tell you overnight, as you know, the economy collapses. The metal business completely collapsed.

MORGAN: And when that happened to you, I mean, having gone from literally nothing -- you're a homeless guy to $30 million business and then it all disappears. What was that like for you?

MELIO: Yes. I didn't care about losing the material possessions. I had a 3-year-old son at that time. He is now 7. Everything that was going through my mind was how will I face my son? From the day that he came home from the hospital, I was determined that he was not going to grow up in the same environment that I did, and all I wanted to do is be able to have my little boy sit on my lap when he was old enough and say, "You know what, Enzo, there's nothing that you can't do. You can become anything."

I don't want my boy to look up at me and say, "Daddy, you know, if that's so true, how you come you haven't done it?" And that's what where -- what was crushing my heart. I just could not fail and come up with an excuse for this little boy.

MORGAN: Tony, can anybody be like this? Or do you have a little bit of (INAUDIBLE), which is that ferocity of spirit?

ROBBINS: I think ferocity of spirit is critical for everybody, but we all have it. It's like a muscle.

MORGAN: Do we all have it?

ROBBINS: You know, we do. Courage unused, though, becomes weaker, you know? Determination unused gets smaller. Passion unexpressed gets smaller. It's like any muscle, the more use it, and he's been using it for years.

You know, his son though -- here's the other thing. He had a reason larger than himself. You see the pattern in all the people that have overcome. He wanted to do it for his son. At that time, he's told me about he's worried about all his employees. And he'd really cares about his people. And -- but here's a secret, though. You have to make that shift or it's no longer an excuse. If you give yourself an excuse, humans will take it. If you're going to take the island, you bring the boats.

And he bring the boats and said, "I'm going to find the answer." First, he shifted to this psychology, he came with business mastery program. And then he got the skills Just like I said earlier. It's not just confidence. You've got to have skill. And he had both and he found a way.

Share with them what you did.

MELIO: Yes. After that particular business mastery program -- again, as Tony says, 80 percent of it is psychology and then 20 percent of it is mechanics or the strategies. But unless you get the psychology down, the mechanics don't matter. And I can tell you from that day in November of 2008 where I made that decision that I was not going to fail, and I kissed my lady and said, "I'm going back to work." And we went out there and I learned how to export.

And when there was no market for steel in the United States, I was able to export to several different companies, or several different countries, and we took off from there. We continue to grow and it was just -- again, it's about a mindset. It's about having a level of pride. For me, it was coming from where I come from, the Melio name. It didn't mean a whole heck of a lot and I was determined to change that, because it's something of what I call "generational influence". I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for my son.

MORGAN: Is that good advice, Tony? There are millions and millions of Americans out of work at the moment.


MORGAN: Many suffering, very hurt pride, never mind anything else.


MORGAN: And real financial hardship. Is that a good focus to look at children, to look at other things and say, "You know what, stop feeling sorry for myself; it's for him, for her, it's for that"?

ROBBINS: Most of it -- I think what's really beautiful about most human beings is that we'll do more for others we love than we'll ever do for ourselves. And motive does matter. If you're just trying to do something for yourself, you only get a certain level of insight. If you're trying to do it for your family or your community or the world, you get a different level of skill and insight.

But it also comes to having a belief. You know, Mike got the belief out of business mastery that money is still changing hands. I need to find a way to go get that, to add value to people's lives. Not how do I get it? How do I add value and where is that value available?

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: And Mike, what do you -- what do you say to these people suffering in America right now?

MELIO: I got to tell you, Tony is absolutely right. We need to take the focus off of ourselves. We need to stop feeling sorry about ourselves. It's about serving humanity. It's about serving people. It's all about service and we have just got to get out there.

Again, Tony talked about earlier about retooling. It's about learning new skills. When I talked about finding an icon of empowerment, whether it's Anthony Robbins, whether it's someone like Oprah Winfrey, whether it's about a school or a university, you've got to get in there and you've got to learn the new skills. And then you've got to get out there and you have got to perform by serving, serving humanity.

It isn't about me, it isn't about me making money or dollar amount. It's about protecting the people that I love, the people that I care about. And if you follow that formula, you cannot fail.

MORGAN: And, rather like with -- what I said earlier about bitterness and anger and resentment, self-pity is also a complete waste of time and energy. I mean, it's perfectly understandable why people feel it.


ROBBINS: Everybody does it at times. Yes.

MORGAN: But actually all those emotions are just barriers to getting back on your feet, aren't they?

ROBBINS: That's correct. And all emotions serve, right? Anger, frustrations, it's all valuable, but not if you live there. All those emotions that create pain, the reason they create pain is they're designed to get you to change, to do something. If you just sit and live in the emotion and you don't do anything, then the pain just gets deeper and deeper and then it becomes your groove and your grave.

