I’ve give you an example that happened to me recently. Until a few weeks ago, I had never done a one-rep max in box jumps. A one-rep max in box-jumps means you jump on a high platform and stand up. If you succeed, you make the platform higher, and so on, and so on, until you ultimately fail or stop attempting the jumps.
On this max effort I started out doing pretty well: 30 inch box: got it, no problem. I added a plate: 34 inches: no problem, added another plate: no problem. This kept going for a while…
As you can see in this picture, I got up to a pretty decent height, at least, for having never attempting a 1-rep max before. Then… after I successfully stuck this landing, the fear started to set in.
If you’ve ever been to a Personal Defense Readiness/S.P.E.A.R. System seminar lead by Coach Tony Blauer, you have undoubtedly heard Coach talk about fear as an acronym, F.E.A.R. during his Cycle of Behavior discussion.
At this moment, as I’m mentally preparing for my next jump, I start experiencing psychological fear.
False Evidence Appearing Real was what applied to me. I noticed how high the platform was compared to my body, about chest high, and a negative thought crept in: That’s really high, it would really suck to get half-way and not make it.
Why else was there fear? Fear existed because attempting this was outside of my comfort zone; it was something I had never experienced before.
At this point, I can give up or get challenged. This is me, stuck in the F.E.A.R. loop, depicted below, at the challenged or threatened door. I remembered something Curtis, the CrossFit Adaptation coach said earlier about doing a high box jump, something along the lines of, “Just think of it as a really high tuck jump and stand up on the box.” That sounds really easy. Simple. I can do that. Challenged, I give it another shot and stuck the landing at 43 inches! Then one of the other athletes in the class said, “Keep going. You cleared it by about 4 inches at the top!”
The good news: I am familiar with the physiological effects of fear: adrenaline, shallow breathing, less cognitive control, and now I’m seriously feeling that!
The bad news: understanding and acknowledging the fear does not necessarily alleviate the effects it can have.
Then the fear hits me again, this time much harder: Boom! False Expectations Appearing Real. This time I actually visualize myself attempting the jump, missing the top of the platform, one knee slams hard on the box as I lose my balance, falling inward, my teeth smash into the wooden box on the way down, then I crumple to the ground, bloodied with broken teeth and a busted knee.
This quote relates to one of the first boxes in the Cycle of Behavior, pictured below:
“80% of your motivation is derived from your expectation.”
Awesome photo was taken by Keith Waters, of Kx Photography at CrossFit Adaptation, in Arlington, VA.