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Saturday, March 3, 2012

We’re All Narcissists Now

I was once at a mentorship for advanced level training when one of the coaches I had just paid a pile of cash to, told me that your success at getting a client to achieve their goals was 85% (yes! 85%) mental.  If that were true I thought, then, what am I doing here?  Why am I here at all?  Isn’t it really a psychiatrist that would help my client the most?  While the “mental” component of training comprises several things such as  good attitude, behavior, discipline and self-awareness (things that clients do need in order to be successful), what we can do as fitness and lifestyle experts is to guide people to use their training as a new way of looking at behavior and lifestyle that will impact their health forever.  So yes, that’s why many health coaches like myself spend so much time harping on “mindset…” it’s because of that 85%.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

But what if we’ve created a monster?  In our zest for giving people the tools with which to give themselves the gift of optimal health, we may be creating legions of the self-obsessed.

We can’t take these people anywhere! They now go to restaurants demanding everything be cooked without oil or butter; I even know of one woman who came to a restaurant with a pre-printed list of foods that she was “allergic” too.  Honestly, if she had been truly allergic to that many things she’d be dead or at least she should’ve stayed at home.  When a bus boy innocently approaches the vicinity of your table with a bread basket and your friend screams “we don’t want that!” before he can even get within ten feet of the table, there might be a problem.  Of course, I’d be thrilled if any of my clients sent the bread basket away (I’d even be more thrilled if I sent the bread basket away.)
Several years ago, one of my clients called me in the middle of the night-from jail.  She had been arrested for DUI and said it was my fault (well, she implied it) one glass of red wine she said, had turned into a bottle that she polished off too quickly before running out of the restaurant.  She was pulled over for speeding in an effort to get home before her 10:30 bedtime (so as not to disrupt her circadian rhythms), or so she said. She claims she only drank all that wine for the resveratrol; because I’d told her resveratrol was a potent anti-oxidant (I’m not making this up.)

Forget about traveling.  I have clients who, traveling on business, refuse to stay at a hotel that doesn’t have a state-of-the-art fitness center complete with spa water and those little cucumber slices floating on top.  They pack their magic bullets (blenders) in their suitcases so they don’t have to skip their morning smoothie and plan the day’s business sessions around the yoga schedule.

If there’s one thing our society is lacking it’s a sense of selflessness. We are all so self-focused and self-obsessed-especially in our bigger cities.  People say “there used to be a time when everyone knew their neighbors.” People still do know their neighbors-they just don’t want to talk to them.  “Everyone can’t be annoying” I say.  But we’re just too busy-we can’t be bothered.  Saying “hi” to the woman next door is just too time consuming.

A narcissist is someone who displays extreme self-centeredness and self-absorption, an excessive need for attention and admiration, often resulting in disturbed interpersonal relationships-sounds like the majority of my friends-and my mother.

It might be that I’m preoccupied with these thoughts because I live in L.A., easily the capitol of narcissism.  Glad I'm not like that…I mean, no, I'm not, no, really, I'm not.


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