Steven Pressfield writes about overcoming Resistance in his book, “The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle.” Near the beginning of this book, he observes that “…most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” He goes on to define and describe the many different forms resistance takes and the ruthless manner in which it carries out its sole purpose in the Universe: to prevent you from doing anything that will lift you up to experience a better version of life.
On the first page of the sequel to “The War of Art” (entitled “Do The Work”), he writes, “On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.”
Those words certainly ring true for every challenge I’ve ever faced in my life, but it struck a chord with me for a different reason as well: I have never heard anything better describe what CrossFit is all about.
Many of you come to the gym day after day because you know you won’t do 80% of the things I make you do on your own. Some of you come in spite of the fact that I’m going to make you do things you don’t want to do. But still you come. You come to face your dragons. With a sword (barbell?) in your hand and an evil grin, you stand there looking your greatest fears in the eyes and you whisper, “bring it on.”
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” Getting a 300+ lb deadlift, your first pullup without the assistance of a band, breaking 5 minutes on “Fran;” these are all monstrous, horrifying, fire-breathing beasts that you once had no chance of defeating. But you are all learning that you can kill your dragons.
Steven Pressfield observes that once that dragon has been slayed, it will never have power over you again. This is a perfect representation of the challenges you once faced in the gym as well as the challenges that still lie before you. And like so many CrossFit metaphors, this particular lesson extends far beyond the gym.
I know how I felt when CrossFit DTR finally opened on October 5th. To quote Pressfield, “I felt like a dragon I’d been fighting my whole life had just dropped dead at my feet and gasped out its last sulfuric breath.”
“Rest in peace, motherfucker.”