David Brooks, of the New York Times, wrote a thought-provoking piece today on Alex Rodriguez and the dangers of self-preoccupation. It is about much more than baseball, steroids, or cheating and deserves a look.
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photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc
So, especially in the first few months, I had a self-preoccupied question on my mind: How am I doing? There was no noncrazy-making answer to that question. I was always looking for some ultimate validation, which, of course, can never come. But, after a little while, I settled into a routine and my focus shifted from my own performance to the actual subjects I was writing about. This shift from performance to subject may not have made the columns any better, but it sure did improve my psychic equilibrium.
That period was a lesson in the perils of self-preoccupation.
I think of this because of the news on Monday about Alex Rodriguez’s suspension from baseball through the 2014 season. Judging from the outside, the rest of us are pikers of self-preoccupation next to A-Rod.
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One of the mysteries around Rodriguez is why the most supremely talented baseball player on the planet would risk his career to allegedly take performance-enhancing drugs?
My theory would be that self-preoccupied people have trouble seeing that their natural abilities come from outside themselves and can only be developed when directed toward something else outside themselves. Enclosed in self, they come to believe that their talents come from self, are the self.
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