Part II of the blog series with Caleb
“Ignis aurum probat - miseries fortes viros”
“Fire tests gold - adversity tests strong men (and women, to be clear)”
When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Well, the same is true if you are a raging fire. Everything is kindling. You burn everything up in your path, and eventually run out of fuel. This couldn’t be more true in your pursuit of fitness, but also many other areas of life, as I will relate further.
If you ask me the number one attribute to success in our gym my answer is patience. Most great things worth having take time. This becomes problematic in a microwave society. Like Veruca Salt, we want it now. Unfortunately, life just don’t always work out that way.
CrossFit is hard, y’all. Snatching a barbell well takes countless hours of practice. Doing a muscle-up with mastery is a grind. This is true for so many movements that I ask you to do day after day, week after week. We do them so often because reps matter. Consistency matters. Improved human movement is simply the product of an insatiable desire to improve human movement. The key to all of this is patience.
If there is one thing I believe our culture is lacking (I am chief of sinners here), it is patience. Our expectations are all flipped upside down and inside out. If we don’t get this sorted out, we usually pick one of two options: 1, get greedy, or 2, quit. Greedy, especially in the context of CrossFit will get you hurt, I promise. Quitting is the easy way out, and looks good on mostly no one.
However, if we can flip the script, patience is the way. Patience, coupled with persistence, always wins. It does this in one of two ways. First, patience will eventually lead to success. There isn’t always a clear timeline, but success is in the future. Second, patience provides the time necessary to analyze our goals and endeavors in a way that welcomes in reality. Not every pursuit is attainable, and it’s important to know ourselves. My papaw had many great “isms”, but two in particular are relevant. When my papaw would hear me say something along the lines of, “I wish I had……”, he would always hold up his hands and chime in with, “Well, you can wish in one hand, and “spit” in the other and see which one fills up first.” Reality check! Sometimes our greatest wishes are the road to utter disappointment. Check in on that. There were also the moments he would find me tirelessly trying to accomplish a task, or solve a problem to no avail, let alone progress. He would gently say, “Caleb, quit beating a dead horse.” It wasn’t in me to finish the task or accomplish the goal. Yet again, reality check!
Sometimes we got it, and sometimes we don’t. Patience in working toward a task is the acid test. The great news about reorienting our goals is that we’ve certainly learned how to work hard toward something, and that always translates. I’m not telling you to give up on your goal, but I am asking you to take a hard look and make sure it’s achievable. I would love to snatch 300 pounds. Not gonna happen, so I work toward my very best. When we do this, we find the joy of contentment. Hard work and patience should land at contentment.
CrossFit is hard, y’all. Fortunately it’s also a microcosm of life. Life is hard, y’all. Things are thrown at you that seem insurmountable. You know what you can learn in our gym that always carries over? Hard work and patience, and it bears repeating that this should land us at contentment. When you know that you have held fast to your hard work, stood on strong character, and stayed persistent, you know that you did all you could. Hot dang, if that ain’t something. Imagine if we all did that. I bet we all might just see little more eye to eye, maybe listen better and speak kinder, and be a little more apt to lean in and help each other out.
This is the gold that the fire tests. Don’t be the fire. Be the gold. Let this be a small part of the process that results in you being a productive member of society. Fire does indeed test gold. How brilliant is your luster?