The Underdog

Perhaps the setbacks and problems you are facing are exactly the challenges you needed at this time.

It’s like a little over the threshold what you thought was possible. 

As difficult as it may seem, perhaps this is exactly what you need.

Everyone loves an underdog. 80% of movies out there are about how a person goes against unbelievable odds and makes it out ahead.

That’s why I like to use the word ‘challenge’ instead of the word ‘problem’. It’s only a problem when you don’t see it as a challenge. This is your chance to reach achievement against all odds and live to tell about it.

That’s why I face things head on. That’s how I can motivate myself to keep going during the worst moments.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

Reading Muscles

Saying ‘I hate reading’ is like saying ‘I hate green foods’. You probably don’t know if you like it because you’ve barely tried it. You might still think broccoli taste awful, but maybe you or your family just sucks at making broccoli and are great at overcooking it. (Sorry mom, I didn’t mean it)

The biggest problem with reading is that people don’t tell you why you should read in the first place.

Reading is A straight path toward success. 

(Whatever success means to you. It could mean swimming in a hot tub full of money, or maybe just having flexible work hours) If you want to succeed, if you want to be more than a beginner, and if you seek change and have a desire to live an extraordinary life — start reading. 

Knowledge, Skills, the ability to learn and connect ideas is a surefire way to become a linchpin.

Reading opens up your mind to infinite ideas and possibilities. (Put that on a motivational poster and smoke it) Reading expands your ability to think and see, it wakes you up to new worlds and new perspectives on life. (And that goes for fiction and nonfiction too)

I can’t even count the number of ideas reading has sparked for me. Half of my writing ideas were prompted by a word or phrase that I️ read in a book. And that’s the crazy things about books: they are a summation of experience, expertise, and ideas. Ideas that can change your life, and the lives of thousands of people out there facing their own challenges.

It’s okay if you don’t quite understand a book. When did not understanding become a sign that your an idiot?! Not understanding simply means you haven’t understood it yet

How to Build Up Your Reading Muscles

The act of reading a book is like going to the gym. Each time you do I­t­ you’re working your reading muscles and getting mentally stronger. Reading The Count of Monty Christo is going to feel like you’re jogging through pudding compared to reading The Hunger Games. And reading Plato is going to feel like someone strap hippos to your feet compared to reading Make Good Art. (Both fantastic, but Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art is much easy to understand than Plato) You don’t start working out by going to the gym and bench pressing 400 lbs on your first go. You start gradually and work you’re way up.

Each time you read new a book, pick something that feels like I­t­ might be a little out of your comfort zone. 

Read EVERYTHING that interests you, and be open to new genres that might not. Ideas can come from anywhere. It’s okay to put a book down if you dislike I­t­, but never put a book down because you /think/ that you would dislike I­t­.

I­t­ bears repeating, reading is your path to success. Whatever you want to learn, whoever you want to be, there’s a book out there for you to help guide your way. Mastery begins with the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Get reading.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

https://forms.convertkit.com/273691?v=6

Related Insights

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” — David Bailey

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” — Will Rogers

“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.” — Mark Haddon

Life Principle #6: Live For Challenge

Imagine yourself backstage.

You’re about to go one and speak to a crowded room of thousands of people.
The crowd is lively, the stage lights are bright, and you’re freaking the E. F-ing G. out.

Good.

That means you’re doing something right.

Public speaking is one of the most feared and revered skills we can have as humans. The ability to capture the minds and imaginations of thousands all at once with words — interpreted sounds — is incredible to me!

But unless you practice and hone your skills, it’s easy to see how being in front of that many people all looking at you at once can create such a fear-inducing effect. When I’ve spoken in front of people, I’ve either killed it or completely (arti)choked. It was all about the mindset I wore and the perspective running through my mind at the moment.

One prevailing theme I’ve observed from reading multiple biographies and from my own experiences is that challenges ultimately lead to greatness.  We become more capable, more confident, and grow faster when we jump into our discomfort zones and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Life Principle #6: Life for Challenge

Mastery of life begins in our discomfort zones. Do what you fear.

When you feel a ping of fear* about something, that is something you should immediately start doing.

(* fear doesn’t mean stupid. Don’t go frolic with tigers or play hopscotch with the mob.)

Every moment of pain, discomfort, failure, critique, hiccup, rock-bottom fall is a challenge to overcome.

The worst setbacks we face can become opportunities for going further than we ever imagined. 

Setbacks don’t define you, it’s what you do with them that speaks about who you are.

Chronic neck injury, burnout, useless college education, financial meltdown, shallow friendships, fatigue, uncertainty, these are my experiences. These are the stories I have the opportunity to share with others and teach them how to endure and overcome their own challenges.

I think we all know intuitively that we have to do something in order to be something. (I feel dumb even writing it)
If you want to be a blogger, you have to blog.
If you want to be a musician, you have to practice, record and play.
If you want to start an online business, you have to start.

And yet we still let fear hold us back. We let discomfort keep us from our ideal future.
But the strange thing is when you live for challenge, you learn to enjoy the discomfort.

