It’s hard to believe it has been eleven years since the horrific attacks of September 11. For many of us, it that day is still as vivid as yesterday. Thousands of us suffered the direct loss of a friend or family member, and many more suffered from shock and fear in the weeks that followed the attack. However, looking back over a decade that has been indelibly altered by those events eleven years ago, the anniversary has noticeably shifted. How do we treat this anniversary as the years continue to pass? What’s most important for us to remember?
You’ll find a variety different answers to that question all over the media and internet. Many focus on the importance of remembering the pain and loss. Others remember the way our nation responded over coming years. However, for me, what’s most important to remember is that, eleven years ago this day, faced with total chaos and destruction, hundreds of heroes in New York and Washington chose to step into the wreckage and save the lives of others. Thousands of people across the U.S. came to the support of the families and friends of those who had been lost. And millions of people across the world mobilized, in one way or another, to bring aid and badly-needed funds to those in need.
What’s most important to remember is that when crisis hits, when chaos seems to take over, you have the power to remember what is most true about you. And what is most true about you is: in any situation, you have the power to do what’s right. You can do what’s right for you, for others around you, and for the greater good. It doesn’t matter how deep the pain or fear, it doesn’t matter what other people are saying or doing, it doesn’t even matter what kind of chaos it is. This part is always true: YOU CAN CHOOSE to make a difference.
So how do you do that?
When the terrorist attacks took place, Tony Robbins was giving a leadership workshop for over 2,000 people from 45 countries. More than 50 people in the audience had just lost friends, families, and businesses in the destruction. The room was in chaos. Because of the diversity in the group, some people were distraught, others were nonchalant, some were frozen in shock, and some were even amused or rejoicing. Like millions of others across the world, people were distraught, confused, and unable to think of something meaningful to do. Tony decided to guide the group through a process that would unify and empower them in a unique way.
At one point, a young Pakistani man stood up to interrupt everything. He said, “My first reaction to this event, as a Muslim, was ‘Hey, this is retribution.’” Next, a Jewish man from New York stood up to challenge the young Pakistani, and there seemed like an argument might break out. Tony brought the two men onstage. The two men thought they were stepping up to have a debate. But the real reason Tony had them step up… is to exercise their ability to choose… the ability to choose and take action in a way that was authentic for them individually. What’s right for them, and what’s right for the greater good. And as it turns out, after going through this process, the men embraced and went on to start an organization for religious tolerance.
So in honor of this day, in honor of those who were most deeply affected by September 11, and in honor of those who have affected us, we’re pleased to offer this film. We hope you find it meaningful.
TONY ROBBINS INTERVENTION – SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
CEO and cofounder
P.S. Here’s Asad nine years later speaking at the TED conference in Karachi Pakistan