(This is part 2 in this blog about shutting up and just training. I been wanting to write about the philosophy of stoicism so here was the perfect opportunity. I just had a tough workout and I wanted to whine and complain the whole time, but I didn’t. By keeping my big mouth shut and suppressing my negativity from infecting my workout partner, I would say the WOD was a success. Not just for finishing the session, but for not reverting back to my former self when I was a chronic whiner.)
Working out and training without making excuses is a huge step towards your resilience skills. Keeping your mouth shut may not seem very beneficial, but in my book, silencing negative remarks is monumental.
Most people are not only mentally weak, but they can’t shut the fuck up and stop themselves from constantly complaining. Verbalizing your list of can’t-does will disable your actions and pollute your intentions. Once this bad habit of being the constant whiner becomes ingrained in your personality, it becomes very difficult to break. Extremely problematic.
I know because it took me a long time to finally free myself of being a chronic excuse maker. But, once I was able to stop shouting out my never-ending problems with no solutions to the whole world, I began to conquer them and more importantly, I finally grew up.
I became an adult in my mid-40’s.
To this day, I still have moments where I want to grumble about unfair life is, but now I catch myself regressing. When I do, I make sure, I just bite my tongue, pull back on my negative bias and silently just move forward.
Now that I am an adult, the last thing I want to do is become a child again. As I’ve discovered the hard way, whining is akin to a baby crying. Even though one can grow up in their chronological years and learn to stop their tears from flowing in public, the never-ending complaining is still a sign that you belong in diapers. You still need help to clean up your mess as you can’t do it by yourself. You still need your mother to take care of you.
Giving excuses is like calling out for your mother. Seriously. It’s time to grow up, people.
The sickest thing about making excuses is that it is highly reinforcing for the chronic excuse maker. It validates the negative perception of oneself. In other words, if you think you can’t do something and you don’t do it, it proves that you are right.
As long as you feel good about being right, even if you fail, you’ll repeat this defeatist behavior.
This is the demented pattern of the life long whiner and why it is such a difficult compulsion to break. Those who chronically talk about what they can’t do like the comfort and consistency of always being right when it comes to vocalizing their lack of abilities.
To break this awful cycle, one has to revert to medieval methods. No, I’m not talking about wiring one’s mouth shut and clobbering the negativity out of someone with a bat, but come to think about it, that’s not such a bad idea. It would be a better world if we could fine people for every stupid complain that they make.
What has worked for me, spoiled middle school students, pamper athletes, and negative Debbie Downers is just the old fashion and no-nonsense-approach of just shutting your damn mouth and train.
This is very simple, but this request can be very difficult for all you crybabies out there.
I could have written a blog filled with feel-good platitudes like “Look for solutions and not excuses” that you might find in a fortune cookie or lame self-help manual, but that won’t work for you perpetual complainers. Some of you are so forgone over on the pessimistic cliff that positive suggestions won’t get to your thick and numb skull of yours.
You need to rid yourself of the desire to bitch the old fashion way.
Just shut the fuck up and train.
This cold turkey approach may seem insensitive, but it is highly effective. Once you get into the groove of training without uttering a word of negativity is when your mind will start to open up. But, before that happens you must see how positive action can always overcome a negative mindset. Many studies have shown this “fake it till you make it approach” works. By silencing your publicly negative opinions, it can have a strong backdraft effect to those bad thoughts going on in your mind.Stoicism is a vital skill. Sometimes we must endure great suffering without complaint to achieve great rewards.
Once you can see how your body can alter your thinking pattern, you can then begin to play around with positive self-talk and finding solutions over excuses. But, you must first put an end to the loud noise that is coming out of you whenever you move your lips. Once you do, amazing things can happen like an elevated mood, calm mind and a surge of energy. Thinking negative thoughts is bad enough, but vocalizing them seems to accentuate the damage and it’s toxic effect on your soul.
Muzzle yourself if you have to, but have the self-discipline to refrain from talking your way out of a challenge.This is why the physical training is so crucial to your toughness development. With every CrossFit WOD that you’ll face and you’ll know you will struggle with, your mind will automatically want to bitch and complain. When this desire arises, you must find it in you and to silence the former complainer in you.
