Memento Mori

 

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” — Seneca

Mac Miller (1992 – 2018)

He was 26.

 

Live life to the fullest every day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Start With You

Why is it easier to help others than ourselves?

Because we are too close to our problems. We *feel* them, unlike others do.

I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, emotionally, spiritually, physically, therefore I have an outside, objective perspective on things. I can give advice because I’m not feeling your (literal) pain.

But all advice isn’t created equal. It’s difficult to listen to advice (especially unwanted advice) from someone who doesn’t take their own medicine. You could be the wisest person in the world, but no one is going to listen to you if you don’t back up your words with your actions.

If you want to help others, you must first help yourself. This isn’t a selfish act. The more you invest in yourself, your own wellbeing and happiness, the more you can inspire and pass around that spirit. Investing in yourself is investing in others.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

New Level of Understanding

What are you going to do if your problem doesn’t go away?

What if this is your new normal, your new baseline?

I’m not saying that this is true or that you can’t heal or overcome your current batch of setbacks, but what would you do if no amount of trying could make your problem go away?

I’ve found new meaning with my own setbacks with this kind of thinking exercise.
What if my nerve damage from my neck injury never heals?

What if my fatigue and related sleep quality problem doesn’t go away?

What fi all these things that I feel are holding me back couldn’t be changed?

Then at least I can finally let go of them.

I can stop my problems from consuming my every day and my fear of them getting in the way of my actions and desires. I have experienced pain but I don’t identify myself with that pain.

If this is the new normal, then so be it.

I’m still alive, I’m still breathing.
I can still believe and strive for solutions and positive change.

I can do what I can, with what I have, instead of doing nothing with what I want but can’t have.

By letting go of my expectations and outcomes of what should happen, I can finally rid myself of the baggage of fears and personal limitations I’ve given myself or adopted over the years that’s holding me back.

And actually start living.
Instead of comparing my current ‘broken’ self to my past in-his-prime self, I can see the value in where I am and what I have and begin to focus on what’s possible in the future.

It’s not: this is my new normal, woe is me; it’s

**This is my new normal, now how can I make it better?**

This isn’t giving up, it’s giving in to what comes and fighting tooth and nail to make sure that its filled with freedom, truth, connection, love, and happiness.

What if the problems don’t go away.
Good. Then I can finally  — finally — see them for the opportunities that they are, and understand how strong and capable I really am.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Ordinary Habits

You might not think about it, but anything can be a habit, not only good, or bad habits, but also mundane habits.

If you feel stuck in life, habits are getting you there. One or more of your decisions are leading you right back to where you started (in this case where you don’t want to be).

Identify the habits that are holding you back, then replace them with extraordinary habits.

It sounds so simple. Step 1, do this. Step 2, blah blah blah. Step 3, success.

But it’s hard to change your habits. That’s why it’s better to start with what you can handle. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s probably not the best idea to jump into the deep end right away.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

When you miss a deadline…

Or a workout because a cold, or a night out drinking, or because… because.

When you miss a day — a habit, a practice, a goal, a coffee meeting.

When you end up doing something you don’t want to do — like it a bucket of cheesecake and ruin your diet, or fall into old bad habits — there’s one only thing you need to do to get back in the saddle:

Keep going. Pick up right where you left off.

Missing is normal. Deadlines, opportunities, expectations, promises to yourself are inevitable broken by mistake or a moment of laziness or weakness. It’s okay, we are all only human.

But this is a critical moment. One moment that defines whether you practice extraordinary lifestyle habits, or just ordinary ones.

 

The real test is what you do next.

On the next day, are you going to give up or dig deeper?

Will you stay down, or dust yourself off and get back up?

Digging deeper will probably be one the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s worth every drop of sweat.

Why?

First let’s look at the opposite.

Giving up because of failure or mistakes is where dreams and skills go to die.

Did your parents ever sign you up for piano lessons or sports (something skill based) when you were younger? I didn’t, but my sister did.

80% of kids don’t continue their lessons after two years (according to the internet. Believe at your own risk. Anecdotally, it seems like most kids drop their lessons for one reason or another.)

The reasons are many, but it comes down to the simple fact that learning by sucking and failing over and over again on top of not knowing why you are doing something in the first place or how it might help you in the future.

