Hard-won Lessons

“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

B. F. Skinner

If I had the opportunity to peer into a crystal ball and see my future, I don’t that I would. Because some of my best moments have come from my worst failures. And if I knew how hard I would fall and scrape my knees (metaphorically speaking), I’m not sure I would be strong enough to choose failure.

For me, that was learning how vital health is by dealing with the damage of injuring my neck.

I would never wish misfortune and hard lessons on anyone, but they often are the most rewarding lessons we can experience in life. Well, that is if we humble ourselves enough to bend to their insights. (There are plenty of people out there who fail and fail again but never learn and use their mistakes to their advantage.)

But how to move forward after failure? How to move forward after your life falls apart like a sugar cookie in a zip lock bag being crushed by your grade school bully?

You move forward by starting over and by picking yourself up and trying again. Because that’s what life is—a cycle of “trying agains”. Even success ebbs and flows.

There’s never a moment of “making it.” There’s always the next level. Even Oprah and The Rock are aiming for something. Of course, it’s when you think you’ve made it that you start to un-make it. Casey Neistat has a great vlog on this, My Biggest Failure. The worst thing you can do when you fail (or succeed) is nothing.

Earn your failures by turning them into momentum.

And when you are in the midst of despair, look for the good—shift out the dirt and debris and find the gold in your situation. There are no easy answers in difficult circumstances, only hard-won lessons.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1188

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

The First Line of Defense

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
Henry Ford

What’s the one thing that touches everything we say, do and experience?

Our thoughts.

Thoughts flavor everything.

But you are not your thoughts. I learned this from Mo Gawdat’s Solve for Happy book. Mo explains that if you were your thoughts, then how are you able to hear your thoughts?

Reality is reality, but we bend our reality with how we think. If you are continuously looping negativity in your head (or aloud), imagine how that’s affecting your experiences and view of the world.

A glass-half-full and a glass-half-empty is the same thing—a half-glass of water. It just is. But one mindset gives us hope and the other makes us jaded. The question is, which one do you want to cultivate?

“Every moment of your life is neither all good nor all bad. When you clear your thoughts and see beyond the Illusion of Knowledge, you will realize that what Shakespeare wisely said is true: “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
― **Mo Gawdat

A question I like to ask myself is,

How is this thought helping me? (Or plural— how are these thoughts helping me?)

If they aren’t, they are just getting in the way of my happiness and wellbeing—so I let them go. It’s not an easy practice because it’s something that I constantly need to stay vigilant in (especially after this last year) but it’s worth it if it improves the quality of my life (and the lives of those around me) even if it’s only a 5% increase.

Related Recommends:

If you decide to make a book purchase, I get a small affiliate kickback from your purchase. Thank you for your support.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1157

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

TMI

I’m currently surrounded by over a dozen books and a dozen gadgets and gizmos I’m actively using andor could be using right now.

I’m guessing your environment looks similar to mine unless you’ve become a minimalist and sold or donated away your things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither humble-bragging nor complaining about the things surrounding me, I’m just observing how easy it is to overcrowd our spaces—physical and digital—with todos.

The disease (dis-ease) of our time is TMI—too much information.

News is an obvious one. I’ve read (somewhere) that the human mind wasn’t made to hold a worlds worth of bad news.

Another is the work-related todos (that we often put on ourselves) pile around us. Overcrowded schedules. Pulled in a million directions except for the one you want to be focusing on.

So what are we supposed to do about this?

For starters, we can live by the principle “out of sight out of mind.” If we remove the options around us, we can focus in on the priority in front of us. If you’re reading a book, don’t surround yourself with a hundred other books you want / should be reading.

But generally, if you have a task to do, limit your scope to that task and only that task. Everything else should be removed from your site or reach if possible. We’re not banning things, just simply taking away the option of use for the next 30 minutes or so.

If something is bothering you or weighing on you, remove it from your mind temporarily so you can focus on what’s important.

Another thing we can continuously do is ask ourselves, “Is this helpful or unhelpful?

