Simple Shifts

For the last 500+ daily blogs that I’ve written, I can’t think of one post that I didn’t write on that day. Usually cranking one out 10PM, completely exhausted and spent.

I’d like to blame my demanding work schedule that’s been controlling my life the last few years, but if I’m honest with myself, despite the validity of that excuse it still feels like a cop out.

An excuse is an excuse. Especially when it comes to excuses that are stopping you from pursuing what you love.

It’s like Debbie Millman from Design Matters says, “Busy is a Decision”

The silliest thing is it would take me much to change how I write a blog each day. A simple shift would completely reinvigorate how I write each day:

Write two posts today instead of one. Today’s post and tomorrows.

They don’t have to be blow-your-socks-off amazing. They just have to come from your thoughts and experience.

Sometimes ideas like that just need a push. Just a little oomph and energy spent towards creating something that matters.

Sometimes a simple shift in the right direction is all we need to completely change our lives in a positive way.

This post is that oomph for me.

I’m still writing every day, but writing in advance instead of day-of gives me a lot of flexibility. First, I can let each blog idea stew for a bit longer. This gives me more time to think about the idea, research and relate it to other ideas out there in the world, and make it better my giving more time. Second, it gives me mental space to think about bigger and better ideas. And third, it opens up some of my time to focus on larger writing projects than just my daily’s.

It only took me 516 days to work up the mental strength to actually do it!

But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #517

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Bears Love You

There’s a scene early on in the first Ant-Man film between Scott and Luis.

Scott just got out of prison and Luis is picking him up. The key thing to note here is Luis always has the biggest smile and happiest demeanor throughout the entire conversation (and film).

Scott Lang: Hey, how’s your girl, man?

Luis: Ah, she left me.

Scott: Oh.

Luis: And my mom died too. And my dad got deported.

[Scott just stares in awkward silence]

Luis: [Suddenly enthused] But I got the van!

If all of that happened to me, I would be an absolute wreck. (knock on a thousand pieces of wood) I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, let alone be happy about a van.

Of course this is a movie and this obviously a scene for the laughs and you’re not seriously supposed to start thinking about Luis’s setbacks and tragedies.

But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s an insight to be gleaned from how Luis handles life.

Everything sucks, but I’ve got the van!

I’ve read our brains are wired, or at least tend to bend towards focusing only on the negatives that happen to us. Spotting danger (Will Robinson) is part of our humanity. If you’re in the wilderness and there’s a bear close by, it’s hard to really care about how lovely the tree canopy looks in certain lighting, or that there’s edible berries to the left of that tree over there. All that matters is THE BEAR.

Yet today, not all of our problems are hungry bears. Meaning, we can face some incredibly challenging situations that bring pain, anxiety and stress — like being financially volatile — but they’re not going to (directly) kill us.

The question is, when everything in our lives implodes, how to do we stay focused on the positives instead of being consumed by the negatives?

How to Focus on the positive instead of the negative.

1. Drown out the negative

The big problem with negative situations in our lives isn’t the event at all but the negative mental loops we run in our head ad infinitum. This can be explicit talk like “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m ugly. I’m ugly. I’m never going to win. I’m never going to win.” Or even more insidious, returning to memories of the negative events that happen to us and playing them on repeat (which lead to or imply the explicit:’ I’m not worthy’ self-sabotage).

One great way to get rid of the negative mental chit-chat that’s controlling our lives is drown it out and leave no mental space for it to exist. In his wonderful book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, Kamal Ravikant dives deep into this idea and offers practical advice on self-compassion and self-love from first hand experience of hating himself. The daily practice he created was to repeat the phrase: “I love myself” over and over in his head. The intention is to commit to something that’s positive (i.e. I love myself) even if he began with not believing it, to incept himself into believing it, which ultimately changed and transformed his life.

2. Reinforce positivity.

Related to drowning out the negative, we can also reinforce the positive by creating practices that fill our days with positivity instead of negativity.

