I may be in the minority feeling compassion for the Australian Cricketers caught up in the ball tampering incident. If nothing else, it taught me a lot about stress and how it is managed.
In the aftermath of the Francis Inquiry (yes the two are linked) I asked a senior nurse what kept him from cutting corners or downright neglecting his patients and he said his value base, and added it is that that makes him resilient. To further illustrate this he explained that there had been pressure on him to conform to poor practices but he had been able to resist because of his good nature which had always been present.
Now if you recall, the Australian Cricket Captain tearfully explained that his behaviour was out of keeping with his value base. This begs the question: why is his value base so brittle for him to ignore it and land himself and everyone connected with it in so much trouble?
No doubt we will find out more in the weeks to come, but I suspect it was the enormous stress placed on his team to perform to perfection, and if not, at least give the appearance of perfection.
Burn out and nursing and medicine are known as high risks amongst those with perfectionist tendencies, so it makes sense to suggest that this cricket team strove for this and got their fingers burnt and then burnt out.
Cricketers, I imagine, like nurses have fragile support systems and without which can consider practices that are alien to them. Or, as we witnessed in the marvellous BBC TV programme “Hospital” on BBC 2, if you aren’t prepared to let your standards slip you just leave the profession and move on, increasing the pressure on those who remain. There must be better solutions than this.
Cricketers and nurses and doctors deserve better support than they are currently accessing. This is especially so when they lack self compassion – compassion for self and compassion for others are related. If they cant access their own self compassion they deserve it from others who can provide it; from professionals and the world at large. A fascinating area and why my current studies in this area are so worth it.