Category Archives: FUN READING

What Compels an Athlete to use PED’s…

This photo was taken from twitter.com

This photo was taken from twitter.com

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, Master NLP Practitioner, Certified Hyponotherapist, Dharma Life Coach, and Sports Psychology Consultant, I’ve had the privelege of working with countless elite athletes over the years.  Most of the athletes that I’ve worked with have relied on their natural born talents, work ethic, grit, perserverance, courage, self-belief, and mental and emotional toughness to compete at the highest levels of their chosen sport.  Some other athletes that I’ve worked with, however, have confided in me that they use Performance Enhancing Drugs to secure an edge over their oppostion.  They’ve told me that they use Performance Enhancing Drugs to make them stronger, quicker, and more self-confident.  Moreover, they’ve told me that PED’s drmatically speed up their revovery time after grueling workouts, games, matches, etc.

When an athlete tells me that they use PED’s to enhance their sports performance, I refrain from sitting in judgment of them.  After all, how an athlete chooses to go about the business of performing in their chosen sport is his or her preogative.  I choose to focus my attention instead on how to help them consitently get into an ideal performance state when they’re competing, how to srenghten their self-confidence and self-belief, how to partner with the part of them that feels self-doubt and/or fear, etc.  Never the less, I’ve learned through my studies and through working with these particular athletes about the thought processes they use and the Social Psychology principles that they succumb to that compel them to use Performance Enhancing Drugs in the first place.

I’ve innumerated below the different kinds of thought processes that athletes go through to justify their use of PED’s:

1) Minimization:  “It doesn’t help me that much; it just helps me recover faster so I can get back to training hard and using my God Given talents.”

2). Outcome-oriented Thinking:  “The ends justify the means.  I’d rather be an elite professional athlete with a hundred million dollars in my bank account at the end of my career than a mid-tier professional athlete who makes comparably modest amounts of money.”  Another example of outcome thinking used by athletes is  “winning isn’t the only thing, it’s everything.” With this in mind, an athlete will do whatever he’s got to do to win at all costs.

3). Rationalizing:  “Everyone else is doing it, and so it’s only fair that I compete on an even playing  field.”  While it may be true that a lot of elite athletes use steroids and other performance enhancing drugs to get an unfair advantate over their peers, it still undermines the credibility of all sports when an athlete embraces the belief, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

4) Normalizing:  “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”  “Plus, performance enhancing drugs have always been and will always be a part of the culture in professional sports.”

5). Playing the hero:  “I’m doing this to put food on my family’s plate and to give my children opportunities that I never had growing up.  I may be cheating, but I’m doing so with a nobler, higher purpose in mind.”

6) Playing the Martyr: “My coaches, teammates, and fans don’t truly care about me.  My coaches want to get paid for winning, and the fans care more about being entertained than watching players play clean.  If I’m just their entertainment, than screw it; I’ll give the fans what they want and laugh my way to the bank.”

7). Prioritizing ones reputation over ones character:  Some athletes that use PESD’s are heavily invested in how others perceive them.  They want to be put on a pedestal by their fans and be seen as larger than life to feed their egoic need for attention and adulation.  In turn, they table their conscience, forsake their values, and subordinate their character and guiding principles in pursuit of a reputation and lasting legacy.

8)  Social Proof:  Social Proof is a Social Psychology principle that says that when people feel uncertain about something, or when they see others that are similar to them engaging in a certain behavior, they’re more inclined to follow along and do what they see others doing.  Even if an athlete knows that taking performance enhancing drugs may imperil their health down the line or put them in jeapordy of getting caught by PED regulating bodies, the fact that many of their peers are doing it compels them to follow their lead.

I imagine that many sports fans have wondered from time to time how come elite athletes are willing to risk experiencing the potential long-term damage to their bodies, the potential damage to their reputations and legacies, and the potential financial consequences that will befall them if they are caught using PED’s.  I sincerely hope that I’ve offered you some illuminating insights into the minds and hearts of those athletes who choose to use PED’s in spite of all that they stand to lose if they’re caught doing so.

Thank you for taking valuable time out of your day to read this blog.

