“Were you there with the 21 cases of 2nd and 3rd degree burns?”
That’s what a friend asked me on Facebook about our Thursday firewalking experience here at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within weekend seminar in San Jose. There has been one story, gleefully shared around every media outlet I know, that “21 people were seriously burned at a Tony Robbins firewalking event.” I invite you to Google that and you’ll get to see the same regurg in every version.
Apparently a bystander (this was held in a public city park, for heaven’s sake) who witnessed the first aid station with a handful of individuals who got burns on their feet while walking on 2,000-degree fire. He or she heard the very reasonable cries of pain. He or she was very reasonably sympathetic, and wanted to tell others about this. What has not come through is the fact that thousands of throats were also screaming in jubilation about having accomplished what many would consider an impossible act. Here’s what I responded to my friend:
“I was in that group of 6,000. It’s very important that we get the word out about what really happened. There were many thousands of us there, and I watched with my own eyes as hundreds crossed unharmed.
“I myself crossed and DID NOT do all that had been instructed, and experienced minor burns (blistering on less than 10% of my left foot, only, and I treated myself back at the hotel).
“I myself know how failure of focus and doing the process right can hurt, but even I was almost unscathed by walking on 2,000 degree coals. And yes, I saw a dozen or so people being treated by medics…and surrounded by a sea of thousands of exultant, successful firewalkers.
“This story is incredible. That the media will seize and run with the 21 injuries is like saying public buses aren’t safe because 1 in every 300 passengers bruises his knee on a seat frame.”
To that conclusion I would like to add the following True Story told during the Bush II administration:
The Pope and George Bush were fishing in a rowboat on a lake in Crawford, Texas. Suddenly a gust of wind came up, and blew the Pope’s Pope Hat ten yards away into the water. The Pope became distressed and said, “Dude!” (remember, this is a True Story) “How can I be the Pope without my Pope Hat??”
President Bush told him to simmer down, walked across the surface of the lake to the great astonishment of the Pope, and retrieved the holy hat. They spent the rest of the afternoon happily catching fish.
The next day, every paper in the country ran an identical headline: “George Bush Can’t Swim.”