Hey you guys, I read a book! And I learned the key to happiness! Here we go:
“To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you, not something you magically discover…” –The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
We hear (and say) it all the time:
“Once I get to 200lbs/300lb/400lb on my back squat, I’ll be happy with my strength”
“Once I lose those last 15lbs, I’ll be happy with my body”
“Once I get my Fran time down under 3 minutes, I’ll be happy with my conditioning”
“Once I quit this job and get a better one, I’ll be happy with my life”
“Once I find a great guy/girl, I’ll be happy with my love life”
No, YOU WON’T!
And that’s OK.
“Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving”. If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’ve going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you can’t solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in having the problems in the first place.” The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Happiness isn’t the result of having no more problems.
After all, by solving one problem – you are creating another.
Problem: You are unfit.
Solving: Join a gym and start to get fit.
New Problems: Manage your schedule to fit the gym in, make sure you remember to buy and cook food so you stay on track, pack your gym clothes every day and do extra laundry, dealing with small injuries that pop up.
Problem: You don’t have double unders.
Solving: You practice and get to the point where you can do 10 in a row.
New Problems: Going Rx in workouts and being really slow at first, being pressured into competing since you no longer have that weakness, being disappointed when you have a bad double under day.
Problem: You are overweight
Solving: You eat clean, watch portions, and lose the weight.
New Problems: You have to buy all new clothes along the way, you have a fear of going back to being overweight, you have accidentally become a role model and have pressure to keep the weight off, you aren’t as strong in the gym, you have to spend more time and effort thinking about what you are eating.
In all of these scenarios (and most in life and in the gym), the “New Problems” are definitely an upgrade from the original problem. And the more of those new problems that we solve, the better and better our lives become; and the less significant the ‘problems’ become.
The key is to find keep solving problems until you are left with ‘good’ problems that you are excited to solve.
There’s nothing wrong with being mildly dissatisfied. The act of being dissatisfied and somewhat insecure is an evolutionary feature that has helped humans get to where we are today. Dissatisfaction with our current situation has kept our species fighting and building. And it’s usually the most dissatisfied creatures that do the most work to innovate and survive.
The fault lies in failing to recognize your problems, or avoiding taking steps to solve them. Inactivity, avoidance, unhealthy coping mechanisms, will only lead to further unhappiness.
Conversely, the act of working on your lifts, making small progress each day, improving your technique, will make you a happier athlete. The act of making small daily changes to your eating habits, and seeing the results, will make you a happier person.
This falls perfectly in line with what you are doing every day in the gym, since there is NO END GOAL in CrossFit. You can always be faster, stronger, have better technique, be leaner, be more flexible, have more gymnastics skills, etc.
The secret to happiness lies in finding the actual problems, solving them, which creates new (but upgraded) ones, solving those, etc.
Not happy? Go solve a problem!