If you shift those emotional stages, which is what we teach people how to do, really physically, not some safe positive thinking, but with a real strategy, a real action plan, and where your focus is how do I add value? That's all business is, add more value than anybody else does, and you'll have a chance to win. And that's what he's done.

MORGAN: Great story. Mike, great inspiration.

MELIO: Thank you, thank you.

MORGAN: Good to meet you.

MELIO: My pleasure.

MORGAN: Coming up next, Tony gives you five ways to immediately change your life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Back now, our special guest Tony Robbins.

Tony, it's been a fascinating hour to meet three people from very different experiences.


MORGAN: But actually common themes being they've all had knocks in their lives of different degrees.


MORGAN: Which have caused a lot of emotions and it's really how you deal with those emotions. Now you've got a sort of five-point plan that anyone can follow to get over stress and trauma in their lives. Talk me through it.

ROBBINS: Well, I think -- first of all, I want to make one thing clear. The quality of your life is the quality where you live emotionally. But we all have a home. Angry people try to find a way to get angry even if their life doesn't have anything to be angry about. We can always find it. Sad people find a way to be sad. Caring people find a way to care for other people.

So one thing to identify is where are you living? What's your home? What's your habit? And then the way to change it -- when I was homeless, literally on my own just getting started, I didn't have the Internet, but I've decided I had to go a library and I had to feed my mind. And I always tell people the first stage is, you know, weeds grow automatically.

One of my teachers taught me is that every day stand guard at the door of your mind and feed it something good, because if your worst enemy puts sugar in your coffee here, you're fine. If your best friend, by accident, trying to help you, puts some strychnine, you're dead. So if you feed your mind every day, 30 minutes a day of reading something, hearing something.

Second, you've got to strengthen your body. And the reason, Piers, is fear is physical, right? So is stagnation, so is numbness, so is sadness, so is rage. And when you go in and change your body by an intense workout or run, or even an intense walk and the blood's flowing through you, science has shown it instantly changes your biochemistry. And now your mind and body are working together.

Third thing, all these people did common, if you watch, they found a mission bigger than themselves.


ROBBINS: Something that they wanted to aspire to that was worth more than their pain. And then the fourth thing is you've got to find a role model. You know, you heard it with Nick. Almost everybody finds a role model that makes it real. I was with Warren Buffet and with Sara Blakely, you know, the youngest billionaire. We did this round table about the future and we listened to this woman. And when women meet her, they don't just love Spanx, her product that made her billionaire, they love this woman because she's a role model of what's possible.


ROBBINS: You get a role model, it becomes real to you. If you got a plan, you get a goal plan and you take method action. And the last step, number five, there's always somebody worse off than you are, I don't care what you've done. So if you can go and help somebody worse off, you put your life in perspective and it also reminds you life is not about me, it's about we.

I always tell people the secret to a great life, the secret to living, is giving. And there's -- when you realize there's something you still have to give, even if you've lost your leg, even if you've been through a horrific financial situation, your life can improve. But more importantly, you'll have a meaningful life because your life will contribute to other people.

MORGAN: If I said to you, right, Tony, because you're fabulously successful, rich, famous, super fit, good looking guy.


ROBBINS: You sound like you're describing myself here, Piers.

MORGAN: Well, I mean --


MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) quite on the same fitness levels. If I should (INAUDIBLE), you can have any one thing: you can have good health, you can have money, you can have the fame that allows you to inspire people, what would you choose as the one thing?

ROBBINS: Certainly, I think without health, you're not around to do anything. But I think it's a life of meaning; I don't think, I know it is. Feeling like your life matters, because you -- you've got the experience. You and I both have lots of friends who have achieved everything they could ever dream of and they're miserable.


ROBBINS: I got the phone call to help turn them around. They're missing a meaningful life and meaning comes from two things. I always tell people happiness comes from progress. If you can do something where you're growing and because you've grown you have something to give to other people that's meaningful, insight, love, caring, something, then life is rich, because happiness comes and goes. Happiness is not here every moment and happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Meaning is. There are people that have gone through horrible times. There's a woman who is 109 years old and she was, you know, went in the concentration camp, is the oldest-living Holocaust survivor, and that woman's life is so rich because of all the pain, because she's used that to help other people, still at 109. She is strong, you know, she shares some music. She does the things that make her feel like she's got a contribution. So 109, she is fully alive.

MORGAN: Amazing. Tony, as always, incredibly inspiring. Please come back soon.

ROBBINS: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Tony Robbins.

And we'll be right back.