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Can A Sociopath Become A Great Athlete?

Can A Sociopath Become A Great Athlete?

Becoming a great athlete takes a lot of practice, patience, and physical skill. That means it’s not for everybody, even if everybody wants to play professional sports. However, people with a natural talent for sports may find that certain mental states affect their abilities on the court. So, can someone with a serious mental illness become a sports superstar? As it turns out, yes.

In fact, some of today’s best pro athletes suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and even sociopathy. But can a sociopath really reach the pinnacle of sports stardom when working as a team is the most important part? The answer may surprise you.

What is sociopathy?

Sociopathy is a chronic mental health disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Some experts even believe that as many as 1 in every 100 people is a sociopath. Mostly, that’s because sociopathy involves disregarding the feelings of others. And since mainstream society is often cold and calculating, it stands to reason that the experts are right.

Either way, this disorder can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life and career. Symptoms generally consist of compulsive lying, law breaking, risky behavior, and an overall disregard for one’s own safety or success. Furthermore, the condition is often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, making it difficult to train or gain marketable skills.

FACT: The symptoms of sociopathy can lessen with age or begin to subside after therapy and medication.

3 ways sociopathy can boost athletic behavior

Many people believe that the existence of a mental illness is an automatic disqualification from their dream job, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, some of the symptoms of sociopathy may be beneficial in professional sports. Athletes with certain mental conditions may play better or deal with in-game pressures in more productive ways. And when used a part of a team, sociopathic behaviors can go a long way towards a win.

Here are three prime examples of that:

#1. They lack empathy, which counts for opponents too.

We all want to be fierce competitors on the field, court, diamond, or green, but that’s not always possible when our feelings get in the way. Some athletes may even start to play differently because of their subconscious views about the other players. But people with sociopathy don’t care about how others feel. They’ll happily beat their opponents without feeling sorry for them one bit.

#2. They’re professional manipulators, especially in competition.

Nothing wins a game faster than getting inside your opponent’s head. Plus, all is fair in love and war as long as the basic rules are always followed. Thus, sociopathic people make great teammates because they’re both willing and able to manipulate the moods and perceptions during a game. In some cases, they can even rally their teammates to help boost morale.

#3. They often seem hostile, which can be intimidating.

Pit your favorite sociopath against a formidable foe and it’s an interesting battle to say the least. The person with sociopathy will most likely appear aggressive and unsympathetic, which could scare the other player or force them to act differently during the game. Thus, harnessed ASPD can be a major asset during tough competitions and important tournaments.

This proves that having a mental illness doesn’t make or break your athletic career. It also demonstrates the value of having a diverse team with variable skills. So, can a sociopath become a successful athlete? The answer is yes – most definitely.

Related: 5 Things Athletes Wish Their Fans Understood

How to help someone with sociopathy get into sports

If you or someone you love experiences the symptoms of sociopathy, there’s a strategy for getting into sports. First, consult with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to participate. Get an updated diagnosis if you can, and then share that information with your coaches and teammates.

Next, work with a mental health professional to ensure you know the proper coping mechanisms for your condition. Using your mentality to excel in sports is great but forgetting how it affects other parts of your life is irresponsible. So, seek treatment if you can and take any medications your therapist prescribes.

The takeaway

Sociopathy is a relatively common mental health disorder that has remained misunderstood for far too long. Years ago, it was assumed that someone who has this condition cannot maintain a successful relationship or career. Now, we know that many people with sociopathy can become sports stars with enough practice. So, talk to your doctor and then get out and play like you mean it.

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