Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 232

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 232

New from OTPbooks.com:As you’re reading this, the crew at the fulfillment warehouse should be offloading pallets of DAN’S NEW BOOK!

I had a delightful weekend. The weather continues to change by the hour, but I planted some new bushes on Saturday and it is all part of my plan to use less water. I expanded our rock gardens and added a lot of red rock recently.
Of course, I woke up really sore on Sunday. Gardening puts you in some weird positions. I train often and hard, but it isn’t anything like picking up rocks, kneeling for long periods and moving shrubs.
I got some good news on Friday. It’s been four months since my total hip replacement, so I made myself do a full body scan to see how things were going. My lean body mass has gone down:
.1 Percent. You might miss that: POINT ONE percent. So, I have “lost” (I’m not going to actively search for it) 25 pounds since the surgery and the scan tells me that it was all fat.
Now, before the questions about the miracle come in:
1. NOT being in pain all the time also means my hormones get a chance to move from panic to prosperity.
2. NOT being on drugs that mess up everything has to help.
3. Not having an infection that inspires horror movies might have moved the needle a bit, too.
So, yes, I lost a lot of fat. But, we have to be honest about surgeries and infections: They change the whole system.
Still…it’s a win. I feel like myself for the first time in a decade. Dan Martin and Laree remember how much pain I was in when we filmed the DVD at Juan Diego back in 2009. It’s been a long road getting my hips done. Trying to “tough out” 24/7 pain probably sounds good on paper or when you say it out loud, but it is tough in the real world.
Maybe this week’ s first article might help some of us out with how we understand others and their issues.


Then, more than a decade ago, a certain suspicion of empathy started to creep in, particularly among young people. One of the first people to notice was Sara Konrath, an associate professor and researcher at Indiana University. Since the late 1960s, researchers have surveyed young people on their levels of empathy, testing their agreement with statements such as: “It’s not really my problem if others are in trouble and need help” or “Before criticizing somebody I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place.”
Konrath collected decades of studies and noticed a very obvious pattern. Starting around 2000, the line starts to slide. More students say it’s not their problem to help people in trouble, not their job to see the world from someone else’s perspective. By 2009, on all the standard measures, Konrath found, young people on average measure 40 percent less empathetic than my own generation — 40 percent!
It’s strange to think of empathy – a natural human impulse — as fluctuating in this way, moving up and down like consumer confidence. But that’s what happened. Young people just started questioning what my elementary school teachers had taught me.
Their feeling was: Why should they put themselves in the shoes of someone who was not them, much less someone they thought was harmful? In fact, cutting someone off from empathy was the positive value, a way to make a stand.
So, for example, when the wife of white nationalist Richard Spencer recently told BuzzFeed he had abused her, the question debated on the lefty Internet was: Why should we care that some woman who chose to ally herself with a nasty racist got herself hurt? Why waste empathy on that? (Spencer, in a court filing, denies all her allegations.)

End quote
If I could wave my magic wand and get people to do two things, it would be sleep more and drink more water. This article is simple, but it has some great ideas.

Raise your hand if you hit the snooze button. Why not, right?

“Resist the temptation to snooze, because unfortunately, your body will go back to sleep — a very light, low-quality sleep,” Robbins said.

As you near the end of your sleep, your body is probably nearing the end of its last REM cycle. Hit that snooze button, and the brain falls right back into a new REM cycle. Now, when the alarm goes off a few minutes later, you’ll be in the middle, not the end, of that cycle, and you’ll wake up groggy and stay that way longer.

Having trouble kicking the snooze button habit? Put the alarm on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

And no, you can’t tell Google or Alexa to turn it off. That’s cheating.

End quote
This documentary is just amazing.

There are a handful of popular songs that have become cliche and shorthand for filmmakers wishing to take us back to the trauma of the Vietnam War: Jimi Hendrix’s cover of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” or Edwin Starr’s “War,” to name two. Yet at the same time, while classic rock lives forever, memories or lessons of Vietnam have not. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” originally was a comment on the Sunset Strip Curfew (anti-war) riots, but now its meaning is open ended enough to suit any potentially violent protest.
In Polyphonic’s two-part series, cleverly titled “How the Vietnam War Shaped Classic Rock” for the first half and “How Classic Rock Shaped the Vietnam War” for the second, Noah Lefevre performs a needed reevaluation on dozens of rock and soul songs, placing them back in their historical context and showing how the power and message of music evolved as the war descended into chaos and defeat.

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Rarely will you find a fitness tip that is equally applicable to all areas of your life.


What do Kodak, Blockbuster Video, Borders Books, and the Cleveland Browns have in common? They were all busy doing things the same old way over and over again when the world around them was changing; they neglected to “stress” themselves in the direction of growth. The first three are out of business and the Browns are perennially at the bottom of the NFL.
What do Google and the San Antonio Spurs have in common? They all continue to evolve their strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Google does this by extending into new markets—think: from an internet search-engine to self-driving cars. The Spurs do it by constantly evaluating and adjusting their style of play, including overseas recruiting of little-known players who become hard-to-guard stars. An area of business research called Organizational Ecology says that organizations that are forward-looking, reflective, and challenge themselves to grow tend to survive and sustain their performance over time.

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This article really does a nice job clarifying some of the new buzzwords about strategy. The point on agility really resonates with me as a coach and trainer.


