Side Learning

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Getting into Arkansas, my confidence in the pop in approach was growing. It was state 40, meaning I had met with 78 gym owners and 78 brewery owners already. I know one of the factors of influence is consensus, meaning that people follow other people (Influence by Cialdini). With such high numbers, it would be easier for an owner to know I was on a legitimate journey and was determined to make this happen.

I came across Hot Springs and found a gym that wasn’t CrossFit nor a chain. I popped in and met the owner, but he was in the middle of training a client. He said I could come back later and we scheduled a time to make it happen.

I then headed over to a CrossFit gym that was attached to a community center. After entering the door of the community center, I heard there was a separate door for the gym I should’ve used. Chalk it up to being from out of town. I told my story and the owner of CrossFit Hot Springs was able to meet with me then and there. It was great for my timing and I heard how technique trumps time, meaning they take pride in adjusting form, even if it means adding some time to a workout. This will make for greater safety and greater improvements over time.

There was some time to kill before returning to the first gym and I had learned a little more about the hot springs area and how this used to be a very popular place for bathhouses due to the springs. I walked around town, did a self-guided tour of one bath house and found it interesting. I think it is interesting to see things that may seem weird to me, such as a public bathhouse, but that were popular some years ago.

Some people thought there were health benefits associated with the springs as well. One of the old places had been turned to a brewery which naturally caught my eye. Unfortunately, the owner wasn’t around, and it seemed like that manager wasn’t really getting my journey. Perhaps it was how I described it, or other factors but it wasn’t meant to be.

It was now time for my other gym meeting and it is called Flex Fitness and it was quite clear the owner lived the life. He had competed in bodybuilding and the gym is focused on fitness. A great pumping iron vibe here and I heard how being purposeful when marketing leads to a consistent atmosphere.

Now it was time for the breweries and I wasn’t having much luck. I had sent out some messages but had delays in getting responses. I decided to walk around more and found a place called Craft Beer Cellar in Hot Springs. It is a store that sells a large variety of beer but also has beer on tap. I thought I’d go in and see if perhaps there was a connection I could leverage to meet a brewery owner, plus there was an off chance like in Missouri that this place also brewed.

As it turns out, they did not brew but the guy behind the bar was nice and informative. There were also two patrons there that thought my story was cool and offered to buy me a beer! It was a nice moment chatting with some people and relaxing.

From there I decided to drive away and get a workout in. I took my time since I didn’t have any obligations and decided it would be another hotel night. I got out of the workout and had a voicemail from a brewery owner saying he could meet but the timing was tough. I was kicking myself for not having the phone on me during the workout, as I could’ve cut it short and met with him. While that would’ve been nice, I do enjoy not having my phone on me during a workout. It is a nice escape from things and I can just focus on me.

Through a couple back and forth conversations, it seemed like later in the night there may be a chance as he was flying out of town the next morning. As it turns out, the owner of Diamond Bear Brewing Company invited me to his home to answer my questions. I was blown away by this effort and kindness on his end.

It was later at night and so there was a little bit of caution on my end and I’m sure on his too, but things went smoothly. He offered me a beer from his tap and I happily accepted. I then worked to get through the questions in a quick way as to not keep him up, but there were pulling forces of him wanting to get to sleep and yet interest in the project and discussion. I truly appreciated his time and heard how attention to details leads to medal-winning beer.

During the conversation, my beer was running low and he offered to refill it which was greatly appreciated. When I was getting ready to depart he gave me a couple of cans for the road too and said he didn’t have anymore. I expressed my gratitude for his kindness, especially in the given timeframe.

The next day was spent around Little Rock. I noticed the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. I had been to a few others (President Lincoln and President Wilson) but this was the most modern and very expansive showing documents and sharing stories of President Clinton’s time in office. It was enlightening to see how well documented everything is and how expansive a President’s attention needs to be.

Nearby the library was Rebel Kettle Brewing and even though an owner was in the middle of brewing, he took time during the longer durations to pop out and answer my questions. I was grateful for his willingness to accommodate me and I heard how trying other beers can serve as inspiration for making new beers.

With the completion of all my meetings and the side quests of exploring the hot springs and Clinton Presidential Library, it was time for a drive over to Oklahoma.

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