This could be gratitude journals, affirmations and the like.

Or it could mean simply not reading / watch so much news (or twitter). News that’s designed to get the most clicks and views through shock and awe.

3. Ignore negativity through momentum.

In the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie talks about the idea of losing yourself in action. When we start moving towards something, anything, and create momentum in our lives, it’s hard if not impossible to give negativity the time of day. By working towards improving your life, worry and negative thoughts have no place to exist.

4. Talk (or write) them out.

Find an outlet that gives you peace of mind. Maybe that’s talking to a friend or therapist, or maybe that’s simply starting a blog or vlog to hash out your thoughts and experience.

5. Surround yourself with Luis’s.

Negativity creates negativity. Positivity creates positivity.

It’s hard to be grumpy when you’re surrounded by happy people. Eventually their positive mood rubs off on you.

By finding positive people to surround ourselves with, we begin to learn what makes them happy, and how we can apply their frameworks to our own lives.

The idea is not to be always perfectly happy and positive.

Rather, the goal is to not let negativity control and consume our lives to the point of overwhelm and inaction.

If you’re feeling stuck in life, it’s less about what’s happened to you (even the worst things and the things that weren’t our fault) and more about how you are thinking about what’s happened to you, and how that’s affecting your ability to move forward.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #516

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Anchors of Hope

My mind is spinning today.

From all the things I’m trying to learn, and all the things I don’t know.

From decisions I’m following through with, and future plans I’m beginning to wireframe in my head.

I don’t think anyone born comes out thinking, “I really want to be bad at life. I want to suck at living.”

We are born with pure, 100% grade optimism and curiosity for the world.

And very quickly the world tries to beat it out of you.

Perhaps you were born premature and immediately have to begin fighting back the obstacles that pepper our lives. Or maybe you’re like me, a late bloomer, who faces his (or her) obstacles today.

Those obstacles guide us forward. They feel like wrenches in the gears, but in reality they are the levers that lift us further and farther to heights we didn’t even know about.

This is a perspective that can easily be masked by the struggle with negativity and self-doubt and fear that shoots holes in us. And without something to look forward too, without a plan to anchor us into the present, we can quickly burn ourselves from the inside on the anger, resentment, regret or even shame that clouds up our minds.

What we need are pieces of hope. Signs that are trying means something. An idea or mission that guides us forward and gets up in the morning, one more day, to keep going and improving and living meaningfully. For some that’s faith in God or faith in science. For others that a business or a passion that guides them. For others it’s a helpful friend or even the little surprising things of life, like a lovely sunset or the sound of rain.

For me, I could use all the help I can get ;)

Find your hope.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #515

IG: @Renaissance.Life


Book: Almost Everything by Anne Lamontt

Josh Waggoner
Breathing Room

When you’re schedule is jam pack...

When you’re running from meeting to meeting...

When you’re attention span is the size of a small grape...

It’s hard if not impossible to be creative.

Creativity thrives in breathing room.

Our best ideas usually come to us when we’re not trying to think of ideas at all.

Ideas come through space and silence, like a walk in the park.

They come through white noise that surrounds you, like the sound of water in the shower or the waves flowing on the shore of a beach.

Creativity is a fire that needs the right ingredients to work well. It needs oxygen and wood and a spark.

Value. Resonance in your life. Novelty. Connection.

You can get by on cranking things out and forcing creativity to show up, but to do it right, you’ve got to allow yourself the opportunity of a little breathing room in your life to really get to the good stuff.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #514

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
So simple it just might work

Maybe all you’re missing is a plan?

A simple plan to follow and guide you forward.

Planning is easy to overlook. We become so excited about our ideas or something we want to do yet we don’t actually take the time to think through our actions and where they are potentially taking us.

It doesn’t have to be a fixed plan, or over planned. It should change and develop as you go.

