Personal Development (39)
Retirement? Hell No!! – That’s for Old People.
Over the past few years I’ve come into contact with a growing number of baby boomers who refuse to embrace the concept of retiring. To them it is more of a re-alignment of goals. They’re self-image is not of that of past generations of retirees. They don’t see themselves as white-hairs, in rocking chairs reminiscing past glories.
Shockingly, more than two-fifths of girls between first and third grade want to be thinner and more than eight in ten fourth graders are scared of being overweight(1). With these fears starting so young, it is not surprising that by the time they reach high school, 11% of students have a diagnosed eating disorder. However, young girls are displaying signs of disordered eating long before they enter high school, with those as young as seven following diet and exercise plans passed around the playground, often before they can even spell “diet” or the foods included in the regimens. Just one example is a fourth grade student who started to develop a more natural figure after quitting a grueling gymnastic schedule (2). What started off as cutting out high fat and sugar snack foods developed into a highly restrictive diet over the next six months, which in the end consisted only of salad and was combined with obsessive exercising, resulting in the loss of a quarter of her body weight in just a six week period and clinical signs of starvation.
The Art of Making People Uncomfortable
Imagine this. Standard hospital practice pre-1950 was to minimize or forbid parents to visit their infants and children while they were in hospital. In some hospitals parents were completely forbidden to visit their kids, while others allowed visits but parents could only view children through a glass partition inserted into the ward doors. Now, it’s not what you might think. This wasn’t an effort to contain some raging airborne disease – these were ‘ordinary’ hospital cases and patients. A psychologist called John Bowlby, who was particularly interested in ‘attachment’ (how a child psychologically attaches to the main caregiver) eventually changed this practice through a huge body of research which demonstrated the damage that such separations can cause to a child: “…the prolonged deprivation of a young child of maternal care may have grave and far reaching effects on his character and so on the whole of his future life” (report to World Health Organization, 1952).
Many years ago, a friend of mine lived in an inner-city corporation flats complex. The family scrimped and saved, eventually accumulating enough money to buy a house on a newly built estate in the suburbs. Understandably, they were excited about the move and focused on getting the house furnished. While the garden was left in a sorry state by the builder, this was not on the immediate ‘worry list’ as they got to grips with paying a mortgage for the first time.
We were invited to a house party in Clontarf. Bring along the Tiramisu, have a few beers, play a bit of music. All good clean fun. Somewhere during the evening the talk turned to obsession. People we know who are compulsive, who go to extremes (I know tons about this topic, recognizing many of the traits in myself).
“What I was going to say was…. nothing”
I have a client who’s become a friend. Yes, it actually happens in real life. You too could love a consultant if you knew one for long enough. Anyway, she was on a major fitness programme. Long swims, bike rides, gym workouts. This determined woman was on a mission to recapture her former, svelte self (that’s a long queue, right there).
Building Successful Work Relationships
There was a good joke doing the rounds recently. If you are the ‘sensitive type’ I suggest you look away now! I heard this from another guy – but women can easily reverse the punchline and tell the joke against men. Here goes….
I’ve almost completed a post-graduate programme on the psychology of coaching – mentioned in a previous post. During a recent workshop, we covered the topic of existentialism. Prior to the course, I couldn’t even spell this. Here’s my take on what it means…