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Don’t be bigger than the moment.

Whatever craziness is going on in your life right now, no matter how big and scary, never let it take over. If you find yourself unable to take that deep breath and look up into the nothing that is surely bigger than you and your craziness . . . well then, you’ve lost right there. 

Do your best to always be able to step outside of your own head and see the moment you’re inside of. We’re never bigger than the moment. If we can grasp the bigger ‘what’ around us and be able to be ‘out of body’, not to mention realize the gravity of that (talk for another day), we’ll live in a greater space and have ultimate peace in the moment. 

Too many are failing to find peace. Failing to find happiness. What they’re missing is that the peace they’re after is in the moment they’re in. They’re leaving the moment far outside of themselves rather than being inside of it. 

Do yourself a favor and recognize the moment. It’s much bigger than you.

“What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?”

https://markmanson.net/life-purpose

In his piece, 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose, Mark Manson writes about a handful of subjects that either, like the title insinuates, help you define your life purpose or really help you understand what is meant by that phrase in the first place and how to navigate that conundrum altogether. 

My favorite chunk is actually the first “What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich and does it come with an olive?” I’d some up that section of his writing with these abbreviated excerpts (don’t take my word for it, click the above link and give it a read). 

“Everything sucks, some of the time.”

“What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually. Might as well pick one with an olive.”

He points out his own pessimism and alludes “Yeah, I get it”, but goes on to divulge his meaning. It boils down to the truth that nothing is awesome, fun, and enjoyable 100% of the time. I don’t care where your passion lays, forced to do that thing every minute of every day . . . you’ll find something about it that “sucks”. His point is that if forced to pick a shit sandwich to choke down it better at least come with a sliver, hopefully more, of enjoyment. 

In all things you decide to take on in life there has to be some weighing of cost. No mater how minuscule no one ever goes into anything without weighing the cost. It may be ultra-mega-super brief, but it’s there. In those moments we’re deciding if it’s worth what we’ll pay for it, what we’ll lose from it, or what the sacrifice will be down the line, long or short. 

I’ve done this for myself time and again sometimes without realizing. The tricky part is weighing all the costs not simply the ones that are readily available to your current state of awareness and are convenient to your cause. In short, don’t forget about the hidden costs or the costs of the costs to get really confusing. Look farther down the line at those that are hidden. 

You’ll also find that weighing costs begins to hinder your decision making on occasion. It may be one of those paralyzation by analyzation moments. Often we want to be thorough, or really just delay what we’re scared of (another talk for another day), and find ourselves stuck and complacent lacking execution. A new wrinkle is thrown in and we’re back to where we started “man, weighing my costs sure does slow me down”, but it’s all part of the process. 

In all aspects of life I have to weigh my costs and weigh how much of my cost I actually want to involve in my decision making. Self-discretion and self-awareness will be key to streamlining the process into one that just happens without needing a notepad and pen or board of trustees to bounce ideas off of. 

Discover it for yourself, but simplify. What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?

Be honest with yourself. Be aware. Harmonize and find happiness.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
— Gandhi

Such a simple idea, but so many find it difficult to execute. 

It is all too common for us to misalign something in our being that fails to satisfy our happiness. One of a handful of categories is not fulfilled or at least not fulfilled in harmony with the others. 

Imagine if someone has decided they want to pursue a family. They value partnership and passing on their lineage. They have realized they find ultimate enjoyment in life when they are surrounded by the people they love and can pass on teachings and wisdom for ages to come. They are truly happy with their family and have chosen to let that drive the rest of their life forward. 

Imagine if that same person chose they also wanted to stay out late with their friends constantly or they prioritized recreational drug use or a career field that does not allow them freedom with their family or a series of harmless hobbies that take up a large portion of their free time. Imagine if that person chose a life of family but spoke in opposite fashion. They constantly spoke about their private endeavors and how happy they are in the things they are after as a solo entity. Even further their actions part them from their family in a way that does not harmonize with the original life purpose. It can be just one of those things and can even be in a small, unsuspecting way. The point is if something takes you out of harmony there’s a good chance you will not find the happiness you originally imagined. If your awareness fails to pinpoint this misalignment you will continue to drift in that wake and wonder why your happiness always seems amiss. 

