Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Limiting (or Deciding) Factor

Trieste, Italy at sunset, April 2006

Weightlifting class today, no WOD. I'm having a hard time with the Olympic lifts - they're really difficult. We worked on technique for cleans today. I think I do best when I don't overthink it, or at least just focus on one thing at a time to improve.

As hard a time as I was having with the lifting today, I still felt like eventually I'll get it, eventually I'll improve. By the end of the class I was doing better, and after more classes I'll be even better, and someday I'll be good at it. I wish that work and life could be that way, with incremental, concrete improvements moving towards clear goals. What's the difference? Why can't work and life be the same?

I think it's because with fitness goals, the only real limiting (or deciding) factor is you. If you can't do it, if you don't improve, if you give up, you have only yourself to blame. On the other hand, if you don't stand in your own way, there's no reason you can't make progress toward your goals. Today in class I saw someone get very frustrated, walk away, shake it off, and come right back and get to work again. It's up to her and she knows it, and that's why she'll keep getting better.

In other areas of life, however, it's not just up to you. Other people get thrown in the mix. Circumstances get in the way. Things get complicated. I think I get myself into a lot of trouble at work, with family, with friends, because of my single-minded determination. I pursue my goals. I'm told that I should be happy with where I am now, I should be patient and wait for things to happen, I should not push so hard.

This is why I love CrossFit. No one ever tells me to stop pushing. Instead I'm told to push when I think I don't have anything left. And it's in my control; it's all up to me. It's the high point of my day because I know that in that hour, I can move forward, make at least a little progress on at least one thing.


claudia said...

Ooo. Olympic lifts! How cool.

I like the clear-cutted-ness of lifting too. Either you lift the weight, or you don't. All up to you.

Life just isn't like that.

Margaret said...

Persisting in that class was difficult today.