Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom

From time to time I like to geek out and comb the Internet for information. I don’t always know what I am looking for, but I am always up for a good short read. Personally I am a big fan of quotations and short motivational pieces. A while back I came across something that has just seemed to stick with me. It just seemed to hit home as I’ve always had a knack for either making things internally worse than they were, being too hard on myself, or simply focusing on the wrong details. I don’t doubt several of you have come across it before. The Serenity Prayer reads:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

–Reinhold Niebuhr

In my opinion, things such as this are in the realm of abstract art and are up for personal interruptation. To go along with this I also found that this prayer was adopted in 1941 by Alcoholics Anonymous. I guess I just found it pretty sweet that this same small collection of words has been used by many to fight personal demons of all sizes.

So why am I writing about it here? Well…come on, most of you know I can take most anything and somehow twist it into a conversation about CrossFit.

Just consider it a PB&J of religion, personal examination, and the CrossFit journey…in the end it’s all good. Heck…we all know we leave the PB out because round two is about to go down during the next commercial.

The “FTS” translation:

God”, this is your source of motivation.
What is that sensation deep within that drives you?
Why do you keep coming back to CrossFit?
Who do you want to be?
A better mom?
A better husband?
Co-Worker? Friend?
All around solid member of society?

Pffftt..maybe it’s merely social, a break from reality. Doesn’t matter, if you can identify a reason of motivation, a reason to get better, a desire…that’s it. That is your entity or noun that helps get you where you are going. Recognize it and give it credit, it’s important to you, and you are who matters.

Serenity”, I think this one is the hardest.
How often do you focus on the wrong detail and let things distract you?
Should you really dwell?
It can be changed?

Accept it, again recognized it, and last but not least DO NOT IGNORE IT. Put me in a cardio intensive situation and I nearly buckle…”I suck”, ehh…suck it up! It’s only a weakness, it’s temporary and I need to relax, work hard and prove to myself I own that rower, not the other way around.
Is it your nutrition?
Lack of sleep?
Are we making excuses or are these things something I simply cannot change for whatever reason?

If so…accept it and move on. None of us are perfect, we just trying to become professional lifers using the tools of CrossFit.

It’s one thing to accept something you cannot change, but what if you can?
Are you?
Are you willing to look fear or a workout in the eye and give it a mental beat down before you even start?

KNUCKLE UP. I don’t think a new PR on Fran makes you a better person by itself. But I am a HUGE believer in the underlying willingness and determination. You ever picked a WOD, picked a goal to finish in, and then put in the time and gotten it? Good grief…that’s just fun, that just pushes my good buttons. Once you prove to yourself you can do that in the comfort of CrossFit…why not apply that same technique at work and get that promotion you wanted? Sure the execution is different, but the mentality isn’t. Maybe you want to finally ask that person out? Make a career change…try something new, I don’t know, but find something you want but won’t do. Then do it. Use CrossFit as a testing lab…then smash life. Even if you don’t PR, you know when you showed courage and went after it.

Wisdom”, retaining knowledge for the better, often a result of failure.
What works?
What doesn’t?
Have you really found how hard you can push yourself?
Do you truly know your limits?
Am I just accepting things for what they look like or am I attempting to get better?
Am I reading blogs?
Am I commenting?
Am I picking the brains of the coaches or co-athletes?
Should I tweak my nutrition?
Am I the result of any of my own frustration?

Find the answers…become wise and use it to your advantage.

Any how… sometime think about this stuff. Attempt to let it soak in… “What would you do if you were at CrossFit?” There is no reason to leave it within the walls of the box. We all have people that believe in us…our names are on the board, they are laying beside you after a WOD. Let’s all find our “God, Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom” and continue to PR at the game of life in the box and out.

Get Fit, Love Life, and Enjoy Your Holidays,


13 Responses to “Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom”

  1. Chris Mello Says:

    Great Post Matty B!

    I have seen CF not only change me as a person for the good but loads of CFSF’ers over the last 2 years. Annie and I always say that everybody CAN and SHOULD do CF physically, but it honestly takes a certain kind of person (on the inside) to do CF for the long haul. It weeds out the winners from the losers. CF is much more of a mental/emotional challenge rather than a physical challenge. Being able to push yourself beyond what you think is possible takes character, integrity and toughness. While also having the care and compassion for others to want them to succeed takes a rare combination.

    I often have to check in with myself to see how I am doing as a CF athlete, coach and mostly importantly as a man in general. These are great questions to ask myself.

    Thank you,


    • MattyB "FTS" Says:

      Well if you check with me…you doing great. You’ve always been there for me when I’m down, and have always been able to find a way to show me its more than a workout. I will forever give you credit for having involvemnt in my mental PRs as my CFing continues…thanks man.

  2. Laura LD DeHaan Says:

    Wow…. nice post Matt. Not much to say or add to this one!! The great thing about crossfit is that everyone has a different story, we all come from different places, yet we share the same goal… to be the best (us) we can be.

    • MattyB "FTS" Says:

      Thx LD! And you make a great point, its awesome that our differences go unoticed as we all simply rock it as one. Doesn’t matter who, what, why… we are just some crazy CFers getting it done.

  3. Ditto Recco….as with most experiences we endure, it’s what we do with those experiences, do we waste them and leave them in the box or do we apply them and become better at what really matters, LIFE!!!

    Good stuff Matty!!!

  4. This is a good one! FTS and I had a talk about this the other night. The greatest thing about Crossfit is that no matter who you are….no matter how much money you make……no matter what you drive…..we are all the same at the box! We have strengths and weaknesses, we all that the love/hate relationship with the WODS. And we all have the courage, determination, and strength to change our selves for the better!

    • MattyB "FTS" Says:

      As a member of team kick ass you back up your words. I do try and talk about things other than CF, but I appreciate your involvement and hope I can help in any way. And gracias for posting!

  5. Young Yang Says:

    The biggest challenge and most underestimated element I’ve encountered in CrossFit is mental toughness. In two short months, I’ve began asking myself similar questions before and after I WOD or OLY. To my surprise, the overwhelming majority are not about numbers, but philosophy. “God, Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom” is an excellent representation of the mental capacity required to be successful in CrossFit, and ultimately it represents how deep fitness should penetrate our day to day lives.

    My “God” or motivation? Eat shards of glass out of a cereal bowl for breakfast and breath fire like the rest of the CFSF elite and coaches.

    • MattyB "FTS" Says:

      Pfffttt…only thing you need is a bigger spoon! Glad to have you aboard Young, you’ve been a rock star thus far and good sh*t to boot. Thanks for the post.

  6. FTS/MattyB…the posts keep getting better and better!

    A little known fact about the author is that he was in a dark place after an injury last year. He shared with me that he…”Wouldn’t be able to have significant weight overhead for over a year.” The snatch board hasn’t been updated and he is #2 behind a guy that started snatching out of the womb and it hasn’t even been a year yet.

    The courage it took to overcome that minor setback and come back even stronger is a testament to your resolve. You set an awesome example for the rest of CFSF.

    Keep dropping your wisdom and enlightening the rest of us!

    • MattyB "FTS" Says:

      Gracias Big Mike… the difference between me then and me now, is I now choose to believe. I want to get better…so I am, and that’s just what’s gonna happen. I believe in what we all do and enjoy. Bottoms up peeps…we’ve got some sh*t to smash.

      • WOW!!! Great stuff Mike and Matty! One word “COURAGE”. If that blogs and their actions, from two of the best, doesn’t inspire the rest of us, nothing will! Most of us have been there, significant injury/set back, but have we come out the other side this much better??? Where were you guys 20 yrs ago??? Thankful for you now!!!!

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