Myth 4: You don’t really need a strategy; you just need to be agile
Why it’s plausible
Agile firms – especially start-ups – are always turning on a dime and they certainly don’t seem to be following any kind of plan.  Easy enough, then, to assume that what you see an agile firm doing – acting at high speed, maintaining a high tempo, being highly responsive – is all there is.
Why it’s wrong
Agility is not a strategy.  It is a capability, a very valuable one which has immediate operational benefits, but that cannot permanently affect a firm’s competitive position unless there is a strategist taking the right decisions about where to direct that capability.  And the seeming absence of a plan doesn’t mean that successful start-ups don’t have strategies.  A strategy is not a plan, it is a framework for decision-making, a set of guiding principles which can be applied as the situation evolves.  And most start-ups fail because being able to turn on a dime doesn’t mean that you’ll turn in the right direction.  Successful start-ups actually do a lot of hard thinking about fundamentals, questioning and testing basic assumptions with a rigour that incumbents would do well to emulate.   Start-ups have to, because their resources are extremely scarce.  If they don’t have a coherent strategy, they will make poor resource allocation decisions, and for them that will not mean a fall in earnings, but death.

End quote
I’m off to Denver this week for a workshop, but I will be working hard on a new vision of training some of my people. I will share this all soon with you. It’s nothing fancy, just simple ideas packaged in one three-month program.
Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.

In this excerpt from his new book, Dan John tells us about his experiences at Skyline College: growing up, learning what he was capable of and being prepared to step up to the next level.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 88
“Well,” said Robin, when they had wakened and eaten the breakfast of bread and cold venison which they had brought with them, “you will have to love us and leave us, Kay. Otherwise I shall have Sir Ector fitting out an expedition against me, to fetch you back. Thank you for your help. Can I give you any little present as a reward?”
“It has been lovely,” said Kay. “Absolutely lovely. May I have the griffin I shot?”
“He will be too heavy to carry. Why not take his head?”
“That would do,” said Kay, “if somebody would not mind cutting it off. It was my griffin.”
“What are you going to do about old Wat?” asked the Wart.
“It depends on what he wants to do. Perhaps he will like to run off by himself and eat acorns, as he used to, or if he likes to join our band we shall be glad to have him. He ran away from your village in the first place, so I don’t suppose he will care to go back there. What do you think?”
“If you are going to give me a present,” said the Wart, slowly, “I would like to have him. Do you think that would be right?”
“As a matter of fact,” said Robin, “I don’t. I don’t think you can very well give people as presents: they might not like it. That is what we Saxons feel, at any rate. What did you intend to do with him?”
“I don’t want to keep him or anything like that. You see, we have a tutor who is a magician and I thought he might be able to restore him to his wits.”
“Good boy,” said Robin. “Have him by all means. I am sorry I made a mistake. At least, we will ask him if he would like to go.”
When somebody had gone off to fetch Wat, Robin said, “You had better talk to him yourself.”
They brought the poor old man, smiling, confused, hideous and very dirty, and stood him before Robin.
“Go on,” said Robin.
The Wart did not know quite how to put it, but he said, “I say, Wat, would you like to come home with me, please, just for a little?”
“AhnaNanaWarraBaaBaa,” said Wat, pulling his forelock, smiling, bowing and gently waving his arms in various directions.
“Come with me?”
“Dinner?” asked the Wart in desperation.
“R!” cried the poor creature affirmatively, and his eyes glowed with pleasure at the prospect of being given something to eat.
“That way,” said the Wart, pointing in the direction which he knew by the sun to be that of his guardian’s castle. “Dinner. Come with. I take.”
“Measter,” said Wat, suddenly remembering one word, the word which he had always been accustomed to offer to the great people who made him a present of food, his only livelihood. It was decided.
“Well,” said Robin, “it has been a good adventure and I am sorry you are going. I hope I shall see you again.”
“Come any time,” said Marian, “if you are feeling bored. You only have to follow the glades. And you, Wart, be careful of that collar bone for a few days.”
“I will send some men with you to the edge of the chase,” said Robin. “After that you must go by yourselves. I expect the Dog Boy can carry the griffin’s head.”
“Good-bye,” said Kay.
“Good-bye,” said Robin.
“Good-bye,” said Wart.
“Good-bye,” said Marian, smiling.
“Good-bye,” cried all the outlaws, waving their bows.
And Kay and the Wart and the Dog Boy and Wat and Cavall and their escort set off on the long track home.
End quote

As we come to the end of this adventure, perhaps the longest in the book, it’s time to say goodbye of our forest friends for a bit. Robin will return for a Christmas adventure, but we won’t see the whole troop again.
Wat will never truly heal. He and Dog Boy will be on the fringes of a few events, but their story ends here too. I’m not sure how large the griffin’s head would be, but I do feel for Dog Boy having to deal with it.
Kay and Wart will begin to split after this story. Kay’s trajectory is heading for knighthood and taking over the castle and manor. Wart, everyone assumes, will be his squire.
We know better.


Rehab and training are very similar entities. Rehab professionals and strength coaches seem to be at different ends of a continuum, but their work is often in the middle of those worlds. Here’s Jeremy Hall and Rob Panariello: The System and the Rehab/Performance Continuum 


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