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Most People Underestimate Their Own Influence

For most people in the United States, Memorial Day is a sunny day spent at the lake or in the backyard with family and friends. We think about the Stars and Stripes for a few moments longer, play our favorite Toby Keith song, and revel in the freedom our military men and women have earned us.

For a small portion of the population, they take things up a notch by completing a grueling workout called "Murph." This workout was created by CrossFit in memory of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy who died serving in Afghanistan in 2005. Being a member of a local CrossFit gym, the expectation is that each year we will complete that workout as a community on Memorial Day before rolling out the hotdog machines and enjoying a post-workout parking lot party.

This year, coach Bill unintentionally disrupted this expectation. In a conversation with our gym's owner, he casually mentioned that he wasn't a huge fan of only doing Murph on Memorial Day each year. There are hundreds of "Hero WOD's" (Workouts of the Day created to memorialize fallen service members) and it struck Bill as odd that we only do Murph every year. After all, it's called Memorial Day not Murph Day.

What was intended as an innocent conversation, a person simply stating an opinion, began to influence our community as a whole. Our owner agreed with Bill's position and decided that instead of just doing Murph, our community would have their choice between Murph and another workout on Memorial Day.

For some people this may seem trivial, but how did you react last time someone tried messing with a tradition you cherish?

People began choosing sides, text chains were formed, and drawn out, intense, sometimes even heated conversations were had. In fact, they are still being had. It's unclear how this issue will turn out, but the point is clear: most of us downplay or underestimate the influence we have on those around us.

Bill's intentions were never to cause conflict, but unfortunately when we aren't intentional with the influence we do have, it can have unintentional consequences.

Accepting the fact that you have influence isn't arrogant, it's actually responsible.

Don't underestimate the influence your opinions, tone, reactions, and words have on people around you. You never know when a spark could turn into a forest fire.


The workout "Murph" consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 air squats, followed by another 1-mile run. All with a 20# weighted vest for men and 14# for women. The fastest "official" time belongs to Hunter McIntyre at 34:13.


Think of a person that influences your thoughts or actions on a weekly basis. Text them and let them know, in case they tend to underestimate their influence.


Who do you think you influence the most?


"Anything in life worth doing, is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."

- Shane Patton; Lone Survivor

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