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Do you want to live to see 120?
Tony explains that for him, it's not the length of life that matters – it's the depth and quality
The following is an excerpt from an interview between Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation.
Peter Diamandis: So, let’s talk about longevity. The average age right now is – about 100 years ago, it was 40 years old – today it’s close to 80 years old. Bottom line ultimately is, how old do you want to live? How long do you want to live?
Tony Robbins: You have a little different point of view about this. To me, it’s not the length of our life, it’s the depth and quality of while I’m here, but yes, would I like to live at least 100 years? Yeah, I think that to me is a natural cycle. I know for you, the biblical 120 is the minimum for you, but where is it for you?
PD: So, I think about this. I think about the most amazing time to live in right now, and that we’re gonna see the ability for the human race to go to the stars, and I –
TR: We need a lot longer life.
PD: I need a lot longer life. I remember when I was growing up, I saw a TV show on long lived sea life, that whales, turtles, and sharks, could live four or five, six, seven hundred years, and I remember when I was in medical school, I made the commitment. I said, “Well, if they can live 700 years, why can’t I?”
TR: I love you, Peter.
PD: It’s either [going to be] a hardware or a software problem. We’re just beginning to get that, but at the end of the day, 100, 120 [years]?
TR: 100 to 120 [years] is a nice range, but again, what I want is I want the passion. I want the aliveness. I want the energy. I want the vitality. I want the strength during that time. I want to be able to keep rejuvenating. That to me matters the most. We were at the Vatican together, and do you remember what happened?
PD: I do remember. I asked the question –
TR: By the way, context for everybody. This was a conference of some of the smartest doctors in the world, the best regenerative medicine doctors are out there, but –
PD: As I’m on stage with an Alderman, a Cardinal, a Rabi, head of the FDA, and we’re asking the conversation of how long should humans be able to live, and so I asked the question of the entire audience there. I said, “How many of you would like to live to 120 years old?” And I was shocked at what happened. Like a third of the room raised their hands.
TR: Which is another way of saying, two thirds did not raise their hands.
PD: I was like, wow. Okay, I said, “Well, all of you can give me your extra years.”
TR: […] Death gives us a scarcity about life. It makes us have meaning in life, and I think one of the challenges will be, it’s exciting now. Look, we went from 40 to 80 in that century, and all we really did was clean up the environment a little bit, [created] toilets and some basic sanitation, and some fundamental vaccines, and things of that nature, but you look at the technology coming now, getting to 120 [years old] should not be hard, because there are humans that already can get to that age. I think the real question is, what are you gonna do with that life?
TR: See, you and I have so much we want to squeeze in to this life, that we want every day that we can possibly get. Quality days, right?
PD: So, I asked you after that session at the Vatican –
TR: What happened?
PD: What happened? And I said, “Why don’t people want to live longer?” And you answered it beautifully.
TR: Well, I just think they’ve got to find a meaningful life, and most people, they do the same thing over and over again. Their life isn’t fulfilling enough, so who wants to go 120 years?
TR: We both have a mutual friend, Ray Kurzweil, who’s just a genius. One of the greatest inventors and futurists in the world, and probably ever. The Edison of our time, and he had told me that story. I know you know, as well, 20 years ago when I first met him, about this idea of like how do we do, if we can live forever? Will that really be a gift?
TR: He said, “Tony, there was an old story, and old Twilight Zone.” He said, “And on the Twilight Zone, this man dies, and he’s a gambler, and so, as a gambler, he goes to heaven, and heaven of course, [for] a gambler is going to Vegas. He’s at the top of the Wynn Hotel. He’s got the presidential suite.” He goes, “Wow, this is really happening.” He opens the door, he’s got great outfits, jewelry, cash. Goes down stairs, plays Blackjack, 21 you win, 21 you win, 21 you win. It was just unbelievable. He’s getting all the cash, craps, you win, and you win, you win.
TR: He goes home that night, and he’s not alone, and he’s very happy, and sure enough, he wakes up the next day, and starts the whole thing all over again. Well, about three weeks in to this, one day he’s out there gambling, and they go, “You win, you win, 21 you win.” He goes, “Of course I win. I always win.” He’s so angry. He says, “I want to see the main angel. There’s a mistake here.”
TR: The main angel comes in a tuxedo. He looks at him. He says, “You have a problem Sir?” He says, “Yes.” He goes, “I wasn’t a good person. I don’t belong in heaven.” And the angel says, “You’re not in heaven.”
TR: Sometimes, getting everything you want easily, isn’t always it. So, I think we’ve got to find what’s going to make life meaningful, while we’re here – but it’s so meaningful for you, brother. You’re trying to jam everything in a day, and me too, that we think, great length of life. So, I think it’s going to be, as people find more meaning, if they have a vision larger than itself, then they want to live longer.
PD: I think that element of the desire to live. I think the other part of it is, people imagine old age as coming with pain.
TR: Or losing your memory.
PD: Loneliness, and all of those things, right?
PD: So, how do we maintain? I think the three elements that our dear friend, Bob Hariri talks about, is the aesthetics, the mobility, and the cognition, right?
PD: You look good. You feel good. You think well, and that has to go hand-in-hand.
TR: I agree.
PD: Yeah, at 120, I want to go set off for Mars, and then go to the next solar system.
TR: I didn’t have programmed in to me, the solar transfer to the universe, like you had. That would make me want to extend it for sure.