Sincerely,

John Boesky, LMFT/MNLP/CHT/Dharma Life Coach & Sports Psychology Consultant

DONALD STERLING: A WALKING MIRROR THAT REFLECTS THE PREJUDICES IN ALL OF US

image taken from designtrend.com

image taken from designtrend.com

Several months ago Donald Sterling, a Jewish billionaire and owner of the NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers, was caught on audio tape saying various racist and bigoted things about African Americans and other races and ethnic groups.  It’s particularly ironic that he would speak so condescendingly and belittling about African Americans because the majority of his team is comprised of African Americans, and he was in the throes of an extramarital affair with a much younger woman that appears to be African American or, at the very least, bi-racial.  Never the less, this old man with a “Plantation paradigm” appears to believe that blacks are his inferior to him, and it’s apparent that his dying paradigm hasn’t modernized much at all even though beliefs and perceptions on the subject of race have changed dramatically since the Civil War.

Although Donald Sterling’s comments were indeed repugnant, I believe that in many ways they reflect the beliefs and perceptions of countless other people throughout America and the world who merely choose to repress their own racist feelings because they fear  the consequences that will surely come if they truly speak their minds.  These consequences usually include being fired from one’s job, being shunned by more progressive friends, and being silenced by the politically correct who are everywhere among us.  As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Master NLP Practitioner, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Sports Psychology Consultant, I can attest to this fact because I have personally worked with clients that have suffered irreparable damage to their reputations and careers as a result of saying the wrong, or politically incorrect, thing at the wrong time.

Sadly for Donald Sterling, his comments were so outdated and so incendiary that he morphed into a walking caricature or cartoon figure of the racists and bigots that walk more inconspicuously among us right before out very eyes.  If there was a tall, bloated balloon at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving parade that represented what a racist looks like, it would don the face of Donald Sterling himself.  Although it’s easy to castigate Donald Sterling, I prefer to see his bigoted remarks as a gift to all of us; his words are a reminder to all of us that are humble, courageous, and self-aware enough to admit it that we also have our own prejudices against all kinds of races, ethnic groups, sexual orientations, religious groups, the rich, the poor, Republicans, Democrats, the homeless, lawyers, professional athletes, reality TV stars, rappers, country singers, misogynists, short men, handicapped people, overweight people, powerful women, beautiful women, homemakers, drug addicts, people who are on anti-depressant medication, the mentally ill, illegal immigrants, those who live in America and don’t speak English yet, those without college degrees, laborers, rape victims, etc.  We all have our own shadows that we try to repress, deny, and/or disown, and these shadows darken the light that reflects our soul’s loving and compassionate nature; we all have our own conscious or unconscious prejudices, but we have been conditioned to wear a social mask and lie to ourselves and others that our thoughts are as pure as the white driven snow. When we deny or disown our shadows, though, we actually give them more life.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I often share with my clients that “what we resist persists.”

I will confess to you that I have my own prejudices, and I work daily to own them so that I can eventually transcend them.  One prejudice I have is against those who lie to themselves and others and claim that they actually have no prejudices!!  I’ve grown so weary of radio and T.V. personalities who say something that is clearly racist or bigoted and then adamantly deny having ever had a racist, homophobic, or other impure thought by saying things like, ”some of my best friends are black” or “I gave money to an AIDS charity that supports gays and lesbians” or “I grew up around bigotry and always vowed that I would never allow myself to think those kinds of thoughts.”  The sad truth is that all of their attempts to rationalize away what they have said are merely hollow and disingenuous attempts  to deny to themselves and to the public that their minds, like the rest of us, are actually impure and vulnerable to falling prey to having prejudices, biases, etc.   These very people  “protest too much” and they are therefore either hypocrites, in grave denial, or actively trying to pull the wool over their  eyes and our eyes too.  There are countless examples of such hypocrites in our midst that immediately come to mind.  Take, for example,  Michael Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Marion Barry, and Dan Rather.