Do you think Jimmy Fallon still get’s nervous every time he goes out on stage during Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Of course he does! But he loves it.  He loves the fear and uncertainty.

The same goes for everyone who’s ever done anything and stood out in their lives.

And when you do step into your discomfort zone, despite the fear, you become unstoppable. Not because you can’t fail (you will) but because you proved to yourself that you are more capable then you or others thought possible. 

Anyone can crowd surf, but only a few try.

Starting a business is terrifying. What if I fail? What if I lose all of my money?
Becoming a public speaker is terrifying. What if I bomb? What if I embarrass myself?
Becoming an author is terrifying. What if I never finish? What if it’s my work is no good?

But what if it works? What would you’re life look like if you succeed?
And if it is terrible, if you do bomb, what if you kept going until you succeed?

What’s scarier to you: stepping into the fear and challenging your comfort zone, or giving into the fear and living a lifetime wondering if your life would be better if you had?

The largest regrets I’ll have on my deathbed are challenges I didn’t take, and opportunities I missed because I was too scared in the moment to try. 

A moment of discomfort looking like an idiot, falling on my face, being criticized is nothing compared to a lifetime of giving into fear and taking the normal road.

The Renaissance Life is about challenging yourself to become a part of something greater, to be what you know you are capable of.

Live for Challenge.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

https://forms.convertkit.com/317372?v=6

Related Insights (From People Smarter Than ME)

“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

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” — Trent Reznor

“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

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” — Steve Jobs

CHALLENGE: What Would You Change If You Were Going to Die Next Week?

Time is a fickle friend.

Used properly we can increase our abundance — skills, ideas, friendships, wealth, experiences — through the power of compound interest.
Used poorly we can haphazardly give our time to things we don’t care about, and even worse we give our time without actually intentionally deciding to do so.

And Death feels like a far off event that happens when you’re old and grey.
But really it could happen any moment.

We can plan our world for tomorrow but die today.
That’s why brushes with death can powerful motivators. You hear stories about people completely rewriting their story after almost dying in a car accident, or from a health scare.
Moments like these can be a lightning rod to what really matters to you.

Death Becomes Me
So what would you change if you were going to die next week? What would you change?
Would you change anything?

Would your relationships be different?
Would you do the same work?
Would you have the same hobbies?

I want to live my life to the fullest every moment, because if I don’t that means I’ve been living my life with a glass half full.

You are going to die, so  why not be ALIVE while you can?
I’m not talking about reckless abandon (and three sheets into the wind)
I’m talking about intentionality. What would your life look like if you did everything to the upmost?

Extraordinary.

My actions will be fearless. Why wait? What would I wait for? How could I possibly be scared of trivial things like failing or standing out when it’s up against.
My wealth will be in the number of people I️ impact, not the number of zero’s in my bank account.
My friendships will be based on quality and care.
More confident, present,  and.. happy.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Challenges

Pushing your capabilities through practice and ritual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deliberate practice and daily ritual. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

https://forms.convertkit.com/273691?v=6

Related Wisdom:

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

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar

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

CHALLENGE: Binge Reading Blogs

How did Tony Robbins become the Tony Robbins?
How did Tim Ferriss become the Tim Ferriss?
How did Seth Godin become the Seth Godin?

Lewis became a master of connecting.
Maria became a master by connecting ideas from across time.
Paul became a master of speaking, teaching and emotional intelligence.
Ramit became a master of money and psychology.
Pat became a master of podcasting and business by helping others.

We all have our influences in real life and on paper. Titans of our industries. 
But no one starts at the top. (And if they did they wouldn’t have the values to stay there.)

The question is what strategies and insights can we learn from them and apply to become our own thought leaders. How do we get from 0 to 1?  (H👺ll, how do I get from 0.01 to 1?)

I see writing as a direct window into the soul. Our thought process, fears, strengths, ideas — who we are, etched a period of time. (Even lies give us valuable insights into their psyche.)

That’s why I’ve decided to start binge reading blogs of thought readers I follow and enjoy. To know where they started, and understand how they become who they are today. I don’t want to be Tim Ferriss, or Pat Flynn or whoever, but I want to similar things they have created for lives. I want to be able to learn, create, and connect without being encumbered by if I’ll be able to pay rent next month.

Of course a blog is just a piece of their life, but even a small slice of what it takes to be successful is enough to create radical change in our lives.

And I figure, If I’m going to binge something, might as well make it something that improve my life and makes me a better person. (… …. okay fine fine, I’m still going to binge Stranger Things too. 🙂

Here are 5 ground rules I’m following:

1. I am binge reading at most two blogs at a time. (Two because I want to find connections and correlations between the two influencers) 
2. I will read every relevant post, but if they seem useless to my life I’ll skim them.
3. Any time a blog sparks an idea, be that a writing prompt for Renaissance Life or an idea I can use for my work (at 60Watts, boldsheep, Pass It Down or Paul) I will immediately start working on the idea until completed.
4. If any blog post mentions something I should do (action steps) I will immediately do it before moving on. Whether that’s a challenge, business advice, or anything that resembles increased happiness and wellbeing.
5. Some Influencer don’t JUST have a blog but a podcast, books or other areas of interest. I will binge those as well.

I’m looking for patterns, insights into life and how they become who they are today.

If I am every going to be worthy of the title of a Renaissance Man, I’ve got to learn from the best.

I’m starting with Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss.

Here’s a list of people I know I’ll want to read of the top of my head:

Ryan Holiday
James Altucher
Pat Flynn
Ramit Sethi
Brain Pickings
Seth Godin
Hugh Macleod
Tim Ferriss
Chase Jarvis
Lewis Howes
Penelope Trunk
Copyblogger (Brian Clark)
GrowthLab

Feel free to make any suggestions to any influencers you enjoy in the comments below or via email. (I’ll periodically update this list)

I’ll keep you updated on my binge reading journey as I go.

Join me on this CHALLENGE —  if your crazy like me.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

CHALLENGE: Never Grow Up

What's life without a little challenge? — Boring that's what!

CHALLENGE: Find an outlet For play

Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t play anymore.

Play gives you the chance to just breathe.

To do something simple for the sake of enjoyment.

Wonder is such an important aspect of our lives, yet something we often let slide.

Find an outlet for play, add it to your daily or weekly schedule.

‘But I don’t have time to play’

another way to say that is ‘but I don’t have time to have fun’

Sounds funny when you say it like that, doesn’t it?

 

Will you take on the CHALLENGE?

Challenge Accepted

— Josh Waggoner

Challenges are better with friends! Share this with an amigo.

CHALLENGE: Give Daily Compliments

What's life without a little challenge? — Boring that's what!

CHALLENGE: Give a compliment every day.

Build the habit of handing out compliments on a daily basis.

One small compliment goes a long way.

Every time someone gives me a compliment,
I feel much more encouraged afterward.

Compliments  (whether I’m receiving them or giving them), no matter how small, lift my spirits and can have a lasting effect my entire day.

Giving away compliments is like giving a small piece of happiness and good to someone +

…Or we could just walk on by, say nothing, or comment only in our head.

Putting a little light into the world is a choice we have to make every day +

Will you take on the CHALLENGE?

Challenge Accepted

— Josh Waggoner

Challenges are better with friends! Share this with an amigo.

related wisdom

“It’s always the compliments from people you love that mean so much.” — Maria Bamford

 

“I guess other people’s compliments motivate you.” — Benjamin Stockham

CHALLENGE: Carry an Idea Notebook EVERYWHERE!

What’s life without a little challenge? — Boring that’s what!

Challenge: Start Carrying an Idea Notebook

This week’s challenge is simple enough.
You’ve heard it before, but if you aren’t carrying a notebook around with you, you’re missing out on potential ideas that might pop up.

Ideas can come from anywhere,

so it’s a great idea to carry a pen and notebook (or in my case multiple!) around with you to capture the moment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had ideas on the go which leads to some of my best work. And – to look at the opposite side of the spectrum – how many ideas I’ve forgotten because I didn’t take the time to write them down.

This doesn’t have to be weird — you don’t have to carry a notebook the size of a small dog around — just grab something small, and throw it in your pocket or purse.

If you already carry a notebook, your challenge is to challenge someone else!

My Favorite’s

Smaller Notebooks

Larger Notebooks

“Ideas can come from anywhere and at any time. The problem with making mental notes is that the ink fades very rapidly.”
— Rolf Smith

Challenge Accepted

Josh Waggoner

Challenges are better with friends. Please share this post.

Challenge: Start Journaling

What’s life without a little challenge? ——— Boring that’s what!

Challenge: Start Journaling

There are times of joy, and moments of pain that I wish I could look back on and see where I was in that moment. What were the thoughts and feelings I had during? How did I anaylsis back then?

Why Journal?

Journaling is the window into the past — be that ourselves or someone else’s mind — therapy for the present, and clarity for the future +

Everyone I read says you should journal — but beyond writing for this blog I haven’t.

I didn’t make the time. Now I am. Simple as that.

If you want to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal. 

Many of our greatest minds of the past and present journal

Journalists

  • Ronald Reagan
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Charles Darwin
  • You
  • Marcus Aurelius 
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Thomas Jefferson 
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Winston Churchill 
  • Anne Frank

This is but a few, out of many how keep a journal.

Benefits of Journaling

  • Clarity of thought and purpose
  • History of your state — mind, emotions — at a point in time
  • Mindfulness, Presence
  • Achieving goals
  • Reduced Anxiety

 

Our Challenge this week is to start journaling every day.

Start with writing just one sentence. That’s it.

If you feel up for more keep going.

 

Challenge Accepted

Josh Waggoner

Challenges are better with friends. Please share this post.

 related wisdom

10 Journaling Tips to help you heal, grow and thrive

Famous Writers on keeping a diary

Why do we read diaries?