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Las Vegas Shooting Motivation

Simon Reilly | October 25, 2017 | Filed: Client Emails


Las Vegas Shooting Motivation follows my last blog post called Grieving Las Vegas.

These recent blog posts were created as a result of the profound sadness I felt for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  One of the victims, who was staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort, is a client, and although physical unharmed, was deeply affected by the events of that day. The blog posts are based on an email I sent to my client after we spoke.

Based on the reading I have done about the Las Vegas shooting, along with my 30 years of study of inspiration and motivation, and my own intense inner work, I’m going to suggest to you some possible underlying factors that can sometimes coalesce to bring about similar extreme types of acting out.

Even in families that appear to be warm, well adjusted and loving, upsets happen, fear happens, anger happens, because sometimes that is life on planet earth.  A small child will always think that anything that happens is about her, because children do not yet have a context of the world beyond themselves, and don’t have a bigger frame of reference to interpret external events.

A child, at a young age, usually ends up making up 3 or 4 core beliefs about himself, based on how he experiences life events, and these beliefs can continue to run his life from a hidden part of the mind that he is not aware of.

A child who has a parent disappear often interprets it to mean that she did something wrong, is bad or unlovable and that’s why the parent left. (The New Your Times reported that Stephen Paddock’s father was a bank robber who became incarcerated.  His family relocated and started a new life.)  When a child draws this conclusion, the belief that “I am guilty,” “I am unlovable,” or “I am wrong” is made as a result of an event which is beyond their control, this then becomes the lenses through which she experiences the world, until, in the mind of the child, it becomes an unarguable frame of reference.  

Children make such mistaken beliefs about themselves from ordinary events too, such as a mother being 10 minutes late to pick the child up from school.  It is not the event that is of key importance, but how the child interprets it.  If you grew up with siblings you will be familiar with how differently each child may see, hear and experience the same event, and the different conclusions each will draw from it about herself and the world.

The thinking can then go “I must be bad or daddy would come home.”  “I must be guilty or mommy wouldn’t be so sad and upset.”

Core beliefs such as “I’m bad,” “I’m not enough,” or “I’m unlovable” can provide the motivational drive for a person to try to prove his worth by amassing wealth or popularity.  While this can offer a superficial sense of gratification and improved well-being, deep down the beliefs continue to run the show until they are exposed and released.

According to The Associated Press and The New York Times, Stephen Paddock excelled in school and mathematics and was extremely successful in accounting and real estate investing.  He eventually became a multimillionaire.

Amassing wealth, popularity, houses, relationships can provide many interesting experiences and exciting opportunities, but when it is built as a defence against a personal belief in unworthiness or guilt, the belief will surface and re-surface to sour the feeling of satisfaction.

According to an article in The New York Times, casinos started to ban Paddock’s gambling activities, because his brilliant mathematical mind had figured out a way to only lose the amount of money that the casino had provided in the way of perks. According to The New York Times, Paddock was generous with family and friends.

It could be speculated that with Stephen he was eventually unable to gain fulfillment from money and gambling losing the key ways he kept his beliefs in unworthiness and unlovable at bay, and he simply fell into the underlying pit of self-hatred that was waiting for him.

And perhaps it grew and became more extreme as he ruminated on it, and the unfairness of life, and finally he acted it out in an extreme way in the shootings.

Some people would argue that based on the above, the events in Las Vegas, at heart, were a very loud cry for love.



About Simon Reilly

Simon Reilly Simon Reilly is a Financial Advisor Coach, Professional Speaker and Author who has provided training for financial advisors for over 20 years.

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Simon Reilly has written 2506 posts on his blog.


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