This week’s Team Talk was on “Adversity & Self Talk” as Sam suggested it’s importance, particularly as The Open progresses.

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Struggle leads to growth, but we all have a desire to seek comfort and avoid pain, so how do we rectify these two seemingly competing notions? It helps to start thinking of the “pain” in your metcon or any other worthwhile pursuit as discomfort, and not just needless suffering.

It’s also helpful to remind ourselves that everyone struggles for their success. Looking at our sport, Mat Fraser has struggled immensely, “losing” The CrossFit Games twice, and even breaking his back long before that in his pursuit of the Olympics.

Tim Ferriss also put it brilliantly:

“Normal” people are just crazy people you don’t know well enough.

Here’s another excellent quote from his Book Tribe of Mentors

The superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, elite athletes, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximized one or two strengths. Humans are imperfect creatures. You don’t “succeed” because you have no weaknesses; you succeed because you find your unique strengths and focus on developing habits around them…. Everyone is fighting a battle [and has fought battles] you know nothing about. The heroes in this book are no different. Everyone struggles.

Some strategies that can help us deal better with adversity and use the struggle to our benefit.

  • Anticipate the adversity. This way you’re better prepared for it. Knowing (and ultimately embracing) the fact that the “adversity” will happen sooner than you expect, be more intense than you anticipate, and prolong longer than you initially imagine helps us be better mentally prepared.
  • There’s a world of difference between “I’m shit” (a permanent state) and saying “this is making me better”. (Fixed vs Growth Mindset) Now the former is WAY easier than the latter to say. in fact, most things that are easier to say/do in the moment aren’t for our benefit, and the harder action/words to muster are the more beneficial.
  • Coach yourself like you would your best friend. This advice comes from Jason Khalipa. How would you talk to your bestie during the workout? Would you be positive, encouraging, action focused? Or would you berate them and tell them you can’t believe how weak/slow/unskilled they are? 😛
  • Finally, with kudos to George Mumford and Joseph Goldstein, asking yourself “is this helpful?” is a useful technique to refocus you towards more positive self talk.

While the correlation between optimism and success is imperfect, there’s almost a perfect correlation between negative thinking and failure.

Adversity and set backs are inevitable in any challenging endeavour… what’s important is not avoiding adversity, but how an individual responds to it. You have to develop a mental hardiness that’s responds to setbacks with energy and confidence. – Dr Bob Rotella