Michael Jordan, who is widely regarded as the greatest professional basketball player ever to play the game, grew up in North Carolina during a time when there were more KluKluxKlan members in his state than there were in all of the other Southern States combined.  He once said, ” I considered myself a racist at the time.  Basically, I was against all white people.”  Jordan later said, however, that his Mother told him that he could not live a life consumed by racial hatred.  Jordan added that he finally began to understand more about race relations after watching the miniseries, Roots.  Although Jordan has conceded that he was once a full blown racist against white people while  adding that he’s since worked on owning this shadow, I highly doubt that there is not a trace of racism left anywhere in his mind, body, heart, and soul.

Never the less, as soon as the Donald Sterling scandal broke out, it was Michael Jordan who chose to say the following:  ”I am completely disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views…There is no room in the NBA- or anywhere else, for the kind of racism and hatred Mr. Sterling expressed.  I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country, and at the highest level of our sport…In a league where the majority of our players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”  Although I wholeheartedly agree with Michael Jordan’s sentiments, I simply don’t buy the idea that he has truly transcended his own ethnic and racial prejudices so thoroughly that he’s in a position to stand on a pulpit and denounce others for the very same prejudices and hatred he has acknowledged having had at one time for white people.  If I were a betting man, I would bet my house that Michael Jordan still harbors racist feelings towards whites, Jews, and countless other racial and ethnic groups as well.  I commend him if has  made great strides towards overcoming his prejudices.  I cannot in good conscience, however, stand up, applaud him, and make pretend that I believe that his heart and mind is entirely cleansed of all racism and bigotry.

Other public figures and celebrities that have allowed their politically correct, social masks to accidentally slip off include African-American Reverend Jesse Jackson, our Caucasian Vice President Joe Biden,  famous African-American movie producer, Spike Lee, famous Caucasian news anchor, Dan Rather, and former African-American governor Marion Barry. During his 1984 presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson derisively spoke of New York City as a place teeming with “Hymies”, and he even went so far as to call New York City “Hymietown.”  For those of you who don’t know, the word “Hymie” is a racist term used to disparage Jews.  Our very own Vice President, Joe Biden, said a few years ago, “You cannot go to a 7 11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.”  Regarding his own running mate, Barack Obama, Joe Biden said, “I mean you just got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate, bright, clean, and a nice-looking guy; I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”  As for African-American movie producer, Spike Lee, he once said, ” I give interracial couples a look.  Daggers…They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street.”

As for Dan Rather, he said of Barack Obama, “He’s a nice person.  He’s very articulate and this is what’s been used against him, but he couldn’t sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.”    Former governor, Marion Barry, once said, “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops.  They ought to go.”  Although each of the politicians, public figures, and celebrities that I have  just mentioned clearly have racist thoughts percolating around in the recesses of their minds, I guarantee you that none of them would cop to it.  On the contrary, they would allude to friends of theirs that are Jewish, Indian,  African-American, or in a romantic partnership with someone of the opposite race.  Or perhaps they would talk of charity work they have done on behalf of the very people they have openly degraded, or they would talk of  extended family members that are married to someone who is Jewish, Indian, African-American, etc.  Their attempts to deny their own prejudices never end because they want to maintain their squeaky clean image.  What’s paradoxical and ironic, though, is that the more someone deflects and denies his or her own prejudices, the less trustworthy they become.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have been facilitating a Men’s group for over 7 years now.  I’ve noticed that the men that are most honest about their shortcomings and take ownership of their shadows are the men that the other group members trusts the most.  On the contrary, the men who deny their shadows and repress their darker thoughts are the ones that are trusted least.

Since the Donald Sterling story broke awhile back, there has only been one public figure that I have grown to respect and trust as it pertains to the topic of racism, bigotry, and prejudice.  His name is Mark Cuban, who is the billionaire owner of the NBA franchise, the Dallas Mavericks.  As everyone was clamoring to have Sterling banned from the NBA, Mark Cuban shared his thoughts on the matter in a self-reflective, honest, and forthcoming manner.  He said, ” I know that I’m prejudiced, and I know that I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways…None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.”

