Don’t drink the Kool-Aid: Motivational seminar gone wrong

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It’s the worst nightmare of any company: a motivational seminar is organised for staff to attend – then everything goes horribly off the rails.

At least 21 people were treated for second and third degree burns following a seminar run by motivational speaker Tony Robbins in the U.S.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that Robbins was hosting a four-day gathering called ''Unleash the Power Within'' at the San Jose Convention Centre. Witnesses said the crowd had gone to a park where 12 lanes of hot coals were laid out on the grass. The walk was billed as a metaphor for overcoming difficulties and according to the speaker’s PR representatives, is a practice which has gone on successfully for three decades.

Robbins' website promotes ''The Firewalk Experience'' in which people walk on super-heated coals, but at least three people were hospitalised and dozens more injured in the coal walking experience.

So far it looks like the motivational speaker won't be held liable for the burns, as victims chose to participate in the firewalk which is not a mandatory seminar activity. And there may also have been waivers involved.

Indeed thousands of people participated in the firewalk in San Jose and at an earlier Robbins seminar held in February, members of the Oprah team even did the walk and made it through unscathed.

At least one burn victim still felt the Tony Robbins seminar was a positive experience, according to The New York Times. Madina Kaderi said she's glad she felt the pain and probably won't be holding Robbins liable for her firewalk burns.


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