When it Starts

📷 by Jordan Samuel

There's no such thing as adversity.

There's no such thing as bad things that happen to you.

There's no such thing as setbacks.

Every one of those that we think exists is just an opportunity. 

You have the option of looking at every single scenario as either an obstacle or an opportunity. You get to choose how you view them.

Things might look hard, things might look scary, the road might look rougher than you want it to be. Or maybe it looks like an opportunity to get stronger, to get better, to get mentally tougher and physically more adept.

The more adversity we face, the stronger we become. It's how we need to train, and it's how we need to live. We need to train with more and more adversity. We need to accept the bad things that happen.

People freak out when they get sick, or when there's no chalk near them, or when the music goes off in the middle of a workout. None of these are bad things because they're all going to set you up for when you go into a competition and things don't go exactly to plan. You'll be ready for those opportunities.

Remember: When it gets hard, it's supposed to get hard.

When you're suffering, everybody's suffering. You're never in this thing alone. The second you create a mindset of self-pity is the moment you fall apart. We can't live with self-pity. It cannot exist.

A great story that demonstrates this is from the Burden Run at the 2013 CrossFit Games. The event started with a 2.1 mile run, followed by a 100-yard Pig Flip, a log carry, and a sled drag. After the run, Garrett Fisher was in the lead and first to the Pig.

When he got to it, he immediately began to struggle. The voice that says "Maybe I can't do this," and "Maybe I don't belong here," crept in.

Meanwhile, Jason Khalipa finished the run and started to flip the 490-pound Pig. It was just as heavy for him as it was for Garrett. Instead of self-pity and self-doubt, though, Jason was thinking, "If this thing is heavy for me, it's gotta be heavy for everybody else."

He started flipping and went on the win the event.

Know that when you're working hard and when you're suffering, so is everybody else. It's all part of the process. It doesn't make you special, and it's not singular to you. It's what we're all doing.

It's the suffering that makes us stronger. 

When it gets difficult, that's when it starts.

Another story, this one about Muhammad Ali. He was once asked how many sit-ups he did. His answer: "I don't know. I don't start counting until it hurts."

That's the deal. It doesn't matter until it starts to hurt.

Everything else before that doesn't count.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEN'S BOOKSHELF: Visit for an ongoing list of the books I've recommended most.