“A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
In highschool my friends introduced me to the game of Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy role playing game where you create a character to adventure through a made up world. At first I played the character the way I lived life. I played timidly, trying not to get killed in this dangerous fantasy world that was filled with threats ready to take my character’s life. I enjoyed the fantastic elements of the game but never fully embraced the possibilities until one reckless day when my friends and I wrote up brand new characters for a fun team adventure. Caught up in the moment I created Razor, a character very unlike me. Razor was created to chase adventure, to embrace risk, to play the game to the fullest.
It is no surprise that all my best D&D memories revolve around Razor and his remarkable adventures. Razor never shied away from trouble but somehow when I was caught up in the playing of his character those polyhedron dice always seemed to roll our way. It’s not like I had no life outside D&D. I had a hot girlfriend, I worked the door in a biker bar, I practiced martial arts. But despite all that, for a year or two Razor and Dungeons & Dragons were the brightest part of my life and I could think of little else.
Isn’t that sad? My imaginary life was more fun than my real life. It wasn’t until years later that I realized why that was: When I was role playing Razor, I was role playing the me that I wanted to be. And there was a big gap between the me I wanted to be and the me that I was. I am not by nature a risk taker. I don’t think I ever will be one. But bit by bit I started saying yes to some of life’s adventures. And bit by bit life began to be a lot more fun. More diverting even than a great game of D&D.
Razor never hesitated to take on the world. I didn’t want to either. CrossFit offered me a way to physically embody that spirit. To lay the foundation of broad general fitness that would give me strength, endurance, balance, accuracy, agility, speed, coordination, power, cardio, flexibility. It made me stronger, faster, more confident of being able to take on any challenges that I wanted to take on in life outside the gym.
Sometimes our Dungeon Master would set up tournaments that our characters could participate in. Razor was always up for the challenge. He didn’t let the fear of losing get in his way. It is so fun to live like this. I love participating in things like the CanWest Games. Sure, I was afraid at first of competing on the big stage in front of that huge audience. I was afraid of the judgement of all those spectators which included a lot of people I know from my past. But when I got there and actually did it, it was so much fun! Fear is a part of life but how you interpret it makes all the difference. I’m learning to remind myself that like white water rafting or roller coasters, the fear is a part of the fun. It’s what reminds you that you are alive.
“Plunging toward irrational death,” in the quote above is about staying true to yourself and freeing yourself from your dream of permanence. Your time here in this life is really very short and will not come again. If you stand on the sidelines contemplating victory or defeat you have missed out on the game and you end up dead anyhow. The only moment you have is now. To believe anything else is to fool yourself. Awaken from the illusions of safety and permanence you have constructed for yourself and embark on your adventure.
By channeling a little bit of a made up Dungeon & Dragons character and role playing him in my real life I was able to get outside my comfort zone and live a little. And when I did, the attraction of Dungeons & Dragons slipped away because living the adventure was really more fun. Two really important quotes that I have really helped:
“It is much easier to change how you think by changing your behavior, than it is to change your behavior by changing how you think. Act out the change you seek.”
“You are what you do. Not what you say, not what you believe, not how you vote, but what you spend your time on.”
I’m just a guy role playing the life I want to live. Everyday, in every situation, I try to remind myself to ask this important question: “What would the fearless, benevolent, super hero version of myself do in this situation?” This works in so many situations: as a father, as a husband, as a son, as a friend, as a brother, as a business owner and in every situation I can think of. If I were a better version of me – a much better version – how would I act? WWRD: What Would Razor Do?
It won’t change you overnight. Every change is an incremental accrual of small habits developed and practiced over time. The gap between who I want to be and who I am is still vast. But so too is the gap between who I am today and who I once was. One other quote that gives me encouragement:
“Everything is hard before it is easy.”
How would you attack life’s adventure if you were living it as your idealized, heroic avatar instead of as yourself?
Monday Make Up Day
We have several fun workouts to catch up on if you missed them or the coach will lead you through Empower Reset #16 if you want a good recovery session before we launch into another big batch of workouts?
21 Box Jumps
2) Shoulder Press
3) 15 AMRAP in teams of 2
(1 partner working at a time)
4) Row Pyramid V.2
Rest 1 min between each round
5) 12 min AMRAP
2 Power Snatch
4 Power Cleans
6) Empower Reset #16
1 min Standing Breathing
30/30 sec Head Nods/rotations
20 Cross Touch Dead Bug
10 Windshield Wipers
20 Cross touch Bird Dogs
10 Judo Push Up Rocks
2 min Frog Rolls
3 min Plank Hold: Left/Centre/Right
Max Handstand Hold
20 Cross Crawls
Max Hanging Hold
Max Medball Squat Hold
3 mins Medball Get Ups