Never Satisfied, or Never Happy?
Written by Holden Rethwill

The beauty of CrossFit is that there’s always something we can improve on. Whether it’s strength, aerobic capacity, gymnastics, mobility, etc. we are constantly working and striving to adapt our bodies into the fittest version of ourselves. It’s truly amazing when you think about it. That said, at the same time this creates, in my opinion, one of the greatest problems with CrossFit.

By training every day to become the best versions of ourselves, we often fall into the trap of being “never satisfied.” Why place that in quotations? Because many times this is confused with never being happy with the progress we make. I’ve fallen prey to it, and I know many of you have as well. We claim that we aren’t satisfied with the progress we’re making and that we are using it as fuel to continue to get better, but is that the truth?

What opened my eyes to this was competing at the CrossFit Games this year. Early on, some things didn’t go my way and I felt as though I was underperforming. I kept telling myself that I just wasn’t satisfied and that I was going to use that as fuel to turn things around. In actuality, I simply wasn’t happy with myself for not living up to my expectations.

The Games for me this year should have been the cherry on top of the season, but I let expectations and unwarranted pressure frustrate me to the point of forgetting all the amazing things that had happened in the process of getting there. After events, I wasn’t allowing myself any opportunity to be happy with the success I had.

*Quick side note.. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing experience and loved every minute of competing at the Games. It was an absolute blast and I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to do so. But I’m a very competitive person and hate underperforming more than I love winning.*

At the time I didn’t realize the mistake I was making, but in reflection after the fact, the thing that made me realize what I was doing was a talk I had with my coach, Tino.

It was after the muscle-up and squat snatch event. When I came back into the warm up area Tino was there waiting for me with a high five. I looked at him and shrugged my shoulders in clear frustration. At that point he told me he knew I was frustrated and that I would never be completely satisfied with any result, but that from time to time I have to allow myself to be happy and reflect on the process and where I had come from to get there. A year ago I would’ve been crushed by a workout like that – high volume gymnastics haven’t necessarily been a forte of mine. He told me that if you never allow yourself to be happy with your progress, you’ll hold yourself back from your true potential.

I don’t know about you, but that really resonates with me. I can think of many times in my past where I’ve neglected allowing myself to be happy with my progress. I always just told myself I wasn’t satisfied and that there was more work to do. If used the right way, the way that drives you to push harder and perform better, you can use this to your advantage. You just have to make sure you don’t confuse it for being unhappy! Allow yourself to find satisfaction and happiness in the little victories every day, in the process, and where you’ve come from to where you are.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
-Mahatma Ghandi

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