New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Weather Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score More Sports News Crime U.S. Follow Us Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube Subscribe Follow UsNewsletter App Subscriptions Subscribe Get Our Newsletter A daily blend of the most need-to-know Daily News stories, delivered right to your inbox. Last week at a Tony Robbins a€?Unleash the Power Withina€? seminar in Dallas, the eventa€™s a€?firewalk experiencea€? a€” billed as a triumph of mind over matter-inflicted burns on some 30 participants, hospitalizing several. But of more interest to me than what went wrong in Dallas were the reactions of Robbinsa€™ disciples. We see this in the Donald Trump supporters who dismiss calls for more specifics about how Trump plans to a€?make America great again.a€? And if we can excuse hyperbole in politics, there are other realms where optimism rules even though it clearly has no place.
Typical is the current spot from the University of Texasa€™ MD Anderson Cancer Center, which bluntly vows to a€?stopa€? cancer. Such blue-sky thinking flies in the face of five-year survival stats, which, nationwide, are as low as 7% for pancreatic cancer, 17% for lung cancer, 33% for brain cancer.
We cut these advertisers slack because because wea€™re sympathetic to the cause, and ita€™s a€?understooda€? that the ads are meant poetically. Todaya€™s corporate culture, meanwhile, betrays an absurd faith in the power of the human spirit: The supposed ability of sheer enthusiasm to carry the day, thus guaranteeing a favorable outcome even in the absence of competency.
Therefore, in todaya€™s corporate America the end result you get is deemed indicative of your mettle and character.
Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of this Postitive Mental Attitude-mania: its erosion of common sense.


And if youa€™re a Robbins fan who differs, let me ask: Why confine our discussion to firewalks? Life Coach Tony Robbins, Sybil Amuti and Kwaku Amuti attend DuJour Magazine's Jason Binn and Invicta Watches in the welcoming of Tony Robbins to New York at Catch NYC on November 17, 2014 in New York City. This was unusual, for you needna€™t rely on psychic phenomena to keep you safe in a well-planned firewalk. Instead of conceding that a firewalk is a parlor trick that must be performed under controlled conditions, attendees blamed the victims, alleging they a€?lacked focusa€? or a€?shoulda€™ve done a better job of mentally preparing.a€? This echoed the reaction in some quarters to the James Ray sweat lodge disaster of 2009, when a poorly organized ceremony at his Spiritual Warrior retreat resulted in three deaths (and a negligent-homicide conviction for Ray).
One sometimes gets the sense that therea€™s no greater human asset in todaya€™s America than positivity a€” nor any greater sin than questioning it. Incidentally, Anderson treated Beau Biden for his brain lesion in 2013 and declared him free of disease. Given a choice between skills-based training and feel-good blather (often delivered by sports celebs), companies increasingly choose the blather. Given a successful outcome in any area of life, the media will strain to find the attitude that presaged it.
Though most of us are capable of more than we think, the achievement continuum is not infinitely scalable. Why not hop a jet to the Middle East, look up your nearest ISIS chapter, have them light you on fire, and will yourself to suffer no burns? A few of the gurua€™s followers even implied that the ill-conceived sweat lodge had weeded out the pretenders from the true a€?warriorsa€?: as if the dead had, in dying, certified their unworthiness.


According to a 2014 NIH-funded study, 85% of cancer advertising relies on appeals to positive emotions, with 61% of all ads touting hope as though it were integral to a good outcome. This belief system trivializes the impact on business outcomes of random events, the economy and even the aggressive counterattacks of determined competitors. Sure, ask LeBron James if he always dreamed of being MVP of the NBA playoffs and hea€™ll say yes; he may add that he always expected to be the best. This notion a€” that there are no hard-and-fast limits to what the mind can bring about on behalf of its owner a€” is sheer nonsense. The choice of materials, the laws of heat conduction and the instructions given participants should all combine to produce an uneventful ritual. Other cancer advertisers make positivity sound as if ita€™s a treatment regimen unto itself. But so did millions of other American boys who spent the past decade enviously watching King James. Hall Gets Honored at National Corporate Theatre Fund's Awards Gala 2015!Neil Patrick Harris, Michael C.



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