What’s Really Going On?
As a hypnotherapist I’m fascinated by the machinations of the subconscious. In my book, Fitness, Straight-Up I reference an incident where a professional motorcycle racer’s season was derailed following an uncharacteristic and unforced crash. At the time, the nine-time world champion was beginning to realize one of his upstart rivals was shoving him off the top of the heap— a hard pill to swallow. Ultimately, injury would be easier to accept for everyone involved than losing outright.
The medical terms that describe this are “primary gain” and “secondary gain.” Psychologist, Dr. David B. Adams describes them such…
[Secondary gain] occurs when a patient’s symptoms are maintained because of the impact of attention, affection, remuneration, access to medication and other incentives.
[Primary gain] occurs when the injury solves an internal conflict for the individual. For example, the patient may have a fear or aversion to something at work… and their symptoms prevent them from having to be exposed to it. These may [include]… avoiding work tasks over which they are phobic (heights, closed spaces, etc [or, losing]).
Few would recognize such behavior in themselves. Fewer still would admit it. Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon. As a fitness coach of thirty years I’ve watched it play out in clients time and again. (I also acknowledge that perception is projection— but I digress.)
Dropping the Ball
As a stumped Kobe Bryant posts on Facebook…
All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done millions of times! The frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage. Why the hell did this happen?!? Makes no damn sense.
Oh, but it does.
The Los Angeles Lakers had been vying for bottom honors all season, and their superstar shooting guard was just as big a part of that failure as any other player on the team. Thing is, at the deepest level Kobe so detests the idea— no, the reality— of standing absolutely no chance at a championship that his subconscious provides him a convenient and selfish out. Injury. Now, the team he had been “carrying” all season can lose (or perhaps win) without him. Responsibility for failure— missing the playoffs for only the second time in seventeen years— is now lifted from his shoulders. Sure, an Achilles tear is physically painful. But the emotional distress of such sound defeat hurts more.
Putting on Big Boy Pants
Three years later Valentino Rossi‘s fight into second place in the first round of the 2013 MotoGP season may indeed mean he’s ready to challenge the mechanical consistency of current world champion, Jorge Lorenzo. In any event it proves he’s a good investment for Yamaha. As for Kobe, who knows? Maybe it’s time for the Lakers to exercise their amnesty option and summarily discard their 34 year old player and save themselves up to $80 million in luxury taxes on the salary they’ll be paying him whether he can play or not.