The Materials aren’t as important as the workmanship

What do you see?  It’s nothing more than a forklift pallet, right? They are sold for anywhere from $10.00 to maybe $45.0o for a really nice one, because the wood is beat up, unfinished and abused.  It’s use was for nothing more glamorous than to have heavy stuff stacked on it, so a forklift could pick it up and stack it on another pallet of heavy stuff. It could have been anything that was stacked on there, the pallet is non-dicriminatory.  Great books? Sure! Ramen Noodles? You bettcha! They could also stack rice, dirt, porn, steaks, seeds, wood, computers, tile, washing machines, pencils, car parts…you get the idea. There is nothing special about them at all in the least.

That is, until someone with the right set of skills comes along and takes that pallet and turns it into something that sells for $10,000.00.

From the Taylor Guitars Website:

Inspired by the now-infamous guitar the Bob Taylor made in 1995 to prove that it’s the design and the builder, and not the wood, that define a great guitar, the Limited Edition Pallet Series Grand Auditorium 6-string boasts the same features as the original — back and sides of “pallet-grade” oak, and a top of pine fir, or hemlock (who knows? it’s a two-by-four). The fingerboard inlay depicts a factory forklift in yellow Formica Color Core, aluminum, and two kinds of mother of pearl. 

These guitars are hard to come by, but are literally made of a few of the pallets that were out back in the guitar factory.  Now, that same $10.00 pallet, with the addition of some steel, glue and formica, will sell to discerning collectors for 1o grand.   I love that you can still see the nail holes and scuffs on the wood. I don’t think this was an easy guitar to build.  The materials are rough and difficult to form, didn’t bend well, and not in the best shape even in their prime. They’re 2×4’s for crying out loud.  But, Bob Taylor was able to turn that pallet into an instrument of great worth and value.

Now, what got me thinking about this? Over the last few weeks, as I was watching the games, seeing those incredible athletes and yesterday reflecting on my less than stellar performance at CrossFit Chupacabra, I was beginning to feel a bit defeated.  I am never going to be that good, to look that good, to lift that much, to move that fast. Blah, blah, blah… But then I remembered the pallet, and that started a whole new line of thinking.

I too am made of less than perfect materials.  I have nail holes and scuffs (literal and figurative) and I am sure that I can be difficult to work with. I definitely do not bend easily. Yet, with the proper training, time and skill, I think that there can be something pretty great made out of this mess. And not only that, but all of us, even the best of the best, are not much more or less endowed than anyone else to start. Even Spealler.  Ok, maybe not Spealler, but the vast majority of all the crossfitters in the world started just like you and me. Rough, inflexible, scuffed and punctured, and looking for the right hands to form us.

So, that got me to thinking of what kind of progress I have made in the last few years. This first picture of me is from when I was 29, and just about 190 lbs or so.

Then, after really hitting the gym, doing my bicep curls for 2 years or more, riding and swimming and running, I worked myself to this stunning example:

Yeah, I am definitely sucking my gut in big time.  I was sill about 180 or a bit less, but that was it.  Then, I stopped working out again for a while, so I know I wasn’t any better than this, probably worse, but I have no photographic evidence.

Then, I find CrossFit, and in less than a year of WODs, and less than 4 months of eating Paleo, we find ourselves here:

161 lbs, 10% body fat, and in better shape than I have ever, ever been.  I weigh less and can lift more, ride faster, run longer and do a ton more pullups (and anything else for that matter) than I could even at my best Body-for-Life days.

My point in showing these pictures is not to hold myself out as a model physique, or the perfect crossfitter, or anything like that.  The point is that this stuff WORKS, and like the hair club for men, not only am I the owner, I’m also a client. The only thing I do differently than what we program in the box is ride my bike, the sport that I love.  That’s it. The WODs are all the same, I’m right there with you.  I don’t have any secret sauce or magic lifts. I do what I program for you to do plain and simple.

So, no matter what shape you think you are in, or how gifted or not gifted you think you are, no matter what skills or talents or traits you think you have, no matter what obvious flaws you have, what hidden flaws you have, none of them matter! The magic is in the movements! The secret is nothing more complicated than eating well and doing constantly varied functional movements at high intensity in a community of like-minded folks. That’s it.

We are all pallets, but we are not only pallets forever.  We have all had heavy shit stacked on us, and then been stacked onto other people’s heavy shit again and again, but that doesn’t define us. We have the choice to be that, or to be better. We have the tools and the time and the skills to transform ourselves into something so very much better.  We have the choice to become what we ARE! Not what we currently do, but what we really and truly are, and that is a confident, strong functional and capable human being. Some of that we can learn in the Box, and what we learn here transfers into everything else.  But the choice is no one’s but YOURS.

So, what’s it gonna be? Pallet, or an instrument of incredible value and worth?

– Tim


Filed under Philosophy

3 responses to “The Materials aren’t as important as the workmanship

  1. Jack

    Terrific analogy and awesome perspective. As always, thanks for putting yourself out there – to challenge, inspire and relate.

  2. Scott

    Loving the blog post recently….great job, keep em coming.

  3. fife

    The Pallet analogy really hit home for me. Keep it up bro!

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