Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 318

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 318

Each week, I sit down and look out my window and try to find something positive to talk about for my introduction to Wandering Weights. With life, there are times I am more optimistic than other weeks.
Today, I see a snowy street. When the Covid lockdown first started, Murray City decided…finally!!!…that my street needed new sewers, new waterlines, new fire hydrants, new sidewalks and new asphalt.
Trees were ripped down, trucks were everywhere and the noise…the noise! Cue Kurtz from The Heart of Darkness:
The noise…the noise.
I know he said “the horrors” but that wouldn’t have been funny.
So, while I have been merrily locked down, my little world has been completely dug up, ripped up and cemented over.
This morning, things are quiet. Really quiet.
It seems that a vaccine is going out to distribution as I type this today. We are deep in the Holiday Season for many religious traditions. It seems that the world has quieted down today.
Frankly, I needed it. As we march through life, “normal” can often seem to be a moving target. As I look over my decades, things tend to generally get better. This little device that you are reading my words alone should be a cause for celebration.
A lot of people have told me they look forward to getting back to normal. Well, normal is never normal. It’s like saying “the good old days:” the good old days may have been good for some and horrific for many others.
Things will change.
And that’s okay.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 71 of the podcast.
We finished a massive redesign on the site this week. It’s much more mobile friendly, easier to navigate, has a dark mode, and is getting the site closer to becoming an app. All the feedback so far has been positive. We hope you all like the new look.
Have a great week!
Pat and I had another fun podcast. Improving pressing seems to be a big topic again; I’m seeing it on forums and emails almost daily this last week.
Wandering around the internet was a bit more interesting this week. We are getting close to the end of the year and lists tend to be popular during this time. So, I will probably start finding those this week or so.  Sadly, internet lists have become so common that last week’s Family Guy poked fun at it. Let’s get wandering.
This might take a bit to open, but these early exercise machines are worth looking at today.
As the youngest of six, I find this article to be absolutely true. Truth. All true. And, it’s a fun read.


Parents also give younger siblings a better chance of becoming elite athletes by treating them differently. Parents are notoriously more indulgent of later-born children, letting them go out more at a younger age — including engaging in unsupervised informal play. Compared with older siblings, younger siblings are around 40 percent more likely to be allowed to play dangerous contact sports, so they have more opportunity of making it to the top in these sports. A certain rebellious streak may also benefit younger siblings on the field: In Major League Baseball, younger brothers are 10.6 times more likely to attempt to steal a base and 3.2 times more likely to steal successfully, Sulloway and Zweigenhaft found. Later-born MLB players are also more likely to get hit by a pitch than than their older brothers, suggesting that they’re less likely to be intimidated and less willing to back down from a confrontation — perhaps because those younger brothers were hit by more pitches growing up playing with their elder brothers.

End quote
Chris Long and I once had a long debate for his English class about this. I have always given Hamlet a break (he was fairly young dealing with ghosts, deaths, infidelity and, well, ghosts) but this is a great way to look at his experience as a life lesson.

Hirschmann, a legendary economist and considered by Gladwell and many others to be one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, lived his life by one guiding principle: “Hamlet was wrong.”
Like a lot of Gladwell’s sharings, this may sound odd. But after hearing his explanation it makes sense. Hamlet is a classic case of someone who thought too much and did too little. He planned and plotted but his inability to make a decision and take action not only tormented his days but cost him his life.
According to Hirschmann, however, Hamlet had it backward— the uncertainty of the future shouldn’t freeze us but rather free us. This is because the only thing we will ever be able to predict the future with any level of certainty is that it will continue to be highly uncertain.

End quote
I love these kinds of articles…even though I get lost in the points sometimes. To live longer, I guess I need to learn how to fly.

What, then, are the real possibilities for human longevity?
There seem to be, in an evolutionary sense, almost no limits. That’s what’s really striking. Possums that live on an island without predators double their lifespan over five or six generations. And birds live far longer than they ought to if you extrapolate from their metabolic rate. A pigeon will live for about 30 years, even though, based on their high metabolic rate and body size, you would predict a lifespan of only three or four years. That’s a tenfold increase. There are good reasons to think the reason that pigeons live a lot longer is that they have been selected for really high aerobic capacity; in other words, they’re able to fly. There’s a tremendous metabolic cost just to get off the ground, and so they have to have good mitochondria to do that. And part of having those really good mitochondria is that they leak very few free radicals. That seems to be one of the reasons why pigeons live so long.

