What you see is not what you get

This one has been coming at me from two sides lately. The first is that, like a tree where half is hidden beneath the ground, often the critical things are hidden from view. Out of sight, out of mind = bad.
Missing the iceberg = also bad.
The second perspective has been a bit more personal and that is, as Doug so nicely put it, a little naïveté can be a good thing. If I knew when I started CrossFit what it would do to me, would I still have started? Probably yes, because I love a good challenge. Over the last 2+ years I’ve become physically stronger, mentally stronger, emotionally stronger, I understand my body much better, and I now understand some of the basics of nutrition (and not just all the myths peddled to us by so-called experts). I hit PRs regularly, and they feel even more exciting now than they did in the beginning. More importantly, I know how to think about training, where to go for more, and how to test my own limits within and outside of CrossFit.
At the same time, the dedication of time, emotion, the constant injuries, the money spent on various forms of physical therapy: that’s part of it. The days when nothing comes together: the double-unders aren’t working, the wall ball flies straight up in the air, I get beat by Laa-Laa on aburpee workout, when I feel like my Olympic lifting is just never going to get any better …. Those are part of it too. You take the bad with the good.
But sometimes it’s best not to know what’s coming. You have to roll with the punches. You just have to. Fall down, skin your knee, get up, suture your wound and move on. If lynotherapy is good for anything other than the obvious flexibility benefits it’s given me, it is that it has completely readjusted my sense of what is painful. Still doesn’t help me do box jumps any faster if my legs won’t move.
Speaking of speed, one of the things that drives me completely batty is not thinking things through fully. In other words, sacrificing accuracy for speed (Roland – I’ll quote you on your response to this one). Yeah I sometimes do this, and there is the occasional typo or Freudian slip. But when it’s important, I get the details right. I also get the big picture right, or at least I try to, but that’s way harder because every angle gives a different perspective and looking at something from all angles takes too long and is too expensive.
Another big thing that drives me batty is not trying hard. I am probably more guilty than the next person of over-committing myself and setting too aggressive of date targets. But at least I’m not sandbagging, and at least I know that I’m working hard.
Oh, that and making things more complicated than they have to be. Not saying I’m not a drama queen because I sometimes am but with me it’s usually at least half tongue-in-cheek because I think my entire adult life I have hated the thought of relying completely on anyone or anything other than myself, which leads me to believe I can do almost anything. The naïveté of overconfidence. Bygones.
But the ones who moan on and on about the same old issues all the time or are stuck in old habits and old fears. I wonder if it’s worse to be in a rut and not know it (like I was for so many years) or to be in a rut, kind of have a sense of that, but be too scared to break out? The answer is unimportant: ignorant or afraid, either way you’re in a rut. Hopefully you sometime break out. But hope is not a strategy.
And then there’s the people who refuse to notice when something has changed. At least Shirfu has noticed that I don’t ignore his instructions to rest any more, and jokes with my management aside, I’m not the lush I used to be. Doesn’t mix too well with the lifestyle I now prefer. It’s like at Exit41 I had two amazing co-workers who, in my opinion, never got the respect they deserved from most people because they used to be McDonalds restaurant managers. That’s an ad hominem stuck in the past: not one but TWO very bad things.
A Skype conversation the other day had me thinking about my little brother, whose IQ is probably several standard deviations from the mean. When he first started working, he got into trouble with his co-workers not because he was brash or unfriendly or any of those things, but because when he was at work, he worked. And he was stupidly productive, and did like three times the work of anyone else and so made them look bad by comparison.
Don’t be that guy, either. TRY to pay attention to how you’re affecting the people around you. My brother is much better than this nowadays, but the way. I was listening to the Patriots pre-game the other day before heading out to hear some knock-your-socks-off jazz. Someone loosely quoted Bill Belichick as saying that when you cover up a weakness, you leave yourself exposed somewhere else. I’d always rather a team be more than the sum of its parts, and I do believe that the best way to get the best out of people is to build their intrinsic motivation, give them room, etc. But at the end of the day you also can’t always just give people what they want. Someone has to do the scut work, and your team will have its weaknesses.
Bill Belichick …. Now that’s a man I’d like to meet. Interesting thought as you evaluate your own team and that of any teams you compete with. What are your weaknesses and what does covering them expose? What about your competition? What do they most seem like they are trying to hide?
So I am feeling more and more confident every day in the new job that I actually understand what needs to be done, and how I can best apply myself. I also really like the team, and grow more fascinated by the possibilities daily. That’s the good news. The bad news is I have a lot of work! But that’s not actually bad, as anyone who knows me will know.
I am much more comfortable now that I know a lot of what has to be done. I was originally interested in this new job because I thought it was a way to learn and get experience rapidly. Everyone has a price, and mine is experience. But knowing what’s ahead after having jumped off the cliff has come along with a massive reduction in my stress levels. I am also adapting to the different sort of workload, and rediscovering my love of the IT field. Adaptation is good, if it’s of a positive nature.
It used to be when I trained I got sore. Now I just get stronger without the soreness, unless I do something REALLY extreme, like two hours of bench press on Sunday which was SUPER fun even if I was a bit distracted … yes, this is what I do for fun. My fun reading is about anatomy and training … it’s not Better Homes and Gardens but at least it’s not beamforming and SSIDs. Although I did just download a paper called “The Economic Significance of License-Exempt Spectrum to the Future of the Internet.”
I did have a point. I was that you can get better without pulling your hair out. I knew, in theory, that this new position would be a lot of work but more importantly, a lot of responsibility, which confers a mental and emotional load that carries over to the rest of my life. I’d be lying if I said my training wasn’t affected, especially as my evenings are quickly becoming company time what with dinner meetings and time zone differences. Not sure what I’m going to do about that one yet.
What I am feeling better about is that adaptation to the workload, because it has come along with an accompanying reduction of stress. This is good because stress isn’t actually helpful. It may feel good, for a while, but it’s not only not helpful but is actively harmful to you physically and in terms of decision-making.
Shirfu would be proud. And I only had to skin one of my knees to figure that out.
  • “NOW we’re done.” – Howard
  • “300% margin is better than a kick in the teeth.” – Laurie
  • “That was the second thing. Hey happy Monday! The third thing ….” – Michael
  • “I hate a fair fight.” – Michael
  • “I don’t think there’s enough alcohol in the world for that.” – Stefan
  • “No, you have THAT face.” – Michelle
  • “That is not something for beginners.” – Kim
  • “The pace of running a company is crazy–and awesome.” – Mike


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