Posts in Goal Setting
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

I Wont Stop

When something goes wrong, I️ tend to default to being discouraged. If someone reprimands me or tells me I️ can’t do something (you can’t accomplish x, you’ll never be able to do Y), its easy to fall for their point of view or, at the very least, let I­t­ effect my mental performance. But this is not a successful mindset.

Complaints, criticism, disbelief, or hate towards you is inevitable when you’re doing something out of the status quo. (Something the hater wishes they would do themselves) 

The status quo is the collective agreement of the way things are, from the people and culture that surrounds you. The funny thing about status quo’s is that they are different depending on who you surround yourself with. What’s normal and expected from your typical college student is wildly different from what’s normal and expected from billionaires changing the world. What’s abnormal for your circle when you break the status quo can be natural to another groups point of view. Reading, for example. If you are surrounded by people who hate reading or saying something like ‘what’s the point of reading when you have a TV?’, you’re going to be shamed into the same mindset. And if you start reading they’re going to give you hell for I­t­. But on the opposite spectrum, point out to me any billionaire who doesn’t have a massive library and are constantly soaking up knowledge.

Once you realize that status quo’s are not all created equal, you can begin to take BOLD actions and create massive improvements in your life.

Instead of being discouraged, a successful mindset takes what the person says and turns I­t­ into fuel. Coal to the fire. It’s an “I won’t stop” or “I’ll prove you wrong” mentality. Although you’re not doing I­t­ for them — you’re doing I­t­ for you. I️ won’t stop — no matter how hard or scary I­t­ gets — because I️ know that I️ am capable of achieving my goals with enough time, effort, and intent.

By thinking this way, not even pain can stop you.
By adopting the mindset of the type of person you want to become, your dreams are inevitable.\

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"I like criticism. It makes you strong." —  LeBron James

"In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me." — Edgar Allan Poe

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." — Elbert Hubbard

Small Ways to Reset

Falling off the treadmill is inevitable. Someone’s bound to bring in a box of donuts 🍩 to work. You’ll inevitably miss a day of writing (insert your own pursuit here) because you were sick or traveling. But jumping off the boat doesn’t mean you should say in the water. In fact, getting into the habit of reinforcing your passion and reason why you are making habits and going after goals in the first place is key to achieving them.

I used to have a binge mindset. Dang, I ate a cookie... oh well might as well eat 100 more. I told myself I wasn’t going to watch TV today... oh well, guess I’ll watch THE ENTIRE CATALOG on Netflix. But just because I mes up shouldn’t give me permission to go crazy. What if I messed up every day this week? What would that do to my health or long-term progress? If I binged watch shows an entire week I would end up being a vegetable, unable to do anything my heart desires.

Missteps are a part of the learning progress. Mastery comes to those who fail and yet keep going anyway. 

When you catch yourself doing bad habits that don’t build your long-term dreams, here are small, practical ways you can reset yourself:

MOVE: Reset your physical state by going for a run, swim, sprint (name your poison). It doesn’t have to be long, even 5 minutes of moving can reset your mental state.

Cold exposure: Reset your physical state splashing water on your face. (Or more hardcore: take a cold shower or ice bath)

Check yourself: Are you hungry? When’s the last time you took a mental break? Take time to rejuvenate yourself.

Small actions: Doing a small incremental action can reset your mind to do the bigger tasks. Win small to win big. 

Change your location: Moving your body to another place (think coffee shops, outside etc) can shift your mindset as well. 


Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Embrace New Beginnings

I think New Years, and New Year Resolutions, in particular, feel good because we see them fresh starts. New Years is the ultimate clean slate. Last year was.. well sooo last year. This year will be different. It’s brimming with possibility. 

So we set multiple goals and stick with them for a week or so, but when we fall off the treadmill, we give up on the year. Maybe next year. (Well, I missed one day of working out, I guess I’ll go eat some cheesecake)

There are multiple problems with this mindset:

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.


We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

During school, I always loved when the new school year came around. (Well, first I dreaded it and wished dragons would rain down fire on the school building, but I came around to the idea once I saw a new semester was inevitably going to happen.) New classes, books, and classmates. New opportunities to learn and connect. But then the class would sink in. Oh, wait we actually have to *study*... what did I sign up for... or God, please save me, why is this class/ teacher so boring.

Changing our life requires putting in the time, attention and work. The sweat, blood, and tears are the cost of admission but are well worth it. The results and our lives will be amplified by the amount of effort we put In!

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

I’ve been updating my 27 goals for my 27th year by rewriting out my goal list for 2018. 

I’ve got 5+ pages of goals I want to accomplish which even just looking at overwhelms me (I can’t imagine what my friends or Gabriella would do if I tried walking through them.) I’m bad about getting past wanting everything all at once. If not properly prioritized, prepared and tamed, your ambitions will kill your drive and ability to take actions.

Remember, your not competing against others, you’re competing against yourself. Instead of trying to lose weight, AND learn photography AND start an online business, start with one. The others will be waiting for you to accomplish them. And by focusing on one goal at a time and chaining each win, you skyrocket your motivation to do the others once you achieve each goal you set out to do. 

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

But every second you are still alive is an opportunity to reset and change your life.

I’m here to tell you that you can push reset at any moment. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can move forward. Even when we hit rock up there’s always a way to find our way back up. It’s cliche to say, but every new day is a fresh start and opportunity to improve. All it takes is one little step in the right direction. 

And when we fall off the treadmill as we will inevitably do, know that falling is a natural part of living. We fall when we learn to walk. We fall when we learn to ride a bike. We fall when life punches us in the face.

But we can always choose to get back up and keep going. Hit reset. Grab a fresh sheet of paper, and start again.

Embrace new beginnings: anytime, anywhere.

Happy New Years everyone!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner 

Related Insights

"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change." — Sarah Ban Breathnach, best-selling author

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." — Steve Jobs

Micro Rewards

Making progress happens with consistent action, but motivation is usually the issue.

Having long-term motivations are great, such as visualizing yourself on stage playing or speaking to a sold-out stadium, or interviewing Oprah, or picturing your book on the NYTBS list. They­ help keep you pointed on the right course.

But sometimes high-minded motivations aren’t enough when you are in the mud, doing the work. That’s where short-term micro-rewards (microwards?) come into play. Short term motivations adjust you to the long-term vision.

Over time, you can incrementally change your behavior to complete hard tasks by motivating yourself with a healthy reward if you complete the work first.

I say ‘healthy reward’ because the last thing you want to do is make a micro reward unhealthy. (Eating cake after every time you finish a blog post is not going to do you any favors)

Think of I­t­ like, ‘I would love to do X but first I will do Y’. You’re not depriving yourself of pleasure, you’re just pushing I­t­ off and actually making the pleasure more enjoyable. ‘No one loves water like a man who is thirsty’ (Someone said that once... probably) Of course, I’m not telling you to stop drinking water until you work out. (That’s silly) The absence and gap between allowing yourself a little treat are all the more rewarding.

A great example is a vacation. Planning and daydreaming about a vacation you're about to go on is usually more enjoyable than the vacation itself!

Micro Rewards give you the discipline to focus on what you really want, versus what you’re mood, mind, and body says you want in the moment.

Want to watch an episode of The Runaways? Great idea, but finish writing your two pages of your book first.

Want to read Tech Blogs? Good! Me too. Just make sure you call a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to first.

Want to go out for a drink? Okay, but first practice your piano scales.

Small daily habits towards our long-term goals are how we achieve them.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward." — Jim Rohn

Priority of Day

Are you lashing onto what others think is important or are you sticking with your own priorities?

I was having trouble prioritizing what’s most important to me. On paper, everything felt like a priority. I could picture all these future versions of myself, but being so far from those realities what do you prioritize?

Do I choose music or writing? Entrepreneurship or art? Speaking or programming? Is it possible to choose them all?


Here’s the secret:

Priorities are what you spend your daily time on.

So does your daily priorities align with your future self? 

Dreams stay in your head unless you’re working towards them consistently, day in day out.

Visualize where you want to be, then take small moments towards that vision.

If you are already pushing yourself to the limit and have 0 time to spare, then you probably shouldn’t be adding more to your plate. Too much food piled on a plate is eventually going to fall down. Knowing when to say yes, when to say no and when to say not right now is directly related to how much progress you’ll make on your priorities. If you end up having no time to spare yet you’re focusing NO time on your priorities, do what you can to slowly remove todos from your plate.

When the desire doesn’t align with the execution, your priorities are out of alignment.

Desiring to be healthy yet eating unhealthy day after day.

Saying yes to todos instantly without a whim of consideration devalues your time and wipes away your ability to prioritize.

Know your goals and your compatibility. Know who you are and where you want to be. And then compare notes to what you spend your day on.

Study a day in your life and your actions will tell you what’s a priority or not.

StayBOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." — Stephen Covey

"Action expresses priorities." — Mahatma Gandhi

"Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities." —  Myles Munroe

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

A Great Day Checklist

What are the boxes I need to check to make today great?

1. Be Intentional: Don't just go through the motions — fall in love with the process each day.

Habits are enduring, but to make them net positive they don't need to be mindless. 

Fall in love with reading again each time I read.

Fall in love with mediation today.

Fall in love with what you love over and over.

2. Be BOLD: step out of the normal and into the uncomfortable, 

Do something that scares me, take on new challenges, take planned risks.

3. Be Original: Use my creativity to write, design, play and solve problems I set my mind to.

4. A warm mug of something (Matcha, Turmeric, Chai) and an hour or so with my thoughts and a book (or two).

5. Intentional time with Gabriella.

Spontaneity, or time to just be.

6. Move: do some yoga poses, go for a walk (by myself, with others, walking meetings), exercise (work on my body, sprint, do calisthenics: pushups, burpees) and make time for play.

7. Cherish friends and family.

Call at least 1 friend.

8. Mind: learn, train the mind, write down 10 idea every day, read, leave room for negative space, mediate, refuel my mind.

9. Body: Eat well, move (see above) hydrate, skin / hair care, focus on developing my body.

10. Spirit: Focus on what truly matters to me, connect with others, focus on meaning and fulfillment.

11. Daily creatives: Blog every day, write for nonfiction and fiction books, journal, design, play music, code day. Make time for each pursuit I'm developing.

12. Negative Space: time blocked off where I'm doing nothing. Leaving space for my mind to imagine, wonder and replenish.

 

Q: What does a great day look like to you?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

 

 

Next Level Pursuits

“Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present... the name for this denial is golden age thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one 's living in - it's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

Midnight in Paris

Sometimes it can be frustrating to do so much, yet feel so far away from where you want to be.

Wherever you are, whatever you are aiming to do, there’s always going to be that next level. 

A place where you’re smarter, better, more connected...
more ______  than you already are. And the more you do, the more there is to do.

There’s always a level up you can climb and a level down you can atrophy. That goes for every aspect of your life too:

Money:
Working at Starbucks for minimum wage > working at a 9 to 5 for 10k a year > 50k > 100k > Becoming a millionaire, Billionaire >

Connections:
Having no friends > having a friend > groups of friends > online following > deeper friends > nationwide connection > global network > super-connector >

Business:
Bootstrapping a startup > Getting your first client/customer> Making a profit > Growing your team > Exiting or IPO > Becoming the next Amazon, Google or Apple >

Loving the process

The next level is a lifelong pursuit. Striving for greatness is a fine balance between being good with where you are while pursuing a better you (and life). In our connected world of follows, downloads, likes, and shares, you have to have the right intentions — personal growth, helping others, making deep connections etc.— behind your actions. Pursuit, with the right intentions, can be a fun process of striving for the next level of performance. However with wrong intentions — for personal gain (money, power, attention) — will be a nightmare and leave you in a cycle for wanting more more more and being miserably unhappy. Growth vs. Greed. Passion vs. Dissatisfaction. Happiness vs. Longing

So the question is where will you plant your flag?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights I'm Thinking About:

“Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That's just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it... that's excellence.” — Jay-Z

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

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

What Does Success Mean to You?

For me, success is five things:

Success is having the ability to create anything you dream up. Developing the ability to come up with great ideas, and mastering the skills to execute them and make them reality.

Success is having the wherewithal to know when to say yes, and when to say no. (I still needs some work on this one.) Understanding that time is short and therefore precious. What we do with our time shows a lot about who we are. I want to use my time for what's important to me and makes the most impact.

Success is taking bold moves. Taking steps past your fears into your discomfort zone. Not being afraid to push past failure. Not giving up to setbacks. I want to look back at my life and think, 'wow, that was bold'.

Success is how deep and wide the relationships you make. It’s not about the quantity, but the quality of the relationship. That being said, I️ want to know a large diverse group of human beings, pursuing excellence in their own way. I️ want to be surrounded by greatness, love, and wisdom.

Success is the impact you have on others. Living by example. Your words speak loud, but your actions speak louder.

 

And if I was forced to pick a sixth, it would be the interweaving connections between these five. 

In other words, success is a lifelong pursuit. It's not about the end, but the journey of how you got there.

What does success mean to you?

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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

Daily Challenges

Pushing your capabilities through practice and ritual.

“When you do something every day, you're only going to get better at what you are doing.”

Joshua C. Green , Ep. 10 of The Renaissance Life Podcast


Do you want to be an extraordinary writer?
How about an insanely good artist or musician?
A super-connector? An exceptional conversationalist?
Health Shaman? Master Yogi?
All the above? (Me! over here!)

Then it’s time to take on a daily challenge.

Inspired by a couple friends (Josh Green and Travis Knight) who I’ve interviewed recently on The Renaissance Life, I’ve decided to take on a daily writing and blogging challenge. I am going to write and blog every single day for an entire year. This is day 20.

We all have these dreams of greatness and desires to live an extraordinary life, but getting from where we are to where we want to be can be hazy. It’s like we can see the peak of the mountain but the journey up is covered in a cloudy malaise of discomfort. (Like a kid who needs glasses and can’t see the whiteboard in class) Most people have dreams but not everyone has the belief system and is bold enough to step into their discomfort zones and challenge their capabilities.

Your mountain is your own, I can’t tell you precisely how you can get up to the top — 
But I can show you what you what has worked well for others and what I am going to do to climb my own mountains: 

Deliberate practice and daily ritual. 

Deliberate practice meaning we aren’t phoning it in. We’re pushing ourselves to our limit every day, and practicing and trying out new strategies that will make us smarter and more creative at what we do.

And Daily being the key word here.
My daily challenge is writing and blogging, so the amount of time I will spend will depend on the types of blogs I want to put out and how long it takes me to make them happen.

Imagine yourself one year from now after you decided to take on a daily challenge. You put in the time, energy and effort to practice every day. After practicing every day for an ENTIRE year, where do you think you will be?

Much better than you would have been if you didn’t decide to challenge yourself.
This is how time can be our ally. Time — like money — has a compound interest effect. By investing in small daily practices that add over time to something great. Small actions lead to big change.

This isn’t going to be easy — and that’s the point.  Our goal here is to push ourselves to be something more than we thought possible, and to grow our abilities faster by putting in more time than we would normally give if we were practicing ‘whenever’. I'm writing this at 9:50 PM after finishing one job and about to start another job. (I'm crazy) But I'm taking on a daily challenge because I believe it can change my life, because I've seen it change the lives of others.

I’ll be talking more in-depth strategies and examples about daily challenges soon.

Action Question (AQ): What daily challenge do you want to do?

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." — Chinese Proverb

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

"Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again."Richard Branson

Are You Phoning It In?

Plot Twist: There is an actual limit to how much we can do at one time. 

I️’ve always been late to this party. (Mostly because I️’m in permanent denial) ‘Wait, you mean I️ can’t do everything all at once?!’

Right now, Somewhere in time and space, an economics class is talking about opportunity costs. (Pour one out for all the economic homies) The term describes the idea that choosing one opportunity prevents you from choosing others. And it’s true, there’s only so much time, energy and work you can give in a day. If you want to master basketball, you’re not going to have the necessary time you need to master guitar too. (Well.. you can try but you’ll be a jack of all trades master of nada)

I’ve been experimenting with where my line in the sand is when it comes to how much and how many pursuits I️ can have at once. (Because I’m crazy) What I’ve learned is I️ can be quite resilient with the amount and variety of things I️ can hold in my head.. however (like everyone and their mamma) I am limited by the 24-hour cycle. But more importantly, doing too much at once gives me the opposite of want.
More more more doesn’t give you peace of mind, happiness, creative space — it sandblasts away all of those and leaves you as a shell of a human. (aka about as interesting as a broomstick in a vacuum cleaner world) And it's just not a great way to live. On the worst days you feel rushed, overwhelmed and like you're making zero progress in a million things.

Whenever I️ fall into the fallacy of  ‘I can do everything all at once’ my life becomes a nightmare and I️ need to re-evaluate. (before I implode) Life isn’t about how much you do, it’s about how much you give to what matters to you.

 

How do we know what matters most to us?

Look at everything in your life and ask yourself, ‘Am I️ phoning this in?’
‘Is this important to me or just distracting me from what’s important?’

If it’s not important — if it’s a distraction from what you really want — why are you doing it? Because it’s easier to do more than do less.

Choosing less is HARD (Believe me I️ know more than anyone)
It’s something I️ need to work on. It’s just hard for me to say no to opportunities when my previous year was so difficult and rot with no’s. 

But more won’t bring me a meaning life filled with Renaissance, friendships and purpose.

Action Step: Choose What’s Important to You; Learn to say no to everything else.

Action Question: Am I phoning this in? 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner


Related Wisdom:

“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.”

“Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursed little distractions instead of big dreams.”

“Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re begin the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.”

“If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” About something, say “no”.

Derek Sivers, Anything You Want

Daily Focus on Your Vision

If you’re like me, you have all these big aspirational goals and visions in your head of what you want your life to be.


These goals are clear-cut and motivating on paper. Buuuuut then life happens. Responsibilities, commitments, debt.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the freedom and flexibility yet to build a writing cabin in the woods so I can write my novel.

I have to find ways to do it in between two full-time jobs, time spent with loved ones, and a side business.

Things come up. Some of them truly important, others that feel important at the time. Everything and everyone around is vying for your attention and energy. So there your vision of the future sits, in dream status. 

How many dreams of a better tomorrow exist only in people’s heads?

But if you are reading this, I know you have a desire to be more. You want to make change in, not only yourself, but the world.

You here the phrase, ‘life is a marathon, not a sprint’ but that leaves an important piece out:
Life is a marathon where at the finish line, you die. Morbid, I know, but vital. (Pun intended)

We can’t just jog our way through life. 

Sure, we are making progress and doing important things, but are we giving it our all on what’s important to us?

Vision is longterm thinking, but lived on a daily basis.

Vision is not fixed. Your future desires can change and improve as you grow and expand into a better person.

Here's how:

Write and Read your goals everyday

Keeping your vision in your mind will paint how you see the world. Everything you do will be viewed through the lense of how to make your goals happen. Opportunities and ideas will be abundant.

Hone your vision by honing yourself

Read. A lot. Learn from people if different circumstances and walks of life from you. Study the greats. Craft your vision of your future around what has worked for others before.

Make small, yet bold moves towards that future every day.

We make think on our past experience and have our thoughts towards a better tomorrow, but the vision of what can be happens in the actions of our today. What we do in the present not only defines how we feel about our past going forward, but creates the future we all desire. I’ve said it a million times, and will say it a million more until everyone in the universe hears it — Small action leads to big change. Take bold moves towards your future every opportunity you can today.

Whatever obstacles and pain you’ve faced in the past, your future is determined but what you do in this very moment. You have the opportunity to write your own story.


Remember, dreams don’t just happen, they are made. And ‘future’ ‘vision’ are words that elicit powerful emotions and motivations, but your future lies in your today. Getting things right today and the next today, compounds into a life where your vision is a reality.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Inspiration +

Ryan Holiday, 2007 The Business of Running:

"You run to define yourself, and when you allow a short term challenge to alter your pace and long term strategy, you’ve just been defined by someone else."
Motivation of Champions

Where does your motivation come from? 

I know that because you are reading this, you must desire change in your life. You want to be different and create a meaningful life for yourself and your loved ones, but you just quite haven’t figured out how yet. How do I motivate myself to do the things I want to do, but just can’t seem to get myself to do them.

When I think about the people who do, versus those who don’t, they have intrinsically linked their desires and values to their actions.

They don’t just talk about things but do them.

In my mind a champion is not someone who wins, a champion is who does. They have already decided they are gonna win in their mind, and then they go out and do the best they can do.

Despite whatever comes their way, setbacks, failure, fear — they are going to do something anyway.

Where does this motivation come from?

It’s early, not even 6 AM yet, you get out of bed, put on your shoes and head to the gym.

That’s Motivation.

It’s soo early, the suns still asleep and so should you, you swat your alarm clock and go back to bed. Rinse, repeat. It’s 7:49 so you know you can’t prolong it any longer. You roll out of bed and head to work.

1. Motivation is a Skill.

The first insight on the motivation of champions is understanding that — like most things in —motivation is a skill. We aren’t born with the champions value to motivate ourselves to pursue, that must be learned and forged from experience.

2. Know what you want.

Motivation comes from a goal driven mind. If you don’t see the end in mind, how can you possible get to your destination?

3. Set yourself up for a win.

Small nuances in habits can dramatically increase your chances of success. 

For example, If you want to start getting up at 6 am to write, don’t just go to bed whenever you want — Set a get-ready-for-bed alarm for 30 + 60 mins before —

Put your alarm clock across the room or better yet in your bathroom. You have to get up and walk to it, rather than just leaning over and slapping it. By setting your phone alarm next to the sink, you’re in arms reach of splashing a little cold water in your face to wake up your senses.

That's the key — Champions do the hard things, by making the small things easy. Always always always keep your values in arms reach.

In my office, My guitar is out in the open and ready to for me to play. I can just go over and grab it and start working on a song.

I keep some version of a notebook or notecards with me at all times, so If I have a writing idea I can jot it down and revisit it later.

By keeping your habits and tools within arms reach, your success will also be in arms reach, ready to be grabbed.


4. Adopt the Do It Anyway Mindset.

 What most successful champions won't tell you is that the work itself sucks. It’s hard to start a business or blog every day or write a book or work on your health and fitness.
The best things in life are difficult and downright painful. But the reward for doing them far out places the anguish of not doing them. Don’t become the person who does nothing for their dreams. (You know the ones) The way they talk, their dreams are the most important thing to them, but they haven’t done a single thing to make them happen. When things feel hard — Do it anyway. When you’re tired, lonely, unmotivated, lazy, embarrassed, scared, and all manner of difficult feelings — Do It Anyway.

There’s no reward like the one when you don’t feel like working towards your dreams but you do it anyway. You feel good.
Once you have that, nothing can stop you.


Inspiration +

Ryan Holiday, 2007 The Business of Running: “I lace up my shoes each night because it’s precisely the opposite of what my body tells me it wants–that’s my motivation.”

Fear and Desire
“Having wandered some distance among gloomy rocks, I came to the mouth of a great cavern, in front of which I stood some time, astonished. Bending back and forth, I tried to see whether I could discover anything inside, but the darkness within prevented that. Suddenly there arose in me two contrary emotions, fear and desire — fear of the threatening dark cave, desire to see whether there were any marvelous thing within.”
Leonardo da Vinci, excerpt from Walter Isaacson's Leonardo da Vinci Biography

Like many things in life, creativity, and pursuing your dreams creates a juxtaposition of fear and desire. We have a desire to be, do, and become what we dream, but at the same time fear starting, continuing, and succeeding. We desire the outcome, yet fear the outcome.

When we give into fear, we train ourselves to live without the dream, accepting that it will never happen. This is my life as it is. Yet, even so, we live with a longing that by some turn of fate, we will chance upon our dreams on a morning walk. How many of us are waiting for our big break? Waiting for your dreams to happen is like waiting to win the lottery when you haven't even bought a lottery ticket.

Have you ever heard yourself say or think, ‘oh that could never happen to me’ or ‘I could never do that, only they can do that.’

This is what Paul would call a negative mindset. No matter how much you want something to happen, if you don’t believe that you can do it, it’s not going to happen. A positive mindset is essential. (You don't have to be overly-happy all the time, but you do have to believe that you will find a way to your goals.)


What happens when we give into desire instead of fear?

When we push through the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, we step into our discomfort zones and change our capacity of what’s possible. We open our minds to new possibilities. 

You step on stage, sing your heart out, and.... well. That's it. You did it. You did something.
You didn’t die, you probably could have done better, but better comes with experience and deliberate practice.

To make your dreams reality, you must let curiosity win.

In creativity and life, there will always be a choice of fear and desire. Who you become — your potential — will be determined by those choices.

Will you choose to give into fear, or will you give into curiosity?

I could let my writing, music, or ideas slide because of fear. Fear of putting myself out there, fear of rejection, or fear of failure. This always reminds me of George McFly from Back to the Future (Marty’s Dad). He’s always saying the line, ‘I could never put my work out there, what if they don’t like it? I don’t think I could take that kind of rejection.’ An extreme example ha, but applicable to our lives. What does giving into fear do to George's life? He has a mediocre job and life. He never publishes his novels. He get's pushed around by Biff (and probably everyone else).

Ultimately, what is giving into fear is going to get us?

What is fear going to give you?

The same thing you’ve always had. The longing and desire for change, but not enough bravado to take the leap. Best case scenario, fear only gives you mediocrity. (And mediocrity is the opposite of a Renaissance Life)

Fear and desire will never be an easy choice. 
At best its going to be a grey area. Sometimes fear is good. The fear of being attacked by a lion is useful when you’re in Africa. (Fear of being mauled in Washington is not very useful) But when it comes to creative fear, curiosity must always beat out fear. If you want to help change the world and be a mover and shaker, you must not let fear stop you.

So back to young Leonardo. As he looked into the depths of the black, villainous cave, did he choose fear or desire?

‘Desire won. His unstoppable curiosity triumphed, and Leonardo went into the cave. There he discovered, embedded in the wall, a fossil whale. “Oh mighty and once-living instrument of nature, your vast strength was to no avail.”... “You lashed with swift, branching fins and forked tail, creating in the sea sudden tempests that buffeted and submerged ships. Oh time, swift despoiler of all things, how many kings, how many nations hast thou undone, and how many changes of states and of circumstances have happened since this wondrous fish perished.”'

Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci

To be unstoppable, we must let curiosity drive us.

And as morbid as it sounds, we are all going to die and only have one life to live in this world.

Whether we choose fear or desire, time waits for no one.

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” — Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

'I Can Do That'

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “I can do that” when you see greatness on display?

(Write a book? I could totally do that... NFL? Psh move over Manning..)

I’ll make jokes about it sometimes, but other times I’m serious. I desire what they have. I want to be that good at writing, speaking, singing or whatever it may be.

That idea got me thinking.

What’s the difference between someone saying I can do that, versus someone saying it and doing it?

 

walking the walk  

Developing strategies of self-awareness will help guide you down the road you truly want to go, instead of the one you think you want to go.

The first thing we need to do is ask ourselves, "Is this right for me?"

"Is this right for me?"

Is this something I really want and value for myself and those around me? Or is this simply jealousy or flight of fancy?

The second thing to be aware of is compatibility. "Is this right for me right now?"

Does this goal work with my life? Does this goal align with my other goals and the goals of those closest to me?

"Is this right for me right now?"

Once you know you're in it to win it, there are three tips I can think of to push you into action:

  1. Having some idea of what your getting into
  2. Knowing where you’ll end up if you stick with it
  3. Leaping into it immediately.

There’s always going to be a beginner mode (aka suck fest) where you be laughably bad at it. (Whatever *it* is for you)

By getting real with yourself and acknowledging that, you won’t see the flaws when you fail, you’ll see ways you can improve.

And if you know what consistency will lead to — how your life will change if you compared to where you are if you actually do this — you will see the value in taking action. Your mind and what you need to do will be clear. 

With a sound perspective on your start and the possibilities of the finish, you are ready.

All that’s left is stepping out into the fear. The longer you wait the harder it will be and the more likely you’ll hold it off indefinitely. Leap.

When you decide to do something, take an immediate step towards your dream. 

After that, it’s all about belief. ‘Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.’

No one stumbles upon greatness.

Point me to anyone who has achieved what they desire without having belief in themselves that they could make it happen. No — that they will make it happen.

Believe in yourself josh d 🐞mn it.


Inspiration:
Ryan Holiday: 2007 SEPT. https://ryanholiday.net/ryanholiday-net/

“I can do that.” ... I bet there are at least a thousand other people that felt the same way. I have seen their applications. But I went out and did it. Almost everything I have done in the last 4 years was in some way connected to making that a reality. It wasn’t “I can do that now” or “I deserve that today” but that it was within my range. And so I made it happen.