This is the daily test that you must overcome.
Once you can triumph over your temptation to bitch about the training, you must apply the same constrain to your personal life. That means, no matter how bad your job is, how shitty your marriage is and how broke you are, shut your yack, grit your teeth and just deal with it. Again, doing this will help you overcome your problems by preventing the negative tsunami out of your mouth that wants to hinder and disable you from action.
So end the excuses today in all areas of your life. Make silence in the face of adversity your new habit. As you progress, many of the times you will come up with solutions to how to finish the brutal WOD or overcome difficult obstacles. But, other times you mind will draw a blank. When that happen, do not regress and revert back to the sour puss look and moaning when you don’t have an immediate strategy to get you out of your hole. Instead, fill your mind with thoughts of keep going and never giving up. Forcing yourself to move forward is the only thought you should have when you have no concrete answer to your problem. This dominant mantra will always propel you go on no matter how tired you are or how hopeless the situation is.
Shut up and just keep going.
Grow up like I did and take the responsibility for the direction in your life. Once you do, it will be one the biggest steps you take for not only getting mentally tougher, but finally being an adult.
Now shut the fuck up and go train.
Today’s strength training WOD
5 sets of three reps
Dumbbell bench press
Toes to bar (As many reps as you can do per set)
You probably noticed that I dropped the reps to 3 for today’s strength WOD. That means, I want you to progressively add more weight with each per set, even if it’s only 5 more pounds. I want you to try to establish today is you PR max with 3 reps for the compound movements today.
The psychological focus today is how to regain your aggression during a WOD after you lost it. Getting into a state of an aggressive mind set for the beginning of a WOD is pretty straightforward. You do your mental warm-ups and when the WOD begins, you mind is fuming with aggressive thoughts. Simple enough. The problem arises is when the WOD begins to overpower you and fatigue starts to set in. When this happens, you become less aggressive with your thoughts and actions and doubts of your ability to finish the WOD begins to dominate your mind-set. When this happens, you are prone to quitting.
Most newcomers to this high intensity training make the wrong assumption that just because they psyche themselves to become relentless during their preparation time, they will automatically be aggressive throughout the battle. You can never assume that you will be in attack mode. The skill that you are honing in on today is this ability to summons in on your aggressiveness at your will.
The goal of the preparation process is not to elicit aggressive thoughts and behaviors throughout the challenge, but to make it immediately accessible when called up. One of the best way to do this is by constantly referring back to your needs and reasons to become mentally tougher. Unlike the metabolic conditioning WODs, with strength training workouts, you have a distinct resting period in between sets. Some of you will take this resting period too literally and by doing so, you will dissipate a lot of your aggressiveness out of you. This could be especially a problem if you start a conversation with somebody, begin texting or just day dreaming. So stay focus on your task which is – you have to lift some fucken heavy shit really soon.
Instead of zoning out, you should use the time to focus on the lift, especially when the weights start to pile on. Your thoughts should be coaching cues to help you make the lift with correct form mixed in with the occasional reference back to why you need mental toughness in your life. Learn to visualize yourself making the lifts and how the successful lift will get you closer to ending a life of being mentally and physically weak. By tying in the successful lift with mental toughness growth, you just created a greater sense of urgency by putting more meaning in the lift if you make it than just your average last set. By taking risk and putting yourself on the line with the outcome of the heavy lift, you have a lot to lose, but so much more to gain when you make it. This is the attitude that I want you all to seek after.
This is the sort of aggressiveness that is rarely seen in the average, but common for those who aren’t afraid of trying. With the effort comes the toughness.
You will strain today, but you will not be stopped.
Now go pile up some weights and experience it for yourself.
Scaled back versions of today’s WOD –
1. Omit the toes to bar.
2. You can replace the back squats with good mornings.
3. Do only three sets per movement.
Acceptable alternatives –
- You can use a barbell for the bench press if you wish. And for the presses, you can use either dumbbells or a barbell. Just don’t use a shoulder press machine.