In the spring of 2004, CrossFit founder “Coach” Greg Glassman made a profound remark that forever changed the trajectory of my entire life. In lectures and sermons, I present around the country, I refer to this type and quality of change as a “One Degree Change.” Although seemingly insignificant due to the low rate of return (after all, one-percent seems small) the growth comes through the advantage of persistence and dedicated practice.
Over time, a one-degree change in the trajectory of your life can be absolutely profound. My dear friend Jason Redman, author of the bestselling book The Trident – The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader often explains the concept like this: “If you departed from JFK Airport in New York with an intended destination of San Diego, California, and were off in flight path by one-degree, over the course of the three-thousand-mile journey across the country, you would end up in San Francisco, nearly four hundred miles away!”
Now, about this one-degree life-changing statement from Coach Glassman.
Get ready – this might change your life too.
Following a CrossFit Level I Certification, Coach Glassman pulled me aside and said, “Greg, the greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.”
Greatly influenced by this remark, I set out to become a student of the mental aspects of CrossFit. Through observation, practice, and research, I discovered something remarkable: the world’s best athletes (both athletes in the gym, and “warrior athletes” of the street and battlefield) had learned to control and optimize their self-talk. This potent mental skill resulted in their ability to formulate and achieve their life goals with consistency and grace. The natural extensions of their positive self-talk were an optimistic energy, a mental toughness and an indomitable spirit evident in their physical accomplishments in tough workouts and seemingly overwhelming life circumstances.
I have since concluded that Coach Glassman was indeed correct: the mental adaptation to CrossFit was of critical importance in my development as a young man both inside and outside the gym. Now, nearly fifteen years after the seed was first planted, I share in my books Firebreather Fitness – Work your Mind, Body and Spirit Into the Best Shape of Your Life and my new Amazon #1 bestseller The Warrior and The Monk – A Fable About Fulfilling Your Potential and Finding True Happiness some of the key lessons I learned as a result of the spark Coach Glassman set inside me.
For an individual aspiring to live a life of meaning, purpose, and passion, influencing the way we talk to ourselves and set personal goals are extremely important. Understanding and applying the power of positive thinking and self-talk is just as important as instilling a sense of virtuosity in the foundational movements of a fitness or martial arts program. Furthermore, very often the world’s most skilled athletes and most revered warriors collectively agree the real “battleground” and “terrain to conquer” is between the ears.
I encourage you to take whatever steps are necessary to increase your wisdom and knowledge about the power of a positive mental attitude. As the Monk instructors the Warrior in my book The Warrior and The Monk: “Remember, young warrior, that even a little progress on the path of developing your True Core (referring to the mind and spirit) will be greatly rewarded.”
Greg Amundson – Former Special Agent and Bestselling Author of The Warrior and The Monk