Don’t Stand to Close to Elephants
Some Perspectives from competition and this year’s Open
Often our initial reactions to events and situations are incorrect or perhaps more accurately they are incomplete. This is known as standing to close to the elephant. The analogy being that if we stand to close to the elephant, we can’t see the entire elephant. As we step back the full animal comes into frame and we can now see the entire picture.
As this years open comes to a close and we start to step back and allow the full competition to come into frame its valuable to walk away from this competition with lessons and perspective that will help shape us to be better moving forward.
Here’s some perspective I’ve gained from this years open about myself and perhaps this can help you to.
- MMMM Humble Pie.
This is something we all experience and it usually comes about pretty apparently the very first week. We love training and seeing ourselves become better versions of ourselves and as the start of the competition approaches, we are full of excitement and expectation.
When you ask people prior, do they feel fitter than last year, unequivocally without hesitation people respond with a resounding YES. However, immediately following the first workout moments after we’ve had our face smashed in (almost literally this year) we are flooded with disappointment and suddenly something that held so much promise to us initially is now the shining example of all our failures and short comings. What a fall from grace!
It’s easy to feel like a failure, especially when 500,000 people are performing the same workout and 1 rep, 1 sec or 1kg can literally be dozens, hundreds or possibly thousands of spots. Its very harsh and extremely confronting to see such extremes.
We learn through competition. It’s a teaching tool, one that reveals our true character. It gets heated and emotional and its perfectly acceptable to do things with passion, but we must reflect afterwards and pull from the experience lessons that will help us evolve and shape the path we walk on as we move forward.
Remember, this is a LEARNING experience, NOT a grading experience. No single workout can validate or disqualify your fitness!
There are moments you’ll be proud of and you should revisit those and there’s moments you’re not proud of and they should also be revisited. Regardless of your result there’s opportunity to grow, so take the time to reflect and lean from this event.
- Success Leaves Clues
The best in the world, don’t become the best in the world then start acting like the best in the world, they act like that and practice all the habits the best in the world posses long before they are ever the best.
Excellence is a habit. Its something we practice and must consciously develop. Those that are the best have immense capacity and physical traits but they also move with exact precision. Rarely is anything at the highest level an accident. Some can explain it better then others but its nothing less then a deliberate act.
Movement quality and economy are your greatest allies. Some of the lowest hanging fruit is simply in the quality and precision of our movements. When you watch the elite perform this sport there is insane accuracy in all their movements. They just simply wouldn’t hold up if there wasn’t.
We are what we repeatedly do. There are commonalities amongst the best that we can learn from.
Firstly, they have great ranges of motion and full access to all their positions. They don’t have tight ankles or hips or shoulders. If your missing range it’s the easiest way to improve performance immediately.
Next is how they perform the movements. Even a simple burpee, they don’t just flop to the floor in an overextended position and then snake up landing with their feet splayed wide. They hinge and sprawl back in a tight body position, they then press up as a single unit and pull feet underneath them. You could pick any movement and examine the commonalities they all have. I chose the burpee because it’s something people take as simple and with no skill. Simple doesn’t mean no skill. I’ve also never seen an elite athlete thrash their head side to side like they’ve just been tazered on the bike or try and head but their knee caps in the catch position on a rower.
Stop telling yourself you’re just working hard and that’s why everything looks like a full body dry heave set to music. The best move better then you and they don’t ever break down.
Again, do they do this because there the best or did they practice this long before they become the best?
Hold yourself accountable to a higher standard.
3. A Bigger Picture.
I believe in order to lead you must lead from the front and be the example. I never ask people to do something I don’t do myself. I believe that perhaps the biggest lesson to learn from competition is seeing something through to its end. Its so easy to perform poorly or to be intimidated by a workout and to immediately make excuses to try and protect ourselves. But there’s an obligation to your future self to see it through till the end. Not to quit or say you don’t care or any other excuse, but rather to give it everything no matter the outcome and to follow through and finish what you started.
We are what we repeatedly do!
As someone who looks to be a leader and to one day also influence little Me’s it’s important that the character traits that I demonstrate are always in the direction of something I’m proud of and would want emulated. Seeing something through till the end is a powerful lesson, ESPECIALLY when its in the face of failure.
If you take nothing else away from this competition be it this. If you give everything to all your efforts, irrespective of the external circumstances and outcomes, then you should be proud and I believe you’ll walk away from this a better human.