Live It Out

We all have people in our lives that talk more than the walk.
They know everything about a subject, but don’t actually live it out themselves. Or their list of things they want to do runs laps around their list of things they actually do. In short, they are really good at doing everything BUT what they say.

Did I say people?
I really meant us. We do this too, more that we would care to admit. In fact, we do it so much we don’t even notice it anymore that we are doing it. Instead, we just see what everyone else is saying and not doing, versus what we are saying and not doing ourselves. (Harsh josh, but true…)

I can see three fundamental reasons behind this:

  1. Fear — We want to do it, but we are terrified of trying, failing, succeeding and / or looking bad.
  2. Belief — We don’t think we can because we don’t have enough time, resources, abilities, motivation, trust in ourselves etc.
  3. Uncertainty — We want to do everything, so we end up doing nothing because we aren’t sure what’s best and what will give us the most bang for our buck.

Luckily daily habits addresses all three of these reasons.

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day. If todays practice sucks, no problem. Tomorrow’s practice will be even better. If I can focus only on today’s work, the fear and uncertainty is small and the belief in myself grows and accumulates each day. There is no tomorrow, just today. There is no uncertainty, just the task in front of me. And the fear is smaller, because it’s down to a single action. I just need to do this one thing, that’s it and I’ll be better for it, even if I fail or look bad today.

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day.

My impetus [driving force] for writing at RenaissanceLife every day (and ultimately discovering the power of daily habits,) was that I was fed up.

I was fed up with wanting to write but not have the time. I was fed up with wanting to be more, but not being more. I was sick of just saying what I wanted to be, rather than actually being it.

Instead of having to say ‘I want to be a writer’, I am able to say ‘I am a writer’.

And it wasn’t just writing. It was music and exercising and art, and all the other little things that have been found to elevate our lives in little ways, such as making our bed, flossing, walking every day, solitude and community. All the things we never have time for.

Or at least, all the things we never think we have time for.

Like magic, once you start your daily habit, time for it appears.

You could also equate it to money. Say you decide to invest one hundred dollars a month in a retirement fund. At first you might think that’s impossible, because you need every dime to live on and can’t afford to lose the hundred dollars. But if you did it anyway, you’re spending adjusts. You still pay for everything you need (gas, bills, food, etc) but you subtly don’t spend the extra hundred dollars on things you want. It’s so subtle you don’t even notice you didn’t buy an extra shirt the other day, or you watched Netflix instead of buying a movie on iTunes. You’re finances adjust to the new reality.

It’s the same with doing something daily. You adjust your day to fit your practice. Whether that means getting up early, staying up late, doing it during lunch time, or just not spending time elsewhere, your life adjusts. Just like how deadlines are a good idea for projects because they give us a window of time to work in or otherwise we would work or procrastinate ad infinite, so too does our day give us time to work on our practice. It might mean that we are doing it at 11 pm at night on a hectic day, but we still find a space to fit it in somehow.

Life adjusts to change

Combine that with the power of streaks and accountability, and there always seems to be time for our practice.

Every day I ask:

How can I challenge myself today?
How can I get uncomfortable today?
How can I improve today?

Have I written a book yet? Have I recorded an album yet?
Nope. But I’m working on it every day. I’m working towards those goals.

And that’s the real secret of daily habits.

Daily habits give you a reason to wake up early and pursue something meaningful

It gives you something meaningful to work towards and wake up for. Even if your life is crap, you have your practice, you have a vision of your life you are working towards every single (josh d*mn) day. And you become the kind of person who doesn’t just talk.

How many can say that?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #574

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‘Someday’

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Malcolm X

Daily habits allows us to focus on the now, versus the someday.

There is no such thing as ‘someday’. Someday is a myth. Someday turns into years, which turns into never. And unfortunately, someday usually turns into regrets.

Don’t take me wrong. We can’t do it all now. I’m not giving you (or me) the thumbs to do everything all at once now. And we don’t want our ‘somedays’ clouding us up in the moment. We still need to prioritize what’s more important in our lives, which requires opportunity costs. But if we really want something to happen, or we really want to get be great at something, what better way than to work towards it each and every day?

We may not be doing as much as we would like each day, but at least we are doing something. Something meaningful that adds up. Something meaningful today.

We can’t control whether or not a misfortune or random accident happens. We could randomly get hit by a metro bus tomorrow (knock on wood) and there goes our ‘someday’.

Hone your skills today.
Work on your business today.
Work on your dreams today.
Start eating healthy today.
Start taking care of yourself today.

Give meaning to your life today.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #573

IG@Renaissance.Life

Means

Daily habits are a means to an end.

They help keep our skills sharp and stay sharp.

When you do something daily, you take away ‘I used to do X’ because there’s no ‘used to’ left, just ‘I do X’.

We all at some point wish we could get better now. We wait on doing what we love as if we are expecting a Will Smith genie to pop up out of our coffee mugs and grant us mastery.

10 Minutes is 100% better than 0 minutes. Would 30 minutes be better? Sure. Absolutely. But if you can only give 10 minutes because your time is limited, give 10. Even if you are only putting in 10 minutes on a particular skill, as long as its a focused and deliberate practice, 10 minutes will add up over time. That’s the power of daily habits.

Daily habits make the long term goals happen.

While we are ‘waiting’ for an opportunity to present itself, we are taking initiate and spending a little bit of time each day on what matters most to us.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #572

IG@Renaissance.Life

Available

We need space to create.
Cramming your life full of activity and todos leaves yourself unavailable for creativity (or at least the creative potential you could generate).

My best work comes from a place of stillness, where there’s nothing required of me to do, except what is in front of me. Sometimes that nothing space needs to be scheduled and placed in the midst of a hectic day. But from adding in that space breathed new life to your creativity.

In order to create — whatever that means to you — we must be available and open for business. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, so we need to be tuned in to that channel and have the space available to express it.

Often, that means having time to just mess around and play.

How we express our ideas is based on what we want to do and who we are. For you, that might mean writing or dancing. For another, that might mean rapping or giving a speech. There’s no right way, of course. That would be too easy.

‘But I don’t have any good ideas’

Are you open to them?
Are you giving enough time and space to listen to them?

Take more breaks. Schedule create time. Consider the spaces with the spaces of your life.

Give to the art of creativity what it needs to thrive, and it will give back in return.’

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #571

IG@Renaissance.Life

Break the Cement

There’s a mutual relationship between fear and any creative endeavor.

We fear what we want to do, even though we love and feel called to do it.

We fear succeeding at it almost as much, if not the same as much as we fear failing at it.

Because both outcomes comes uncertainty.

What happens after I do this?

Often this uncertainty keeps us from moving. We feel cemented in our tracks, unable to move forward.

But this is us standing still. Look at any stagnant pond and compare it to a body of moving water. The pond is grimy, stuck, undrinkable, un-alive, where as the river is filled with energy and aliveness. Which would you prefer to be?

I don’t want to be stuck. I want to be alive.

We must move forward, despite the fear and uncertainty, so that we can create movement and energy in our lives.

Moving forward doesn’t have to be massive changes, although it can be if we are ready. It can be small decisions each day, small thoughts different and looking optimistically forward towards our possibilities, small acts that eventually add to something meaningful.

A river ebbs and flows and builds momentum over time, and so must we.

And overtime, there is no more cement, just wind beneath our feet. Uncertainty and fear are there, but they are like old friends, once again showing us that we are doing something we love and something worth doing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #570

IG@Renaissance.Life

Luck (part 2)

I wrote a short blog post about luck.

The idea behind it was that what we call luck is rarely what we think it is: chance.
Luck is chance of course. Things happen without need or want of our consent.

….However, we can stack chance in our favor. But don’t make my word for it:

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Emily Dickinson

“I don’t rely on feng shui. I believe hard work brings us good luck and success.”

John Gokongwei

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck.”

Channing Pollock

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”

Oprah Winfrey

“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”

Lucille Ball

“When it comes to luck, you make your own.”

Bruce Springsteen

“The world is like a reverse casino. In a casino, if you gamble long enough, you’re certainly going to lose. But in the real world, where the only thing you’re gambling is, say, your time or your embarrassment, then the more stuff you do, the more you give luck a chance to find you.”

Scott Adams

“I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see And pursuing that vision.”

Howard Schultz

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #569

IG@Renaissance.Life

Stuffed

It’s 9:26 PM.

I’m writing this on a plane heading back to Atlanta, then Chattanooga.

Gabriella and I have spend the last week on holiday in LA.
I bought her a ticket to Moxi Skate Camp for Christmas, and decided to tag along.

I’ve said before here on this blog, that I’d like to think of myself as… well, not a minimalist, but minimally-inclined. Which sounds like a disease, or something you would say to a short friend asking if he’s short and you don’t want to hurt his feelings.

The reason is with creativity comes tools of the trade. A musician has her instruments and gear, a painter has her brushes and oils, a maker has her tools.

But I do try to avoid buying into excess, figuratively and literally. I wholeheartedly agree with the minimalist ideals of pocessing only which you find meaningful, useful or brings you joy.

All that being said, I brought far too many things with me on this trip, and bought too many things while on the trip (mostly food, and clothing).

Walking on the plane, I felt like a pack mule carrying his burdens across the mountains. +10 points for every persons shoulder I bumped into getting to my seat, +50 points for every head. It’s not that I brought a lot of one particular thing (okay I brought a lot of books), I just brought a lot of category of things that I like to do, the ‘essentials’ of a creative life, or at least that’s what the bushy eyed me thinks before a trip, and the shoulder-neck-broken me curses after a trip. But I digress.

Traveling is a great palette cleanser, in general but also in highlighting the things we deem essential to keep around us.

There’s nothing like lugging a carry-on luggage, a overstuffed backpack, a yoga mat, a tote full of books and a pair of roller skaters around an airport terminal to give you a breath of perspective.

For me and gabriella, this trip has highlighted the impulses of buying things hold on us, as well as the hilarious amount of things we deem necessary to life.

What does this spark of insight mean exactly? What’s my takeaway?
I’m not sure yet.
Something practical.

I don’t plan on getting rid of everything and becoming a minimalist, but I do want to live more intentionally, and be more intentional about what I buy and own.

Minimalism isn’t a negative or anything, I did spend the last year away from social media, so I’m not allergic to minimalistic ways. (More on that in a future post.)

I can say that I’ve learned a valuable lesson today as a pack mule, and the balance between creativity and the tools in which to create, as well as the daily essentials are something I’m going to focus my attention on as of today.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner, your traveling pack mule

Daily Blog #568

IG@Renaissance.Life

A Life of Art

“…The first step toward transforming your life into art is to start paying more attention to it.” — Austin Kleon

We mostly experience life through one lens: our own.

Our own shoes. Our own eyes. Our own hands.
But with creativity, we can experience other perspectives and and worlds, and we can create our own.

The more we can create, the more we can learn to see.

Artists know this. Photographers know this.
They paint with their own take on the world, view things like know one else does.

Find an artistic outlet that enhances your ability to see the world, and yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #567

IG@Renaissance.Life

Luck

Or otherwise known as:

Treat people kindly and with respect.

Be consistent.

Actually go to bed on time (for josh’s sake).

Give with nothing expected in return.

Become friends with people smarter than you.

Learn to understand yourself and understand others.

Say yes to what’s true to you, say no to everything else (unless you are giving).

Be a lifelong learner.

Question the reasons behind the curtains of life.

Believe in yourself and go easy on yourself when things don’t go as you expect them to.

Build a foundation on principles.

Lead by Action.

Try not to neglect the things that are easiest to neglect (like health)

And do the best you can with what you have.

What luck you will have.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #566

IG@Renaissance.Life

Don’t be a Try-hard

I find that most often in creativity and life, the more I try and force it, the less it works (whatever it is).

It’s a hard life, being a try-hard. 😆

It’s an interesting counterintuitive idea that wanting something so much brings you the opposite results. Or you get what you wanted and the results aren’t worth what it cost to get it.

It’s not that hard work doesn’t pay off, it does pay off, usually ten-fold. But working hard doesn’t always mean getting what you want, exactly how you want it.

Which can be a good thing. Usually what we start out with is limited by the information we have at the moment.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee

The passion and desire aren’t wrong, it’s the tight mindset around the finish line that needs some adjustments.

Instead of taking every challenge and opportunity with a tight fist, always clinching and squeeze with all our might to make something happen, we can open up our hands, let go of the outcome, and be agile and flexible to obstacles and change.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

Bruce Lee

With an open palm, we can let go of what should be, do our best each day, and create an outcome with the greater potential of what can be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #565

IG@Renaissance.Life