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Cahal Carvill

CAHAL CARVILL: Goals, Gratitude and Grifters

Start your day at 5am with your daily gratitude list, followed by 30 minutes of meditation, an hour gym workout, a cold shower and then a work day filled with absolutely smashing it and living your best life, sound good?

You can learn the tricks of the trade and how to achieve all this by simply paying £5,000 to attend a mentoring course which includes nuggets of wisdom such as: “attack the day”, “be the best version of yourself”, “a positive mind makes a positive life” and “if you are not first you’re last”.

The month of January is always fertile ground for such schemes and scams and Ireland sadly is no longer exempt from reaches of such grifters: the social media age creates an easily accessible audience for dubious life coaches, wellness experts and self-help gurus, a trip to any one of their websites makes for interesting reading, “X a true cleaner, never satisfied and always looking for the next level” or “this guy has got a tight game going”, or my personal favourite “X is who woo waaaaaa – OKAY” – these enlightening testimonies are actually printed on one of their websites.

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No so-called expert’s website would be complete without a list of celebrate endorsers, ranging from Serena Williams to Logan Paul, each with one thing in common, they all appear to have discovered the particular life coaches and self-help gurus long after they became extremely successful in their chosen discipline.

Such facts are beside the point for such con artists who, if you just scroll down a few paragraphs, continue the claim that if you would make a small contribution of upwards of £5,000 (and £5,000 was the lowest number I could find) to attend their events, your life will automatically be irreversibly changed for the better and you’ll have that Ferrari in your driveway, the palatial Mansion in Beverley Hills, and it’ll all come to pass if you just simply adopt a more positive mindset. Does that sound like something you would be interested in, stupid?

Try telling that to the single mother working three jobs just to feed her children or the homeless veteran suffering from PTSD, or the refugee who lands on the shore from the side of a creaking boat. More positivity is required, we all have the same 24 hours in the day, stupid!

The beauty of this unregulated game is that there is zero accountability, if the course doesn’t deliver that Ferrari you can’t ask for your money back or seek to make a claim under their professional indemnity insurance, you obviously weren’t thinking positively enough, stupid!

I thought again of all this nonsense as I read about an intercounty player’s nasal breathing exercise to slow down his heart rate by tapping his mouth shut before he goes to bed. He is quoted as saying “Before bed I do a bit of reading and stretching. I’d have a cold bath or shower and have the windows open to drop the temperature in the room to help me relax a bit easier.” (he must have picked up this tip from the air circulation devices currently being administered in our country’s classrooms).

He goes on to say “I have no screens. I would meditate to help me switch off every night and I tape my mouth, for nasal breathing to try and regulate your heart rate in pressure situations.” I think I’ll give it a pass.

The remainder of the article is basically a product endorsement for afitness tracker app which includes screen shots of the player’s recovery hard data on the week of a big game, as well as commentary from another player linked to the company. I sent the article to a high profile ex-county player who simply replied, “I’d like to see how hard he recovers after a day on the tools and three wanes in the house!”

Going forward the phenomenon of wellness and mindfulness experts, psychology in sport and the use of apps to track our every utterance will only grow, fuelled by fake social media lifestyles and guarantees of life and sporting success that will simply never materialise.

At the bare bones of it stripping back the life coaches’ catchy commentaries and simplified narratives, the GAA and being successful within the GAA isn’t about winning-at-all-costs, trying to better the next guy or listening to fake gurus whose’ success is only for the camera.

The GAA is about people, place and giving back to your community, helping out with the u-13 team when asked, selling tickets for the local raffle, painting the changing rooms for the season ahead.

You don’t need a self-help book or a £5,000 mentoring programme to understand that involving yourself in your GAA club and giving back to those that came before you gives you purpose and brings with it a sense of belonging.

Like a lot of the readers during the week I was sent a WhatsApp voice note from the new manager Roscommon’s junior football team St Barry’s.

If you haven’t heard it and don’t mind a bit of colourful language it is absolutely hilarious.

The new manager (admittedly after a few pints) sends the voice note in to the team WhatsApp up group – what follows is three minutes of utter passion and emotion, he obviously loves the club and what it stands for. Shouting and roaring and asking for one just one hour of the week; it is mighty stuff and would trump any mindfulness coach, mentoring service or catchy tag line.

In 2022, train hard, enjoy the journey and give something back to your club – it all costs nothing but will add some much to your year and if all else fails get yourself down to Roscommon for St Barry’s opening championship game, it will no doubt do your heart good. Up the Barry’s!

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