The Power of Positivity
By Andy Shaw
This is the hardest and easiest topic for me. But first, story time! When I was in the first couple years of college my house would play game cube as some decompression. I royally sucked at games. Most games. For years I played Crash Team Racing, the controls and timing were all the same, and I ended up doing very well against a very competitive roommate, to reestablish dominance we switch back to his wheelhouse games and I went back to sucking. I remember from Mario Kart and CTR that anytime you looked at an obstacle or problem in the game it came back to bite you. We actually used to tell new players, “Hey, when you get to this part in the level, don’t look at ______” they would, and they would fall prey to the obstacle and we would pull ahead.
There is a particular level in Mario Kart called rainbow road, and there is a boss level in CTR with Pinstripe that are especially brutal. They have insane curves and hairpins that destroy new players.
What does this have to do with positivity and CrossFit? Let me tell you.
“What you focus on, becomes your triumph, or your obstacle”
The point is, we told people to look at the obstacle so they would fail. This was a high school trick that worked for high-testosterone athletes that hated losing.
What makes this hard for me? I find humor in irony and sarcasm, which isn’t usually positive. I will never be negative in the gym or with my family, they mean to much to me. A shop environment, I tend to be leaning into humor to much, I’m working on it.
When we focus on something to become a thought, it turns into words, they turn into beliefs etc. etc. etc. What do we do with this info? CrossFit is hard. When we are looking at Olympic lifts, and we think, ‘Ill never get the footwork down’ or, ‘my mobility sucks.’ These thoughts will manifest in our performance. With thoughts like these, and we miss what would be a PR, we almost lean into this negativity as if, ‘well, my mobility sucks and my footwork is terrible so of course, I missed the lift’.
We cannot afford to let negative thoughts become just another obstacle to our success in something we fight and practice day after day.
Let us take a look at reframing our thoughts. Instead of taking a hard turn at “Ill never get this ___” or “I’m just not fast at ___” and making it a focus of negativity, we can make it a focus of improvement. Recognizing something that we need to work on versus something that we believe is unattainable are totally different mindsets. One is positive (what we work on) and one is negative (believing it is unattainable to us). Reframe the thoughts from what you “are doing wrong” to something to improve on. We would also do ourselves a favor to ask a coach, what is one thing I need to focus on for this session? Or just ONE THING to focus on for ONE LIFT for the length of ONE CYCLE.
For me, I focused on mobility overall. And for one full cycle, I went to the lifting days on Saturday, and I focused on JUST FOOTWORK. Not weight, just consistent footwork. I used chalk, dots and had a coach watching set after set after set. Low and behold guess what? My footwork became more consistent. Then I moved on to overhead positioning. The story obviously continues for several lifts. The key for me was to focus on ONE ITEM and recognize that it is attainable through some hard work and that with consistency you WILL get it, and this is a positive framework.
The final thing we are going to look at is taking baby steps. Some of the negativity that shows its ugly head may just be seeing too big of a window of the result we are wanting. I want to compete, but I can’t finish a mile run and can’t do a pull-up, now I am overwhelmed, think this is unattainable, and want to quit everything while taking up crochet. Baby steps. Let us take a band, and work on strict pullups for a full cycle, active shoulders, and base strength while developing a movement pattern. During workouts, after a cycle at AVID, we realize during a workout we can do 4 rounds that are prescribed with 10 pullups strict, we need the band on only the last 3 of each round instead of at every rep of every round. This is massive progress.
Now we recognize where we came from, not being able to do a strict pull-up with no assist to be able to do 7 strict for four rounds. We have made progress and recognizing our progress opens the mindset that it’s attainable. This mindset is providing room for more growth, afterall, being grateful is fertile ground for more growth. Negativity is acid rain on progress and shifts our focus to excuses, pushing us away from our ultimate goal of long-term health and fitness.
Take a look at where you’ve progressed, be grateful for it, and keep plugging away. Stay healthy and fit my friends!