It doesn’t have to be a perfect plan either. Nothing goes perfect right all the time. Plans grow and improve and get honed along the way.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #513

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Filling the Void

Just like without a deadline our project will fill out to infinity,

We also fill out our spaces in by the size and type of environment we live in.

Physical and mental spaces.

Let’s consider physical spaces.

If you are used to traveling around the world with just a suitcase and a backpack, you natural limit what you carry and get rid of everything else. An extra 1/2 pound is nothing after 30 minutes, but a complete hellish burden after a couple of days. Most of the time we sidestep this when we travel because we have a destination, a hotel, an airbnb, a friends place, somewhere to place and keep our belongings. Imagine the scenario where the two suitcases, the backpack, the side bag, the paper bag currently holding your uneaten sandwich couldn’t be drop off anywhere. What would you do if the stuff you took with you had to be on your person the entire time?

Our environment, the city and culture we live in has a dramatic effect on our lives. But it’s not just the big spaces we live in that pull us in different directions. The small spaces change us too.

Physical space, the size and shape has a strong determination of what we put in it, and therefore can have dramatic effect on our lives.

If you have a giant empty house, you’re going to naturally want to fill it with things. If you have a tiny apartment, if the smallest case of disorganization makes your place look like it was hit by a tornado.

This is something I find wildly soothing and gives me peace of mind. I think its because it’s a small sign that we’re not always naturally crazy.

What we are talking about here is boundaries.

We are constantly being pushed and pulled, poked and proved to do things and to be convinced to do thing by everything around us. This is also a space we haven’t given ourselves boundaries in.

It’s also something we can use and hone to our advantage.

I built a giant bookshelf so that I would have the desire to fill it up with books. Books to learn and improve. Books to challenge and explore. Books to be better and teach me how to be wise.

Want to be really good at something? Create the space for that something to exist and thrive.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #512

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Mitigating Fear

There’s a razor thin line between fear and safe.

In fact, making decisions out of fear can sometimes look like making decisions out of concern for safety and risk. And even worse: sometimes we can disguise one from the other with ourselves.

You make the call to not move across the country. But was it because of fear or because you’re playing it safe?

It depends on what’s driving you.

Fear might give you a hundred reasons why you shouldn’t.

Safety might give you an additional hundred ways things can go wrong.

Safe actions get you safe results. Usually.

But worst case scenarios can be planned or in advanced.

If fear is the only thing holding you back, then it’s time for a bold action.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #511

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Wit & Will

I’ve been re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies recently. I started with the first Iron Man and now just wrapped up The Avengers Age of Ultron

I needed some comfort food (the best top notch million+ $ kind) in a troubling time in my life. I guess you could say I need some heroics in my life right now.

One thing that holds true with Marvel hero’s — and hero’s in general — is there will. The kind of will that get’s you up off the ground no matter how hard you were punched or kicked in the face. Will. And the willingness to fight for what you believe is right. And wit. A lot of wit.

The ability to joke on the worst days, and pick yourself up (or pick others up / or allow yourself to get picked up by a helping hand), and to help when all odds are against you, and all you have left is your friends and your wit. Now that’s heroic.

Every day won’t be happy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be. Happiness is willed into your life from the inside.

And hard work is what wills our ideas and dreams into reality.

Sometimes we get beaten down.

But beaten down doesn’t mean lost.

There’s always away.

We just need to stand up and keep fighting for it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #510

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Turn on Happiness

Of course it hurts, that’s why it’s called suffering.

However, pain isn’t finality. It ebbs and flows — here one day gone the next.

Bad day’s are just that — a bad day.

Don’t let suffering drown out your happiness.

Happiness is a skill, just like anything else, that needs to be cultivated.

Happiness is being in a cage yet totally free.

Whatever your cage is, whatever is holding you back, it and happiness are not mutually exclusive. They can coexist. Even if everything sucks around you, you can still turn on your happiness.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #509

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner

I’ve got a T-shirt that says “100% Human”.

