Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dancing around the facts?

Received the following email early this morning:


"We are excited to announce that Tony Robbins will make a guest appearance tonight on the ABC hit show Dancing with the Stars. Tony will be discussing what it takes to be a winner during the show's Will to Win segment.

"Dancing with the Stars, one of the highest-rated shows on television, is a unique series that pairs up celebrities with professional ballroom dance partners in an intense LIVE competition...."
What I find interesting about this is—once again—we have the implication that will is what wins. Not (primarily) natural aptitude, discipline, finely honed skills, etc. Will. A particular reason why I find it interesting here is that this season's installment of Dancing featured as one of its competitors boxer Floyd Mayweather—and competitor is the right word for Mayweather, who clearly, if you know anything at all about the guy, has as much "will to win" as anyone, anywhere. In the early episodes of the show, Mayweather displayed a competitive fire and a streak of unbridled perfectionism that appeared to have him taking things much more seriously than what one sees, typically, with other celebrity dancers on the show.

Then bam, he got KO'd.

Mayweather is in many ways the perfect object lesson for this blog, and in this area ("the will to win") above all. What ended Floyd Mayweather's stint on Dancing was not his lack of any will to win. It was his lack of dancing talent. In boxing, where Mayweather's skills are superb (not a few ring aficionados consider him the best pound-for-pound boxer of our time), his will to win carries the day. But in dancing—where no such level of skill exists*—his will to win couldn't get him past the middle rounds.

Funny how that works, huh?

Nonetheless, I will tune in, along with 21 million other Americans, to hear what Tony has to say.

* at least as adjudged by America, which, while we're on the subject, adds another whole dimension to the "will to win" debate. No matter how much "will" you haveor even how much talentsometimes you're going to fall victim to factors utterly beyond your control, like American voting habits, the preferences and prejudices of the people who have power over your future, etc.


acd said...

"But in dancing—where no such level of skill exists—his will to win couldn't get him past the middle rounds."

Such logic does not work with people who exalt attitude above all else. They would simply say that Mayweather was intimidated (perhaps imperceptibly so) since dancing is not his area of expertise, so he felt less confident, and that killed his chances of winning. They have an explanation for everything, which should automatically discredit them. Somehow it doesn't make sense to trust anyone who claims to have all the definitive answers regarding the intricate workings of life and the universe. Sounds a little self-aggrandizing, at the very least.

Steve Salerno said...

Well, remember, acd, in theory, one's "will to win" should be a constant...and if the will is indeed "the way," then that is the building block on which all skill and achievement is based. In this conception of human excellence, in which the will is what's ever-present before the skill or the hard work, it shouldn't really matter that someone like Floyd Mayweather has no preexisting skills at dancing; the same will that made him a nonpareil boxer should make him a winning dancer.

But you actually went a step beyond that analysis in your comment, and you nailed the overriding point, which is that--confronted with such a turn of events--the SHAMster would simply fall back on an alternate explanation, probably the very one you provided. They would say that intimidation eroded his will to win, in this setting. And that is the aspect of SHAM that most rankles me, and also the area in which the realm is so much like religion: There's a convenient answer for everything, and the answers don't even have to add up or make sense according to any logical scheme we know, accept and apply in every other area of life!

Steve Salerno said...

Btw, I did indeed tune in, and I heard what Tony had to say (along with the surreally weird Michael Beckwith, who--I am quite serious, now--looks like an alien being; do an image search and tell me if you don't agree). And once again, I come away amazed that this guy has built a $100-million* annual motivational empire on the strength of the type of vague, one-size-fits-all pabulum that burbled so easily from his lips last night. How does he get away with it?

* The figure I had in SHAM was $80 million, but that was based on mid-90s numbers.

Cal said...

So Beckwith looks like Michael Jackson?...LOL

Cosmic Connie said...

No, Cal, according to one of Steve's blog posts from about a year ago, Beckwith looks like "Zormak from the Planet Wasoobi-6." I love that assessment and have quoted him (Steve, not Zormak) on several occasions.


It *is* amazing how anyone -- not just TR -- can build a huge empire on offering recycled crap. But maybe it's all in the showmanship, and people do, after all, love to be entertained. It's expensive entertainment, compared to a movie or music CD or something free on TV, but the delusion of self-improvement adds that perceived value.

Steve Salerno said...

Not just recycled crap, Connie, but stuff that frustrates me in my endeavors to come up with putdowns that are sufficiently vile and belittling to capture the essence of what they're really selling.

Speaking of which... I assume by now we've all seen Super Joe's latest justification/explication of the LOA? ("It's just like gravity...")

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve wrote: "I assume by now we've all seen Super Joe's latest justification/explication of the LOA? ('It's just like gravity...')"

Yes, and even that is recycled. He's used the LOA/Law of Gravity comparison numerous times on his blog before. The irascible Skeptico even blasted him for it -- both on Skep's own blog and on Joe's -- to no avail.

And speaking of "recycled," Joe had already released a self-published DVD called "The Missing Secret" a few months ago. This one also purported to reveal all of the stuff "The Secret" left out. Presumably this NEW "Missing Secret," published by Nightingale-Conant and costing about three times as much, has all of the stuff that was missing from the original "Missing Secret." It even, according to Joe, contains "The ultimate shortcut to attracting whatever you want. Truth be told, this one secret alone will negate the need for all the rest of the information in the program - IF you can fully understand and utilize it. But just learning about it will increase your attraction power tenfold."

And I'm sure there are more "missing Secrets" somewhere in Joe's computer or his head, just waiting to be "revealed" to a hungry world.