Posts in Fear & Failure
Fear is Univeral

The thing about fear is that it's universal.

Life is risky, therefore there will always be fear riding along on our backs.

Even things in life we consider "safe" are just short-term comforts (ease-of-minds/blind-eyes) and end up being risks in the long-term.

The cubical job is safe until you start getting health problems from sitting, eating office donuts every day, and getting second-hand stress from your co-workers. (cub-workers?) The job you hate is comfortable and has so many benefits until it's replaced with AI robots.

Your home and your stuff are safe until there's an accidental fire.

 We treat fear like it's our own burden to bear, but in reality, it's something we all face. Some push past fears that hold themselves back, others don't.

For me, it always always always comes down to choosing the right fear to be scared of.

Am I going to be afraid of failing and embarrassing myself?

Or am I going to fear inaction more?

Failure is a numbers game. The more you fail, the more opportunity you have to succeed.

Never trying will always be the biggest types of regret I want to avoid.

Even if I get to the end of my life and all I have done is fail, at least I know that I gave it my 100.

Giving something all you got is succeeding, no matter the actual outcome.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Wagoner

Related Insights

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important." — Steve Jobs

Ready Set Bomb

Sometime you really just need to bomb 💣to get passed your fear of something. An epic fail, awkward starfish, OMG, cringe-tastic, I'm-never-going-to-hear-the-end-of-this flub, kick in the pants, pie in the face, rosy cheeks, bury me in the sand kind of fail.

We can build up sooo much fear and pressure around something in our mind, to the point where we freeze ourselves from doing ANYTHING because of what might happen if we fail. But 99.9% of the time, a funny thing happens when you fail — 

Nothing.

Sure, you might look like an idiot-face, but who cares? (We all do at least once in our lives)

I was talking to a friend about this recently. He said he had the perfect example. One night he was out with his girlfriend and her family and they decided to do karaoke. One by one they each went up and sang until finally, it was his turn.

Someone else picked his song. Ⓧ

It was an obscure oldie. Ⓧ

And they were in Nashville aka everyone and there dog could sing in perfect pitch Ⓧ

He sang and even danced and bombed like the best of them.

You should have heard him tell the story. He wore it like a badge of honor.

Now he can't wait to try again.

The things most of us fear — public speaking, being called out in a crowd, doing standup, starting our own brand / band / blog etc — are just small trip down a sidewalk when we fail, not a tumble down Niagara falls like our minds tell us.

Here's a crazy idea: why not just get it over with? Go out there on stage and bomb. Do your best of course, but if it sucks don't worry about it. 

When we bomb, we lose the pressure we built up to be incredibly perfect.

Give yourself permission to enjoy the bomb, that way, on the next round, there will be nothing left but enjoyment with the process of improving and becoming better.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." — Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones." — Thich Nhat Hanh

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." — Louisa May Alcott

Don't Let the Fear Win

Some days I let fear come between me and my dreams. You let things slide.... you say yes to many good things instead of saying yes to only great things... you let worries about money and time commitments consume you're mind... and some times you procrastinate and do everything under the sun but work on your dreams.

And then I have to remind myself, 

Life is a spectrum of our choices.

Each day is not an isolated point in time, rather a pearl that's beaded on a neckless into a string of pearls. And there aren't that many pearls.

If you’re not actively thinking and working on your dreams daily then you are letting fear win.

I can run through every excuse in the books in my head... but at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to decide to take a chance on myself and step out into my discomfort zone.

It’s a choice I have to make each day.

It’s going for the gold, even though you might end up in 3rd place. But you know what’s worse than 3rd place, or even last place for that matter? 

Opting out of the race.

Has there been a single person in history who has looked back on their life and thought, "golly, I wish I had listened to my fears more".

I'm not talking about lions and tigers and bears (oh my). I'm talking about silly creative fears we cling to like a spaceship in the middle of the black sky.

Take it one day, one breath at a time.

Don’t let the fear win. 
Let it drive you to be the person you are and the person you want to be.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" — Eleanor Roosevelt

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." — Dale Carnegie

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." — Marcus Aurelius

Breaking the Fear Wall

What is your fear telling you not to do?

When you hear the phrase, ‘public speaking’, do you break out into arm sweats? Does the idea of writing a book or build an app (or to fail at writing a book or building an app) curdle your blood?

Are the things you want to do — dreams you desire more than anything — always seem to take the back burner, the last thing you do, or something you procrastinate into oblivion?

