Posts in Renaissance Life
On Pain

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Lao Tzu

A lot of things have been bothering me lately, more so than I would like to admit. It’s like I’ve been in the war room as multiple battles rage across all fronts of my life. By itself, each battle is not that much to look at, they’re more like a skirmish between two raccoons over a thrown out piece of pizza 🍕, but when you add them up it's been taking its toll on me.

I won’t bore you with the details (nor give myself the chance to complain about them), suffice it to say, every problem I face today is something that we all face as humans, and someone somewhere in the past has experienced and overcome. (The ones that didn’t overcome their problem are usually lost to failure or obscurity.)

Health, Money, Wisdom, Power, Boldness, Courage, Creativity, Resilience, Resolve, Connection...

And their opposites:

Sickness and Injury, Debt, Foolishness and Ignorance, Weakness, Comfort, Fear, Burnout and Unimaginative, Overwhelm, Indecisive 🤷‍♂️, and Lonely...

Every new experience is unique to me, but it’s not unique to humanity. Look at enough biographies and you start to see patterns of humanity. Experience enough cultures and you start to see how that culture reflects in the people (and the people reinforcing the culture) Bad things happen. Mistakes are made. And unless you’re Patrick Star living under a rock for your entire life, you’ve been through and are going through some difficult moments too.

The boring question is ‘Why me?’ 'Why do I have to feel this way?' 'Why do I have to go through this?' 'Why is this so hard?'

I wonder about the differences between difficulties. Is depression worse than cancer? Is an injury more painful than a broken home, or a loss? Is loneliness worse than apathy? ...

Of course these are impossible comparisons (unless you’ve experienced them all and can tell me). One thing I do know for sure is that pain unites us. Pain is the door to empathy that ties us all together. Our own pain gives us a measurement of what someone else’s pain must feel like. I did not understand what someone goes through when they injury themselves until I injured my neck. Now I know the debilitating pain someone must feel when they hurt their back or knee etc. I don’t know exactly what it feels like, but I can compare their pain to my own and create a connection with them through my experiences.

Why me? doesn’t matter. The real question is what are you going to do about it?

What are you going to do about it?


If there is a why behind the circumstance, its

To rely on something bigger than yourself and your own ego. To trust others or God (or whatever you believe) rather than always carrying the weight of the world by yourself.

To challenge yourself to take the painful lesson and turn it into a chance to improve and become better than you were.

To give you the opportunity to share your story with others and inspire others to overcome their own difficulties.

What are you going to do about it?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
 

If You’re Not Trying, Your Dying

Things I’m trying right now:

Tai Ji

Masterclass

Writing fiction

Acupuncture

Podcasting

No coffee!! (1 year in so far)

Sketching with an iPad

Ketogenic Diet

Boxer Briefs 
. . . . .

Routine is fantastic and keeps you focused and stable. Too much routine though is the opposite of fantastic. It’s all the ‘un’ words. Uncreative, uninspired, unoriginal, unfantastic. Feeling stuck is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different life. Get out there and try stuff, and stick with the ones that make you feel ALIVE. Whenever possible, add more ‘unknown uncertain or uncomfortable ’ to your routine.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are in life, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

Follow me on instagram: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." — Michael Jordan

"Survival can be summed up in three words - never give up. That's the heart of it really. Just keep trying." — Bear Grylls

Book Pairing

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson

The Ketogenic Bible by Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery 

Something...

Is Better Than Nothing.

Today really sucked to be honest with you.

I wouldn't say it was one thing in particular that made it an ugly day, more like too many things adding up at once.

But what can I say?

Nothing is going to change the past. All I can do is read and watch some uplifting things I love, eat some good food, go to bed early and start fresh tomorrow.

Sleeping doesn't reset my problems, but it does reset me. By the time wake up tomorrow, I'll be a new man, in a new day, with a blank piece of paper and a chance to improve my life. Some have it much worst than me, Some have it much better. Where you fall on the spectrum doesn't matter. What matters is what you are going to do about it.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

And wherever you are on your journey, keep smiling :)

— Josh Waggoner

Pain is Story

I imagine there was blood everywhere.

I️ bit the tip of my tongue in half when I️ was really little.

I️ have no recollection of the memory, only the tiny scar to prove I­t­. Just even thinking about that happening makes me cringe and want to VOM all over this keyboard. I️ imagine a diaper wearing, curly blonde haired baby version of me, running around the house, playing like a pro, completely unaware of the large step ahead leading into another room. (Large step for a curly headed baby anyway.)

I️ also have a tiny scar on my left side of my abdomen, from when I️ has holstering a tree branch, walking around my parent's old house, pretending to be a noble knight, and, of course, my stick was my shining blade of steel. I️ don’t remember what I️ was fighting, but I’m sure I­t­ was EPIC.

These are just two small, but resonating stories of pain from hundreds of moments of pain, setbacks, loss, injury, discomfort and despair that I️ have been through, and the thousands more I️ will hopefully get through. When you hear my stories or the stories of other people, you can’t help but put yourself in our shoes. Our entire humanity is built on stories. Stories of struggle, and exploration and pain. 

Pain is a part of being human. From small moments of stumbling up the steps to unimaginable moments of disease or worse, we all experience bad moments. What you decide to do with your pain each and every day will determine whether you live an ordinary life or extraordinary life of Renaissance

You see, pain flipped on its head can actually be a good thing. Pain makes us better. I’m not talking about a ‘No Pain, No Gain’ type of mentally. No, that’s like swimming with sharks holding a bag of steaks. A lot of risk; very little reward. Never seek pain, but always be ready for I­t­, or ready to unmask pain that you are holding inside.

Pain makes us better because I­t­ gives us the opportunity to learn and become a better version of ourselves.

Which sucks and is awesome at the same time. It's almost the equivalent to having the worst sandwich of your life... until you realize it wasn't a sandwich, it was actually a bowl of fruit. (Almost the same.) Fruit can be great when you are expecting fruit, but if you're ordering a sandwich and get fruit, you don't immediately see how good and fresh the fruit is in the moment. Pain and opportunity are the same things. Some only see pain, others see a chance to use the pain for a greater purpose.

Sometimes, when my day to day life and pain is really wearing me down, I️ feel broken and overwhelmed by what’s going on with me. Pain can do that. I­t­ can add up and morph into a giant spider web you feel like you can’t get out of. And when all you do is focus on the feelings and regret of pain, you amplify the pains effects and hold on you. All you want to do is complain and share and get someone to listen to you. But complaining about the weather doesn’t make I­t­ go away. And complaining doesn’t make a great story. 

Maybe I️ am broken, maybe we all are. But letting that part of me control my life is no story I️ want to tell. ‘This is the story of a man who laid in bed, and never got up again.’  That’s no story I️ want to tell. There’s always a way to turn pain into challenge and inspiration for others.

Pain is one of those things in life that I️ would never wish upon anyone, but if you are going through hell, it’s the best / worst thing you can experience in your life. This is part of your hero’s journey. This is your call to arms, your challenge of a lifetime. Pain is your story to tell. It’s the tale of how you fell into the dragons din, found the silver lining, discovered a new world, challenged the status quo, and journey back to us to tell us your story.

A journey or challenge is a much different story you live, instead of giving into the pain, doing nothing and accepting your fate. Most, unfortunately, fail to see the value in pain, the ones that do are usually the ones that become inspiration stories for generations. Pain is a perspective. A cold dip into the icy waters you didn’t ask for, but will you be grateful and remember the experience for the rest of your life? Maybe. 

All that matters with pain is how you see I­t­, which ultimately leads to what you are going to do about I­t­.

My pain is my story to tell. I’m the one who gets to share my stories with you, and hopefully impacts you and inspires you to see your struggles and pain as a challenge too.

Pain can also well up inside you. Pain that you ignore, or aren’t even aware it’s there. It speaks to you through small chinks in your armor, injuries and problems you can’t explain, or constantly feeling sick or not yourself. Your current way of life has become incompatible with yourself, and your body knows I­t­.

These types of bottled pain are perfect opportunities for stories. This is your chance to bleed on the page your thoughts and experiences you’ve gone through or are going through. Writing and telling your story is like squeezing your pain into a bottle like a sponge, and sending I­t­ out into the sea. You don’t have to tell your story (some stories are meant to be kept for yourself) but I️ would bet you a hundred pushups that if you were to tell your story, thousands of people would resonate and find I­t­ beneficially for what they are going through.

I wonder sometimes, 

Would there be life without death? Would there be happiness without despair? Friendship without loneliness? Exhilaration without fear? Pleasure without pain? Energy without fatigue? Love without longing? 

And does I­t­ have to be the ones who know pain firsthand, who understand how valuable life, really is?

I️ didn’t know how vital having energy is, until I️ experienced chronic fatigue first hand.

I️ would like to believe stories help capture insights and lessons that will help us avoid pitfalls and painful experiences ourselves, but first, you must be really open to I­t­.

If you are going through something impossibly difficult, it's time to write your story. And the fact that you are holding the pen means you get to write how and where your story ends.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”Eckhart Tolle

"Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it." Kevyn Aucoin

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

Book Pairings:

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Pain is Your Teacher

Pain either really sucks or it really sucks and you see it as a chance to improve and learn something.

Both options, not so fun. But the first keeps you focused on your pain, and the other focuses you on finding solutions to solve it.

When I first injured my neck, all I saw was pain. The excruciating tension and ache was one thing, but there was also the pain of loss and despair, of what I couldn’t do or be because of it. By mentally focusing on only your pain in a discouraging way, you are amplifying its power over you. Hell is a place of hopeless pain.  It’s the feeling that things will never be the same (which is true) and that your life is over (which is not true).

Life as you know it is over, but your new life has begun. The nice thing about pain is that it gives you a chance for a Renaissance. A rebirth of who you are. The opportunity to reinvent and challenge who you were, and find a better possible future for yourself and your story. Whether or not you take on the challenge or let the pain rule you, is your choice. It took me a while to understand this. I didn’t make the choice when I first injured myself. All I did was focus on the pain and think ‘why!? Why me?’ to myself.  Pain masks your ability to see the other options and choices you have in from of you.

And it’s not just one decision. Victory doesn’t happen automatically. It’s a decision you have to decide to make every day.

You’ve got two choices:

1. Live how you are living — in some sort of twilight zone / black mirror land where you are suck in your pain won’t seem to go away no matter how much you wish it would. Keep your head down. Resign to your fate.

Or —

2. Decide to do something about it.
Which isn’t about healing yourself; It’s about deciding to heal yourself. Doing something about it is a vow to yourself to try to find a resolution. A choice to find a better you. A lesson that gives you the opportunity to change and prove to yourself that you can.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are on your journey, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

You Are Kind of Like The Earth...

There's a bad 'Your Mama' joke in that title somewhere.

You’ve heard the quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, in some form or fashion. 

Reading it face value, the people you spend your days with — your partner, close friends, co-workers, and close family — all influence and impart what your life looks like. Think about I­t­ like you are the layers of the earth in a classic science textbook. You’ve got the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust. If you were to travel from crust to core, like you’re in the magic school bus or you’re Aaron Eckhart in the movie, /The Core/, each layer gets harder and harder to go deeper, and also harder to change.

The inner core is solid.

It’s who you are: where you were born, your experiences, your values, and beliefs. The core is your DNA and what you learn about the world when you were child.

The outer core flows.

It’s filled with swirling hot questions, 
I­t­ also swirls with your fears, doubts, desires, dreams,

The mantel is your habits, routines, actions, and thoughts.  

The mantel is what you do and how you live. It’s a reflection of your inner workings and an amalgamation of your hopes and dreams.  The mantel is war. It’s a continuous battleground of your external world and your internal core. Sometimes those two forces align and your actions and values are in sync. Other times, you external experiences don’t match your core, which leaves you with a multiple choice decision: 

A. Never waver on your inner core. Always make decisions based on who you are instead of who someone else wants you to be.

B.  Test your inner core. Does this change/decision make more sense than what I currently hold true? And if so what do I need to change?

C. Waver. Let the bosses, gatekeepers, bullies, negative Nancy’s or even villainous people compromise who you are. This sounds so dramatic. Usually, we don’t waver with the big stuff. 
Compromise is deadly because it’s subtle shifts, not immediate 180 changes. 

The mantel is where dreams are made, through hard work and effort. But it’s also where bad habits, anger, and negativity can take over.

D. Do nothing. Choose nothing. Which typically defaults to choosing C. When we are indecisive, we let other peoples decisions rule us.

And finally the crust.

The crust is the easiest to enter but can be thickened by experience. Setbacks, failures, hard times, rejection — anything that tells you no, but doesn’t wear you down. 

This is where we are the most influenced by new ways of thinking and living well, but also where we are the most susceptible to bad actors. 
If you hear *no* too often, especially in an area where you, not battle hardened by experience, you start to believe it. ‘Everyone around me tells me I️ can’t do I­t­.’ Depending on your outer fortitude and inner core values, this will either fire you up to prove them wrong and do I­t­ anyway, or shut you down and change the way you think and act about yourself in a small way. 

“I’ll prove them wrong” versus “I️ guess I️ can’t, I’m no good at this, who am I️ to think I️ could do this?”

For millions of reasons, most people want you to be like them more instead of being like you. Maybe it’s because they decided to give up. They didn’t do I­t­, so they h*ll’s for sure don’t want you to do I­t­. Because if you do and succeed, I­t­ directly highlights the fact that they compromised their core.

Every layer down reflects every layer up, and vice-versa. If you were born in an environment of trust and love, you are more likely to trust others, and give them the benefit of the doubt. You’re open to influence more easily, which can be good or bad depending on your circumstances.

Rather, if you were born in an environment of distrust and fear, you refuse to let anyone in. It’s you against the world. Your outer layer is thick with mistrusting first. This isn’t necessarily your fault, but I­t­ is your challenge to overcome if you want to be able to have people in your life you love and trust.


Who you are is directly related to who you surround yourself with, because your surrounds influence your actions, and your actions influence your beliefs about yourself and the world.

If you hate yourself, find new friends who love you for being you, and want to see you succeed. If you hate your actions, surround yourself with people who inspire you and motivate you to take better actions, and work harder for a better life. And if you feel compromised, or discouraged, or empty, or overruled by the opinion that others have on you: lose them. You matter too much to be a slave to someone else thoughts of how your life should be. It’s never too late to start over. Even if you hate everything about your current life, start building a new one. No one can tell you that you can’t. But if they do, who cares? Do it anyway.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing
And wherever you are in life, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." — Oprah Winfrey

"To all the other dreamers out there, don't ever stop or let the world's negativity disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself with love and the right people, anything is possible." — Adam Green

"Surround yourself with people who support you. Find champions." — Sarah Gavron

Book Pairings

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn

Hurry Up and Wait

Yesterday I️ talked about the idea of self-inflicted stress. Stress that we carry around like an orangutan on our back, jonesing for a banana. (...what?) This could be internal stressors we bottle up, such as anger and frustration towards our work or relationships, and this could be external stressors like

comparison (why can’t I️ have what she has?), 

stuff (I️ have too much stuff / I️ don’t have even stuff / I️ don’t have the right stuff), 

Or pursuits (money, happiness, connections, skills).

But usually its all the above, internal stressors, external stressors, twisting around like earbuds in your pocket, eventually forming into one giant life crisis that floors you and feels impossible to untangle.

I️ mentioned that a big self-inflicted stress that I️ carry is being late / hating rushing. I️ HATE rushing. It’s one of my least favorite feeling. (Did I️ say that already?) I️ want to be on time, but I️ fit so much in my day that I️ don’t have a lot of margin in between doing things. (which is an entirely separate topic I️ need to explore...)

I also live on island time 🏝 This is definitely something I️ picked up from my mom. Her parents (my grandparents) were the complete opposite. They would leave a movie before I­t­ was over just to beat the traffic. I️ think she rebelled into the opposite direction, taking her time, not beholden to it, not afraid of showing up late. My dad, on the other hand, is completely opposite from her (Which makes for regularly hilarious entertainment 🍿). He wants to be on time for everything, but when he can’t — usually because of mom — he goes through the 10 stages of grief.

In the army, they have a phrase for this: Hurry up and wait. You’re either 15 minutes early or your late. I️ learned this from gabriella, who, centuries before we met, was in the army. To them, I️ imagine it’s all about being prepared. You want to be where you need to be, at the right time, the right place, with the right structure and gear to be able handle anything.

Which sounds fantastic. I️ want to be in the right time, right place and have everything I️ need to handle anything. That sounds amazing!

Putting that mindset into practice starts with the level of commitment you have on your goal. You can’t be 15 minutes early if you keep hitting snooze. If you are 10 minutes away, you need at least 25 minutes to get there early.

The same is true for entrepreneurship and creativity.

Deadlines are not restriction, they are margins of time that give you (ideally) flexibility and space to be your most creative and effective self. Of course unrealistic deadlines are restriction. They are the equivalent of rushing or cramming. Without structure, work doesn’t get done. Without margin, creativity isn’t at its best. There’s a tight balancing act between island time and chronic panic.

It’s impossible to be creative if you’re not actually in the habit of creating. And it’s hard to be creative with a banana crazy orangutan for a backpack.

How to find this balance all depends on how you want to live. What you do for work, Who you work for, spend time with and surround yourself with, What types of content you consume and what principles and values you hold all add up in a big, and unique way. There is no one way, because there is only one you. I️ can show you how I️ live my life and you can be inspired and challenge by that or not. But trying to be me doesn’t mean that will work for you. Making I­t­ (dreams, passions, experiences etc) work comes from making I­t­ work for you.

The thing to be watchful of is the question: do you feel good about how you act?. When you’re actions don’t align with who you are and your aspirations / intentions / values, then you’re adding stress to the ‘I hate myself’ bucket.

Do you feel good about how you act?

If you do then you're on the right track. If you don't it's time to change how you feel or change how you do things.

Being on time is great, and being late is fine — unless your stressing yourself all the time by carrying around two opposing beliefs: 

I️ should be early, 
I️ am never on time.

Should being the key word here. Our ‘should’s’ are the very core of what our self-inflected stresses are. We should be doing something, but we are not.
we want to be doing something, but we haven’t.  We wish we could, but we are not trying. 

I️ try my best to live my life by the things that I️ do, versus the things that I️ should do.

I️ hardly succeed at it, and easily fall pray to comparing myself to others, but as long as I️ reaching for the goal, I️’m better off than I was.

The more ‘should’s’ you can remove from your life, the greater life you will have.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
Josh Waggoner

Feedback: What did you think about today's blog post? Did it spark any insights for you? Thoughts? Outrage? Email me: josh@renaissancelife.com. Join the Renaissance Email List below for more content on creativity, mastery and life.

Related Insights

"Your best ideas, those eureka moments that turn the world upside down, seldom come when you're juggling emails, rushing to meet the 5 P.M. deadline or straining to make your voice heard in a high-stress meeting. They come when you're walking the dog, soaking in the bath or swinging in a hammock." — Carl Honore

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." — Albert Einstein

"A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man's life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars." — Henry David Thoreau

Book Pairings

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety by Charlie Hoehn

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

 

Self-inflicted Stress

In school I️ literally had a wall in my first class of the day dedicated to my tardy slips.

You could say that in my past I️ was chronically late to a lot of things. (Well... everything)

Showing up late to my first class became an inside joke to my teacher and classmates. We would tape each green, tardy-shaped piece of paper up next to the whiteboard every time I️ strolled into school past 8 AM. I️ wish I️ remembered the number of slips I️ got by the end of the year. I’d guess somewhere in between ‘wallpaper for your house’ amount and or ‘block out the sun’.

I️ also may or may not have been late (fashionably) to my high school graduation.

I­t­ wasn’t that I️ intended to be late to everything. I️ was stuck in a cycle that pushed me towards the probability of being late. I️ went to bed late, usually studying until midnight or later, then I️ would try to get up at 5:30 / 6 AM to make I­t­ to school on time — which never happened. I️ would inevitability be late, be mostly a zombie all day, leave school and immediately take a nap and have dinner, and then do I­t­ all over again. 

The thing is I️ HATE rushing. The feeling you get in your chest or stomach when you have to be somewhere but you don’t have enough time to get there is the worst type of feeling to me. I’d rather eat a bucket of tardy slips than feel rushed. If you ever find me in a tizzy, it’s most likely because I’m in a rush. The day society creates teleportation travel is the day I️ will never be late again! Probably. I️ don’t want to be late, I️ don’t mind being late,

There are a lot of systematic loops, like staying up late, that we can easily fall into if we’re not careful. Even if we do something for good reasons, I­t­ doesn’t necessarily mean we will create good outcomes. Another example is coffee.  Maybe you’ve never had a hot cup of liquid energy before, or maybe you’re knocking back 5 cups a day and rounding out the night with a decaf before bed. I­t­ doesn’t take much to go from 0 cups to 5 cups. I­t­’s usually just one fluke decision you fall into, like meeting a friend at Starbucks and them buying you a free coffee, that can lead you into a habit of drinking coffee. I’m picking on coffee a little bit here. I­t­ has some fantastic benefits. But if you MUST have your cup or your day isn’t the same, or if you are anxious and feel like you have a panic attack all the time, you have turned something beneficial into pure unfiltered stress.

Rushing is a self-inflicted stress. ‘Why am I️ rushing to get to work, stressing myself completely out, driving like I️ just stole a sports care, all in order to sit quietly at a desk for the next hour?’ Stressing myself out isn’t a great way to start out the day and be creative.

I’ve had travel companions like this too. RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH wait. RUSH RUSH wait. It’s like they want to edit out the journey so they can get to the destination as quickly as possible. And I️ get I­t­, we are beholden to other peoples clock and expectations sometimes. The plane doesn’t care that you’re late, it’s just going to leave you at the gate. Your boss probably doesn’t care that you’re stress from rushing to work.

I️ don’t know maybe I’m weird. Maybe its poor planning or living on the edge too much.

Whatever the case, the key nugget here is that we all have self-inflicted stresses that we carry around with us. Stressful habits make you tense and hold that tension like a rock that won’t go away. Our bodies know this, but our minds tend to ignore the tension, rationalize them away, and mask them with other potential stressors. Oh, I’m tired, I️’ll grab a cup of caffeine. My head hurts, I’ll take an Ibuprofen. I️ can’t go to sleep, I️ guess I’ll stay up a little longer and watch YouTube. All of our habits don’t live in isolation. They build on top of each other and multiple and negate each other in unforeseen ways.

All of our habits don’t live in isolation. They build on top of each other and multiple and negate each other in unforeseen ways.

Maybe you're tired because you stayed up late. Maybe your head hurts because you’re dehydrated from drinking only caffeine instead of water. Maybe you can’t wind because you’re stimulating your body and mind with too much caffeine and watching bright screens at night. Broken down, each chained stress makes since when you but I­t­ that way, but we usually wake up one day to hundreds of little things that are stressing us out a that adds up into a big, messy question mark.

The first step to unraveling your self-inflected stressors is to Identify them. It’s hard to sell something when you don’t own I­t­.

Q: Think about your day to day habits. Are you controlling your habits, or are your habits controlling you?

The second step is to go to the source of the problem. If you’re tired, start with sleep. Do what you can to make sure you’re in bed when you want to and relaxed enough to fall asleep easily. The bad thing about cyclical bad habits is there hard to get out of. The great thing about cyclical bad habits is that the moment you do break free, you cause a chain event that begins to wash away everything else downstream.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Preparation: Rules of the Game

Preparation brings up many emotions for me.

Not Good Enough: Sometimes preparation stops you from starting.

The first thing to note about preparation is to ask yourself, “does this preparation get me where I️ want to go effectively and help me avoid common pitfalls or is this just excuses and laziness in disguise?” Often times, preparation is really just excuses you have to delay yourself from doing something that scares your butts off.

I’ve felt, and I’m sure most of us have, that I️ was unable to take on something new because I️ didn’t know enough yet. "As soon as I️ take this second online course, I’ll start executing my idea." "As soon as I️ finish school" "As soon as I️ have the right equipment" "As soon as have more $...."

Excuses excuses. 98% of this is BS. A disempowering belief of “I’m not good enough yet” that’s wrapped in a shiny gold ‘someday’ that never comes. I­t­ took me a while to understand, but here’s honest truth: You will never know enough. You will always think you’re not good enough. Even if you know more about music than anyone else you know, you’ll still feel inadequate. Unless you try I­t­ and go after I­t­.

Too Much Info For Your Own Good: Something I­t­ hinders you and muddles your ability to see and think clearly 

The second thing to note about preparation is too much preparation can actually be a bad thing depending on your goal. Ask yourself, “Is this preparation a requirement?”
If you’re studying to be a doctor — you need to prepare. No one in their right mind would let you be their surgeon on your first day of medical school. You can cover a bad tattoo or haircut, but you can’t recover from a bad surgery.

But if you are trying to do something new by piecing together commodity types of thinking, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even leave the starting point. No about of reading is going to make you a better public speaker. I­t­ can inform you on certain arts like how to tell a great story, but becoming a great speaker requires you to speak, and get up there and fail.

There have also been people I’ve known who just know too much for their own good. You probably know someone that is so smart and wise, yet they never do anything that they want to do. They know too much about the negative side of what might happen if they try, so they never try at all.

They learn and understand so much — usually narrowly focus in one area — that they’ve completely thrown out everything else about how to live. 

Some of the best programmers in the world would become even better if they also actually knew how to talk to other human beings. Some of the most outgoing and connected people can’t even stand to be by themselves and alone with their thoughts for more than 5 minutes. They've learned to be great about connecting. They suck at connecting with themselves. We need both to make a real impact in the world.

Being too narrowly focused makes you top heavy. And one thing leads to another and you find yourself unable to reach higher levels of performance.
Unless you start working on counterbalancing your knowledge.

Life’s emergency kit / Batman’s toolbelt: Sometimes I­t­ takes you higher than you thought was possible.

The third note about preparation I️ want to close with is just the right amount of preparation might be exactly what you need to become great in your endeavors. What’s the right amount? I️ have no idea.

What I️ do know is adopting and creating systems and principles will put you in the right margin of having the right amount of information.

Take applying for a new job, for instance. If you send your resume to a company that you know nothing about, whose employees or values you haven’t gotten around to yet, with a resume you haven’t updated in 2 years, you’re not gonna get that job. Even just 20 minutes of preparation might have shown you that a friend of yours actually knows someone who works there. And reaching out through that channel would have dramatically improved your odds of getting a job, even with an outdated resume. 

Another example is learning. Do you really need to learn the entire worlds knowledge archive about photography, before you even purchase a camera? No! You just need to read a Wirecutter article on which camera to buy. And after you buy a camera, you need to learn how to turn I­t­ on. Then you can learn how to shoot I­t­ automatic mode. Then you can play around with lens. And so on and so on, chipping away at a skill on curious step at a time.

Takeaways:

If it’s an excuse, start immediately.

If you know too much for your own good, start immediately if you’re holding yourself back, while learning other life skills you’ve been neglecting in your thirst for knowledge.

If it’s not an excuse, and you’re looking for ways to avoid common pitfalls and to have the clearest path to your destination, then start seeking systems and principles to keep in your toolbelt. What is a toolbelt, after all, but a set of instruments you curate, for just the right types of needs or emergencies.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

 The Magic’s in the Micro

Micro isn’t as sexy as macro.

You have this desire to do something big, but in order to make that happen you must live in the micro and act with a granular focus. Which is muddy and labor intensive and comes with a high probability of failure. It’s the equivalent of wanting to big your own TITAN like Elon Musk and build rockets that tear into space and light the atmosphere up like it’s the second coming, but with your current level of knowledge and resources, all you’ve got to work with are bottle rockets.

You want the FLASH but all you’ve got is the fizzle.

It’s like you have Step 1: Learn Japanese, and you have the Last Step: Go to Japan and have fluent conversations with natives, but all the steps to get there are question marks. ???? In fact, you don’t even know what number the last step is! Step 10? 100? And in order to get to step X you have to practice and consistently work towards the unknown question mark each and every day.

Your the kid and all you want to do is fight and protect, but all Mr. Miyagi tells you to do is wax on and wax off. How will doing this, help me do that?

You’re the fat, sick and lovable chub in the group and all you want to do is change and feel and look like your 22, but all you’ve got is questions, discouragement from yourself and everyone around you and a blitzkrieg of conflicting opinions telling you what you ‘should’ do. You know that this green spinach stuff and this thing that ancient Greeks called ‘exercising’ would help, but all your mirror tells you is ‘nothing's happened.’ (Mirror: hmm... you still look the same fat *ss. Scale: I️ agree with Mirror, would you mind getting off of me? I️ can’t breathe because of your fatness.)

On a micro level, everything is confusing and uncertain. When you’re in the moment, you don’t feel like you are making progress towards success. Everything at best is fuzzy and at worst overwhelming. Your pain is still there. Your problem hasn’t gone away. You still look/feel fat, or skinny, or your bank account is still telling you that you are broke, or your back still aches like you’re wearing a backpack made out of a porcupine, or your relationship is still shattered in pieces on the floor, or your business is still sinking and you’re going down with I­t­.... So you want to avoid the micro, numb the micro, ignore the micro and do everything but the micro, instead of realizing the micro is exactly what you want to be doing.

Success happens in the micro. I­t­ isn’t massive BOLD dream that gets’ you there, it’s your daily actions, decisions and habits that you preserve through consistency and intentionally, day in and day out.

Every next step you decide to do instead of not do is a win.

Even if fail or go the wrong direction and have to turn around, you’re still making progress. You’re doing more for yourself today than most do in a lifetime. The magic is in the micro.

A large life is built one daily stumble towards you goal at a time.

However, no one tells you that. the micro where 80% of us drop out.  We see that work is involved and we opt out. And it’s not just because doing the thing is tough (I­t­ is), there’s also external and internal wars raging on.

My typical internal battle:

Am I️ better today? No.
Am I️ better today? Still no.
Am I️ better today? No stupid your worse.
Am I️ better today? No, but your friend Sam is. She’s killing I­t­. Why can’t you be more like Sam
Am I️ better today? I️ think so! .... but it’s probably just a fluke.

And external battles (which turn into internal skirmishes) are even vaguer. They can sometimes derail you without you knowing it:

“The Kardashian’s do this, so I️ should do this...”
“My teacher says I’ll never be able too...”
“The weather is so bad today, I️ guess I️ won’t exercise...”
“My doctor says I️ can’t...”
“My partner doesn’t believe that I️ can...”
“I’m on vacation so I️ guess I’ll go back to my only eat ice cream diet...”
“I’m working so much and exhausted afterwards. I’ll start when things calm down...”

Takeaway: LIFE NEVER CALMS DOWN FOR YOU

Even if you're on island time at a beach somewhere, your days are still counting down. Someone somewhere is doing similar things you wish you were doing.

Of course, comparison isn’t the objective here and isn’t going to help you. But I­t­ will open your eyes to yourself. Jealousy won’t bring you happiness, but underneath the surface level of your jealousy, there might be a string you can follow that leads you to a truth you want to live or a better person you want to be, and which doesn’t currently align with the life you currently have. 

Being jealous of someone’s bestselling book is superficial. But underneath that is the truth that maybe you want to be a writer instead of a construction worker. Which leads us back to the micro.

Dream big, yes.
Think moonshots, also yes.
Act bold, always.
Believe you can, even on your worst days.
But in order to achieve your goals, go small.

Go Small.

It’s the little humble micro changes that does. Not the big lofty ideas that should or could.

Small intentional strokes, fell Goliath and bred the Mona Lisa.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

Book: Own Your Day, Own Your Life — Aubrey Marcus

"The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda." — John C. Maxwell

"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine." — Mike Murdock

"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." — Nhat Hanh

Life Grades

 Imagine a life where you were graded on everything like you are in school.

In a way, what you view as success, be that happiness, wealth, power, social capital, number of times you can say ‘bro’ in a day, is your external grading scale. You’re going after something, what that is defined by you, whether you intentionally realize I­t­ or not.

The thing about grades is that they are finite. If you get a D on a Math exam, you don’t get a chance to redo that exam ever again. Perhaps the entire class tanked and you’re graded on a curve, or the teacher might let you take another exam if you are convincing, but I­t­ will never be the same questions. A grade is one and done.

There are three mindsets we could fall into here:

Mindset #1: Pass or Fail

I’m either going to win or I’m going to lose. If I️ fail, it’s game over — time to throw in the towel, move on to something else and forget I­t­ ever happened. This is a very black and white mentality. It’s the equivalent of being injured and told you’ll never be the same again, and then *believing I­t­* without proving them and their expectations wrong.

When you walk around with the pass / fail mindset, there is a huge change for failure and a small chance for success.

Most will fail, Some do succeed. From sheer luck or the grace of God, there are people out there dream something (or stumble into something) they want and succeed. But then what? They fall apart. They think they’ve made I­t­, they stop trying to improve and then they slide back down into obscurity or worse.

Success and failure happen to us all, but an A+ doesn’t mean you have purpose, happiness or meaning. And an F- doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of mediocrity.

Mindset #2: Grades Don’t Matter

Grades are stupid so why should I️ even try? You’re in the “Grades are Stupid” mindset when you cringe every time you hear someone describe life as a “game”. You don’t want to play the game or follow anyone else’s rules so you opt out. But just because you don’t want to play the game doesn’t mean that there isn’t a game.

Maybe calling life is a game is stupid. I­t­ is reductive. Life isn’t a game, life is an infinite number of games. Giving up before you even start is a game that you are playing, it’s just a bad one. It’s like playing Space Chinese checkers. It sounds like a great idea at the time, until someone chokes on a floating marble. When you opt out, you’re playing the game called “Giving up”. It’s a great party game where everyone loses. 

There are two subcategories under the ”Grades Don’t Matter” mindset:

Deciding not to try.

Whether its fear of losing, or a believe that you are not good enough, you’ve decided not to try. I’ve fallen into this mindset before. The thing you don’t realize until well after the fact, is that by deciding not to try, you automatically defaulted to losing. I️ think the majority of us want to win, even when we decide not to try. We made the decision to not play, but we still want to win, even though it’s impossible because we opted out. This is the mindset you want to avoid most. Here there be dragons and mysterious “what if’s” and feelings of regret.

Deciding to play a different game.

This could be good. Playing a different game then everyone else leads to life-changing innovations and new ways of thinking. But not every game should be thrown out of the window. Some games you need to learn the rules before you can properly break the rules. Deciding to not take your savings, credit and retirement seriously, doesn’t make you clever or lead to a great outcome. But that doesn’t mean you have to play the game like everyone else. There is no one clear-cut path to success, yet some people go there entire lives living like there is. Head down, zero questions, in the heard like everyone else, hoping that their day will come, instead of going after I­t­ themselves. Don’t be that kind of bro. Go after I­t­.

Mindset #3: Success is a Spectrum 

Losing only happens when you stop and give up. Failures, setbacks, obstacles, feedback, critiques, milestones, wins... everything else is progress and momentum forward.

Mountain examples are so overused, but —

Even if you trip all the way up the mountain, you still made I­t­ to the peak. No one remembers your stumbles unless you give up half way (or die epically from lack of preparation).

Success is a spectrum, and what you do, your actions and decisions is your thumb on the scale. Whether you go up or down is determined by how much effort and intention you give.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

And wherever you are, keep smiling :)

— Josh Waggoner

Show Not Tell

Sometimes I find myself talk talk talking about all these ideas I have but never actually pulling out the running shoes and going for it.

Ideas are great and all, but if you don’t do them (or give them to someone else who might want to do them), what good are they??

In life, those who make their dreams happen are the ones who say F it, I’m just gonna to do it, despite the fear, despite everything telling them “you can’t”, despite the circumstances and environment.

I love ideas. I love coming up with ideas for other people’s businesses and pursuits. But when it comes to sharing my ideas, nobody cares.

Nobody cares about your ideas, they only care about your results.

(And whether or not the results are worth it to them to try it for themselves.)

The only way to change someone's mind is to show not tell.

Live by your actions instead of your thoughtful wishes.

The classic example is a doctor who tells you how to be healthy, but smokes cigarettes and looks like they had one too many chicken sandwiches. 

100 great ideas is worth nothing compared to a good idea that’s be executed.

Remember, always show not tell.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Go Small To Be Great

“No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.” — Pope Francis

I️ vividly remember the first time I️ went to a larger city and felt how small and insignificant my life was to the world outside my microcosm.

I️ had been to other large cities before, but for some reason this particular trip to Atlanta made me feel small.

When you grow up in a small no-name town, you have your family, your friends, your school and all the little shops, tv shows, restaurants and hangout places like the movie theater and that’s I­t­. We would drive to see distant family. We would go down to Florida on vacation, but the scope of life ­never really hit me until this trip to ATL. Either I️ wasn’t very aware as a kid, or I️ was busy focused on sports, games, and legos to notice. (Probably both.)

You see, when you’re young, you feel as though you are the center of the universe, which makes sense. You are experiencing things through your own eyes and other senses so of course everything feels U-centered. But i­t­ wasn’t till the hustle and bustle of a random ATL trip that I️ became aware of how big the world is.

I️ remember thinking something like:

“Right this very second, there are millions and millions of people out there in the world living there lives while I’m here living mine in this hotel. AT THE SAME TIME.

This thought didn’t just come to me — IT SMACKED ME IN THE FACE. I­t­ was like FOMO plus Panic plus Unimaginable Vastness all stacked into one eye-opening sandwich.

There were other ancillary thoughts* as well:

Adults are just people who have been here longer than me on a different timeline, and are all just figuring things out as they go.’

‘You can go anywhere and do anything, but you can’t be and do all of I­t­ at once.’

‘I️ am not the center of the universe, and neither is anyone else.’

(*Give or take. I’m definitely misremembering and boosting my vocabulary since then.)

Going small is the best thing you can give yourself. It counterintuitively shows you how to appreciate big things even more.

What’s $10,000 dollars worth to someone who’s born into money? a cheap weekend.

But what’s 10,000 dollars worth to someone who started with nothing, waiting on tables for $2 an hour and eventually built up their wealth through effort? EVERYTHING.

What’s a new pair of jeans to the average person with a closet stuffed with clothing? Just another obstacle to climb over to get to the underwear.

But what’s a new pair of jeans to a minimalist? Precious.

What’s a 100 email subscribers to an influential leader you follow? Usually a rounding error.

But what’s a 100 email subscribers to someone just starting out? Pure excitement that people care and validation of there ideas.

No matter how big your dream is, or how great you want to be, it’s better to start small and stay in obscurity as much as possible while you can.

Going small is where creativity and your best life is born.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

Non-stop Effort

When you find something you love to do, go after I­t­ with everything you’ve got. It’s not about what you don’t have — money, time, energy, connections — it’s about what you do have — effort. Opportunities and resources are directly related to how much effort you put in. Sure, in everything we do, there is a sprinkle of luck that is involved. The right time, right place and resonance with others, but waiting for the right time is a waste of effort. Unless you are a highly accurate futurist, the “right time” only exists in hindsight. Everything else is educated guesses. 

Even if you’re down on your luck, trapped in a hole you dug yourself, lost in the desert known as “what do I️ do with my life?” or roughly translated from Spanish as “how did I️ get here??!”, you still have effort.

Effort is how we can overcome any setback or obstacles we will face in life.

Doing instead of wishing.
Trying instead of dreaming.
Leaping instead of fearing.

Wishing for change is like wishing for bagels — nothing changes and there are no bagels.

If you want a bagel, you have to go out there and get one yourself.

The more non-stop your effort is, the quicker feedback you’ll have on what’s working and what’s not working.

Non-stop effort gives you the experience and practice you need to reach mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

Blog post inspired by: Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." — Winston Churchill

"You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset." — Tom Hopkins

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dr. Pain

I️ went to a pain specialist recently about my chronic neck pain. We talked a lot about my story and how I️ got to were I️ am today. One of the big takeaways I️ got out of the visit was the question: “What’s keeping your body from healing?”

After working my muscles and posture for an hour, my neck felt great. The pain didn’t vanish, but the posture of my head neck and shoulders fell into a thoughtful alignment. Before I️ came in, I️ was actually holding myself up from keeping my body from slouching over, like I­t­ wanted to do. After I️ left, no effort was required. Gravity did all the work. But, unfortunately, by the end of the day, my neck discomfort was back to it's old self. (hello old friend)

The real problem isn’t my neck, it’s my lifestyle. Everything I️ do for work involves being on a computer, and the majority of activities I️ do involve looking down. Reading, writing, piano, hiking, cooking, drawing...

The first thing you need to do when facing down the barrel of a health problem is 

Accept the Challenge.

As much as I️ would love to take the pain and stress that comes along with I­t­, I️ can’t. 

Most of the time pain isn’t out to get you — I­t­ just happens. Maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s some one else’s. Pain doesn’t care. Pain just wants you to either give in or become better.

Sometimes unfair things happen, big bad wolf problems that we all think ‘that will never happen to me’ until I­t­ does.

Sometimes we put ourselves in harmful situations — for good, or recklessly — and get hurt.

And often times the pain is our body’s way of telling us to pay attention to something we are neglecting.

Are you listening to what your pain is telling you?

That goes for mental pain too. If you’re in a constant state of negativity or fatigue or anger, or undesired stress, or rush hour, or fear, or thousands of other negative pressures, something in your life is not aligning to who you are, your core values and what you envision for your life.

Again, what is your pain telling you?

I️ do believe you were put on this earth to be let pain rule over you. Pain is an opportunity to thrive, all you have to do is shift your perspective from pain to gain, and take on the challenge.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

1%

Think of something big you want to accomplish in life.

Create a successful business, write a well acclaimed book, go to mars, learn 5 languages... 

Whatever I­t­ is you’ve set your mind on,  there’s you, your goals, and a bunch of unknown, terrifying, exhilarating, rock bottom, uncomfortable things standing in between of where you are and where you want to go.

Big picture goals are like a large realistic painting you view at a distance. When you get closer, you realize the picture was made from dabs of different colors and strokes of movement. Mistakes, creative epiphanies, techniques and layer and layers of work and expression are what turns stretched canvas and some tubes of paste into a masterpiece that resonates through time.

It’s the same with our big goals in life. It’s hard to see how a BIG goal is made when you’re starting at ground zero looking up at this looming mountain, lacking a Sherpa to guide the way. You want to get to the top, but how?

1%.

Doing even just a tiny amount of consistent and deliberate work dedicated to accomplishing your goal will accumulate up over time.

1% doesn’t just add up, it multiplies. The more consistent and good you get at something you love, the more you’ll want to do it.

What’s one small thing you can do today — right now — to get you one step closer to your goal?

Start with 1%, Stick with at least 1%, and one day you’ll be in the top 1%.


Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Find Your Thing

I­t­ would have been an ordinary day, except on this day, a humble flight of stairs became the catalyst for a life altering decision.

What separated this particular day’s walk up some steps from any other day, I’m not sure. Perhaps I­t­ was a particularly stressful day at work or at home. Or maybe I­t­ had been awhile since he actually took the steps instead of an elevator. Fat, newly 40, and fearful of dying prematurely of a heart attack, Rich Roll decided to make a major change.

You’ve probably heard Rich’s story before, becoming vegan, teaching his body to get back to running, swimming and moving again. “Two years later, 50 pounds lighter, and fueled by nothing but plants, he surprised the triathlon & ultra communities by not only becoming the first vegan to complete the 320-mile über-endurance event, but by finishing in the top 10 males (3rd fastest American) with the 2nd fastest swim split — all despite having never previously completed even a half-ironman distance triathlon.”

Rich chose health. 
Specifically, he chose plant-based food and ultra endurance.

Now he’s gone well beyond his origin story. He’s a bestselling author, speaker, and his podcast The Rich Roll podcast is a top rank podcast that features high performing guests from all types of industries.

This is just one example of choosing a pursuit, working towards mastery and finding success, and eventually branching to other areas they are also interested in.

What’s Your Thing?

I’ve been struggling to identify whether or not i­t­ is better to focus on one thing at a time versus focusing on many things?

For me, it’s less about choosing specificity over multi-disciplinary, and more about finding a better way to become a multi-disciplinary.

Is it better to focus on one thing, get really good at it, and build upon that skill with other skills that interest me?

No matter how you slice it, there’s only so much time you can give to your craft/crafts in a day. And don’t forget about time with family, friends, sleeping, eating, and possibly even working if your pursuit is not your job.

Time for writing takes away time you could be practicing guitar, or work on your acting skills… etc. With that being said, priority is essential to progress

And there’s also a meta layer of all this of me wanting to make Renaissance Life relevant and appealing to people like me. Renaissance is about creativity, mastery and the art of changing and reinventing your life, but is that too broad for people to connect with?

Is my audience not well defined enough yet, or does my marketing need some work? (Probably a little bit of both)

I don’t have an any of these questions answer yet.

The best I can come up with right now is one idea and a question:

Idea:
Build a strong foundation of meta-skills that help improve your performance in all areas (sales, marketing, writing, connecting, etc).

Stick with 1 to 3 things your working on, but create a regularly scheduled assessment of your progress.  The last thing we want to do is spend all of our time juggling a thousand things and never making traction on any of them

Question:
What are you willing to give up? Or put another way, if you know the general direction you want to go, what are things that are distracting you that you need to say no to?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Sense of Control

The worst part about feeling bad from illness or injury is losing your sense of control.

I say sense because we are never really in control, we just live in such a cushy environment that it feels like we are... until tragedy strikes (internal or externally).

That’s one of the big reason why I made the decision to go off coffee last year. I felt my coffee habit was controlling me, instead of me controlling it. The quality was bougie and great (grass fed butter, MCT oil, single-sourced beans), but my one cup in the morning, turned into a BIG cup, turned into 3 cups...

I felt my coffee habit was controlling me, instead of me controlling it.

I️ felt like I️ needed I­t­, I️ even hauled a giant kettle and French press around Thailand during a week Long Island hop trip. 80% of my suitcase was coffee and health stuff.

When me and my sisters went to Bonnaroo, no joke, on the first morning, I️ managed to somehow drive out of the park (discouraged), went to the closest Walmart, bought a car battery, and figured out a way to navigate road block after road block back to our tent, just so I️ could brew coffee in the middle of Tennessee field.

All that to say, I️ was either a genius or completely beholden to my habit.

Control is like a fine oriental rug you place in the middle of a crosswalk. You feel safe and sound on your little rectangle, but if you aren’t aware of what’s going on around you, or where you’ve placed your rug, you’ll find yourself surprising crushed under foot traffic. (I’m not even sure that analogy was a complete thought, let alone made sense.) Even when you’ve created a positive habit — routine control — for yourself, I­t­ doesn’t necessarily mean you should stand on your rug for the rest of your life.

Habits and control should always be tested.

And when you run into health problems, someone swept the rug out from under you and you’re not sure where you are anymore. That’s how it’s been for me anyway. I️’d describe my biggest aliment as ‘fatigue’, but fatigue is such a vague and universal component of health issues, if you were to randomly look up a health problem on PubMed, I’d bet you a $2 dollar bill that I­t­ has fatigue under its symptoms list. The worst part is not knowing. Is I­t­ all in my head, or is something wrong? Is I­t­ my sleep? Allergies? EMF? 

The body feels fatigue when something isn’t working 100%. It’s your bodies way of telling you to slow down. The problem with fatigue is because of the lack of energy, you find yourself in a negative cycle of needing to do more because you not fully charged enough to do what you would normally be doing.

The silver lining that’s helped me is focusing on the things in my life I️ can control. 

I️ can’t control the weather, but I️ can control how I️ think about I­t­. My thoughts can amplify the negativity left untrained or can amplify the happiness and gratitude for what I️ do have through daily practice. 

I️ can’t control what people think of me, but I️ can control how I️ treat others. Every person I️ come into contact with I️ begin with respect and genuine care.

I️ can’t control the bad that happens to me, but I️ can control what I️ do about I­t­. Action is the most powerful tool in your area of control. Action has the power to move mountains through consistency and dedication to the goal.

When in doubt, train your thoughts, train how you treat others, and back your intention with action. Even if all else fails, no one can take these away from you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Reflection Friday: Reset

Who are the masters of starting over and reinventing themselves?

What are effective ways to market your work and grow your audience?

How do you stop being everything for everybody and start being everything for yourself?

Is it possible to impact influence others if you’re struggling with things your self?

Who are some energetic and enthusiastic people that I could emulate?

Is it better to focus on one thing until you’re really really good at it before Pursing other things, or do a handful of things and make incremental progress in all of them at once?

How do you heal from past failures?

What’s a good way to remember the steps and progress I’m making on my way towards creating a healthy life for myself and those I connect with?

As you can see I’m working on a lot of things right now. I try not to be afraid of letting people who read my work what I’m going through, but there’s always that taste of fear in the back of my throat. I’m a strong believer in letting your setbacks become your strengths through stories. Setbacks are touching points that give you the opportunity to share what you’re going through and been through and gives you a chance to relate to others who might be struggling with things as well.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner 

The answers are there, waiting for you to ask the questions.

Confident Amateur

I think I come across as naive more often than not to people I connect with.

Maybe I am, maybe I am not.

To me, they mistake naivety for my beginner’s mindset.

You have to be an amateur first — and be okay with it — to become a master at what you do. That’s one of the big reasons why I pick up on things rather quickly. I’ve had friends comment on how frustrating it is that I can learn skills so easily. That I’m just “disciplined” or "talented”, but the honest truth is I’m not. I’m no smarter nor better than the average person working at Starbucks. I’m just open to new experience and opportunities for learning because I know it will upgrade my performance faster.

I put curiosity first (and wear it on my sleeve).

Ping-pong for example. 

I barely played ping pong growing up. Just wasn’t my thing. Every time I picked up a paddle I felt like the ball was completely out of my control.

Late last year I started playing a lot of ping-pong because there happened to be a table at the office. I sucked at first. Could barely keep the ball on the table. And if you had thrown a curve at me, I would have immediately hit it straight into a game over.

But I kept playing. Kept improving. I was open to failing because failing gave me instant feedback on what not to do.

Now, I can play. I’m not going to win any international tournaments any time soon, but I feel confident in my game.

Without curiosity, without a beginner’s mindset, without being okay to kneel down and bend the knee towards someone who is better than you at something, there’s no chance of learning or reaching mastery.

Pretending to know all that you need is closing yourself off from becoming better at what you love. Faking it helps build confidence, but it doesn’t help build skill. That takes practice and the curiosity to absorb lessons from success and failures.

And if you do fail, and look like a bubbled-boy idiot, who cares? At least you’re not boring. I’d much rather look like a goof and keep improving my skills and performance, over never trying because I might fail.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling :)
— Josh Waggoner

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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." — Shunryu Suzuki

"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you." — Barbara Sher

"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life." — Steve Jobs