This is the second in a 3 part series on practice, training, and focus. The first part can be found here, and the series will finish up tomorrow with Korean World Judo Champion Kim Jae-Yup.
“It was an odd thing, the picture. The scene was some mountainous region… A tall spire of rock stood against the sky, with a table-like boulder balanced upon it like a hand calculator on the tip of a pen. It was a wonder that it could do so.
Perhaps five meters away from the edge of the balanced boulder was a sharp precipice, a cliff slightly higher in elevation. The ground under these rocky abutments was not within the frame, but it was at least twenty or thirty meters below, judging from the height of the leaping man.
And here was the crux of the picture. In midair, halfway between the cliff and table rock, flew a man. It was apparent from his posture that the man had jumped from the cliff toward the table rock. The camera had been of sufficient quality to stop the man’s motion, so that he hung in the sky, slightly blurred, frozen forever in midleap.
The first time Pen had seen the picture, he had stared at it, struck by half a dozen questions: who was the man? Why had he dared the deadly jump? Had he made it? If so, how would he get down? Would the rock be unbalanced by the man’s landing, toppling from the spire?
He focused on the picture almost like a mandala, drawn into it. If he knew why that man had taken it upon himself to jump from one rock to another, he was sure he could learn something of great importance. He was sure of it.” Steve Perry
In 334 BC, Alexander of Macedon crossed the Hellespont from Europe into Asia on his path towards the conquest of Persia. Legend says that there, on the shores of Asia Minor, he ordered the burning of the boats that were his army’s only avenue of retreat. Alexander lived his life around the idea of total commitment. A year later in the campaign, Alexander arrived in the city of Gordium, home of the famed Gordian Knot. Rather than struggle with the incomprehensible knot, Alexander drew his sword and cut the ball of rope in two.
Starting CrossFit should be like Alexander on the shores of Asia Minor, or the photo of the man jumping from the cliff to the table-top rock described above–full of commitment. CrossFit takes conviction. It is hard, of this there is no argument. Start with conviction. Commit yourself to it. Commit to 6 months. Promise yourself that you will do at least 6 months of CrossFit. Do not quit; no matter what the scale says, no matter if your hands hurt, no matter if you are scared or intimidated, no matter if you think you might get too big, or too small, no matter if it is hard, no matter if it is easy–don’t worry, it won’t be easy.
Train with conviction. CrossFit is your time. Be selfish. Don’t let any outside thoughts intrude on your time, CrossFit time. How often do you approach anything with the kind of courageous abandon that is described in the photo. CrossFit demands that kind of commitment.
There is a peculiar word that is very apropos for modern society. Dilettante. Originally dilettante meant an art lover or patron, but it has come to mean a dabbler. One who dabbles in many areas, but never really masters or excels at anything. In seems that the passion it takes to really master something is in short supply these days and it is just fine to dabble. Dabble, the very word just screams mediocrity.
The opposite of dabbling is Alexander’s actions described above. If you are serious about something, you need to have commitment. You need to wipe any thought or possibility of quitting from your mind. Yes, most things really worth doing, such as CrossFit or the Paleo diet, are hard. You need to burn your boats and really commitment. Promise yourself 3 or 4 months no matter what. Three or 4 months, maybe 6. You can do it. People used to work ten years on a single project or an entire lifetime on a cathedral. You can commit to 3 or 4 months. Going Paleo? Really do it, no cheating at all. Three or 4 months. Don’t worry, all that sugar and gluten and crap will still be there after 3 months. Never fear, your favorite bar will not have changed at all in 3 months.
Remember that line from Fight Club about how much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? Well, how much can you know about yourself if you can’t commit to something for 3 or 4 or 6 months. All the time I hear from overweight people about how good their diet is. It isn’t. Sorry to be so frank, but that’s just they way it is. Commit to CrossFit. Have conviction.
Even if you never set foot in a CrossFit box again( you won’t ever want to leave), train for 6 months. Train hard. Train with focus. Train with commitment. Six months. If you do, you will learn something of great importance. I am sure of it.
I know it sounds scary, but how do you think Alexander’s soldiers felt? How must the man in the photo described above have felt? Believe me, committing to something worthwhile feels good.
Please post thoughts to Comments.
10x 100m Row Sprint
Rest 1 minute between each sprint.
Clean and Jerk 185/115#