I had the pleasure of watching the CrossFit Games South Central Regionals two weeks ago in Tomball, Texas, with the members of Dallas’ CrossFit Strong. During workout 4 of the team competitions, one of the girls on the Strong team smashed her face on the pull-up bar. Like really smashed her face – bloody, broken nose and all. Instead of stopping, the competitor came off the bar, grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding and got back into position to help her team with the 250 kettlebell swings. One of her teammates ripped up his shirt so she could plug her nose and keep going for the remainder of the workout. It was amazing to watch. When it ended, multiple friends went up to her and told her that not only was her performance amazing, but they asked her how she kept going when they would have quit.
Her response was simple - “Quit? The thought never even crossed my mind.”
How many times in workouts do we pull a muscle, feel a twinge in our back, or roll an ankle only to keep going until the workout is over with? How many times do we quit when we feel the pain or lack of air in our lungs? I remember teammates from high school who played football games with torn ACLs, concussions, or broken arms, just fighting through pain until the end of the game to help our team out. We sit on the sidelines and wonder, “How the hell did they keep playing with that?” And each one of them respond the same way – “Quit? The thought never even crossed my mind.”
Do we all have that same mindset? How many times in life do we get hit in the face with a metaphorical bar and just quit? We lose a job. We lose a girlfriend. Our parents get a divorce. Our friends move away. Our doctor comes back with bad news. How many times do we hear the bad news and just quit. We sit. We sulk. We whine. We do everything but keep going.
We stop competing because life got hard. Life gets hard for everyone at some point. We have to rip a shirt up, stop the bleeding, and keep going. We watch the people who overcome certain obstacles with amazement. We wish we had their inner strength. We think we wouldn’t handle certain circumstances with the same fortitude or grace.
And we’d be selling ourselves short. We have it in all of us to keep fighting. To keep competing. To keep living. Our only problem is that we take our eyes off of our end goals. We fail because we focus solely on the mess we’re currently in instead of ahead where we want to be.
Quit fighting the quicksand and look for a rope or branch to pull yourself out. An Olympic sprinter does not look to his left or his right to see if his competition is next to him. He looks forward to the finish line he races toward. He is focused on the end. So when life hits you in the face – be it today, this week, next month, or next year (Be assured, it will hit you at some point) – rip up a shirt, stop the bleeding, and keep going.
Our lives are never defined by the circumstances that happen to us. Our lives are always defined by how we respond to those circumstances. So when life hits hard and someone tells you they have no idea how you keep going, just smile and tell them you know no other way but to keep living. Tell them quitting never even crossed your mind.
Stuff your bloody nose with a shirt & keep competing.