We’re Obsessed with Suffering


When the photo above appeared in the New Yorker, I couldn’t help but think of humanity through the eyes of a coach. Of course, the cartoon is a joke that pokes fun at the rising popularity in cleanses of all kinds. Furthermore, the monetary component to all this is just as much of the punch line as anything.

American’s are lining up in droves to spend hundreds of dollars to consume restrictive, sometimes arbitrary, foods (often in liquid form) as a means to cleanse their bodies. The biggest thought I had after seeing the cartoon, however, had more to do with our obsession with suffering than the cleanse phenomenon.

As a coach, I see men and women that want to be demoralized by workouts. They love the idea of “bootcamps.” The dietary version of this looks like not drinking lemonade for lemonade’s sake, but drinking only lemonade even, dare I say especially, if you hate it. Not only do we want the answer to our problems to be extreme and unenjoyable, we want it to be expensive, too.

After all, essential, basic strategies aren’t effective, right?


Logan Gelbrich