It’s a silly shirt, that gets silly replies like “100%! I don’t believe it” or “I’m 90% percent human, 10% robot” or “ I’m 100% sparkling water“.

... Alright that last one I made up.

If I were to think about it and take it literally, I am 100% human. We all are.

At the end of the day, despite any negative setbacks or poor decisions or good decisions that end up badly, still human.

The limitation are the same. But the capacity to grow and change and connect and help and stand up and do better the next round is what human means.

Our challenges are our strengths.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #508

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Something Bold

Intuition is a little like the game of darts. You might not be 100% right — in fact your aim could be completely off — but if your gut is telling you something, you’re probably close to hitting the bullseye.

There’s nothing worse than having a gut moment of intuition / instinct, not following it, and ending up it being true.

Well some things are worse. Like allergies.

But that feeling of knowing you should do something — usually something BOLD — but don’t out of fear or sympathy or not wanting to be wrong is certainly not my favorite emotion.

As you are reading this, think about your own intuitive situations.

Intuition comes from life and our experiences. It’s not something most of us grasp or even think about normally, but it’s something we all feel a taste of sooner or later. From my observations, I’d say that intuition is part nurture, part character. It’s voice is determined by who we’ve been and who we want to be. It can get out of whack sometimes, and it’s always good to check in with yourself, but more often than not its leading you where you want to be pulled. I don’t know for sure. For all I know we are born with it. Whatever the case, what we do with it is the more practical thing. Will you ignore it, or use it?

Feeling your gut is learned through listening for it’s pull.

Following your gut is learned by each bold step towards it we take a chance on.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #507

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Rube Goldberg Solutions

What action or series of actions can you do that cascades into a desired result?

Think about it like trying to skip a rock on a pond. You need to find just the right type of rock and throw it at just the right angle and WHOOOSH skip skip skip away it goes. Skipping rocks, knocking down dominoes, creating rube goldbergian contraptions, a snowball rolling down the mountain... whatever example that sticks with you.

What are the small things you can do that create the big outcomes you want?

Going to bed early => more rest and energy => greater resilience to stress => more creativity => healthily mindset => better sleep => even more rest and energy....

What is a big problem you can do that solves a whole bunch of little problems automatically by their relationship to the real issue?

Fix your health => smart and deeper work + better relationships + better outlook on life..

Or looked at the opposite: what are the small things, the small bad habits or decisions that are causing me the most harm and taking me in a direction I don’t want to go?

Find the first action. Make the change.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #506

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
It’s time for a different playbook

Bitterness is like ink overrunning on a sheet of paper. It stains everything: your hands, the paper and everything it touches.

The problem is — to take this analogy to the extreme — the ink is invisible.

Bitterness hits us and builds before we even know what it is. Outwardly, it can be confused as anger, or resentment or passive aggressive or reckless. But usually its unseen and harms the giver more than the receiver.

Bitterness happens when things don’t go in our favor. The fault can, and usually is, completely out of our control. Yet we are the ones that still feel let down by events and life and bite the bitter fruit.

Bitterness is cured by resilience. We need to be able to adapt to misfortune and find the sweet / opportunity in any bittersweet moment. Things happen. How we think about these things and what we decide to do with them is how we win.

When you do your best and nothing goes right, its not you — it’s your playbook. Find more information. Seek wisdom and counsel. Learn to have compassion for yourself, even when you feel like doing the opposite.

When in doubt, throw out your playbook, start from scratch or find a better one.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #505

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Having Influence Over Yourself

There’s very little of our lives that are set in stone.

Birth and death.

But our time here, the living in-between those two bookends is ours.

Things happen to us, things happen at us, things happen because of us, and — of course — things happen regardless, without our input.

There’s only so much we can change with things that happen to us. We can change our inputs. We can change what and who we surround ourselves. A large part of the things that happen to us is determined by where we live and what we do for work.

The things that happen after the things that happen to us, on the other hand, we can change. Our reaction might be just as important as our actions.

