You don't have to be a schmuck to other people in order to be your best

By J.D.

I read a study recently that found top athletes leave their morals on the sidelines when they compete, losing their sense of ‘right and wrong’ in order to ‘win.’

According to researchers at the University of Birmingham in England and Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, top “athletes largely put their morals and ethics aside when they step foot on the playing field,” a report noted.

It goes onto say:

Athletes often view game situations as either an opportunity to earn a reward (a victory), or avoid punishment (reprimand from the coach; harder and more intense practice sessions). As such, they are much more likely to act in an immoral or antisocial manner in order to win and or show off their athletic ability, the study’s authors say.

Furthermore, especially intense and competitive coaches seem to bring out the worst in their players. This is because the players know, even if only subconsciously, that they will be in for a verbal tirade if their play is deemed “not good enough” by their coach.

“Certain conditions in sport may lead athletes who are relatively upstanding individuals in everyday life to suspend their sense of right and wrong when they step into a competitive sporting arena,” comments study author Dr. Maria Kavussanu in a statement.

“In the pursuit of victory, coaches may ask players to cheat or injure their opponents, and players may see their teammates doing this. It may be easier to morally disengage in sport because responsibility for one’s inappropriate actions can be displaced onto others.”

Well look, we all want to do better, to be better. But let’s be clear about something: If you have to scrimp on your morals, if you think you’ve got to ‘eff’ someone over in order to be your best or to get ahead physically and mentally, you’re wrong about that.

As humans, we were given the ability to think. We’re not animals, and while we do have instincts, we also have the ability to reason.

There are times when you have to ‘win at any cost,’ like when your life or that of your loved ones truly is on the line. There are no ‘rules’ in war.

But the gym ain’t ‘war.’ And any other time we ought to be doing what we can to help the other humans who popular our planet and our lives.

Be your best, of course. Strive everyday for that. Work hard. Train. Study. Practice.

But be a good person, too. That’s not going to impede your gym progress.

Go get some!

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