End quote
As I look back, from my perch at age 63, I found some wisdom here in this article. I felt the least satisfied in my twenties. It took a liver parasite, living in a basement, and feeling lousy 24/7 to get me to walk to the library and check out some books and audios and “turn things around.” It only took about three years!

“What I want you to know and keep in mind is that your 20s are very turbulent and that it does get better,” Vulliet says. “You want so much for yourself, you have such expectations, you have so many wishes to succeed, and there’s a lot of anxiety that goes with how all that will take shape. I never want you to get carried away with how hard it seems.” She adds, “Growing up is a lot like the weather. Every time you hit the big storms that seem like they’re going to snow you under, it will change and get better — and the sun will come out.”

End quote
The following piece is probably one of the best coaching articles I have read in years…and it is all about retirement. The point on plans versus planning sums most of what we do in coaching.

When sharing my thoughts one year after early retirement, I wrote priorities won’t magically change when you retire. After three years, I believe this even more strongly.
So many of us cling to stories that simply are not true. We use work as an excuse for everything that we choose not to make a priority in our lives or that we’re afraid to do.
I’m going to be brutally honest. If there’s anything that you think you will do in retirement that you’re not doing now, you probably won’t.
There is a good reason you’re not already doing that thing. It is not a priority in your life. If you want things to change, you need to own that.
If you plan to start exercising, meditating, or eating better when you retire, start now!
If you plan to become a better spouse, parent, child, or friend when you retire, start now!
If you are going to try that hobby, develop that new skill, or learn that foreign language you’ve always wanted to when you retire, start now!
If you want to travel in retirement, start traveling now! (OK, you might want to wait a little bit on that one until it’s safe, but I think you get the point.)
So much of retirement planning is wishful thinking. I was guilty of it, and I commit to being brutally honest about it in my writing so I don’t contribute to spreading that mindset to others. I encourage you to start building your best life today, even if you can’t retire yet.

End quote
Well, as I look over this week’s readings, I don’t see a lot of five sets of two or “eat this.” However, there is a lot of great information that will be as good as any supplement. I always enjoy finding things that expand the brain as much as the bicep.
So, until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 172

“Good-bye,” whispered the Wart. “It was worth it.”

 “Good-bye,” said Merlyn. “I don’t think it was worth it at all.”

 “You may well say Good-bye,” sneered the giant, “for soon this choppy blade will rip you.”

 “My dear friends,” shouted King Pellinore out of his cell, “don’t you say Good-bye at all. Ay think Ay can hear something coming, and while there is life there is hope.”

 “Yah,” cried the imprisoned inventor, also coming to their help. He feebly rattled the bars of his cell. “You leave those persons alone, you grincing giant, or I won’t make you an unbreakable helmet, ever.”

 “What about your stays?” exclaimed the next cell fiercely, to distract his attention. “Fatty.”

 “I am not fat,” shouted Galapas, stopping half way down the passage.

 “Yes, you are,” replied the cell. “Fatty.”

 “Fatty!” shouted all the prisoners together. “Fat old Galapas,

“Fat old Galapas cried for his mummy

He couldn’t find his stays and down fell his tummy!”

 “All right,” said the giant, looking perfectly blue in the face. “All right, my beauties. I’ll just finish these two off and then it will be truncheons for supper.”

 “Truncheons yourself,” they answered. “You leave those two alone.”

 “Truncheons,” was all the giant said. “Truncheons and a few little thumb-screws to finish up with. Now then, where are we?”

 There was a distant noise, a kind of barking; and King Pellinore, who had been listening at his barred window while this was going on, began to jump and hop.

 “It’s it!” he shouted in high delight. “It’s it.”

End quote

Most readers would know “Billy Club” or “Police Baton” more than the older name of “truncheon.” Thumb-screws are a form of torture used historically on slaves and heretics. They are also known as “perrywinks,” but I would avoid using them no matter their name.

From the beginning of this, I noted that Pellinore is the odd thread that ties this whole story together. We met him before we met Merlyn, he teaches us about tilting, he is part of the Boar Hunt and here we find him in the depths of the dungeons.

What does he hear? Who can make him yell, in delight, “It’s it?”


DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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