Growth Hacking Mental & Emotional Capacity Through Sport

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7 minutes into a gruelling 21 minute workout I realized I was in big trouble.

 

Paired up with an incredibly talented teammate meant those first 7 minutes saw me doing everything I could to keep up rep for rep and not slow my partner down. It wasn't until I had finished the first 120 reps that I realized I was already at my body’s limit, I had been revving the engine on high for far too long. The lactic acid pouring into my muscles was clear indication my body didn’t appreciate it.

And I still had 14 minutes of intense work to go. There was a distant alarm that began ringing in the back of my head, warning me that any and all subsequent work would not go over well.

I was closing in on the absolute end point of my mental capacity. My reservoir of toughness, perseverance, & grit were almost on empty- realizing the position I had put myself in, I had to make a decision on how to proceed...

And so, for the better part of the next 14 minutes I forced myself to crawl up into a deep, dark, scary part of my mind and soul which I've never uncovered before.

 

It was an unchartered mountain of pain. Every brutally slow second was another step further into the unknown.

Staring into the abyss... AKA talking to Jesus.

I was quickly confronted with new gremlins and demons along the way, with every breath I tried to ignore their whispers in the back of my head- telling me I needed to stop. I pushed harder and dug deeper than ever before. It was one of the most prolonged ugly feelings of in my entire life.

And I loved every second of it...

 

Despite the marathon of agony, I was fully immersed in 'Flow'. Accessing new and deeper levels of consciousness and mental capacity than I have ever experienced.

And here is why that is important.

We exercise our mental & emotional capacity everyday, in all walks of life. Be it mental toughness, perseverance, grit, determination, or attrition, the list goes on. This happens both consciously and subconsciously. The problem is, while we actively rely on these intangible powers in a variety of functions, building this capacity through our regular everyday life is a completely different story. We typically aren’t experiencing the heightened moments of intensity, focus, concentration and stress that allow us to push into new mental frontiers. Instead, the conditions in our regular day to day lives typically make for a slow and steady expansion of mental and emotional capacity over the course of months, years, and decades.

This is where pushing the limits in sport comes in. Through dozens of experiences like the workout described above, I have used sport, Crossfit in this case, as a way of exponentially increasing several components of my mental & emotional capacity in a single moment of Flow, which can then be applied to all aspects of my life going forward. I use the term “growth hacking” because it is only through the conditions created via the vehicle of sport that I am able to replicate an environment where the outer edges of this capacity can be tested. This environment can be replicated more effectively and more frequently through a sport such as Crossfit than in our regular day to day lives.

This experience is one of the holy grails I seek to attain through all of my athletic pursuits. Because of the huge internal demand needed to embark on this path - it is something that doesn’t happen often, and is only made possible when you've intentionally placed yourself in the right environment. This milestone experience in particular is a testament to my incredible Crossfit family at Crossfit604, an unconditionally supportive partner in my wife Natasha, and one of the most like minded and driven teammates I've ever had the honor of competing beside, Mr.handsome Pete Kendrick.

Of course sport is only one example where we create the context to be safely pushed beyond our limits to grow as people. And that's what it's all about. Intentionally identifying the equation that creates this environment where your supported passions meet focus, intensity, mental toughness, creating a ‘Flow’ state within the experience. The byproduct of this is actively hacking your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional capacities - providing the opportunity to apply these new powers across all areas of life!

So, how are you growth hacking?

Photo credit: Crossfit 604

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