[SB 203] Engineer your evolution over an explosion
Hi, I’m Matt. Welcome to Steady Beats. If you like to walk for a better life, and also like Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” you just might like this newsletter.
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Whether you’re new or have been here for some time, I’m honored you chose to peruse my weekly ramblings.
Two hundred and two editions in, I don’t know exactly what this newsletter is yet. But most of what I write about bounces around the intersection of these aims:
Refining our lives, rather than retiring from them, at midlife
Playing long and consistent games with creativity and fitness
And I write against a soundtrack of the finest 80s tunes, because life is just better with those songs playing in the background.
Apply all that to the mixing board, and you have Steady Beats.
Please say hi in the comments. What are you working on, and working towards? I’d love to hear from you, and Steady Beats works much better as a conversation than a monologue.
Getting road wins at the gym
I’ve been traveling with my family, bouncing around two different Michigan towns. Throw a business trip in the middle and it can be a challenge to maintain strength training.
Here are three tips to keep you lifting on the road this summer.
1. Reset your expectations
When you’re in a new gym, it’s not the place to set new PRs. You’re getting in the travel workouts most people skip, so take the W, congratulate yourself, and get through the workout as best you can.
2. Less measurement, more feel
If you use machines, the amount of weight you lift for your usual exercises will probably be different on unfamiliar machines. It’s annoying. I don’t know why it happens, or why there isn’t some bureaucratic standards board that standardizes these things.
You’re on your own with new machines, so you need to test them out.
Rely on feel over measurement. Allow yourself some test reps. Your muscles will tell you when you’re in the ballpark of your usual lifting amount.
This muscle-instinct rarely fails me—I find myself maxing out sets at about the same number of reps. My muscles know what weights to use if I just get out of the way.
3. Probe pricing options
Many gyms have day rates (or even free day passes). Some have other price options, such as a 2-visits-a-week rate.
Sometimes you can grab a $10-a-month rates and cancel after your last visit to avoid the inevitable annual fee that’s on its way to your credit card statement.
Explain your situation, be pleasant, and you’ll probably get hooked up with a decent deal.
Let’s get some road wins at the gym this summer.
Evolution over explosion
First of all, I cannot put this book down:
A review of “I Want My MTV” will come later, after I get through the book’s 608 pages. And yes, the book is full of salacious and ridiculous stories of the music video industry in the 1980s (somehow even wilder than I imagined …), but it’s also chock full of lessons on entrepreneurship, selling a vision, and just “trying stuff” to see what works in business and content.
But more on all that in a future edition.
Michael Nesmith led a fascinating entrepreneurial life after The Monkees TV show and was one of the first people to make music videos and put them on TV — an idea which evolved into MTV.
What Nesmith is saying here: Invention is an evolution, not an explosion. At the heart of the any “new” thing lies an interconnected set of tools, tasks, and ideas that morphed into something novel.
We all want the explosion, the rapid breakthrough, that delivers all our dreams.
That’s rarely how it works.
Take the creation of the iPhone, so well-described in Brian Merchant’s “The One Device”. In the book, Apple founder Steve Jobs, rather than being a singular inventor, is shown to be a curator who builds on technological advancements of the past, pushes others to advance the tech and ideas, and then synthesizes it all into the device we know today.
At midlife, we face moments we need to reinvent ourselves.
And that process is no different than any invention: it rarely comes from a singular flash of insight. Instead, reinvention is born from taking what we know, what we want to know, and what we’re passionate about. Then we recombine and build on those things to package up something new and valuable for ourselves and the world.
Reinvention is just that simple, and just that hard. But we’ll get there. And then we’ll do it again.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the Steady Beats going. 💚
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