Consider the following. Let us say I have discovered what it truly takes for me to be happy. I know what direction I want my life to take because I have thought about my core values and I have a deep self understanding of what I want out of my life. I have paired that with some actionable moves like the next step in my career that I see taking me further down the path I want. I let that bleed into my speech habits by talking the talk constantly. My core values have shaped my mind which has therefore shown me my passion, I have decided on a direction to follow, and now finally I am letting it come out of mouth and materialize itself in everyone and everything I interact with. The cherry on top is that each of my actions, everything I do, in each of these steps is also in sync with my core values, vision, the path I have laid out, and the things I say. There is not a chink in the armor. My thoughts, words, and actions, the things I truly value and that make me happy, are aligned and I execute them constantly with no remorse, displeasure, regret, disdain, or resentment of any kind. 

I am happy. I have found happiness. What makes you happy?

Basics are formidable. Virtuosity trumps all.

“Significantly improve your 400 meter run, two thousand meter row, squat, dead, bench, pull-up, and dip. Now you are a more formidable being.”
– Greg Glassman

I am constantly, still, marveled at Greg Glassman’s brilliance. Obviously I’m a little biased, but far too many others agree for that to be in error. Whether his brilliance is in raw knowledge or just articulating that knowledge, regardless of its’ depth, I find myself time and time again thinking, “Of course it’s that simple. That makes perfect sense.”

As we enter the CrossFit Open and dive into five weeks of arduous tests let us not forget what we strive for. The things that make up a truly formidable being are far simpler than we let ourselves believe. Because of the nature of the most modern image of CrossFit and it’s competitive season we are enthralled with the shiny objects, fancy methods, and breadth of knowledge available and tend to complicate things. In reality, the pieces that matter most always seem to rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times putting us back in our place . . . hard. A few examples come to mind that make it quite comical to poke fun at ourselves and bring us back down to earth. 

A few years back there was a row event at the Games and as most recall there were two scoring opportunities: 1) the first 2000 meters and 2) the 21,097 meters as a whole. Obviously many athletes wanted to game plan a bit, and rightly so, for a smart pacing strategy. On the other hand, points are points at this stage. Jason Khalipa saw an opportunity to take out the 2k row hard, win it, and just plain suffer the rest of the way hoping for the best. Where as most thought there’d be two distinct winners, the one that chose to go out hard and fast and the one that chose to pace a bit more and take the longer event points, no one predicted one individual would be able to snag both. Khalipa did just that. He was an example that just as in other types of training the more powerful athlete may have a better chance to perform on both ends of the spectrum. We could imagine that a decent sprinter could force him or herself to suffer through an endurance event for a decent score, but an endurance athlete would have a noticeably difficult time mustering up the power to post a decent result in a significantly faster domain. Now, repeated efforts bring up a whole new discussion, but we’re talking about the CrossFit Games and a single event. The folks with a great ability to perform in an endurance only category were no match for a guy that could post a 1:35 split for 2000 meters and just plain suffer after that. It was pretty incredible. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Khalipa’s personal record 2k row time is pretty solid. 

A second example is the truth serum movement some hate and some love in the Pull-up. It’s funny how basic it is, but also levels the playing field so much in so many different situations. It seems logical that the folks with the greatest ability to perform sound, hollow, strict pull-ups could perform the same range of motion using a sound kip to do the same work faster or scale a wall if necessary. Those folks will probably fair well when asked to pull their bodies up to an object or surface. We can’t say the same for someone that is simply phenomenal at using momentum in a kip of some kind and takes full advantage of that technique when available, no matter how smooth the technique appears. Enter the Peg Board at the CrossFit Games. This tool showed many athletes’ glaring weaknesses and got the peg board on everyone’s training map in the following year. What they seem to forget is the importance and beauty in being able to perform a basic strict, hollow pull-up well. Imagine how different that event could have gone if those athletes simply had a better ability to show mastery in a basic function of bodyweight prowess. 

