“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, often referred to as the Greek Freak due to his size and athleticism, won the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks last week. He was the NBA Finals MVP. The two previous NBA seasons he was the regular season MVP. He also won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020. The only other player to accomplish all of those feats: Michael Jordan. Giannis is 26.
The Bucks started off the series in an 0-2 hole to the Suns, but managed to fight back to even the series 2-2 and eventually win four straight to take the title. Following the pivotal Game 4 win, a reporter asked Giannis about looking ahead to Game 5 in Phoenix and possibly winning the title in Game 6 at their home arena in Milwaukee.
Here is his reply:
“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. ‘I did this. We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past.’ And when I focus on the future, it’s my pride. ‘Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking. I try to focus in the moment, in the present. And that’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting expectations. That’s going out there and enjoying the game.”
Each day when we walk into the gym, we are not the same person we were yesterday and the same will be true tomorrow. You might not be well rested. Your nutrition may be a bit off. You might be incredibly sore from a workout earlier in the week. You could have some extra stress at work or something personal going on at home. And, let’s face it, we’re all getting older. On the flip side, you might be feeling the best you’ve felt in years. The point is there are so many factors that go into performance its not really fair to judge yourself against your previous self. Sure, we want to track our scores and weights to measure our performance but we shouldn’t consider ourselves failures just because we don’t see a gold star in Wodify.
When you walk into the gym, you should just focus on bringing your best effort for that day. Focus on what you can control. In CrossFit, there is a lot of talk about approaching a workout with “intensity.” I propose using the approach of a similar word: intent. Approach each run, each lift, each pull-up with intent. With the purpose of being the best version of you in that moment.
I gave you the Giannis example because as the only player in NBA history to have won 2 league MVPs and an NBA championship by the age of 26, he has every reason not to be humble, but yet he chooses to. We can all learn something from this. Walk into the gym, know you might not be at the top of the leader board, but you’re giving your best effort for that day and having a little fun along the way.