Then what your fear is telling you not to do, is exactly what you need to be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, fear sucks. No one ever said it would be easy to start a band or build an audience on YouTube.  But the ones who do and stick with it are the ones who are masters of their own fears. Fear is how we grow into our best selves.

The stronger the fear, the more you need to take action and do it.

Creative fears always feel impossible until you do them.
Creative failures always seem fatal before the fact.
Pushing past these creative barriers will amplify your confidence and creativity.

What fears do you need to tear down to build a better YOU? 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" — Eleanor Roosevelt

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." — Dale Carnegie

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." — Mark Twain

Types of Fears

 In my mind, there are two big categories of fear:

1. Fear of Life

Jaguar in the jungle. Hateful or abusive relationships. Gun violence.

These are the types of fears should listen too, but sometimes ignore despite our better judgement. We freeze and lock up from gut-turning fear. If you’re in a bad relationship (friend or love) you’ve got to get out. Hoping the  problem will go away won’t make I­t­ go away. I’m not an expert, find someone who is that can help. This category of fear keeps us safe when we need I­t­.

The second category keeps us safe when we don’t need I­t­.

2. False Fears

Public-effing-speaking. Starting a company. Traveling alone. These are the things that lead to unknown — or potentially worse case — scenarios in our mind. False fears hold us back from the life we want.

Fears like: 

Fear of failure

Fear of embarrassment

Fear of winning

Fear of not being enough

Fears from your past. (Even Fear of Life events that still haunt you)

 

The more we let these types of false fears control our lives, the less confident, creative and capable we will be.

No more. 

Worrying about what we can’t control needs to end.

Anxiety about what might happen needs to breathed out and released.

False fears are great when we lean into them. They provide us an outlet of change by pushing past them, despite the anxiety they bring. If you lean into the fear of failure, you might fail, or you might succeed. (Which is better than not doing anything, which is failing on its on) And if you do fail, you’ll usually find the fall on your face wasn’t that bad, not as bad as you thought I­t­ would be.

The worst moments I’ve lived through have becoming defining moments that have made me into a better me. Boldly pushing past your false fears will make you stronger, better and brighter than you can imagine.

 

Be Bold.

Own your fear.

Practice what scares you.

Fail so many times you enjoy I­t­.

 

Leaning into fear is immediate feedback on what works and doesn’t.

Our successes will be sweeter knowing the ups and downs we relentlessly pushed through to accomplish a life of meaning and mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" — Eleanor Roosevelt

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." — Mark Twain

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." — Marcus Aurelius

Get Busy Living (Playing I­t­ Safe)

Playing it safe doesn’t work.

When has putting one foot in, one foot out worked out in the end?

I get it. I catch myself doing it too. I’ve been burned out, injured, broke, overwhelmed, exhausted, and a number of other bad places in my life. I don’t want to end up in those places again but playing I­t­self only leads to a mediocre life.

The idea that I might die without putting my writing, music, art, and creativity out into the world terrifies me much more than taking risks.

Don’t die with your ideas still only in your head.

This is my worse case scenario. (That and losing my hands in a freak accident... which is an odd fear I have)

The question I have is how do you tell the difference between playing it safe and making smart choices?

Usually playing I­t­ safe situations aren’t black and white. They live in the grey zones where we might not even know we are playing I­t­ safe and holding ourselves back.

Risk mitigation, and knowing when to say yes or no is smart. But it’s easy to trick yourself into not taking action when in actuality you scared out of your pants.

Fear is the difference. 

Gut check your intuition: Does pursuing this goal or creative endeavor align with who you are? Are you terrified of embarrassment, or failing? Then say YES. 

 

Playing I­t­ safe is:

Giving into fear of failure, embarrassment, or disbelief, even just a little bit. 

Staying at a job you hate because of the benefits.

Never starting your idea because you ‘don’t know enough’.

Doing what others tell you to do without thinking whether its right for you.

Not asking that person out on a date.

Not asking for help or advice because you don’t want to look weak. 


There are so many things that can keep our potential down, but the biggest one of all is ourselves. The moment you break free of your own chains that you locked yourself up in is the moment where life becomes too precious to give into fear.

Your life is too important to give into fear

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death."Leonardo da Vinci
"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." — Dale Carnegie
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." — Eleanor Roosevelt
Reach Out First

Wherever you are in life, whatever your goals are, waiting for a something to happen is a surefire way its never going to come.

Dreams and opportunity work a lot like ordering a pizza — if you don’t call it in and order it, it’s not going to be delivered to you. And they aren't delivered for free — you have to pay for them in with something (time, energy, sanity etc).