If you scan back to the top quote in which Glassman hits several elegant ideas to begin seeking the road to mastery you’ll notice each of the two examples included. It truly is amazing how if we rewired our thinking a bit to not get so distracted by things out of our control how much more formidable we could become. 

The point is this. There will be a workout with muscle-ups at some point in this year’s Open. If you are one of the folks that presents a problem for you will have two ways to approach it after the workout. During the workout you’ll either struggle and fail or maybe even get your first muscle-up ever . . . YAY! After the workout you’ll either be pissed that you sucked it up and will commit, however aimlessly it may be, to getting better at the muscle-up. The second option is to extrapolate that back to a Pull-up and begin seeking mastery in being able to control your upper body, overall develop strength, and get your bodyweight to strength ratio moving in the right direction through hard work in diet and exercise. 

Be wise in choosing which athlete you’ll be and become. It could have large scale implications in other areas as well. Master the basics. Then take a step back and do it again. 

Your character will make or break you.

Have character . . . You will be judged by it. Be it soon or be it late. Your character will make or break you.

It’s never that simple is it? In this case it is, but the ramification for the alternative is earth-shattering, though sometimes in small doses. For instance, it doesn’t quite shake your foundation to toss a crumpled napkin out of your car window driving down the street to maintain your vessel’s cleanliness standards. But it certainly could get scooped up by a bird on a fly by, eaten and failed to make it through digestion causing a small tragedy in the kingdom of the sky. On the other hand consider the carelessness of a bar-keep prejudging patrons by their appearance. He/she doesn’t give them the time of day as they seem to be a frugal type, tourists at that, that won’t be around long enough to develop a relationship and benefit from its fruits. Say a clerk gives you a false amount of change for your bill and you are sitting plus $10 because they saw a $20 dollar bill instead of the $10 bill you actually paid with. Keep it and leave or hand it back and correct the clerk?

These scenarios have an underlying secret: do you have character because you have character or because you have an end game?

This is a grave question and one that could shine serious light on the mystery of the universe and our material world of skin and bones. 

Some folks have character as in hanging a curtain over the window separating their front room of a personality with the inner and outer workings of their front yard from the world around them. Simply put, my front yard is tidy, kept, colorful, and welcoming, but my front room and corresponding house is a dark shadow of a soul that boasts quietly of dirty baseboards, dog-hair infested carpets, and an overall aura of apathy. These types may have character in their front lawn so as to garner something from those around them i.e. smiles, graces, conversations, or appearances. 

Other folks have character because they have character. They don’t want a filthy vehicle interior, but they even more don’t want a filthy world where a bird dies because of loose garbage. They greet patrons with a genuine smile because they’re new faces with tales to share that will enrich the lives of themselves and those around them. The greater good their character lives for is overwhelming valuable to them and won’t be thwarted. 

Ask yourself the hard questions. One of which: do you have character? When and why do you have it? If so, phenomenal. Now, go and make it unbreakable. If not, get some. 

Happiness trumps all.

All I want is for you to be happy. I don’t want you to get fitter. I don’t want you to get stronger. I don’t want you to PR. I don’t want you to achieve your goals. I simply want you to live a lifetime of happiness and enjoyment. Anything beyond that is secondary and is merely a byproduct. 

Of course I live and breathe all the things I just said I don’t want for you. Those things won’t mean anything if you never live another happy day in your life. Find the thing(s) that make you forget everything else around you; the thing that makes time fly by without you realizing. The thing(s) you can’t wait to do when you get off work or when your free time comes up. That’s where your happiness is. It could be an action, it could be a place, it could be time spent with a person. Regardless of what it is that’s where you should be. Don’t do the thing someone convinced you to do because it would achieve a result, especially if it makes you unhappy. Don’t put up with bullshit. 

