“But what if it’s not as good as what the other kids do?”
My youngest son is talking about his science project. His eyes are big and he looks scared. And I suddenly realize this is the same way so many adults feel, in so many arenas, including CrossFit: Like kids in school. Might not be a science project they’re worried about—but it’s a clean, or a snatch, or a presentation or a report. It’s why they don’t try CrossFit or why they stay in a job they hate. What they don’t realize is that so many people feel the same way, not just 6th grade kids: They’re afraid they won’t measure up.
Now, some of us were born with buckets of confidence, or handed them at an early age. We have this mindset that we can do anything, and, even if we fail, we bounce right up: “Hey, what can I do better? How can I get that pull-up? What can I do to make that clean?” Every day is a glorious series of tests and the sun is shining no matter what the weather is. We are lucky: we like to be tested.
But even if you’re one of those people who hates tests (especially if you’re one of those people who hates tests!) fitness holds such joy. See, here’s one of the things I love about CrossFit and powerlifting and Olympic lifting: the more tests you take in the gym, the more the whole thing begins to feel less like a science project and more like recess. It becomes less peril and more play.
(“Yeah, f*** you handstands! Take that!”) With every skill learned and every challenge faced, your confidence in tackling other obstacles grows — in your physical life, in your mental life, in your emotional life.
Back at the volcano science project, I say the same thing to my son that I’ve said to thousands of athletes: “Just do your best. Don’t worry about the others. It’ll be okay.”
And it will be.