Wow…

My sentiments exactly…

I want to invite all the self-righteous hypocrites out there who claim to be enlightened and pure of thought to kindly consider the possibility that perhaps the feelings of outrage that you openly express about Donald Sterling has just as much to do with you as they do with him.  I wonder if his blatant racism and bigotry awakens in you the realization that you have a little bit of him inside of you.  After all, it takes one to know one or “if you spot it, you got it.”  Marriage and Family Therapists and anyone else that works in the field of psychology call this phenomena “Projection.”  Whenever we have a strong “charge” with someone else and want to judge or condemn them, the chances are extraordinarily high that you’re seeing traits in that person that mirrors similar traits inside of yourself that you’d rather not acknowledge or take ownership of; you’d prefer to project the traits that you don’t like in yourself onto someone else.  For this very reason, I propose that Donald Sterling is a living and breathing mirror and/or gift for all of us; he gives all of us an opportunity to go inside ourselves and explore our “charge” with him so that we can take ownership of the prejudices that live inside of us and do the personal growth work it will take to make our prejudices smaller and smaller over the course of time.

Thank you for taking your time to read my blog on racism, prejudice, and the phenomena of  projection.  I hope  you found my blog thought-provoking and enlightening.

Warmly,

John Boesky, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/NLP Practitioner/Certified Hypnotherapist/& Sports Psychology Consultant

 

 

 

RESILIENCE: FALL DOWN 7 TIMES, GET UP 8

image taken from watoday.com.AU

image taken from watoday.com.AU

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, NLP Practitioner, and Sports Performance Consultant in private practice for many years, I’ve noticed that more often than not that  an athlete’s person’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience determines how successful they’ll be in whatever athletic endeavor they choose to take on  in life.  Their resilience is that X factor that separates them from their peers.  It’s that athlete’s never-say-die attitude, their stubborn defiance to never give up or surrender in the face of overwhelming odds, and their unrelenting drive to stand their ground and keep fighting until the end that paves the way to achieving greatness.  Interestingly enough, resilient athletes who refuse to back down or go away during a competition sometimes lose.  Their tenacity, however, almost always pays off in the end.  They may lose the battle, but their opponents will remember their undying warrior spirit, and in turn they will eventually surpass their rivals and win the ensuing wars.

Resilient athletes eventually catch their rivals and win the proverbial war because their relentlessness eventually wears their opponents down.  Their unbreakable mindset and unshakable presence breaks their opponent’s will.  Much like zombies that rise from the dead time and time again after being shot at dozens of times, resilient athletes simply refuse to go away as well.  Each time they lose, they get right back up, and work even harder to chase down their opponent and finish them.  These athlete/zombies feel more positive and more determined than ever over time rather than discouraged.  They get up from defeat, dust themselves off, and vow to learn from their past mistakes.  By doing so, they get better and better.

Just when their rival thinks his or her opponent has been left in the dust for good, they can see their vanquished opponent in their rear view mirror yet again, and this leaves them reeling, wondering if their rival will ever go away.  Finally, when it becomes clear that their losing rival has every intention of chasing them to the ends of the Earth to catch them, they feel themselves starting to mentally crumble.  To them, it’s like being hunted down in the woods by FBI trained German Shepherds or blood hounds.  They simply can’t outrun them or out maneuver them in the long run, so eventually they fall to the ground, hands behind their back, and turn themselves in.  Although they were in the lead at one time, they eventually choose to turn around and throw in the towel.

One elite athlete that comes to mind that embodies this type of never-say-die resilience is tennis’ Rafael Nadal.  In 2011, Rafael Nadal was in the midst of losing seven consecutive meetings-along with the No. 1 ranking, to his arch rival, Novak Djokovic.  All of those heart-breaking matches came in finals, three at Grand Slam tournaments;  Wimbledon and the U.S Open in 2011, and at the Australian Open in 21012.  Clearly Djokovic had a strong mental and tactical edge back then.  If Nadal were like most athletes, he would have mentally folded whenever he played Djokovic in the months and years to come.  Nadal, however, is not like most athletes.  On the contrary, he is supremely resilient, and therefore his 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win in this year’s 2013 U.S. Open finals made him 6-1 against Djokovic in their last seven encounters.  It also raised Nadal’s lead in the head-to-head series to 22-15 and made him 8-3 in their match-ups at Grand Slam tournaments.