Happiness in this world shouldn’t be hard to come by. No one should have to earn happiness. We each deserve happiness. Finding it may prove tricky, but not impossible. 

Take an honest look at the things you’re doing, places you’re in, the people you’re with and ask the honest question if they bring happiness into your life. 

“At the end of the day what do we want? We just want to be fuckin’ happy.” — Tony Blauer

I’m going to let you in on a secret . . .

As many do at year close and year open, I’ve done some simple inner reflection. The following is why I am able to sleep at night, and sleep heavy at that. 

There are much easier ways to get filthy rich than my way. This is not a money tree. I am not rich. Nor will I ever be. I do this because it’s noble work that no one else will do. Someone has to do it. It provides me a great sense of worth, accomplishment, and reward. It is a phenomenal arena for me to be proud to raise my children in and around. There is not one piece of this thing that I am ashamed of and wouldn’t want my kids or any other portion of my family to see. 

If you cannot say that about your work, hobbies, passions, and life you may want to take a second look at those things. 

Cheers y’all . . . and a happy New Year. 

MJ was right . . . it is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

“A I don’t really give a fuck what you think, B I’m going to learn from it, and C battlescars are attractive.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

Part of Gary’s message in this bit was that our reason for not executing the hustle stems from fear and even more specifically the fear of failing and even more narrowed down to the fear of failing someone. Most people attribute that fear to a loved one or a closed group of people. The fact is that we are afraid of failing because of a judgement and the perception of success. We are paralyzed by our inability to operate in light of others’ doubts or judgments and instead remain static because there’s failure in remaining same. 

His A, B, C message above is simple and tells quite the story in what barely proves to be a sentence. 

A — To some extent we have to rid ourselves of caring about the good opinions of others. What some else thinks is just that, what THEY . . . THINK! First problem there it’s somebody else and the second major problem is it’s not even reality. It’s someone else thoughts. Don’t concern yourself with other folks’ thoughts because you’ll never be able to reign those in. They are well outside of your control and will remain there for the foreseeable future. Move on. 

B — No matter how many times we succeed big or fail big there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow. We grow down or up, positive or negative. It’s up to our own ability to be self aware and execute a change to grow the way that’s best for us in that moment. No matter what learn from it. It could be a learning experience from growing the wrong way that really sets you on the right path; who knows. That’d basically be a a learning experience inside of a learning experience. Shit, too many layers. Regardless of how many good or bad decisions you make or how many successes or failures you have do yourself the favor of reflecting on those things and find a way to learn something. 

C — People can tell when you’re changing. You have palpable and telling battlescars. Of course these aren’t always physical (some are and those are fun too), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t apparent to the naked eye. 

“Excellence is obvious to everyone. It’s just that easy.” — Greg Glassman

People know, they just do. They can see your physical scars, they can feel your emotional ones, and they can sense your mental scars. Don’t try to hide them. Battlescars are attractive. And if you think your’s aren’t you’re probably trying to attract the wrong folks. 

Phenomenon

There’s an odd experience amongst fitnessers, or so it seems, to transcend seeking an all inclusive fitness and indulge a fascination in weightlifting. Maybe even more specifically the sport of weightlifting. It’s an odd happening: folks soak in so much valuable information and find it logical to forgo it all for the barbell. 

I cannot and will not judge because I’ve been guilty of the same both in the described fashion and in others. What’s disturbing is the dismay and self denial. That would be true in any realm not just the bias mentioned above. Just because Rich Froning is ripped as all hell doesn’t mean competitive CrossFit as a sport is your answer. Just because you’ve seen awesome, strong weightlifters with incredible physiques doesn’t mean it’s your path. Just because you’re in awe of the world of bodybuilding doesn’t make it the end all be all to physique training. Be scrutinous in your setting and pursuing of goals. 