(What a cheesy line josh :)

There is no limit to the amount of opportunity that surrounds you. But it’s not going to show up with breadsticks and ranch sauce without you seeking it out.

You have to reach out first.

Ask for help. Work on your art. Practice your pursuits everyday. Learn to be great at what you love to do. Time is just an incubator for your greatest success. Failures become lessons. Priorities reveal themselves.

Complacency is letting life happen at us. Renaissance is relentlessly pursuing life, 110 percent.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Two Choices...

Every day you wake up you have a choice:

1. Do what you’ve been doing.

The same old same old you heard before: 
Let fear rule you. Give into easy. Do what ‘they’ tell you. Blame the world. Work the job that everyone tells you too. Go through the motions of living.
Sure, things are safe, but safe doesn’t automatically mean fulfilling. 

Or —

2. Do something different.

Be the person you want to be. Do the things you want to do.
Write, design, act, paint, perform, inspire, LIVE.
Make the job up as you go. Work like few do, so you can live like few can.

The first path is the easiest because I­t­ requires nothing of you. The second isn’t necessarily harder, it's just unpaved. You’re in the woods and there’s not going to be one way through. You’ll have to think on your feet and be creative. You’ll have to be bold and willing to push yourself like you’ve never pushed yourself before. You’ll have to let go of who you were in the past, so you can be who you need to be for the future.


Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." — Dale Carnegie

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." — Mark Twain

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." — Marcus Aurelius

Lost In Books

Oftentimes, I find myself reading books, watching courses or videos on YouTube, and listening to podcast interviews without absorbing the lessons. I’ll move from one book to the next  (sometimes even before I finish the current book!) without testing/implementing what’s said.

What gives?
Why learn at all if you’re not going to use what you’re learning or grow into a better person?

The problem is you can learn until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t put into practice what you’re (spending all of your time) learning, then you might as well be mindlessly watching TV.

The hard part of it all is that if I do put my practice into action, I might fail. No one might show up. I might be laughed off the stage. I might embarrass myself or others. Yet, might is a such a small word to hang your hat on. Are you going to live your life behind a coulda woulda shoulda? 

Look beyond the failure and see the results of a life well lived.

Practice what you learn, act before you speak and test all assumptions. These are the tools for making dreams reality.

When you read, read to implement. 
When you watch a video or listen to a podcast you are trying to learn how to improve your life, give your complete focus and attention on it. Take notes, list action steps and questions you can reflect on.  And when you learn, practice.

Don’t clean the kitchen while you’re listening to a podcast on how to start a podcast. Focus In. Leave the cleaning and commuting to entertainment instead of mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." — Mary Tyler Moore, American Actress.

"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice."Anton Chekhov, Russian Playwright

Find Low Barriers to Entry

Sometimes the fear is too strong.
I­t­ can overwhelm us and prevent us from going forward.

That’s where low barriers can be a godsend. Low barriers are ways we can put our toes in the water.  It’s a half step towards making the dream happen. Is it better than total immersion? A whole step? No. But half of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. Essential, we are breaking down our big hairy goals into executable bite-sized chunks.

Low barriers to entry can show us that ‘hey, this isn’t so bad after all’.

Want to start a blog/vlog or podcast? Start with making one episode. You don’t have to post it, you just have to hit record and show yourself that you can.

Want to start a freelance business? Start by becoming your own client. Design or code something you want to create first.


Want to get healthy? Start with breakfast. Eat whatever you want during lunch or dinner, but focus on making breakfast as healthy and as possible. (Or try Intermittent Fasting)

Make the first step easy. Show yourself how good it can feel to do good for yourself and your aspirations. 

Stay BOLD. Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." —  Lao Tzu

"The first step is you have to say that you can." — Will Smith

Get Some
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.
— Peter Marshall

Are you putting pen to paper?
Oil on the canvas?
Words in the mic?
Hands on the keys?

I don't care what's stopping you, or why it's stopping you from living the life of your dreams.

All I care about is the fact that it is stopping you. 

Let go of your expectations, let go of your assumptions and the shoulds you've created in your mind. Let go of the person you think you should be, and be the person you are. Be the voice of change. Wherever there was a triumph success to a mission, there was a beginning step into the unknown and fear.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights:

"You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." Zig Ziglar

A Worriers Guide to Living in the Moment

I­t­ was chilly outside. I️ was wearing a casual grey suit jacket with a camel colored scarf. The restaurant was hustle and bustle. I️ walked up to the counter and asked for a table for 2. The wait time was 20+ minutes and my lovely date was just leaving the gym, so I️ whipped out my kindle and started where I️ left off with Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. Times fly’s way to fast (I️ never to read enough) And then she stepped in.

She was wearing a purple coat with a large black circular scarf. Her hair was prim and curly, and her eyes sparkled as she looked at me. Fortunately for me, she was (and is) mine. We embrace with a hug and I️ tell her how lovely she looks.

Dinner was excellent, the conversation was fun and very renaissance life. Lots of talk about how we wanted to become better and more capable than we are. We talked about friendships we wanted to cultivate and the life we wanted to live.

It’s a small moment, but a moment that will be etched into my memory (and now the internet lol) I️ was practicing the art of living in the moment and I­t­ was exceptional.


It’s hard for me to be in the present moment. It’s something I️ strive for, but I­t­ doesn’t come easy. It’s one of those skills (and I­t­ is a skill) that no one teaches you, but affects everything.

I worry a lot. More than I️ would like to admit. More than I️ am conscious aware of. But I️ don’t worry about things I️ can’t control — the weather, other people’s attitudes / moods, fortune’s favor — instead I️ worry about the future. I️ worry that who I️ want to be — an musician, author, entrepreneur, connector, artist.. — isn’t going to happen. That the me I️ am now isn’t the one that creates that version of me I️ picture. Basically, I️ worry that I’m not doing enough, being enough to align to my values.

I️ know this is bogus. I️ know intuitively that I️ can create radical change in my life at any moment, that my future isn’t set in stone no matter how old or young I️ am. Yet I️ can’t deny my anxieties.

That’s why I️ practice living in the moment. Developing a moment practice allows you to step out side of your self-centered nature and see the big picture. If worry and anxiety was a hurricane, mindfulness is viewing the hurricane from outer space. Most of the problems in our lives are created by ourselves. It’s not until you can step back and see that can you start designing how you want to live and how you can solve them.

 

Breathing Practice

I️ use Headspace in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day. Sometimes I’ll use I­t­ at night as well, or use oak to add a second time out for myself. Oak has a great guided feature with background noice (like rain) that really calms me down and allows me to focus in on the textures of my surroundings.

Most of my work day is on on on on on (repeat to infinity). Often times I’ll look up from my computer and half the day goes by without me having moved or given myself mental and emotional breaks.

I️ also challenge myself to see how many deep breathing exercises I️ can do in a day. I️ use Dr. Weil’s Deep breathing method: Inhale (nose) for a count of 4, Pause for a count of 7, and exhale for 8 seconds (mouth). Repeat 6 times.


Intentional Practice

The second living in the moment practice I️ do is actively telling myself to be intentional about a particular moment. (For example my dinner experience above) What you do is tell yourself to give 100% on whatever you are doing in this moment. If you’re eating lunch, focus exclusively on eating. The taste, smell, textures, feelings. Your mind is always going to wander, and that okay (perfectly normal). The mission is to practice and hone your ability to focus in.


Nothing Practice

This one is a new concept to me, and one that I’m still bad at. Often times, there is so much that I️ want to do and be, I️ fill my days up wall to wall with activities. If I’m not working, I’m working on something else. I’m writing, playing guitar, listening to podcasts, chatting with friends. The nothing practice is setting time in your day where you do absolutely 0 things. Nothing, Nata, Zip. I️ see I­t­ as applying architecture’s concept of negative space with your mind. Designing a building — or a city is important, but how people move and interact within the space is determined by the negative space — the space between structures. So too with our minds. We need to leave room for negative space to give our minds room to rest, rejuvenate, be bored and wonder. I️ think we tap into our unconscious mind when we wonder. The best ideas I’ve ever had in my life have been my minds has wondered off into my imagination.

Creativity and connections happen in the negative space.

 

Do you have any other tips you practice on living in the moment?

Let me know!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Own the Crap 💩

This is day 47 of me writing one post a day on the Renaissance Life. I’ve had many days (like today) where I not able to sit down to write until 10:30 PM. (😴) Yet I sit down and ship the best post I have in me. I’m sure when I look back at them they won’t all be great. (Ugh what was I thinking?!) Perhaps I’m even rehashing the same ideas in different ways. It doesn't matter,

It’s all a part of the process of stretching your capacity. 


Being exceptionally doesn’t come on the first round.

You never want to run a marathon on your first day of trying out running. (Let me see what this running thing is all about)A bestselling book doesn’t happen from cramming a writing session in the night before. It takes the accumulation of experience, thinking, observing researching, writing, editing, building a platform and marketing. You don’t become a hip hop artist by rap-a-longing with Drake or Logic.

But you do become a runner when you get off the couch and put on your shoes and run. You become a writer when you start writing your book. You become hip hop artists by practicing your own rhymes and getting up on stage.

Along the way you’re  going to have some failures and misses.

Own them — Own the crap. Because the crap will is just obstacles on your way to creating something great.

Babe Ruth was the king of home runs, but he was also the king of strikeouts.

People won’t remember your strikeouts if you crowd them out with home runs. 

But you can't hit a home run without going up to the plate. Sure, you might strikeout instead, but not trying and giving it your all is the worst form of strikeout you can do.

(So many baseball analogies...)

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

You’re a Slacker McFly, Just Like Your Old Man

How many of us go through our entire life living passively

We spend most of our time hoping for a better life while taking part in a life that doesn’t align with our core self. We work, interact, read and exist as if we will live forever and that we have the option to slack off. We avoid who we want to be, in service of who don’t want to be.

All the while, we could die tomorrow in a freak hotdog accident.

I don’t want to live a life of a slacker and wake up one day when I️’m fat and 85 and wonder what happened.

Slacking isn't having negative 'nothing' space or spending time with what you love. Slacking off is distracting yourself from what you should or want to be doing. It’s the fidget spinner of our humanity. 

Do people plan to be apathetic?

No, I️ don’t think so. Living asleep happens gradually and it’s hard to notice unless you’re  already out of it­ looking back to the bizarro world you lived in.


How do we keep ourselves from being apathetic and complacent?

1. Have a reminder that life is short.

A phrase you read each morning or a memento you carry as a reminder.
Read I­t­ in the morning, feel I­t­ in your bones.

2. Create weekly, monthly check-ins to review what you’ve been doing.

 What’s working, what’s not?
 Are you giving time for the important things?
 Are you taking steps towards accomplishing your goals?

3. Make a plan for what’s important, and take daily actions that challenge your status quo.
    What are you afraid to do?
    

We must live in our discomfort zone to create radical change in our lives.


Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Related Ideas I’m thinking about:

Fear Setting from TF
The Tail End, from Wait But Why
Guilt, Happiness and Honesty, from Ryan Holiday (Feb. 2008)

Expectations

I tend to create high expectations for myself when I­t­ comes to goals and visions of who I want to be and how I want to live. (Who doesn’t?)

Actually, scratch that. I tend to have high expectations for myself about EVERYTHANG. I’m not seeking perfection, but I don’t want to live my life at 11.

High expectations can backfire.

One big problem I need some improvement in is having huge expectations of how much I can take on at once, and how much I can fit in a day. Sometimes packing your day in with 30 - 50 different things work, but you’re not left with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. You feel tired and empty like a container of squeezed toothpaste. And on the days where things do NOT work, everything sets on fire. (AHHHHHH!)

When I expect more for myself, and I don’t reach that expectation I’m a ball of anxiety, frustration, and discouragement (probably a little hungry too). All that these negative emotions give me is the exact opposite of what I wanted and why I had high expectations in the first place.

Clearly high expectations don't work for me.

If a sound vision and specific goals and sticking with it make the dream happen, what do we do with our expectations during the rollercoaster ride on the way?

What if low expectations + high self-esteem is the winning formula for happiness and achievement?

Here’s a small example: I’m a big superhero fan. When the movie Man of Steel came out, I was pumped. After the string of great and good Marvel movies, and the Dark Knight movies by Nolan, I was expecting this D.C. movie would be killer. I wanted I­t­ to be good, but the more I watched the more disappointment I was. Cut to this year past year, I had low expectations for Wonder Woman and Justice League. Yet Wonder Woman was fantastic! And Justice League — all be I­t­, not the greatest thing in the world — was a fun ride too! Now, I’m not saying the quality of these movies was determined by my expectations (You still have to create excellent work), I do think that our perception of a result/outcome we have in our head can skew how we paint the world.

Expectations is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

Expectation is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

 

Putting in a different light, it’s like saying, ‘I can’t be happy unless X happens.’

Perhaps the old adage, ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ is actually wise. Low expectations are not about living based on negative attitude toward life, it’s about fundamentally understanding that anything can happen to us, good or ill, and what really matters if we stay true to who we are.

In essence, high self-esteem could be believing that no matter what happens, I’m still complete.  I'm still me. My life is still worthy and full. (worthful?) It’s saying I have this vision of what I want to look like, and knowing that no matter what happens, If I stay true to me, trust those I look up to, consistent in my actions and pursue my life with fire and gusto everything will turn out okay in the end. (No matter the setback or failure I may face).

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights:

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important." — Steve Jobs

"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools." — Confucius

"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine."Bruce Lee

Death By Opportunity

I’ve talked about how I️ went through some difficult failures and setbacks on a recent post here. My solution? When the world keeps slapping you with No’s, you start saying yes to opportunities.

Your No’s could be a job loss, a bad breakup, financial meltdown, health problems, crippling fears, burned bridges and everything in between.

It is Imperative to say YES to every* opportunity when you’re going through rough times and setbacks.

(* the exception being it's a good opportunity, not a stupid opportunity that can get you killed, maimed, or worse)


How do we say yes to opportunity?

  1. Go out and look for it. It’s like when you want a particular car and then you start seeing that car everywhere — so too, with opportunities. You’re not going to find opportunities sitting alone in your room watching Netflix. Break up the mundane by going out and doing things you don’t normally do.
  2. Create it. Start building your idea muscle. Pitch ideas to business and friends. Taking classes in something you’ve always wanted to learn. Find groups and organizations you can join. Talk to people who do something you admire or would like to do yourself.
  3. Ask for it. There’s nothing wrong in seeking help, by that socially or professionally. In fact, asking for help will not only keep you sane, but it will also shorten the gap between having no opportunities and finding an abundance of opportunities. When I️ was feeling burned out, I️ asked my friends for advice. When I️ was going through some financial problems last year I️ ask friends if there were any work opportunities they knew about.

How can we expect something to happen if we don’t go out looking for it, asking for it and creating it? 

The closer we can align our mind with our actions the better our life will be.


However, when you’re life becomes less volatile, there is such a thing as too much opportunity. If you say yes to everything, regardless of whether it aligns with your values our not, you’re setting yourself up to overwhelmed. (dun dun daaaaaah)

Too much of a good thing will kill you.

Saying yes to more and more opportunities at once will split your time and attention into a million different directions and will keep you from doing what you’re passionate about.


When should I say yes, when should I say no?

I️ can’t tell you whether to say yes or no to a dancing opportunity versus a traveling opportunity. Ultimately, that decision is up to you based off what matters most to you. Once you choose, never look back. (Alternatively, sometimes there are ways to make both opportunities work if you can find a clever solution. It’s like Peter Diamandis says, “When given a choice – take both!”)

I️ can teach you one thing I️ learned recently from Kyle Maynard in Tim Ferriss’ book, Tribe of Mentors. Kyle is the best selling author, award-winning mixed martial artist, entrepreneur and ‘known for becoming the first quadruple amputate to reach the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua without the aid of prosthetics.’

Here’s Kyle’s solution: 

“My biggest shift came after listening to a successful CEO talk about his philosophy of hiring people. When is the company grew and he ran out of time to interview people himself, he had his employees rate new candidates on a 1– 10 scale. The only stipulation was they couldn’t choose 7. It immediately dawned on me how many invitations I was receiving that I would rate as a 7 – speeches, weddings, coffee, even dates. If I thought something was a 7, there was a good chance I felt obligated to do it. But if I had to decide between a 6 or an 8 it’s a lot easier to quickly determine whether or not I should even consider it.”

When you’re facing an opportunity does it lean towards a 6, or an 8? Again, this is a fantastic way to make sure what you say yes to align with what actually matters to you. What does gut say?


Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Sleepwalking Mask

I’ve been reflecting on Lewis Howes new book The Masks of Masculinity. (Great read highly recommended it) In it, he discusses the mask that guys can put on as a lens into how to live in the world. Athletic Mask, Stoic Mask, Material Mask... Lady’s can have these masks too, but they generally have better support groups and talk with friends differently than guys. (More honest and open relationships about what’s going on)

Being honest and open about my life and mission in life to be a Renaissance Man is one of the reasons I started the Renaissance in the first place.

Somewhere between middle school and high school, I changed. (No duh stupid it’s called puberty idiot-face :) When I say change, I mean I lost a piece of who I was and put up a barrier. Instead of being more outgoing and taking chances, I would hold myself back. A veil of apathy maybe.. although apathy might be too strong of a word... I was mild. It was more like a piece of glass between who I was and who I came across as. Paul would say I wasn’t living at level 10, instead, I was living at level 7 or 8.

Inside, I was energetic, curious, outgoing, creative (and a little rebellious) but subdued, possibly even a little distant on the outside. I still cared about things, — which is why the word apathy doesn’t quite fit — I enjoyed hanging with my friends and pursuing passions (music, art, math, sports) and creativity, but I wasn’t living my life to the utmost. I wasn’t completely awake. I was living like I was sleepwalking.

I didn’t see this at the time of course, (hindsight is a 20 / 20 Bee) and I doubt others did either. I think this continued to college and on. It wasn’t until I started the Renaissance and improving myself that I started to feel the glass between the world and my real self.

Living asleep won't kill you, but it won't give you an extraordinary life.

I want to find my childlike curiosity and boldness again.

There’s wisdom in living your life with child-like wonder and imagination. I’m not trying to look over the childish traits — self-centered, stingy, short — those are there too.

But the closer we can get to who we were as kids — imagination, playing, laughter, making friends, taking action, learning — the better our perspective and experiences in life will be.

 

The questions I’m facing today are:

Q: How do I live every day by being fully ALIVE?

Q: How can I increase my energy, charisma, and enthusiasm for what I do, who I am and who I aim to be?

Q: How do I live a fulfilled and extraordinary life?

Q: How do I create the most impact on others lives and build a network of incredible relationships

Q: How can I practice curiosity and childlike wonder and imagination every day in all that I do?

I don’t know if I have an answer yet on how to remove the sleepwalking mask, but I do know that continuing what I’ve been doing can do nothing but help:

Asking hard questions.

Making new connections.

Challenging myself with daily challenges.

Getting into what makes me uncomfortable.

And doing what I fear so that I can become what I dream.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."Marcus Aurelius

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." Joseph Campbell

How to Turn Your Worst Setbacks Into Your Greatest Triumphs

For the Last 8 Months, I’ve been sleeping on my parent's couch. (Hard to say, but it’s true)

But in all honesty, life couldn’t be better.

Okay, you might be wondering how have I adopted this mindset?

My life imploded into oblivion after my health continuously became worse.

Here’s what happened:

I sprained my neck about 3 years ago. The first year was hell and it put a lot of things in my life on hold.

I burnt myself out at a job where I was barely making enough to pay rent let alone anything else.

I was unintentionally exposed to bad mold from my apartment which led to weird health issues that were hard to pin down.

Every day I felt more tired than the last. When you go to bed tired and wake up tired you know something is wrong. (But the question is what?) Continuous Signs of Fatigue, Do I have CTF? The worst part is not knowing what’s wrong.

I attempted to make my side-business more than a side-business at the worst possible time. It worked at first, but after having some bad-egg clients, things got worse. (And cue financial problems.) My girlfriend was also having job issues, so I was helping her as much as I could.

I kept talking (complaining *cough cough*) circles around fatigue, ache, money, and other problems that made me and everyone else blue in the face. I started identifying who I was with the problems I had.

I felt isolated and alone. Unable to keep up with my friends, be that energetically or financially.

It’s difficult to be yourself, your whole self, when you’re tired, broken, broke, despairing and on the verge of tears.

All of these setbacks were a one, two, PUNCH on my psyche and on my desire to be the best version of myself I can be.

But here’s the punch line:

I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past few years, it’s
Your greatest triumphs come from your worse setbacks.

What separates those who use setbacks to their advantage and use them to surpass where they were, versus those who give up and never recover? (And how do we become the former rather than the latter?)

You are not your problems.

Having an injury or bad job, or health issue, or anxiety, or ______ (insert pain-point here) doesn't me you are that experience. Everyone has issues, even the larger than life characters we look up to, but that doesn't mean that's your identity. Pain is a shared human experience. It's not meant to be bottled up instead. It's meant to be shared and relieved by the hands of others. Pain is a touching point to guide, inspire, and related to others through there own pain.

Every moment in my life where I’ve been broken down and beaten to a pulp by failure and setbacks, Has been the path to my greatest success and growth. As much as I️ would rather not feel the anxiety, frustration, pain, illness and all the negative outcomes of facing setbacks, I️ now see the value and blessing of going through hard times. Once you see the blessings in disguise, you having something to focus on besides the pain itself. Knowing there is a kernel of truth in pain and that truth will help you achieve your wildest dreams is how we can take advantage our worst experiences and allow us to build an extraordinary life.

