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Mimetic Behaviour

Hi there and welcome to this week’s Motivate Me.

I can almost hear the gears in your mind turning and asking, “Ok, what do penguins have to do with weight loss.” Absolutely nothing if truth be told but penguins are a classic case study in mimetic behaviour and that has everything to do with weight loss and life in general.

Stay with me and read on……

The mimetic theory of desire is an explanation of human behaviour and culture which originated with the French historian and polymath René Girard. … “Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires.” Source – Wikipedia.

Back in the middle-ages when stoning was a regular occurrence, casting the first stone was always the most difficult one to throw.


The first stone is the only stone without a mimetic model. The thrower of the first stone gives the others a dangerous precedent to follow. Once the first stone is thrown, the second stone becomes easier to throw.

The first stone thrower shows the way. The second reinforces the desire. Now the third person in the crowd is hit with the mimetic force of two mimetic models.

And so on.

Back to our penguins. I’ve watched countless nature documentaries on penguins over the years and am always fascinated by the penguin that is the brave one, the first penguin that takes that dive while the narrator warns us of the risks of killer whales. The penguin has to make that dive so as to seek out food for its baby chick.

Once the first penguin dives, the next one, then another and then the rest follow.

This first penguin drama is played out all across the animal kingdom – think of the countless herds crossing the rivers in Africa.

The first penguin and casting the first stone are one and the same. The first penguin starts the mimetic cycle.

I’m telling you this today for two reasons:

  1. Mimetic behaviour is simply fascinating and by telling you, I hope you now know something relevant and useful that you didn’t 5 minutes ago.
  2. We’ve been working with clients for over 25 years and in that time, I’ve seen the positive effect of mimetic desire:
  • Sometimes, it’s one person in a wider friend group that joins and as they show the visible benefits of our programme, another friend signs up and it moves on from there.
  • Other times, it’s the husband or the wife that signs up first.
  • This also works in business. Over in the West, a CEO of a company signed up, then his family and work colleagues all followed.
  • More recently, a teenage boy in one of our clinics was the catalyst in his family – both parents signed up.

The relevance of all this to your place or time or journey is that casting your first stone (signing up) soon turns in to losing your first stone. Fact is, that on our Accelerator plan, clients can lose a stone in 4-6 weeks.

If you’ve cast your first stone, then you are on the way to successful weight loss. Use the Motivation tools at your disposal and make sure to keep your appointments with you consultant.


Last week’s Motivate Me –  For Want Of A Nail The Shoe Was Lost……


Until next Friday, have a great weekend and keep up the good work.

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