S.O.S.

The best part about asking for advice from a trusted friend or mentor is the objectivity.

When you are facing down the barrel of a problem (or problemS with a fat capital Ssssss) you’re usually too close what’s going on to see the issue for what it is and find opportunities to solve it — without losing your shhhirt about it.

Asking for help can be terrifying, mostly because it shows you are vulnerable like everyone else. You spend all this time fortifying yourself for battle, handling problems by yourself, steeling your nerves. All the while, you’re on edge and crying on the inside, as your foundation crumble from all the battles.You wish you had help, but in order to get it you have to lower your defenses to let help through, leaving you open…

Objective advice allows you to see things for what they are, rather than what you think they are.

It’s an emotionless spark of insight on what’s going on. However emotionless doesn’t mean soulless. Trusted advice has care and concern behind it. It doesn’t come with expectations of what you should do or pity for what you can’t do, rather, it says ‘here’s something you might haven’t seen or thought about the problem.’

Advice gives you the chance to find different angles and perspectives to the problem and redefine what the your dealing with. 

A problem isn’t just a problem, it’s amplified by what we think and believe about it.

A negative hopeless problem is a lion roaring on your chest while you lay on the ground yelling, ‘why me?!’ An objective problem is recognizing that the lion is actually the size of an iPhone, and you can pick up the lion by its tiny tail and you can get up off the ground and show that baby iPhone-sized lion your teeth and strength.

When in doubt, ask a trusted confidant.

How do you know if you can trust someone? Ask yourself, ‘does this persons advice help me, or does it help them / does it make them feel better about themselves?’

Does this person’s advice help me, or just them?

And when you don’t feel like you have someone to trust, find an expert such as a therapist, or even better, someone who has been through what you’re going through.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Instagram: @RENAISSANCE.LIFE

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“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” — Elon Musk

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” — Benjamin Franklin

What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”  ― Maya Angelou

Good Book Pairings

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Change Your Life

Time is difficult to see in a long-term mindset.

We spend our time like its an infinite resource, meanwhile, a bus could hit us tomorrow and game over.

Worried about the future, we lose track of what’s in front of us.
Scared or ignorant of the past, we lose track of what matters to us.

Childhood, school, maybe college and grad school, career, marriage, house, kids, and retirement — that’s the broad picture we paint in America.

If you’re lucky, eat well and exercise, you live to the ripe old age of 90+ with your mind and body still working.

But how much time do you spend doing what you hate? How much time have you given to pursuing your dreams and building a life that means something?

Until I️ started my Renaissance journey, I️ was asleep. (And I’m not talking about the kind of sleep you do on a bed) I️ was asleep to what’s possible. I️ was asleep to the power of choice we all possess. I️ was asleep to the fact that everything that is made up around us was built by other humans, and once you realize that, you can change it. (Paraphrasing Steve Jobs here.)

We each need to decide,

What does living mean to you?

Anyone of us could get a crappy job, save up and fly to Australia and surf for a month.

Well, what about responsibilities?

Good or bad, responsibilities are choices made in the past.  

Your life is a tapestry of choices. Some choices God or fate made for you. Others were made by the people in this world who came before you. But the decision you choose to make right now, they are up to you.

You choose to let your problems define you — or you choose to let them be an opportunity of defining your character and giving you a chance to share your story with others.

You choose to do work you hate — or practice coming up with ideas and building up skills to create a career that you love.

You choose to give into fear and do nothing — or try something, despite the fear and potential failure, and prove to yourself that you are confident enough to choose life.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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“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

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Confucius

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” — Charles R. Swindoll

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

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“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

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

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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

The Confidence of Your Inner Child

“Don’t be mad, 
cause I’m doing me
Better than you doing you.”

Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

What did you love to do when you were a kid? (What did you love to do when you were alone, or with friends?) Was it build huge structures and worlds out of legos? Was it drawing weird creatures and imagining them coming to life?

When I was growing up I did so many things.  I would draw, build legos, fight imaginary battles with a tree branch as a sword (still have the scar to prove it) My sisters and I grew up in a great neighborhood with a flock of kids the same age. We would bike, skateboard, run around, climb things we weren’t supposed to and all manner of shenanigans. (My own version of sandlot)  

The older I get, the more value I see in being childish. I have a strong gut feeling that the closer we get to our inner child, the closer we are to our true self. Our true self is the kind of person we would love to be, someone who doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable things, or from trying new things. Someone who just does things. Someone who is resilient, kind, insightful, opinionated and capable living past fear, and boldly moving on from failure.

Our inner child Is filled with wonder and possibility and has no doubt about who he or she is, no fear of failure, no worry or stress about what to do or who to be. Our inner child just is — he / she loving who we are, the way we are.

I think as kids we feel invincible. 
We don’t shy away from things, because what’s there to shy away from?

But somewhere down the line circumstance tells us to be cautious.
And in some cases, the circumstance is right. We should be cautious. Crossing the street can be dangerous. Sometimes stranger-danger is no joke. And if you jump off enough things, you’re bound to injure yourself.  The problem is being cautious is a slippery slope towards being hesitant.

We are hesitant to make new friends because, ‘what if they don’t like me?’
We are hesitant to try new things because, ‘what if I suck at it?’
We are hesitant to go outside our comfort zones because, ‘what if I embarrass myself?’

And the inner child in all of us says ‘So What?’

Kids don’t think, ‘man I really suck at this’. 

No! They think they’re great at everything! And maybe their josh-awful at it, but at least they are trying. To master anything, you must start as a beginner, just like everyone else, and then you must give it your all.

So what if I embarrass myself? Own it. Go ahead embarrass yourself. What’s it to them? By stepping outside your comfort zone, you’re doing what 80% (just made up that number) of the population won’t do. Be proud of that.

As humans, we are not invincible. (Just vincible) But that doesn’t mean we play our life safe. Be cautiously optimistic. Feel invincible while being smarter too.
You might end up worse, or better off. Play it safe and you’ll only get the same.

Your challenge today is to do something you loved to do as a kid. (Something no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do… scratch that — especially what no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do)

It could be something as simple as an activity you haven’t done in years: 
Throw frisbee with a friend, play pretend and build an epic imaginary adventure across your city, join a pickup basketball game with strangers at the YMCA. Build a pillow fort with your kids. (Building a pillow fort is always a great idea)

Whatever you do, the sillier the better. There are no brownie points for half-assing things. (Sure you could play Mario, but so is everyone else in the world, 50 years old and down)

Challenge: Do something childish.

Call a friend and invite them to do it too.

Take a photo, tell me what you did! tag me @renaissance.life on Instagram or email me Josh@renaissancelife.com. Make it public for all to see. Make them jealous of your new childlike freedom.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children. ” ― Jim Henson

“I think you have to keep a childlike quality to play music or make a record.” — Beck

“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

And sometimes you need something different.

Sleep is a great mood palette cleanser.

But sometimes I’ll find myself in a super funk even sleep won’t phase it. 

The best way to get out of a funk is to focus on your physical state.

Change your environment. Get up and move. Go to the gym. Grab some healthy food. Call someone you enjoy talking too. Our physical state directly contributes to our mental state (and vise-versa). Change one and you can change the other.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

P.S. Shorter post tonight, Gabriella broke her wrist  rollerskating : /

Sometimes you just need to sleep on it.

Bad moods, bad days, poor decisions, big decisions still needing to be made… sometimes sleep is the best reset.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sleep on it. Refresh yourself. Wake up with a better mood, better day, and better decisions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

P.S. Shorter post tonight, Gabriella broke her wrist  rollerskating : /

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” — Ernest Hemingway

“Tired minds don’t plan well. Sleep first, plan later.” — Walter Reisch

How to Surround Yourself with Friends

You can compare yourself to others all day long, but it’s not going to make you a better you.

If your friend is thriving, be genuinely happy for them. Practice gratitude for their successes and happiness.

If your friend is having a tough time, be the person who lifts them up. Show up. Showing up will be one of the greatest things you can do for them.

Be inspired by others achievements.
If they can do it, so you can you.
If you can do it, so can I.

Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self.

It’s cliche and sounds like it should be on a Hallmark card, but it’s true.

Being genuine is the best way to go through life. Sure you could tell white lies, maybe boast or exaggerate your life a hundred different ways, but when you are 100% you, (full of life, quirks, enthusiasm…) people go out of their way to be around you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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

Bite-sized Insights

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” — William Morris

“Experts on romance say for a happy marriage there has to be more than a passionate love. For a lasting union, they insist, there must be a genuine liking for each other. Which, in my book, is a good definition for friendship.” — Marilyn Monroe

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Plant Your Flag

“Distractions will do you in” — Drake

Rich Roll picked health.

Josh Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus picked Minimalism.

Sophia Amoroso picked fashion.

Tim Ferriss picked optimizing work.

Elon Musk picked online finances.

Jeff Bezos picked books.

They all have dozens of interests but they started with one.

It’s hard (maybe impossible) to build a personal brand or company around multiple interests when you’re at the beginning (I️ know, I’ve tried). It’s too confusing to your audience.

Trying to be all things to all people leaves you with nothing to show and no people. To rally fans around your ideas, you must first plant your flag into ONE thing you love.

Q: What’s the main cause behind what you do?

Plant your flag in a category you love, make it a lifelong pursuit, and as your audience grows to expand into your other passions.

Lifestyles aren’t made in a day, they’re made with consistent actions each day. Huge difference.

The biggest creativities and entrepreneurs didn’t start by doing and knowing it all. If you want to build your own unique lifestyle similar to who you look up to, plant your flag. Become really good at what you do, then expand into other interests. Your fans will follow. Eventually, your fans will love you for you (your weird, eclectic, quirky self), not just what you do. They come from what we do but stay for our personalities.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner 

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.” — Horace Walpole

BOOK: The One Thing by Gary Keller

Gear Doesn’t Make The Artist

You don’t need the latest and greatest gear to become an exceptional creative.

A $3000 guitar will certainly sound better than a $50 one you bought at Walmart, but buying I­t­ won’t make you a better guitarist. 

An $8000 Leica camera over a beat up iPhone 6 won’t make you the next Chase Jarvis if you don’t even know the fundamentals of photography.

Equipment is expensive (especially if you are like me and want to learn EVERYTHING) and I­t­ adds up. And don’t forget about the lifestyle that is attached to each item. The maintenance, the accessories, and other costs to entry. While I️ love a shiny new instrument as much as the next Shmoesph, I️ don’t need I­t­ to play brilliantly. The equipment doesn’t make the creative. A well-made instrument will enhance the creator’s ability, however, it’s still a reflection of their hard work and time they’ve put in.

To be a better creator, we must hone and practice our passions. Over and over again, until they­ become instinct. 

Focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t.
Work with what you can afford right now, versus waiting to express your creativity when riches fall from the sky into your bosoms.

Be the person who sets the stage on fire with a crappy beat up instrument rather than a ten thousand dollar one with no skills to back up the luxury.

Essentially, what I’m saying is 

Don’t let your gear be better than you are.

Own your beat up gear with pride. And don’t let lack of resources stop you from pursuing your art. Get creative, find ways around it. Make lack of resources a part of your art form.

As long as I­t­ works, you’ve got what you need. In the meantime, hone your passion and save up for something beautiful and elegant, worthy of all your hard work.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing
— Josh Waggoner

Follow the Renaissance on Instagram

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