Does having 100+ browser tabs open at one time helpful or unhelpful with what I’m trying to do right now?

Does checking Facebook every 5 minutes improving my life or making it harder. Moderation and minimal-ization are key.

The problem isn’t necessary TMI, but too much information all at once. If we’re trying to focus on a dozen things we end up focusing on nothing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1115

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

The Path

You don’t choose the path, the path chooses you.

You decide which direction to take, but you don’t control what discoveries, wonders, monsters, and misfortunes you find along the way.

If there’s a trick to life, it’s our reactions. The better you are resting well to what life throws in front of you, the more meaningful and worthwhile your life will be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1114

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Quality First

“Do not discourage yourself with what you haven’t done, encourage yourself with what you will do.”

Neale Donald Walsch

I could wag* my finger and tell you to stop watching the news or stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians or stop caring about whether Tayshia gives a rose to Ben or not.

But I’m not writing this to tell you what you can and can’t do. With everything you consume—from news, articles, podcasts, shows, social-what-have-you’s—the question we must ask yourself is this—

How does this make me feel?

How do I feel ~while~ I’m consuming this? And how do I feel afterward?

Am I tense? Angry? Lazier? Numb? Happy? Energized? Does ~this~ make me feel motivated or inspired to create?

Or in essence—Is this adding to or taking away from my life? Is this enabling or distracting me from what’s important?

There’s a simple rule we can follow to keep ur most valuable resource, time, on track with what’s most important to us. Before watching whatever I feel like, focus on quality and creativity first. Of course, I’ll watch the latest Netflix show, but first I work on my music. Yes! The Bachelorette is back! But first I better put some time into my side business.

The goal is to not get rid of things we enjoy, but delay them for things that (ultimately) matter more in the long term first. This allows us to train ourselves to want to do the hard work first, and then enjoy whatever media later (if we still even want too.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1105

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

*Wag pun intentional

The Courage to Try

“What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

Vincent van Gogh

Most of our decisions (and the decisions of people around us) are made from a place of fear. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding (and losing everything to do it / or fear of succeeding and still not being satisfied.) Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of wasting our time / life / money / etc.

The problem is we often don’t realize we are making fearful decisions in the moment. No, we just avoid it. We avoid being uncomfortable. We avoid starting (because of x y or z reason) and never have the chance to potentially fail or succeed. We avoid wasting our time by doing nothing—aka wasting our time.

But if you replace the word fear with courage, the entire story changes—

We have the courage to fail—and let that failure become a stepping stone, a lesson, a story for our next act of courage.

We have the courage to succeed—because we put in the hard work, helped and improved others’ lives, and enjoyed the process.

We have the courage to look like an idiot—because embarrassing ourselves is a part of challenging yourself to be more, to be original, to stand out, and to do what others won’t.

Have the courage to look like an idiot.

We have the courage to spend our time/money wisely on the things we care about, and not dwell too harshly on our past selves decisions/time we can no longer get back.

We have the courage to say yes to what’s important to us and no to everything else.

Because at the end of the day, doing nothing gets us nothing, fear gets us more fear, negativity attracts more negativity. It is only through trying can we hope to achieve.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1101

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Dare to Live

“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.” — Vincent Van Gogh

There’s not a whole lot that separates you from the people you admire.

Everyone’s unique, of course.

They got where they are by putting in the work, figuring things out as they went, and daring to do the things that scared them.

Anything worth doing has fear and nervousness close by. This is a sign we should follow, not avoid.

Question: What’s something bold and courageous you need to do today?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1099

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Better Now Than Never

I have a rule for myself, where if anything that takes me less than five minutes to do, I’ll do it immediately.

If I’m making lunch, I don’t leave the dirty dishes in the sink, I eat and then immediately clean them (sometimes I managed to clean before I eat.) there’s nothing worse than having a full day of work and then coming home to a mountain of todos.

Not just dishes, but all the little “chores” and habits we tend to ignore or put off because of not feeling like it.

I like to think of it as a gift to my future self. In a way, it’s also a gift to my present self too, because I’m trading a few minutes of my time for feelings of accomplishment.

Just because I don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean I should give in to that feeling.

Often success is the accumulation of small actions and key decisive moments done well.

A “Do It Now” is a great habit to get you there.

It’s one thing to want to do or be something, it’s another to be able to do it when it counts.

This can also improve the lives (and attitudes) of the people around you. When your significant other asks you to do something, doing it immediately will not only make them happy and cared for, it will help you build the discipline to make sh*t happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1088

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

A Little Extra

What are you willing to give up in order to gain what you dream?

Some people give up their sleep so they can go to night school, or work on their business in the evenings.

Some push aside their fears and possibly embarrass themselves so that they can keep stepping up on stage, or so they can pursue their dreams in illustration.

In order to have an extraordinary life, we need to put in extra work.

Extra work meanings working smart and efficiently, not working ourselves into the ground. No energy equals no extra. That won’t do.

Giving extra effort doesn’t mean giving up our essential needs.

We have to be smart about what thoughts we allow rent in our minds.

Thoughts that others tell us.

Thoughts we tell ourselves.

For Example, what does looping a negative thought do to us? Thoughts like “I’m bad at writing / I’m bad at money” or looping a past mistake “I wish someone had helped me make a better decision about school…”.

Quantitatively, I’m not sure. But, intuitively I know I feel more tired and drained on days when I’m stuck in my head, looping an unhelpful thought, or overwhelming myself with a mental checklist.

We have to be smart about what we eat and handle our bodies.

Leaning over a laptop all day with poor posture without a break is only contributing to our back-aching-life, not our extraordinary one.

Ask yourself: How is this helping me?

How is this ice cream helping me? Sure it super tasty, but is it helping me accomplish my goals? Is it giving me energy? Or is it stressing my body out of nutrition and adding a new pant size to my wardrobe?

To be extra, we have to act, think, value, and live in the ways that get us where we want to be.

Giving extra effort means getting rid of the nonessentials, so we focus on the essentials.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1087

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Willpower is a Muscle.

There’s this dumb ritual I do that actually has a lot of benefits in my life.

Whenever I’m lying in bed about to go to sleep, now and then, I’ll forget to do something. I’ll forget to turn off the hall light, or look at the front door, or brush my teeth. You’ve probably experienced this too.

Ugh, you just started getting settled in under the covers.

Depending on what it is, you might dismiss it and go to bed. ‘Ah so what the closet lights on, one night won’t hurt.’ Or you might reluctantly throw off the warm covers and grumble your way toward the front door to lock the door, and grumble your sleepyhead back to bed.

But that’s not what I do. Instead, I train.

Whenever I’m in this situation, I smile, because I see it as a chance to practice my willpower.

First off, dismissing what I’ve forgotten to do isn’t an option. But before I get up, I lay there with that reluctant feeling. It’s heavy and uncomfortable. My mind is trying to make up every excuse in the book for me to not get up. My body is telling me just to give up and go to sleep. I let it wash over me like I’m going to give in, but then I push.

I will myself up, past the heaviness, past the excuses. And… well, you know, go turn off the light, or brush my teeth and then head back to bed.

Like I said, it’s dumb. I have no research or science to back up that this is actually doing anything. But it feels tough.

But I see the results in my life—I have strong discipline.

I exercise every day. I write every day.

The difficultly of turning things into a habit doesn’t seem to bother me or trip me up like it does for others.

I’m probably delusional, but maybe not?

I see willpower like a muscle rather than a battery.

Willpower is a Muscle.

A lot of people view willpower like how runners used to view sub-four-minute mile They view it like something that can be depleted if you use too much of it. But I find that thinking limiting.

It’s true that willpower ebbs and flows depending on your mood and energy levels, but if you practice and train yourself hard, you can be disciplined for any situation.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1080 ☕️

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee 

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify