I know there are tons of positive-thought books and websites and social media pages. People will tell you that if you thinkgreat thoughts, then great things will happen. It’s this idea that by thinking positive thoughts, you put energy into the world that will be returned to you.
That’s only partly true.
See, there’s this other part called action — and that’s where the shit goes down. You can think good thoughts all the time, but if you don’t get off your ass and put some mojo behind your flow, then you’re not going to be any better tomorrow than you are today.
You really can’t think yourself richer or stronger or thinner or happier or more successful.And you absolutely can’t use mental power to make the Swedish Bikini Team appear in your living room. (Not that I’ve tried that. I mean, more than twice.)
Thoughts are important, definitely. Hugely important. Overwhelmingly influential in your day and your life. You must get your mind right.
But then you absolutely must put your butt in gear too.
No one is going to knock on your front door and bring you the job you want, the partner you want, the body you want, or sunshine in a box. The only thing that will be delivered to your front door is what you have bought and paid for—whether by money or effort or love. Give Amazon your money and they’ll ship you anything you desire. Give your focus and effort to running or your back squat and guess what happens? Your running or back squat improves. Give people your energy and love and they will show up for you when you need the same back from them. (Well, most of them. Some folks are losers, but they’re lessons too. Be grateful for the clouds so that you can appreciate the light.)
Remember that you absolutely must get your ass in gear too. Nothing happens by magic.
What you take on. You decide this every day of your life. Every day. Whether you want to admit it or not.
You listen, you accept, you internalize. Good and bad, but all consuming of your time in some way. Your time.
You only get so much time, you know.
And the time you give away to junk? To nothingness, to annoyances, to flipping out on something that doesn’t matter that much, that will never matter that much, but which satisfies your ever-reaching, ever-bleeding, energy-sucking, relentless egoistic need to prance and pout and revel in your own beauty as a special snowflake?
That time includes a lot of bullshit you should leave be.
Put down the mental junk and walk away.
There’s a brighter path around the corner. Drop the burdens you don’t need, and sprint towards it. Stop taking on, and watch yourself take off.
CrossFit alone is infinitely harder than CrossFit with other people. It’s a solitary suckfest. Sometimes I think it should be on a mental health checklist. (“Do you CrossFit alone? Are you on any medications?”)
Yet CrossFit alone can be easier because there’s nobody to chase or be chased by.Sometimes CrossFit alone is more satisfying. Sometimes not. The only thing for certain is that CrossFit alone is nowhere near as much fun as CrossFit with others.
CrossFit alone is miserable. And wonderful. And stupid. And smart. And sometimes necessary. And all these same things could be said about hitting a CrossFit workout with others.
But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter that much where or when you CrossFit, or with whom or without. It only matters that you CrossFit. Everything else is just a note in your training log.
Let others bray on about how you should or should not do something, including how you do CrossFit. Let them talk about what works for them and what they think is best. You don’t have to argue or prove anything. Just keep at your daily aesthetic. You never needed others to understand anyhow. You only thought you did.
And all these stupid-ass, whiny, weepy, “I got a booboo” posts from more crybabies looking to draw attention to themselves and their unhappy lives? Stop reading them. Stop linking them. Stop getting outraged about outrage. Concentrate on the task in front of you, take care of yourself, and do good for others. Achievement doesn’t come from distraction. Focus.
Put in the work. Feed your body, your brain, your soul. This is how you live your life.
When I was a Catholic school kid, I spent a lot of time going to Mass. While it wasn’t always my favorite place, I loved two things about Mass: the Handshake of Peace and the closing phrase "Go forth to love and serve the Lord."
Now, I’m not a religious person by any means. I fell away from the Catholic Church, spent some years visiting the Methodists (who had this phenomenal part to their service—”The Sharing of Joys and Concerns”—but that’s best saved for another column), and finally ended up pretty satisfied with the Dalai Lama’s statement: "My religion is kindness."
Over the years, the closing phrase to Mass has morphed in my mind from “Go forth to love and serve the Lord” into "Go forth to love and serve the world." I like that better. I don’t really think I’m here to serve some religious deity, but I am pretty sure I’m here to love and serve my fellow man.
Now, when you think about it, in CrossFit classes all over the world we sort of have both these elements, but not in a religious way. Have you ever stood in a warmup circle and been introduced to new folks? What did you do? You probably turned and shook their hands. Welcomed them to the class and the affiliate. It’s not that different from the Handshake of Peace, when you think about it.
And, at the end of class, you all go your separate ways, but hopefully you’re serving more than just yourself. When I was coaching, I would often end my classes with “Go forth and do good things.” Now, I kind of like "Go forth and be badass." You get to figure out what that means. Sometimes it’s badass to be strong and sometimes it’s badass to be kind, or vulnerable, or funny enough to put a smile back on someone’s face. Only you can figure out your brand of badass. And hopefully you’ll also figure out that you can be badass without being an ass. (Some folks are still butting their heads against this wall.) But somehow I’m confident that, for most of you, being a badass will translate into good things for you and this world.
“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world.” — Joseph Campbell