So what changed in the competitive dynamic between these elite tennis players?  According to Nadal,  a lot had to do with the four-set loss to Djokovic in New York in 2011.  After dropping the first two sets, Nadal won the the third in a tiebreaker.  He said afterward, ” A very important moment for me.  I was able to change the situation, to fight more than I had in the previous matches against him, and see a way for me to play…Run for every point.  Fight, fight for every ball.  And play aggressive.  And that’s what I did in the third set.”  In other words, Nadal harvested from him loss optimism and confidence.  Rather than wilt from yet another defeat, he decided to become even more resilient, more mentally tough, and more mentally and emotionally resourseful.

Their next match was the Australian Open final in January 2012, and Djokovic won that one too.  They played five sets that stretched over nearly six hours, making it the longest Grand Slam title match in history.  Although Nadal lost that epic match, he said afterward, ” I finished that match in Australia very happy, because another time I was able to change the dynamic.”  The next time they played, about three months later in the final at Monte Carlo, Nadal won in straight sets.  Having learned from his previous losses, this time he played closer to the baseline and looked to attack more when possible.  “After that victory, mentally, you feel more confident when you come back on the court against him, ” Nadal said.

The Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is a true testament to the power of mental and emotional resilience.  Nadal was better at the start of their careers.  Djokovic did what he needed to do to edge ahead.  Then, summoning his resilience, dogged determination, and unwillingness to be daunted by previous losses, Nadal regained the upper hand again.  Together, they have won 12 of the past 15 major titles.

There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.”  As a Marriage and Family Therapist and Sports Performance Consultant, I’ve found that this is what elite athletes do.  They remain fearless, undaunted, and supremely resilient.  Ultimately, this extraordinary brand of bullish tenacity and unwavering spirit eventually causes their rivals to mentally and emotionally break.  Their resilience, mental toughness, and unwillingness to go away paves the way to their greatest successes and triumphs both in sports and in life.

If you’re an athlete who tends to fall away when the going gets tough or when you’ve lost to your rivals time and time again, I invite you to tap into the zombie spirit inside of you and stick around through thick and thin.  Become defiantly resilient, and refuse to back down or surrender, however bleak things may appear in the moment.  In the end, your fierce determination and never say die attitude will wear down your opponents and your arch rivals, and you will eventually emerge victorious in the end.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog!!  I hope that you found it useful.

Warmly,

John Boesky,LMFT # 39666

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Sports Performance Consultant

 

 

 

THE BACHELOR: THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIMENT THAT WORKS LIKE A CHARM~

Image taken from digitalfiles.com

Image taken from digitalfiles.com

There’s no question that Sean Lowe, America’s most recent Bachelor, seems like a great catch.  He’s good looking, well spoken, appears to be sincere, claims to value integrity and character above all else, etc.  In light of all his positive traits, it makes sense to me that some women would find him attractive, and it also makes sense to me that some women would even fall in love with him and want to marry him.  However, it doesn’t make sense to me at all that every single female contestant that gets on the show ends up falling in love with him.  The odds of this seem happening to one mere mortal guy seems astronomically low.  So, I ask myself, how come every time a new bachelor shows up on our television sets to find his potential wife, every single woman flocks to him, fawns all over him, and falls deeply in love with him in a matter of weeks?

I think I have the answer.  With all due respect to Sean Lowe, it isn’t him at all that’s causing these ladies to fall head over heels in love with him.  Its the culture of the show, and the way the show’s  producers deliberately and pre-metitatively use social psychology to entrance these women into believing that their season’s bachelor is the Chosen One.  The truth is, the moment the women get out of their limousines to greet their prince charming, they’ve set out on a hypnotic journey full of symbols and metaphors that are intended to get them to fall in love with their man as quickly as possible.  In addition, other psychological forces are at play that get the women in deeper and deeper over their heads, and what’s sad is that the women have no idea that their emotions are being manipulated by a bunch of reality T.V. head honchos.

