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4 Hours Listening to Tony Robbins Will Teach You More About Business Than 4 Years in College If you're looking to learn about growing a company, why not learn from someone who has built 30 of them?

By Tucker Ferwerda Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC | Getty Images

Some people roll their eyes at the very mention of Tony Robbins, but I recently attended one of his events, and while I can understand how many feel he's overhyped, I was surprised at how much value I received. I listened to him explain that his collection of 30 companies had a combined annual revenue of $5 billion. (Full disclosure: I admit, after hearing this, and seeing he was standing two feet away from me, I reached out my hand to fist-bump him. He gladly returned the gesture.)

Robbins never attended college, yet he has advised several former and current U.S. presidents, such as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. He's also worked with famous public figures like Oprah.The reason for these achievements? Robbins understands business at a deep level, and he's leveraged this wisdom to build a fortune. In fact, Robbins made his first million at age 24. I learned more about growing businesses during his seminar than my entire college experience.

Get street-smart.

If you're looking to start, grow and scale a business, start by gaining more business experiences. College can teach you academic content, but gaining business experiences provides you with critical tools for success. That's why the terms book smarts and street smarts exist.

Business is defined in the dictionary (without mentioning college, by the way) as "a person, partnership or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern." Studies have shown that students aren't only failing college, but many colleges are failing students. Real business success comes from understanding people, finding out what they want and giving them something they will pay for. This is exactly what Robbins did for all of his businesses.

Related: Tony Robbins on the 7 'Forces' of Business Mastery

During his seminar, he gave three simple steps to take when growing a business. He uses these steps for both short-term and long-term business decisions.

1. Decide what you will focus on.

The first decision you need to make is to place focus on what works. He explained that what you focus on expands. He gave an example of what happens when business owners focus more on the negative parts of their business than the positive parts. Consider a magnifying glass. If business owners place their focus on the negatives in their business it will expand into bigger problems down the road.

To be successful in business, start by placing concrete focus on the one thing that is working the best and master it. This includes what is working for other businesses.

2. Stop lying to yourself.

Honesty truly is the best policy. Studies have shown that lying less leads to better health and relationships. This is extremely important in business. According to Robbins, being more honest with yourself can lead to more success. Not just more honest, but "brutally honest," he emphasized. Being brutally honest with yourself sets the foundation for more growth because you've accepted the truth. You can't live with a lie.

Related: 5 Lies the World Tells Entrepreneurs About How to Succeed

How do you become brutally honest with yourself? Spend 30 minutes in a relaxed position. This can be either sitting or lying down. Next, take time to reflect on the current state of your life in the following business categories: staff, systems, business relationships, finances and growth. In each category, ask yourself these three questions and answer them honestly: "How are we doing in this category?," "What does this mean?" and "Where would I like to be?" Then answer honestly. You'll be amazed at what you find out.

3. Choose an ultra-specific action to complete.

You've identified what you will focus on and become honest with yourself about it. Now you're ready to take action. By taking more action, you will gain experience. Robbins says that action leads to more business success. He gave an example of what happens with parents when they play video games with their kids. It's not that the kids are smarter or quicker or that their neurons are functioning at a quicker tempo. It's because they have more experience. They have so much experience in the game that they are able to predict the next move and anticipate the future. This allows the children to become the expert and leader in the game, because they have a honed skill set.

So the parents then followed the three steps: They decided to focus on playing the game more with their kids, became brutally honest with themselves that their kids were better than they were at the game and took an ultra-specific action, to continue playing the game 30 minutes every day with their kids in order to gain more experience, win and succeed.

Related: An AI Bot Just Beat Another Pro Game Player. Here's Why That's A Big Deal.

While college can be great for getting an academic education, there are many ways of obtaining success in business. You don't have to go to college to learn about business. In fact, there are many kids who grew successful and profitable businesses who didn't go to college. They helped and served people. As Michael Scott, district manager of Dunder Mifflin in the popular TV show The Office, states, "Business is people." Follow the breadcrumbs that successful people leave behind.
Tucker Ferwerda

Digital Marketing Consultant

Tucker Ferwerda is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant who has taught digital marketing strategies to more than 3,200 people.

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