Elite Teams: A look at the drive for conspicuous consumption

Editor’s Note — All images are taken from the MindBlitz SlideShow. Neuroscientists say that perfectionism can promote focus, self-motivation and investment in a process. That focus could also improve outcomes and credibility among business…

Elite Teams: A look at the drive for conspicuous consumption

Editor’s Note — All images are taken from the MindBlitz SlideShow.

Neuroscientists say that perfectionism can promote focus, self-motivation and investment in a process. That focus could also improve outcomes and credibility among business leaders, say professors who study perfectionism.

If that’s true, then the flaw inherent in a form of perfectionism that finds itself at the core of Elite Teams, a novel looking at how coaches maintain their authority and success while facing growing demands for individuality, priorities and, most notably, affluence, becomes much more apparent.

In his June 2010 book “Perfect: The Pursuit of Excellence,” motivational guru Tony Robbins has equated extreme perfectionism with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The book arrived two years after first proposing a documentary.

Consider the tactics at the heart of extreme self-improvement, a decade and a half ago.

Two years after “Perfect” was published, starting pitcher Roger Clemens fought steroid accusations, a steroid-tainted world had erupted. Over the course of one year, the athletes were suspended from sport, stripped of endorsements and arrested.

“The most debilitating notion we have is the myth of self-improvement,” said Sam Swartz, a psychology professor at Montana State University who studied perfectionism as a precursor to the movie. “People get up in the morning expecting to be a better person. They see themselves as failing to live up to their potential.”

Swartz and a colleague dubbed perfectionism “unchecked tension” in their report. “In order to dampen the dread in our subconscious about failure or the fear of failure, people become so consumed with fear that they really simplify our lives by obliterating anything new or innovative.”

Today, perfectionism is much more popular, if not carried out to the same extremes that imbued college coaches with the fear of failure.

Meanwhile, Generation Me, a nickname for 18-to-34-year-olds, has exponentially increased demands for independence and decision-making ability without any mention of death or destruction.

That’s why Elite Teams adds to a genre of movies that focus on stressed-out marketers who seek constant reassurance, such as the hard-driving Carl Lewis in “The Blind Side.”

Meantime, education “can warp the psyche,” said Kosta B. Kaladze, chief marketing officer of Urban Adventures.

Elite Teams, in fact, tells the story of Brandon Schoonover, who has led the elite Academy of Sport Management for six years.

Schoonover earns less than $1 million and manages more than 100 athletes, according to Swartz. He has a well-established practice with clients including Olympic athletes, NFL and NBA players and Olympic softball coaches.

But so many of his clients share one goal: to get the richest, most famous people to ride on their stationary bicycles or strap on their push-ups.

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