I can’t be certain, but I’m assuming that every Crossfitter, at one time or another, has felt humiliated during a WOD.
Maybe the jumprope gets caught in your ponytail; or you fall on your head while kicking into a handstand hold; or you drop a kettle bell on your shoulder–these are purely hypothetical…
When I see someone else drop a bar, or do something that looks like it hurts, my first thought is: “I hope he’s okay!” and not: “Boy, that looked stupid!”
It’s funny how we’re hardest on ourselves. Or maybe we can become so self-focused that we think everyone else is watching us too?
There’s a good reason our coach tells us to leave our ego at the door. It’s because at some point we will look stupid, and it’s easier to peel yourself off the floor and get back to the WOD if your ego isn’t there hindering you.
The ego is a master at finding excuses to disrupt a good workout. It will tell you your hands hurt too much, or you’re too tired, or because you’ve never actually done a particular movement correctly, you won’t be able to do it now, or you’ll look stupid when you try and fail.
Your ego knows the best lies are rooted in truth. Maybe your calluses DO need to be shaved, or you’re tired from working the night shift, or you have NEVER done a strict pull-up–but unless there are health and safety issues involved (like you are severely dehydrated from partying all night or you have a flesh-eating virus), who the hell cares?
Bringing your ego into the box will only hinder your progression. You have to be a little fearless to Crossfit. You have to be willing to expose your weaknesses before you can get stronger. If you get embarrassed by your weaknesses, you’ll never progress because your bastard ego will say, “See, I told you so! Just give up now!”
At the Battle of London, I could clearly see when ego took over an athlete. That was probably the worst thing to watch. Instead of picking themselves back up, the ego started making excuses. You could see it in their demeanor and body language. They would stare at their hands, hunch over, look down at the ground, laugh nervously, or even shake their heads. One guy had problems with double-unders, which set a tone of failure for the rest of the WOD.
I’m not trying to be hard on these athletes, because obviously, they are all skilled; but I recognized in them the same attitude that I often have.
Yes, there’s an appropriate time and place for a pause, but what if instead of staring at the bar thinking it’s a million miles away, I just jumped up to the damn thing and pulled? Even if I can’t get my chest up there, at least I would have done some work that would get me a little closer to my goal. Standing around or taking extra ‘water breaks’ doesn’t help me do pull-ups.
Yesterday I was rushing through my kettle bell push-press, my arm went wildly backwards, and I dropped the kettle bell on my shoulder.
As the kettle bell crashed to the ground, I started to feel SO stupid; and then I remembered what I had just learned at the Battle of London.
I gave my ego a quick boot through the door, and instead of rubbing my shoulder or looking around for sympathy, I picked up the kettle bell and started over, with a bit more humility and less sloppy form.
I didn’t have the fastest time, but I did the work I was supposed to.
One of my goals is to stop making excuses: to remove myself, so to speak, and just attempt the task at hand, no matter what it is. That’s the only way I can meet my goals.
With humility and hard work.
No egos allowed.