Others have said this better than I:

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”Epictetus

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”Charles R. Swindoll

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”Wayne Dyer

And related: “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”Hans Selye

We are not the sum of what happens to us, but we become the sum of how we act with what we are given.

Some unfortunately don’t see that in time and crash and burn.

Others learn that (usually the hard way) and become better for it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #504

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Worry worry...

You’ll never no if you don’t try…

And if you don’t try, you’ll definitely get a no.

Sometimes, it’s worth going for it.

Other times, it’s worth waiting until an opportunity presents itself. But you still have to be ready when the moment comes.

There’s nothing worse than looking past an opportunity that you didn’t take because, for whatever reason, you feel like you weren’t ready (worthy / able / enough) in the moment.

I don’t worry about dying, I worry about not living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #503

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Pursue your Bliss

Pursuit is a fickle thing.

Desiring something doesn’t assure you will receive it. That’s only one piece of the puzzle. Curiosity, grit and resilience (aka humble stubbornness), kindness, vision, drive, discipline, friendships, courage, and getting back up when you fear and fail.

In fact, anyone can desire to create something, but not everyone with a desire does. How many kids want to grow up to be an astronaut, yet how many reach it? The desire was beat out of them.

Of course there’s always other dreams. Always other ideas and desires we can reach for. Like they say, ‘one door opens as another closes’.

Pursuing something is meaningful, but don’t think it will be easy. But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go for it. If you can’t stand waking up and not seeing your ideas reality, then by all means, give it everything you’ve got. But remember on the hard days, the fun of creating can also be challenging and that the challenge is part of the fun. (Even if it sucks.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #502

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
To Catch a Wave

Newsletters, blogging, twitter, vlogging, podcasting, instagram live….

The medium is different, but the idea is the same: to share your voice and stories and to connect with others.

To resonate with others, you must resonate with yourself. Resonance is knowing who you are and also seeking who you are.

There are a lot of voices out there, and sometimes I feel like a pebble in the grand canyon. But that doesn’t mean I should stop. There are plenty of waves to go around.

It’s just a matter of finding that sweet spot between practice, discipline, endurance and luck.

And the luckiest seem to be the once that keep standing up after getting knocked down.

Sometimes the best way to catch a wave is not at all. Instead, help others catch their own wave.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #501

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner

Another day finished.

Another daily blog completed.

Not as important as yesterdays, nor tomorrows. Because each day is equally important.

Today matters.

Because todays checkmark on the list means something. Even the crappy ones.

Consistency, progress, and growth matter. The good adds up.

We are always changing towards something.

Make your something meaningful.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #500

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
The Things about Unhealthy Habits...

Unhealthy habits are usually masking a greater issue underneath the surface. They are a way to cope with something we dislike — such as pain, failure, boredom, unfulfillment, money problems — with something that gives us immediate pleasure — taste, numbing, excitement, distraction, escape.

The problem isn’t really the unhealthy habit of eating a whole box of cookies multiple times a week, or smoking, or drugs, or buying anything you want. The problem is what’s missing from your life. Sure, eating a whole box of cookies each night isn’t going to do you any favors, nor bring you your life back, but it’s not what’s bothering you — what’s bothering you is your life.

We need to focus on improving the big things that are bothering us, our friendships, our job, our relationship, our passion, our finances *first.*

In fact, we just need to focus on one. One thing that will lead to the next, then the next. Then the little unhealthy habits are not needed anymore.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #499

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner

Everything doesn’t always go right.

In fact most of the time it doesn’t.

Because right is only perception.

And right is a fixed moment in time, a period (.) at the end of a sentence.

We don’t know what’s coming after wrong. A moment of failure could be the greatest thing to ever happen to us... because it changes the course of our lives. Failure stings, but not hopelessly. Failure, pain, loss... negative things can either be our master or we can be there’s.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner.

Daily Blog #498

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner