Progress Not Perfection

I can remember the moment I really wanted to start diving deep into CrossFit and finding out all I could about this program. I was at home watching the 2011 CrossFit Games. I had already been at an affiliate for a few months but I had never really seen any of the major athletes. I was somewhat oblivious in my own little world of training. I can remember being so proud of my scores every day back in those old days because I really didn’t know there was a whole community doing these workouts. When I first stumbled into the gym I had no idea what an affiliate was or who was affiliated. I had no idea there was a major competition each year. I just thought the name of the gym I went to was CrossFit and we did these crazy workouts no one else was doing. 

Then I saw the 2011 Games and remember the first workout I watched. It was the rope climb and clean and jerk event. I remember watching the men’s heat and thinking, “these dudes are JACKED”. I was blown away. I had never seen guys so ripped. I started looking up everything that I could about CrossFit. I went to a Level 1 Seminar. I wanted to be like those guys I saw on TV.

I was so focused on doing everything they did. I started doing 2-3 different workouts per day. I, like many of you guys, linked my vision of myself to how I compared to those guys. It wasn’t before long that I realized I was NOTHING like these guys and that was okay.

Human beings compare things and ourselves to others. It’s just what we do, especially in America. The problem with that though is that you have then given power over yourself to someone else. The great story I heard explaining this was one about Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. For those of you that don’t know they’re golfers. Back in the early 2000s they were Tiger Woods main competition. One day they were each asked what they do to try and close the gap with Tiger. Ernie said that all he did was golf. He said that he would go to the course and put up shots every day the way Tiger would. If Tiger spent 3 hours practicing, he would spend 3 hours practicing. He had to do everything Tiger did. Phils approach was nothing like that. He said he woke up each day and enjoyed spending time with his kids. He said that he would get to the course each day in the late morning and practice up until lunch time. He focused on the weaknesses in his game and worked to better them. 

Phil went on to beat Tiger and Ernie Els in the 2004 Masters. Ernie Els never really contended for a major championship from then on. We often focus on perfection so much instead of progress. Perfection is the unattainable excuse we give ourselves for not doing our best. “Well I’m not going to be perfect anyways so what’s the point in doing it right?” We need to focus on getting 1% better each day. Small progress leads to major success. Progress not perfection.


Jobim Zapico