Don't Like That Kind of Behaviour? Don't Be Surprised, You Probably Caused It

A young sportsman shows extraordinary ability in his chosen sport. His talent is honed over the following years and he becomes renowned for his ability – perhaps the greatest exponent of his skill that the world has ever seen. With this level of performance comes fame – and an extremely heavy schedule of performance, practise, public and private appearances. Adulation builds. As well as extreme capability there is a cool, calm, collected persona. An all-round-good-guy image develops. A messianic following builds.

Then, according to all-round-good-guy standards guide, there is a major and very public indiscretion.

Reflecting on the above circumstance, I wonder we get so surprised when this is the outcome. If you’ve seen my writing before, you’ll know I have a fascination with “be” words. Become = come to be. Belong = long to be. My latest fascination is behave; behave = have to be.

This fascinates me because of our societal tendency to ask the question, “Why would he carry on with that sort of be-haviour?”

Why not? With the range of personal, societal and environmental factors that “he” and “we” all participated in it just “had to be.” If that all sounds like fatalism, it isn’t. I’m actually redefining how we understand destiny. Destiny doesn’t mean something “has to be” because of some externalised, pre-determined and supernatural event stream. But take our young sportsman’s background, possibly some relationship issues in formative years, early-years performance pressure, continuing performance pressure, extreme adulation out of context with relative importance of contribution, extreme material compensation for talent (and so on ….insert any others that may be appropriate) and……… The combination of these and/or other similar factors along the lines leads to “the indiscretion” …..some form of compensatory behaviour to try to re-establish some sense of wholeness. It had to be. It’s destiny. And each of us who participated in the desire for the manufactured persona, we helped bring that behaviour into existence.

And so to the implications of this …..the “hard” part. Retrieving some true sense of wholeness isn’t about a person just individually getting their act together. It’s about how community forms around that person to collectively change our ways…..what we expect from and how we support each other.

By the way, after the most recent example of what I am writing about above, a large consulting firm “terminated its promotional contract” with the “perpetrator” of the indiscretion. Two days after this news I was in an airport and saw one of that firm’s billboards with the “perpetrator” featured. Under the circumstances, the message fitted beautifully with what I am trying to say here. The “perpetrator” is standing looking down at his ball in the rough (balls in the rough?) and the caption reads something like “the next move makes all the difference.” Our “perpetrator” soon found out what the consulting firm’s next move was. I wonder how it is for the firm’s clients?


  1. This thought-provoking post makes me think about being more aware of our influences on our behavior as a first step toward changing it. And how community, new environments, different practices, and positive influences can shift "destiny" or help the perpetrator "get out of the rough."

  2. Yes David - It's the multitude of influences that contribute to a "behaviour" that intrique me.