For starters, when the women first meet the bachelor, he’s there to greet them in front of a mansion with roses in hand.  Women naturally associate a mansion with power and wealth, and it’s fair to say that most women find power and wealth very attractive.  Soon after their brief meeting outside of the mansion, the women are given champagne, which is another symbol of decadence, sophistication, wealth, etc.  Inside the mansion are fireplaces and candles, which women associate with warmth, romance, and masculine charm.  Finally, at the end of the first evening, the bachelor gives out roses to the women he’d like to get to know better.  Women of course love roses, and they associate them with romance, passion, and love.  Alas, unbeknownst to the women, they’re already in the process of making an unconscious link (Anchor) between their bachelor and their own seductive longings for power, wealth, opulence, sophistication, warmth, romance, charm, passion, and love.  The bachelor has become an archetype for the perfect gentlemen, a prince if you will.

The producers of the Bachelor surely know that most women start off as young, impressionable girls reading fairy tales that kindle their dreams to one day find their prince charming.  They also know that these girls also long to one day become princesses.  With this awareness in mind, the producers present the women the seductive vision of a real life prince standing before their very eyes in front of a castle-like mansion, and they give these ladies the persuasive impression that if they win their bachelor’s heart, their dream of becoming a princess and leading a fairy tale life may soon become their reality.

In addition to creating this intoxicating link between the bachelor and all things rich and royal, the producers of the show seem well aware of the psychological concept known as social proofing.”  Social proofing essentially describes when people unconsciously engage in a herd mentality.  If someone who is perceived to be knowledgeable or credible strongly believes something, everyone else follows suit.  This happens a lot in the stock market, for example.  If a well known investor like Warren Buffet, for example, says with conviction that America is entering into a bull market and it’s time to buy stocks, droves of ambivalent investors will follow his lead.  This is because a man like Warren Buffet is highly esteemed, and he’s become a credible source to turn to for direction throughout the years.  Most of the time he’s managed the winds of the market well, so investors worldwide are willing to blindly follow his lead for this reason alone.  In the case of the Bachelor, the show’s producers have rolled out the red carpet and told the world that their bachelor is highly desirable.  They’ve deemed him special, and they have concluded that he is the ultimate prize for any lady seeking love.

The Bachelor is a credible show, and most people who tune in to watch it assume the producers of the show must know something about their chosen man that they don’t.  Alas, social proof is in securely in place.  When the women meet their bachelor, they already believe that he’s the highest of the high hanging fruit.  He’s the ultimate prize, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  It only makes sense then that their hearts flutter within seconds of meeting him.  And it only makes sense that they find themselves falling in love with him within days.

There’s another psychological factor at play on the bachelor that compels the female contestants to fall in love with their chosen one so soon after meeting him.  It’s called “confirmation bias.”  Confirmation bias happens when someone believes something to such a degree that they’ll actively disregard any information that contradicts their fixed belief.  If these girls believe that their bachelor is the ultimate prize, then they’re going to ignore the fact he’s kissing 5 or 6 other girls on the very same night.  They’ll also choose to ignore the fact he may be having sex with the last 3 remaining women in the fantasy suites within days of their own sexual encounter with him.  In addition, they will choose to ignore red flags like he may be emotionally immature, self-preoccupied, etc.  I’ve often found it interesting that the bachelor takes his women on dates that he would like, without much consideration for whether or not his date would like it.  He’ll have her repel down a jagged rock face, eat rancid insects,  or plunge into freezing water, for example.  He’ll say these activities are designed to build trust, of course.  He’ll also say that they serve as metaphors because relationships often have downturns when you feel like you’re repelling backwards or plunging into cold water.  It’s important, he’ll say, that he and his date can weather these metaphorical storms to build trust, connection, etc.

The truth is, however, that most women would rather not repel down a cliff, eat unsavory insects, or endure freezing water to prove their worth to their date.  It’s because of confirmation bias, however, that they’re willing to subject themselves to any and all kinds emotional torture to win the approval and affections of this very special man.  It doesn’t even occur to them that their bachelor is being awfully self-centered.  Just because he’s adventurous and likes to rock climb or plunge into cold water doesn’t mean that she shares his same interests.  When most women have their head’s on straight, they’d ditch that date right after it got started!!  But in their minds their handsome bachelor can do no wrong.  They’re mired in confirmation bias, and nothing he does will dispel them from their belief that he’s every woman’s fantasy.

