Saturday, November 01, 2008
Pressure Architecture and Mastery
Crossfit really isn't about fitness you know. No seriously, at some point in your life your body will fail, or even cease to exist. Your beautiful lungs and freaky capacity to buffer lactic acid will fade.
Crossfit is really about training the mind. That's right. You are training your brain to be able to perform extraordinary things in pressure cooker situations. People can often perform very complicated and complex tasks under simple situations. Big deal. Ask that same persons to perform that same skill in front of a group, under time constraint, or perceived pressure and they'll crack.
Elite performance for us means that skills are repeatable under all conditions and situations. That's beginning to smell a little like mastery eh? And mastery is only as good as the situations in which it is developed. For example, double-unders are easy, but not when you start to see Aneel develop a huge lead in a workout. Performing double-unders with the simultaneous exposure of that perceived competitive pressure leads to really good outcomes that spill across varied and broad domains that include you life and work life.
In the second photo note that by "taking turns" to perform hand stands, the athletes are practicing performing in front of other people. You almost really can't call something "elite performance" if no one else is around to see you perform it. People like the protected anonymity of triathlons and big running races for a reason. People are naturally very uncomfortable having to perform tasks in front of other people. But, this is the very thing that is required for the completion and development of personal mastery.
Inherent to the Crossfit structure and program architecture are built in opportunities of significant cognitive dissonance through perceived situational pressure. People will either resolve these pressures and progress to mastery, or they'll decided crossfit isn't really for them.
But the real genius about all this exercise cloaked mind training is this: you don't even have to know you are doing it.
You just have to show up and work hard.
at 7:02 AM