If we are good at something, we think we are good at it and desire to do more of it. Same thing if we are bad at something. Unless we train yourself past failure, anything that we suck at we tend to avoid.

The moment of failure can be a moment of triumph and redemption if we decide to keep going. Digging deeper show you what you are made of and ingrains with you that you can get through anything that and are the type of person who gets back up and doesn’t let a little failure or missed deadline stop you.

Digging deeper show you what you are made of and reinforce what you do when faced with a challenge or setback. 

Miss a day?

Start again the next.

Heck, start now.

Show yourself whose boss and in control of what comes your way.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Your Mindset is your Ceiling on your capacity to change

With a beginner’s mindset, everything is possible. There are no mental barriers holding you back from trying something out of the ordinary, because you don’t know what’s ordinary. Everything is a playground. Any project is double.

With a realistic mindset, everything is well thought out. Risks are mitigated. Actions are oriented through process and systems thinking. A project’s success is formulaic and lives or dies by its model. A does of realistic thinking is good and can prevent lost time, money and keep you away from restless nights and headaches. But realism doesn’t always equal originality. Creativity is certainly possible, but the goals reached for in this mindset are much more grounded in what’s probable now, versus the weird imaginative ideas of the beginner’s mindset.

With a negative mindset, everything is impossible. Anything you could do, someone has already thought of it or has done it better. In fact, any idea you dream up has already been made, so why even bother? And project is improbable and likely to fail. (If the negative mind even lets you start.) There is no originality, because originality is too risky. And if a person living in a negative mindset is forced to work on a project, they will complain the entire way through, and self-attack themselves for doing such a bad job, and produce only ordinary.

With an expert’s mindset, everything is within your domain. Tools, methodology, skills are instinctual and lightning fast. You make it look easy for us mortals watching from afar. An expert’s mind has originality on demand, but knowledge is a gift and a curse. The more you know, the less you can forget about what you know. Too much knowing can paralyze you from trying new things or stop you from making wacky moves because you are aware that they are ‘wacky’ in the first place. Wackiness is only wacky because you know better. (…for better or worse).

All types of mindsets, these and more, have good and bad traits:

A beginner’s mind will get you started and thinking differently, but opens you up to failure (failure that you may not be ready for and unable to handle).

A realistic mind will create a plan and validate the probability of success through decisions, but will sometimes dilute the vision and the why behind the metrics.

A expert’s mind gives you creativity on demand, but you’re susceptible to losing the wonder and magic that a beginner has.

Each has it’s risks but the mindset that seems the safest, yet is actually the riskiest (wrapped in a blanket of supposed safety) is a negative mind, which leads you nowhere.

A negative mind can prevent you from failing in the short term, but by not taking risks, only getting your feet wet, or not even trying, you fail in the long term (leaving the successful avoidance of failure in the short term uselessly moot)

(uselessly moot is a great band name)

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Population: Everyone

Its okay to be scared
To not know what you want
To lack confidence and motivation

It’s okay that you want to be a million things and have a million ideas
It’s even okay that you feel like you are not ready — not knowledgeable enough yet, not skinny enough yet, not enough money yet… — being not ready is normal.

The only people who aren’t scared are literal sociopaths, or dead — the rest (even the ones who look like they have their life together) are just really good at hiding it, or really good at turning fear into another emotion, such as an emotional fuel that drives you.

We are all in the same club. Fear, moments of doubt, anxiety, self-consciousness, embarrassment — these are all normal things everyone experiences.

The question is, are you going to let that stop you?

Never let what appears to be a flaw or personal defect or setback prevent you from pursuing the life of your dreams, or be anyone other than your 100% self. Your flaw is actually just an opportunity wrapped in an ugly package.

And if you are open to it,

the very thing you think you lack can become the driving force forward towards a creative life.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
 

There’s always Another Pair of Jeans

A bought some jeans yesterday.

I didn’t plan on buying jeans. I don’t regret buying jeans. Did I need them? Hardly.

But let me back track a bit.

The fam and I took a day trip to Atlanta to see the Winnie the Pooh Exhibit at the High Museum of Art.

I grew up reading and watching Pooh and all his friends when I was younger. That and the other  Disney characters made a far-reaching impression on me more than I can say or understand. It was fun to wander the exhibit halls of massive sketches of Christopher Robin and the 100 Acre Wood.

It was interesting to see E. H. Shepard’s artistic style. You could feel the flow of the  different scene’s by his sketching and re-sketching’s characters and objects (he rarely went back and erased things).

Afterward, we hopped over to Ponce Market and had a late lunch and shopped around.

Enter the jeans.

Josh Crew (J. Crew for regular muggles) was having a sale so naturally I tried on half the store.

As I sit here, in my new jeans, I can’t help but feel struck with how much I — and we as a whole — like and a drawn to new and shiny things. Clothing, gadgets, toys, food, apps, furniture…

There’s a fine line between a want and a need, and we usually cover, ignore, cajole and borrow our way across the line from want to need. (Even when the reasons are lame)

I need this new phone, because now my current phone is so old.

I’m as guilty as anyone. I love new tech and other nice things.

But it health to stop and take stock what we let into our lives. 

Are we surrounding ourselves with things we love and find joy from, or are we just appeasing our minds, emotions, and hearts from the dreams and desires we wish we were pursuing, and the person we wish we would be. 

Jeans are beautifully crafted. Buy a nice pair, treat it right, and it will last you years. 

But if you find yourself in line for another pair, and you’re torn about whether you should buy them or not, use time to your advantage — there’s always going to be another pair of jeans (or whatever thing you want to buy). There never going to stop making Jeans. There will always be better jeans a year later. 

When it comes to purchases, what matters most is what you prioritize your spending on. If you want to travel the world, maybe don’t lock yourself into buying a house with a mortgage. Because then you need to buy new furniture for your new house, and fix the roof, and pay some one to mow the lawn and on and on to the point where you have no money or time to travel anymore. But if your dream is to start a family and own a house, prioritize that. It’s not really about choosing one thing over another, 

Life is about prioritize the things you really want to do, over the little things you only kind of want (or fill obligated, pressured, emotionally stressed into doing).

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

What did you think of this post and the topic? Send me your constructive feedback at Josh@renaissancelife.com

Creative Energy

Everything you own, and everything (and everyone) you surround yourself with
Holds a sliver of your attention.

Think about it like each item you own holds a creative tax you must pay.

You might not necessarily think about that guitar sitting near your desk, but every time you see it, you subconsciously think, “ah I really should learn how to play my guitar”, yet then go back to whatever is pressing you in the moment.

It’s like being in a room with a fly, and everything’s cool until you notice the fly and it’s buzzzzzzing. Now all you can focus on is that stupid fly buzzing you insane.

Now take that one item — a guitar — and multiple its attention-grabbing effects  by applying it to every item you own, big or small.

Everything we surround ourselves with has weight on our lives. Everything you’re not getting to (like you want to) is a TODO on a list that drains your creative energy and drive.

Every book wants you to read it.
Every piece of clothing wants you to wear it.
Every gadget or toy wants you to play with it.

And these are just the things that are surrounding us, I haven’t even mentioned the dreams we ACTUALLY want to focus on, or what it means to be surrounded by the right people who will nurture the creative life you are seeking.

This is why its essential to only surround yourself with things that you truly love and want to BE. (I want to BE a writer, I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to be a painter etc)

If you’re surrounded by half-finished dreams or things you like but would mind if someone stole,
It’s time to do some mental — and therefore creative — cleaning and get rid of the things that are unknowingly weighing on you.

Remember, the things we own end up owning us if we let them.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Pick me up

Sometimes all you need to do is sit down (or stand up) and just do something about it.

It — meaning, what’s holding you back or frustrating you about your school, work, self, relationships, health, life at this moment.

There’s a reason Nike’s slogan is so iconic to generations of people from around the globe. Just Do It. That simple phrase speaks says exactly what we are missing to get us from where we are, to where we wish we were. It’s not a matter of will. It’s not that we don’t want to be better, we just aren’t taking steps working towards it.

Make a list. Make it short. Act on it. Don’t eat, sleep, or do anything else until you do. Will another unhealthy meal solve our problems? Will another restless night of worrying do the trick? What about complaining, drinking, gaming, despairing, ignoring or frustrating the problem away?

Pick yourself up and do a little something, for Josh’s sakes.

Do Something About It.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner