“Perspective”  By: Chris Contino

            Perspective can be defined as many different things, but for today’s purpose we are going to call it, “true understanding of the relative importance of things.” (You’ll find out why at the end of this blog – Yes, now you have to read the entire thing. )

When I was playing soccer my coach had a saying: “It only takes a second.” It only takes a second to change the game, to make a difference, for something great or maybe not so great to happen. The picture above shows the ladder of these possibilities, the “not so great.” It was taken immediately following my missed third clean and jerk attempt at my most recent meet, which I needed to make to stay in the competition. In one second I went from holding a personal record lift on my shoulders in a room full of supportive spectators cheering me on, to being curled up over the barbell feeling like I was alone on an island, and that I had just let them all down. In this moment I felt disappointment, frustration, and anger. I felt like I hadn’t just let those spectators down but also myself, my coach, my team, and my athletes. Like the countless hours I had put in weren’t good enough because I failed. Simply put, I felt down right awful.

This was all from my perspective as an athlete walking off the platform and I could have let this ruin my day or days to come but luckily, I have a great coach. (Shout out to Ernie) He made me take a step back and really helped me put things in perspective. I am no longer just an athlete; I am a coach as well. Since May, I have been one of the head coaches at Maximum Effort Barbell. I now spend more of my time helping my athletes succeed than myself because I love doing it. I have people who trust me to teach them, who want my guidance (and if you’ve never felt that, it’s amazing). So as just an athlete, the meet would have been a disaster. As a coach and an athlete having to focus on not only myself, but 20+ other people every week… The meet was a success. It was a great day with my girlfriend, my team, the weightlifting community, and it was the heaviest I’ve been able to lift in over 6 months.

At this point you are probably saying to yourself, “Okay, great. You just told a story about yourself…What does that have to do with me?” Well, I’m about to tell you.

Whether you realized it or not the moment you stepped foot into South Mountain Crossfit (or your respective gym) you became an athlete, a competitor; maybe not in the traditional sense that you’re going out and participating in competitions, but you are competing against yourself, your friends, your family, and those names on the whiteboard. (Some that you may not even know…“Who is this Dan B. guy who keeps beating me at 5:30am?)

This is human nature. Everyone wants to be better, a better parent, employee, coach, husband, wife, friend, etc. No one strives to be mediocre. In my opinion this is where perspectives start to get blurred. Once you have taken those steps in making a change and have spent some time working towards it we begin to forget all the moments that have led up to it.

That is what I am here to remind you of.

It is truly incredible what the body and mind is capable of and how much emotion it can fit into the blink of an eye. So take that into consideration the next time you look at the whiteboard and think your time isn’t as fast as you want it to be, the scale jumps up a pound, you eat something that you are feeling guilty about, or you don’t PR a lift. This is just one moment. Take a step back; think about everything that has led up to where you are, and really to put it into perspective… Take a minute to truly understand the relative importance of things. (Told you we’d come back to it.)

  • Is it more important that someone’s time on the board was faster than yours or that now you can keep up with your children when they want to go play outside?
  • Is it more important that the scale read a pound higher than yesterday, or that you’ve lost 30lbs in the last year?
  • Is it more important that you had had ice cream for dessert or that this time last year you were eating it for dinner?
  • Is it more important that you PR a lift or that 6 months ago you couldn’t even lift 50% of what you were attempting?

Progress is all in your perspective. I’ve included some pictures below to help you give a better understanding of what I mean.




chris5These depict what my journey has looked up to this point. The changes and experience I have gained in the process have helped me grow significantly. With that being said, it hasn’t been easy, nothing ever is but it was has most certainly been worth it and this is the perspective I choose.

 So the next time you are going to let a single second ruin the thousands that have led up to it or the thousands to follow, whether it’s in sports, work, relationships, or just life, take a step back and think about it.

Is it really worth it?