The Perpetual Student

the perpetual learner crossfit

 

by: Michael Winchester

If you want to become great – if you want to become a master – you must learn to stay humble and be a perpetual student of your craft. The same is true in CrossFit.

In this world of high social mobility and the ease with which we are able to move between cities and jobs, it isn’t often we find someone who has become what we might call a “master”. In the “days of old”, people were born into families with specific professions. The children more often than not took on the jobs of their parents and their trade was passed down from generation to generation. Many times, these people became masters.

Today, we change jobs when we get bored or fed up with our coworkers or bosses. We move when we get tired of the weather and we complain about the monotony of life. Some would say this is a good thing – and it might be. Our ability to change scenery and professions might lend itself to a broader understanding of life and many meaningful learning experiences. However, it does not generally lead to mastery of anything worthwhile.

There is a man in Japan named Jiro. Jiro makes sushi. This is all he does. This is all he has done for the last 75 years. He has perfected his craft to the point that it transcends what we would call a “job” and has become art. This is his life’s work, and he is the best in the world at what he does.

His inconspicuous restaurant in a Japanese subway only seats 10 people, and will remain this way until long after he is gone. He charges $300 per plate – and with meals that rarely last longer than 20 minutes for patrons, this easily makes his restaurant one of the most expensive in the world. He has been awarded the highest rating possible by the renowned Michelin Guide and is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Though he has attained much success through his craft, he is not content with where he is. He admits that he still has much to learn and that he is constantly looking for ways to become even better – to hone his technique and improve upon his methods. He dreams of sushi. He lives sushi.

THIS IS THE MARK OF A MASTER – A PERPETUAL STUDENT: ALWAYS LEARNING, ALWAYS HUMBLE. 

No matter where you are in your CrossFit journey, I urge you to stay humble. There is so much to learn and even when you can “do” something, there is always room for improvement. This may sound obvious but I am often surprised by the amount of people who, upon reaching a certain level of success, begin to avoid critique and shun advice.

This most certainly will be the beginning of the end of their development. I am blessed to be surrounded by some of the best in the CrossFit world – both in the gym and in the business. The athletes and coaches that are the most successful are also invariably the ones who continue to learn and seek advice even after achieving “success”. They watch videos, read books, practice and repeat. They are not afraid to fail and they often try new things even when they know it won’t be helpful in the short-term. The big picture is always the primary goal.

If names like Carey Kepler, Jeremy Thiel, Lisa Thiel, Ingrid Kantola, Karen Pierce and Team CrossFit Central are looking for ways to be better – to be perpetual students – so should you.

Stay humble. You might be successful, but are you successful at being successful?

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