There are hard-earned lessons in pain. (It’s hard to see this during, and might be impossible to really know what I’m talking about unless you’ve gone through your own share of setbacks) There are also opportunities and abundance in pain too. 

Where am I today?

I’ve got a new apartment, one that I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve got a great job working on Pass It Down and working with Paul Cummings. My business started to thrive when I️ made it my side business again. My relationship with Gabriella and my family has improved. And best of all, I’m thinking less about me and more about you and how I️ can make an impact on your life and on the lives of others everywhere.

How did I get here? What do you do when you are facing down the barrel of a setback?

I️ asked for help. I️ reached out to friends to see if they knew of any work available I️ could take on.
I️ said yes to opportunities that came my way, big or small. I took chances. I created challenges for myself.
I pitched ideas to others to collaborate. Not all of them said yes, but one, two, three yeses are better than none. One yes is all you need to get going.
I️ invested money in going to the doctor and have started to unlock the solutions to my health and energy problems.

I’m still working on my health, my friendships, finances, spirit, creative pursuits (like this blog) and other areas of my life. But as long as I️ focus on improving in each area every day, and remember the lessons learned from my experiences, I️ know any setback I️ face I️ will be able to turn it into my greatest triumphs. And you can too with yours.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Action Steps:

  • Share your pain
  • Look for opportunity and truth when you are facing down the barrel of a setback.

Related Wisdom:

"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom." Rumi

"The struggle of my life created empathy - I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me."Oprah

"A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle."Malcolm Gladwell

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward."Henry Ford

Defining Moments

Yesterday I talked about my 5 definitions of success. You could also call them my life principles.

To piggyback on that idea, I think my biggest pain-points in life have been when I don’t follow my own principles.

Anytime I️ don’t make time for creativity and learning I️ start feeling anxious and crazy. Anytime I️ say yes to mediocre and unimportant things or when I️ say yes too much at once my life implodes. When I️ give into fear instead of being BOLD, when I️ fall into a mental rut and go numb because of a setback or failure, or when I️ don’t put in the time for friends and family — I️ suffer. I live in a suffering mindset instead of a successful mindset. My mind paints the world like nothing ever works out and I should just go lay down and take a nap.

We all define success in our own ways. The key is to make sure your life aligns with your definition.

The most defining moments of your life will what you do with failure and what bold actions you decide to take.

I would have never learned just how vital our body is unless I hadn't broken it by spraining my neck a few years ago.

I would never be doing the work I'm doing if I hadn't sought out opportunity and challenged myself with action.

Don't go out and fail on purpose, or risk your life frivolously.

Live by what your heart is telling you. When setbacks happen — and they will — be the better person you've always wanted to be.

Action Question:

  • What are my most defining moments in life so far?
  • What do I normally do when I fail? How can I fail better? How can I master the art of failing forward?
  • What do I fear? What is making me uncomfortable? What bold actions do I need to take?

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom: 

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." — Albert Einstein
"Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen." — Wayne Huizenga 
"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space." Johnny Cash
"Failure comes only when we forget our ideals and objectives and principles." — Jawaharlal Nehru
CHALLENGE: What Would You Change If You Were Going to Die Next Week?

Time is a fickle friend.

Used properly we can increase our abundance — skills, ideas, friendships, wealth, experiences — through the power of compound interest.
Used poorly we can haphazardly give our time to things we don’t care about, and even worse we give our time without actually intentionally deciding to do so.

And Death feels like a far off event that happens when you’re old and grey.
But really it could happen any moment.

We can plan our world for tomorrow but die today.
That’s why brushes with death can powerful motivators. You hear stories about people completely rewriting their story after almost dying in a car accident, or from a health scare.
Moments like these can be a lightning rod to what really matters to you.

Death Becomes Me
So what would you change if you were going to die next week? What would you change?
Would you change anything?

Would your relationships be different?
Would you do the same work?
Would you have the same hobbies?

I want to live my life to the fullest every moment, because if I don’t that means I’ve been living my life with a glass half full.

You are going to die, so  why not be ALIVE while you can?
I’m not talking about reckless abandon (and three sheets into the wind)
I’m talking about intentionality. What would your life look like if you did everything to the upmost?

Extraordinary.

My actions will be fearless. Why wait? What would I wait for? How could I possibly be scared of trivial things like failing or standing out when it’s up against.
My wealth will be in the number of people I️ impact, not the number of zero’s in my bank account.
My friendships will be based on quality and care.
More confident, present,  and.. happy.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner