Life on Fire

Plants need just the right amount of sunlight, just enough water and the right kind of soil to grow. Too much sunlight and they die. No water and they die. But give them what they need and there’s no limit to how much they grow.

I’m not a parent, but I️ bet it’s the same with a baby — … water, dirt, and sunlight 😉  — you don’t feed a baby filet mignon, you give I­t­ what I­t­ needs.

But what we do we give ourselves?
We eat potato chips and fast food and wash I­t­ down with sugar-drinks. We stay up late drinking. We mindlessly consume media, argue about political issues we’re 8 degrees away from, and talk about negative things or things we can’t control.

And we do everything possible except what are heart desires:

Following our dreams, building a legacy, being our weird, undiluted selves, and creating connections with people we care for and love.

Living your life on fire 🔥 requires waking up with just the right amount of input (learning, connections, possibility), the right amount of fuel (whole foods, water, enough sleep, play) and the right amount of action.

That’s how we grow into our own.
The nice thing is we don’t have to do everything at once. We can start with creating one positive change — like drinking a big glass of water upon waking up — and focus all our energy on that until we master I­t­. One change leads to another, and another, until eventually, you wake up to the life of your dreams.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” — Whitney Wolfe

“There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” — Colin Powell

Stale Bread

Stale bread. That’s how I️ feel like today, really the last couple weeks. But life moves forward. And you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Because if you’re not giving I­t­ your all, what are you giving?

“I’ll give I­t­ my best half *ssed job guys!”

…That’s what a lot of people do. Maybe they don’t know it, but they live their life like their sleeping. ‘Making dreams come true is for other people, not me

But that’s not how you and I do things.

We know that whatever you want in life, you have to go after it.

Do you want to be more energetic? Then embody that characteristic and emotion of energy through your words and choices. Do what energetic people do.

Do you want to be a better communicator? Then become a better communicator by taking on the role of someone who is great at talking, and practice and hone your skills in every conversation you have.

Do you want to have an extraordinary life? Then do the work required until you do.

It’s classic chicken and egg. The chicken defines the egg and the egg defines the chicken.
We become what we practice, and what we practice we become.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

When to Give Up and When to Keep Going

As much as you want something to work, you’ve got to ask yourself,

Is this right for me?
Is this right for my customers?
Do I even know who my customers are or what they want?

It’s hard to sell popcorn to an empty theater.

Sometimes we grow out of our work. Just because you’ve done something for years doesn’t mean you have to continue doing it for the rest of your life. If your answer to ‘Is this right for me?’ is no, then it’s time to take a step towards change. 

A ‘business plan’ looks good on paper, but in actuality, business doesn’t typically don’t work out so neatly. If the work is right for you, but the strategy doesn’t fly, then it’s time for a new strategy. The most successful people out there in the world learned how to constantly iterate their approach based on real-time feedback of what’s working or not, and continuously pursue their craft until they found a strategy that worked.

Give up easily, when it’s not right for you. Never give up when you haven’t found a to make what you love work yet. Develop the self-awareness to know the difference between the two for yourself.

These are the characteristics of champions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” — Jack Ma

“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” — Marta

“Do not let the roles you play in life make you forget who you are.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Art always begin with imitation

There are countless bands out there who get there start by imitating the Beatles (… or Elvis … or Dylan … or any other huge band).

What’s a painting of the sky but an imitation of natures uncapturable beauty?
What’s a sculpture but the imitation of human subtlety and movement?
What’s a photograph of the night sky but a pixelated imitation of the universe’s wonder?

Art imitates even when you don’t realize it.

I’m not setting out to copy Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss or Steven Pinker’s writing style intentionally, but I’m sure I’m stealing some of their ideas unintentionally by absorbing their work. (I do intend on creating a similar lifestyle and career they’ve created for themselves.)

Steve Jobs once said, “Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”.  (Shameless indeed Steve! Since you’re stealing from Picasso’s ideology!)

You can put a patent on a device, but you can’t put a patent on a philosophy. By imitating Jobs, or Picasso’s ideology, we infuse their ideas with our own, which creates a new paradigm of ideas.

The freshest ideas come from the combination of other people’s ideas. The act of combining them puts your unique spin on the idea.

Imitation is how we improve

Imitation isn’t evil, it’s a natural part of finding your own voice. We should never hate or disapprove the person trying to dance like Michael Jackson or think like Elon Musk. Imitation leads to uniqueness. Where the line is drawn is when you copy/paste someone’s work and slap your name on it. Copying and pasting will neither improve your abilities nor give you the outcome you’re looking for. Plagiarism is like mindlessly watching Law and Order while playing a game on your phone and cooking dinner at the same time — nothing tasty or interesting ever comes out of it.

Seek out imitation in your work and passions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Breaking the Fear Wall

What is your fear telling you not to do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

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

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

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

Crazy Creative (Aka Do What You Love or You’ll Go Crazy)

Who are you going to be today?

There are so many things we can do and be and have access to in a single day. But there’s only so many hours to give. We are all bound by the resource of time. The question is, what’s the most relevant actions we can do? What’s going to help us to get to reaching mastery and a better life? What are the most important things we can do today?

What do you need to do today that will make you satisfied when your head hits the pillow and refreshed when you wake up in the next day?

I’ve chosen a life of pursuing creativity, and if I go a long time without creating or honing my crafts I GO CRAZY. I feel dull, crabby, achy, heartbroken, hangry, and all-around miserable. I think if you know what you’re passionate about but you don’t do that passion you die a little inside.

That’s one reason why I am so adamant about practicing daily habits. 

If there is a voice within you telling, imploring, yelling at you to paint, then you need to make painting a part of your daily life. A painter will never be as happy as he or she can be unless they have painting in their daily life.

Sometimes I’ll forget this. I’ll go weeks without writing, picking up a guitar, a mic or something else I love and then wonder, ‘why am I so miserable?!’. 

Oh right.

I haven’t been doing thing things I was meant to do.

As difficult as a daily habit may seem — and something is — a life without your passion is even more so. Creative expression is our way out of the hell we something lock ourselves in.

I know, I know. ‘I’m just too busy.’ Work and relationships and money and family and cleaning and laundry and a million others things I have to do and think about first… 

Wrong. Passion first. Pursuing what you love will make you a better employee, partner, sibling, and responsible human.

First, there MUST be you, your canvas and some paint.

This isn’t selfishness, this is maintenance. Without it, you’ll go crazy and drive everyone around you crazy too.

Photography, design, music, film, theater, basketball, podcasting, storytelling, writing… whatever your creative expression is, go out there today and make it a part of your daily experience of being ALIVE.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
 — Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” — Pablo Picasso

How Can I Make A Difference?

I’ve been so focused on my own problems, I’ve lost track of everyone else’s and my abilities to help others and myself.

Do I️ need to change myself to make a difference?
I️ know I️ want to, but I️ really need to?

Do I️ need to be smarter first? More lively and energetic? Healthier? More experienced? More confident? Wealthier?

Do I️ need to be anything other than who I️ am to make my dreams happen or to be a force for good in this world?

No. I️ think not.

Even if I️ never fix my health problems, or never achieve the success that I️ want, I️ can still make a difference. 

I️ can still do what I️ am able.

You are all that you need to make a difference.

Change happens by living. The more I️ align myself and life towards truth, my truth, the strong and more capable and charismatic I️ will become.

Improvement comes, not to the perfect, but to the broken, downtrodden, messed up, tired, poor, hardworking and purpose-driven folks who set their mind and hearts towards a better life and do all they can to make I­t­ happen.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” —  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” — Steve Jobs

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” — Bruce Lee


What personal anchors are holding you down?

There is something that is holding you back from who you want to be.

I think for me, right now it’s mentality. I’ve got a lot going on — some good, some bad — and it can be overwhelming sometimes. you would be amazed how much a negative mindset not only hinders progress but also make things worse.

Our mentality can either allow us to swat away problems like bugs to a windshield, or set us up to push against buildings try to move them.

I need to make practicing a positive mindset a daily habit.

Here’s my game plan:

5 minutes of positive visualization in the morning and evening. After I meditate, I will picture in my Head positive outcomes and dreams I want to see in my life. 

5 minutes of gratitude practice. Writing down 3 things I’m most grateful for. There is so much abundance around us, and it’s far to easy to let the small negative moments of each day overshadow the good.

Take some time and ask yourself if there is something you are doing that is weighing you down. Write a list. Make a game plan. Execute.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” — Havelock Ellis

“There’s no reason to hold yourself back and say you can’t do something in life unless you go for it and try to do it.” — Russell Westbrook

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” — Wayne Dyer

Staying Sharp

Look at any entrepreneurial or creative venture, and you’ll see that it was built on the backs of very sleepy people.

I­t­ seems like sleep deprivation is a badge of honor nowadays. Does creating success mean we need to have unhealthy habits to make I­t­ happen?

What about anger? Pain, injury, heartache, negative bank accounts, fear, frustration…

Are the emotions and setbacks that make us sharp necessary to be successful?

In her excellent book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington implores us to take back our lives and sanity by loving sleep again. Working on Huffington Post, Arianna literally stumbled upon our culture’s sleep deprivation problems when she collapsed and blacked out on the floor after consecutively pushing past her body and mind telling her to sleep.

I 100% agree with Arianna’s assessment:  sleep makes us better at what we do, not worse.
However, at the same time, I️ wonder, would I­t­ have been possible for her to create the massively popular Huff-Post without all the late nights working? 

It’s an unfair question because it’s impossible to know. I️ don’t want to pick on Arianna. I️ could name dozens of influential people who used their borderline unhealthy work ethic to create successful companies and freedom lifestyles, where they could mitigate and recover from the damage I­t­ created.

How many ideas of the Huff-Post caliber are crushed by lack ambition and putting in the work?

Is there a way of being rested AND successful?

I honestly don’t know. (Hopefully, someone smarter, or my future self can tell me).

The answer might come down to *everything in moderation.*

Oversleeping is just as bad sleep deprivation.
Too much-uncontrolled anger will eventually kill you. But a small amount of controlled anger? Now that might push you in the right direction to make change happen.

Change is the key factor.

Does this emotion / state / experiences / action fuel me towards changing? Does I­t­ help me create a life of meaning and worth? Is I­t­ a benefit or a detriment?

If it’s a detriment, we need to cast I­t­ out. If it’s a benefit, then perhaps the benefits outweigh the side effects they incur.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Say hello on Insta @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” — Homer

“One of the metaphors that I use for start-ups is, you throw yourself off a cliff and assemble your airplane on the way down. If you don’t solve the right problem at the right time, that’s the end. Mortality puts priorities into sharp focus.” — Reid Hoffman

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” — Vince Lombardi

A Live Worth Living

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Benjamin Franklin

Paint a picture of your day for me.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? (Do you leap out of bed, or reluctantly crawl out?)
Do you go to school? Perhaps you go to your day job? (Where is your focus?)
Who do you spend the most time with? (We usually we spend more time with the people we work with than the people we choose as friends)
What do you do after work? (TV? Go out for drinks?)

Show me someone’s routines, and I’ll show you how far they get in life.

How we embrace each day can show us how in tune we are in life.

If you crawl out of bed, rolling through your day like a thunderstorm of anger, negativity or hate, you have some Life assessing to do.

The fact of the matter is, dreams are easy to think up and hard to make real. It’s easier to be negative than pursue a life of positivity and abundance.

I’ve been in a rut the last couple weeks, I’m sure the quality and length of my daily writings have reflected that. I️ wake up feeling like I’m not where I️ want to be yet. (You could argue that’s a good thing. The feeling of dissatisfaction used as a driving force to want to change.) I’m not writing enough. I’m not honing my music and songwriting skills enough… I’m not dividing my time appropriately… on and on ad infinity.

The question is, what is my next move?

What do I️ need to do to unstuck myself?

‘Do something worth writing’

Writing skills not there yet? Keep writing.
Podcasting not there yet? Keep podcasting.
Music not there yet? Keep practicing.

Keep experimenting and being curious about the world.

Do I­t­ for yourself and for others like you.

If you are only doing things for yourself, your scope on life isn’t big enough yet.

We don’t reach mastery in a single day. We arrive at mastery with daily actions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Say Hello on Instagram: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“Thank you for life, and all the little ups and downs that make it worth living.” — Travis Barker

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” — Bob Marley