Another way the show, The Bachelor, manipulates their women to fall in love quickly with their bachelor is to introduce the psychology of  “human competition” into the equation.  It’s no secret to anybody, least of all the women on the show, that they’re competing for their bachelor’s heart.  First of all, most people who compete would much rather win than lose.  Winning means to the victor that she’s the prettiest and most charming woman of them all.  Her ego gets a huge lift, and the answer she gets to her “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, whose the fairest of them all” question is simply music to her ears.  The losers of the Bachelor competition, on the other hand, generally feel like rejects and failures.  They’re left feeling  inadequate and worthless.  This very phenomenon explains why almost every woman that gets eliminated from the Bachelor whimpers and cries during her limousine ride back to the hotel where she will be asked to promptly pack her bags and leave the premises as soon as humanly possible.  As she’s crying, she’ll inevitably wonder out loud, “What did I do wrong?”  “Why wasn’t I good enough for him?”  “What did the other girls have that I didn’t?”  These types of thoughts and feelings cut through each woman’s heart like a knife.  To avoid this pain, each female competitor sets out to win.  After all, they equate associate losing with deep pain and winning with great pleasure.

Like in every competition, there are certain rules you must follow and criteria you must meet  in order to emerge victorious.  In the case of the Bachelor, the women must generally follow the following implicit rules in order to stand a chance of winning the bachelor’s heart:  She must demonstrate vulnerability, depth of emotion, physical affection,  and an open heart and soul.  And she must demonstrate the aforementioned as quickly as possible, because she’s up against other women who will gladly bear their souls at the drop of a hat to move onto the next rose ceremony and avoid the dreaded pain of losing.  Within days each woman is rushing the romantic process to outpace her peers on her race to cross the finish line and claim her prize:  The Bachelor. In this rush mode, she’s sharing with the Bachelor her greatest fears, her past traumas, her life dreams, her family history, her weaknesses, her strengths, etc.  She’s even sharing with him secrets she’s never shared with anyone else ever before because she really, really wants to win this competition and feel good about herself, and it makes her nauseous to think of how she’ll feel about herself if she loses.  What happens, though, when a woman shares these kinds of thoughts and feelings with a man is that her heart invariably opens.  She feels heard, validated, and connected.  If she shares these deep thoughts and feelings with a man at an accelerated pace, it’s only inevitable that she’s going to fall in love with him.

There’s one last psychological phenomenon that I’d like to touch on to support my hypothesis that the women are more or less programmed to fall in love with their season’s bachelor.  This phenomenon has to do with “unconscious mimicry.”  Essentially, human emotions are contagious.  Human motivation is contagious too.  That’s how come you’re more likely to get into a frenzy when you sit next to other frenzied football fans at a football game.  It’s also how come you’re more likely to laugh out loud when you’re sitting besides others who are laughing out loud while watching a comedy at a movie theater vs. when you’re sitting at home watching the same comedy on your couch.  Finally, it’s how come you’re more likely to work really hard at your job if you’re surrounded by co-workers who are really driven and hard working too.  In light of this, imagine now that you have 25 women who are falling in love with one man.  Given that emotions are contagious, just imagine how one woman’s lust for her bachelor emotionally affects the women around her.  Like the flu, her lust is going to spread, and the other women around her are going to catch what she’s feeling.  Pretty soon all the women have caught the love bug, and the bachelor can’t turn any of them away even if he tried.  Night after night, he offers a lucky woman a red rose, and each and every time she blushes and says, “Of course I’ll accept this rose.”

Image taken from colourose.com

Image taken from colourose.com

I wonder if the bachelor himself has any idea that while he may be a great guy, it’s not his princely charms that were causing every woman on the show to fall in love with him.  It had far more to do with the psychological spell and hypnotic trance that the participants on the show fell under than anything else.  I personally doubt that he had a clue.   It’s more likely that he momentarily forgets who he really is, and he merrily buys into the notion that he really is the cat’s meow.  That is,  until his season of the Bachelor finally comes to a close,  and at least half the women he goes on first dates with in the real world think he’s just alright and politely decline to go out with him again.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!!

John Boesky, LMFT