Remember when you first started CrossFit? Every time you picked up a barbell you got stronger. Every time you did a benchmark WOD you got faster, and as the months went on, you might have even started "winning" the workout occasionally.
This is awesome. And it's SOOOOO much fun.
Unfortunately, it can lead us into something that is NOT fun. It can lead us into a place where we're only happy with a P.R....Only satisfied with a win...Only content with more weight on the bar...etc.
Here is the cold, hard, truth. Whether you have a 15:00 Fran, or a 1:59 Fran...whether you are last place on the whiteboard, or first place at the games...whether you use a PVC pipe to do overhead squats, or you can overhead squat a mini-van...You will never be happy if you are basing your happiness on the numbers you see on the whiteboard.
You will always want more weight, faster times, and a higher placing.
Unfortunately, the end of your physical ability is coming whether you'd like to admit it or not. We'll all need help doing simple daily tasks like walking up stairs, bathing, or using the restroom someday.
So what is left for us to do? I think the only way we can ultimately be happy with what goes on inside a CrossFit box is to be grateful for the physical abilities we've been given, and to enjoy the work itself.
We need to get to a place where we appreciate the struggle. A place where we enjoy the striving. A place where we love CrossFit BECAUSE it's hard...Not because we can win, or because we can put a feather in our cap when we hit a PR.
Here are a few quotes I'm pondering from people who are a lot smarter than me...
"We're doing all the right things, for all the right people, for all the right reasons. And it's a load of fun.” -Coach Greg Glassman
What if CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman would have had a different mindset? The quote above might have looked something like this instead...
"We're designing workouts that people will pay money for...marketing it to people with disposable income...with plans to sell the company for a few million dollars someday."
I doubt Greg's company would have gone very far with this attitude, and even if it did, I doubt he would have been having a "load of fun."
Instead Greg stuck to his personal convictions. He chose to do what was right to improve the fitness of his clients over flashy, more marketable fads.
He chose to enjoy his work, and the result is a company that Greg doesn't want to sell for any amount of money.
"I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way. -Mark Manson
In this excerpt from Mark Manson's article "The Most Important Question Of Your Life," Mark sums up what we're talking about here beautifully. We have to learn to love the fight, 'cause there won't always be a victory.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills..." -John F. Kennedy
What purpose did we have in going to the moon? It's not like it's made of gold or something. It wasn't inhabitable. There was no cash prize for being first...etc.
JFK chose to go to the moon BECAUSE it would be hard. He knew that the work itself would be good for us.
We did of course achieve this goal as a nation, but the point wasn't to land on the moon, the point was to do the work.
"Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had doneand what I had toiled to achieve,everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun...
...A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil." -Ecclesiastes
Again. We see here that the achievements we work for do not satisfy. A 10 min. Fran may turn into a goal of a sub 5 min. Fran, and then sub 3 min...and then a spot at regionals...and then a spot on the podium...and then to win the games more times than Rich Froning...etc...etc. This is a "chasing after the wind." Later in the chapter the author only finds satisfaction in the work & the gifts that have been given to him by God...NOT in the achievements of his efforts.
"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontine Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry..." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Being a street sweeper who loves his work may not sound very glamorous, but it's much more enjoyable than basing your happiness on the traditional view of success.
It's not in the cards for all of us to be on top of the podium at the games. We can't always win. We can't always P.R.
We can however always strive. Always do our best. Always pour ourselves into the task at hand, and always find satisfaction in hard work.
I hope you'll set all sorts of PR's and find some spots near the top of the white-board from time to time. I hope you get stronger and more fit, and I hope you'll hang on to that fitness as long as you possibly can throughout your life. But more than all of that, I hope you'll love your work more than your achievements.
If we don't love the work, we'll eventually grow tired and frustrated with "chasing after the wind."
Have a WONDERFULLY hard day!
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