I saw some data from recent research that, unfortunately, brought to mind The Better Plan blog from January 22, 2013, which was titled Give Me Victory or Give Me Death. You can click on the title to take a look at the post, but basically it described the results of a survey given to elite athletes where half of them admitted that they would trade their lives for success in their particular sport. The article commented on how powerful the basic needs are in our lives, as well as how central the quality world is in choosing the behaviors we see as need-satisfying. Toward the end of the post I wrote that –
Until athletes, and the rest of us for that matter, understand the concept of the basic needs and the scrap book (quality world) process of meeting those needs, our rules and punishments will have very marginal success at best, and actually be counterproductive at worst. We need to understand that people are always acting in what they think is their best interest at the moment. Whether a recreational cyclist who drinks water before heading out on a ride to get in better shape or a professional cyclist who dopes before heading out on the next leg of the competition, both are doing what they think is best. Based on the pictures they pre-determined in their mental scrap books, their behavior is rational. Maybe not right or ethical, but rational.
In similar ominous fashion, recent research out of the UK has found that 30 percent of women would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal body weight and shape. Once again we have evidence of people, in this case women, who are willing to trade their lives for a picture in their quality world. The data revealed that in order to achieve their ideal body weight and shape –
- 16% would trade 1 year of their life
- 10% would trade 2-5 years of their life
- 2% would trade 6-10 years of their life
- 1% would trade 21 years or more of their life
Further data revealed that –
- 46% of the women surveyed have been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.
- 39% of the women surveyed reported that if money wasn’t a concern they would have cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance. Of the 39% who said they would have cosmetic surgery, 76% desired multiple surgical procedures. 5% of the women surveyed have already had cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance.
- 79% of the women surveyed reported that they would like to lose weight, despite the fact that the majority of the women sampled (78.37%) were actually within the underweight or ‘normal’ weight ranges. Only 3% said that they would like to gain weight.
- 93% of the women surveyed reported that they had had negative thoughts about their appearance during the past week. 31% had negative thoughts several times a day.
There is so much to say here, yet you probably could respond to this data as well as me. I think of the quality world as the My Needs Met world (MNM). It is hard to overstate the importance of the pictures we create and store in our personal My Needs Met storage system. So important are these pictures, so valuable are they to us, that in some cases we are willing to trade our lives for them.
There are influences around us that invite us and pressure us to create these pictures. Applause and adulation invites us to trade our lives for a trophy; media pressure invites us, especially women, to trade self-acceptance for self-loathing and constant efforts to be different, even if it means going under the knife. Such pressure and invitations are external to us, though. They can beckon, but they cannot enter our quality world without our consent. We put pictures into our quality world and we can take them out. There are quality world pictures that are worth dying for. Let’s really make sure they are the right pictures.
* An article on the study out of the UK can be found here.
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I just finished reading The Secret Race, by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle, which was an incredibly interesting read that candidly addresses the state of elite cycling and the use of performance-enhancing drugs. With the start of another Tour de France just around the corner, I thought I would re-post a blog I did in January, which looks at PEDs through the lens of choice theory.