Just like anyone else I’ve found myself fascinated with all that is weightlifting and I’ve indulged for a time too (I still do). What I want to drive home is the “why”. Why does one slip into the world of barbell only?

A multitude of reasons I think, including the sexiness of the realm, the awe found in so many schools of thought, and the reward of such accomplishments as lifting astounding loads. I think also included should be the reasons found in false pretense: that it is the sole answer to a problem, others have had success so why not you, it’s cool, and the results are undeniable. 

All of the above are true, but some have either less meaning or less true meaning to an individual. For example: of course weightlifting is flashy and sexy. There are certainly enough variations in schools of thought to let the mind wander in what is truth and spend a lifetime mastering such information. Yes, the accomplishments of physical feats are undeniable. And, believe it or not, some of the false pretenses can actually be found true: it could be the answer, others have had success and so could you, and shit yeah it’s cool (lifting hundreds of pounds is cool as shit and if you say it isn’t you’re a damn liar). 

The problem is the “false pretense: that it is the sole answer to a problem, others have had success so why not you, it’s cool, the results are undeniable.” It isn’t the only answer you just haven’t given something a true chance to develop. Others have had success, but that doesn’t mean for a second you will have the same or to the same degree. Other shit is cool too. Weightlifting isn’t the only parameter in which we can observe results. 

That said, I love the passion. Especially if it is from a place of honesty. Overall, operate from a place of honesty and integrity at all times. Be honest with your goals and expectations. Have integrity in your decision making. Be honest in your pursuit of satisfying the road you set out on with the understanding that you ultimately set out on it. Last but not least . . . DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

Rule #1 – Don’t be an #$%hole. Use full range of motion.

In staying up on the latest, reading blogs, discussion forums, and generally trying to methodically dig down rabbit holes of gym owners and gym goers insights you find a lot of information. One such seems to be the fascination in pointing out technique skills or flaws, injuries from such good/bad goings on, and questions about possible injuries/improvements from a similar vantage point. Rightly so too. We’d like to think technique is an important part of overall gym focus. 

I came across an online discussion today in which someone asked what possible injuries could someone sustain from performing a clean and having a result of discomfort in the middle back with a difficulty of breathing and range of motion overhead. They specified, though, that there was no traumatic experience in the moment of the lift(s). Meaning they didn’t miss and bend the wrist horribly or have crazy internal hip rotation. It was almost like a resulted soreness or something that could turn into an injury. In any case, it sounded mildly extreme given the circumstances and I could only think of one thing: how the fuck are people getting hurt doing this stuff? Does no one know how to lift? Are folks not giving themselves proper opportunities to recover? Is there just not enough practice going on? If you’ve been around the gym for any amount of time, you’ve heard us say Rule #1. It means a few different things, but basic nonetheless. 

I get it, you have to bring new athletes along and that can be a bumpy road sometimes. I also get that no one lifts perfectly especially at tip top percentages, but geez people. I’m surely no stud, have been doing this for years and years, and have sustained zero injuries from this beautiful sport. It’s far too straight forward to allow for mishaps like that. I know I’ve been personally blessed with staying healthy (I’ve torn both rotator cuffs twice, non CrossFit related and have used our program to come back from that each time) and I believe it’s due mostly to being a technician as best I can at all times. 

Find someone knowledgeable to give you the necessary instruction to progress and get to work. If that’s not a reasonable option for you no big deal, but operate logically and use all the free information out there to your advantage. There’s tons of free video instruction available to give you a proper depiction of lifts, bodyweight movements, and locomotive type modalities all the same. Have fun with everything you have available and practice practice practice. If it’s worth learning it will certainly not be an easy route. 

I love seeing people have fun, progress, and overall develop a confidence that assures themselves a bright future in what we do and the benefits that blossom from it outside the gym. Let’s make that happen.