Thinking Outside the Box

“At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.”

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“Named must be your fear before banish it you can.”

Yoda

The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The first rule of thinking outside the box is recognizing that you are in a box.

But what is a box? (Is it slang for boxers underwear? ‘Yo, are you a box guy or a briefs guy’.)

When we give in to fear, doubt and uncertainty — that’s a box.
When we listen to others ideas for how we should live our lives, instead of listening to our own hearts — that’s also a box.
When we let our friends, peers, community and even family influence us to live and act a certain way. — that’s a big box. (Is this starting to sound like a Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke? ‘You might be a redneck if your bicycle has a gun rack’.)

The box is normal. It’s the standard deviation of how ‘they’ say we should live our lives.
Sometimes other people try to put us in a box, and sometimes we put ourselves in a box. There are different boxes, for different folks. They come in various shapes and sizes, and are made of different materials, but they generally serve the same purpose: to keep us right were we are in life.

Boxes aren’t always bad. Some boxes are safe and comfortable. Some boxes influence us in positive ways. But in order to create, grow, change, add value to our lives and pursue our dreams, we’ve gotta step out of the box we are in. All the fresh air and good ideas are outside of our cardboard walls.

When you find yourself with a need to change, there’s two great ways you can start:

1. Act.

Action breeds momentum, and momentum drives change. Even the smallest of acts done consistently quickly gains traction and drives growth over time. Compound interest isn’t just for money — it can also be applied to any goal we want to pursue or skill we want to master.

2. Surround yourself with people and ideas that are outside of your box.

If you want to be an artist, surround yourself with other artist who are also ambitiously seeking to improve and create. If you want to be an entrepreneur, surround yourself with people who think differently and see opportunities everywhere. Surround yourself with friends who want you to succeed and want to get better themselves. And surround yourself with books, ideas, and creative work that inspires you to see the world differently and do what most only dream about doing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #685

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How to DO

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

Leonardo da Vinci

“Just do it” is a pithy phrase that cuts through the heart of fear and asks us to act on our ideas and dreams… But often, no matter how many times we tell ourselves (or someone tells us) to just do it — we don’t. We want to, but we don’t. I could tell a family member (or myself) to just do it and eat healthier and exercise, but that’s not gonna cut it. As catchy and tagline worth as it is, it leaves room for uncertainty, ambiguity and fear. How do we do it? Where do we start? How do we not fail? How do we do it and win?

“Just do it” is a spiritual mantra of Athletes everywhere in the world. But do you think they make it to the Olympics or to the finals by winging it? No, they have honed their minds and bodies to do perform on instinct.

Before we can do, we need to make it clear as crystal what we are specifically going to do, why and how.

Clarity of thought creates clarity of action.

For example: “I want to get up early” is not going to work. How early? Why do you want to get up early, specifically? What’s the driving motivation behind the desire?

When it comes to getting up early, if you are focusing just on the morning, you’ve already lost. The question isn’t ‘What time will I get up?’ The question is ‘what time do I go to bed?’. We need to start where all the trouble begins — going to bed early. Going to bed at 2 AM and trying to wake up at 5 AM is not a sustainable and realistic goal. Sure, you could do it for a while. But there’s no wiggle room.Why do you want to get up early? So you can have some alone time for yourself. So you can read more and work on developing your writing skills. So you can work on your side business. Whatever your drive is, make it specific. It needs to be a big enough reason for you to get up out of a warm cushy marshmellow-of-a-bed every morning.

Here’s another example: “I want to be healthy.” Too vague. Too open to interpretation and bending the rules. What does healthy mean to you? Does it mean having a huge amount of energy each day? Does it mean being able to run the city and not get winded? Why do you want to get healthy? So you live longer and brighter and decrease your chances of Alzheimer’s or Cancer? What does health look like, specifically? Eating mostly plants? Nothing out of a box? Cooking at home instead of only eating out? Whatever it is, make it clear.

Once you have a firm grasp on what exactly you are wanting to cultivate in your life, then you are ready for taking a chance and just do it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #670

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Comfort Zone Gaps

Comfort is not necessary a bad thing, but if it makes you feel complacent or stuck then your comfort is getting in your way of living a meaningful life.

Think of comfort zones as concentric circles like a dartboard, with you standing comfortably in the middle on the bullseye and larger circles of discomfort expanding out around you.

We don’t really want to leap for the outer circle immediately. We could try, but the problem is most of the time we won’t. The outer circle is terrifying when you are safe and stable in the middle. You might hate where you, but you’re sure as heck not about to go out there. When faced with an overwhelming amount of fear and uncertainty most of us (if not all) who are not trained do nothing. Even if that uncertain situation is something we want to do and even dream about doing. The gap is too far away.

Jumping straight into your discomfort zone is like trying to give a speech in front of a large crowd without any morsel of preparations or practice — palm-sweating and almost assured you’ll choke.

The better approach to getting out of your knitted-sweater of a comfort zone is to take it one circle at a time. What’s something you can do that puts your foot in the water? What path can you create with milestones along the way to achieving your goal? How can you use fear to your advantage?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #668

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The Gift of Pain

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

The earth continuously spins at a lazy one thousand miles per hour. Roughly every 24 hours, it completes its race and begins a new – the ultimate example that shows steady and slow wins the race.

Is it because of death we feel compelled to hurry up and get things over with? Life is short for each of us. Time ticks on, whether we are working on our dreams or not. Perhaps our patience is at its thinnest when we faced with pain, dislike and fear.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys spending time in wall to wall traffic. But there’s also those of us who, when faced with an uncomfortable reality, want nothing more than to move past it. Like swatting flies out of our food, we want nothing more than to get rid of our circumstances and setbacks.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

Aristotle

It depends on how you look at it, but setbacks and pain can be gifts if you let it. As sucky as they are, our circumstances are teaching us hidden lessons on how to live better if we let them. Nobody wants to be in debt up to their noses. Nobody wants to feel the pain of a heartbreak or the ache of an injury. Depression, anxiety, negativity, bitterness, backstabbing, fear, and discouragement aren’t exactly a fun party to be in.

I’d hate to say that setbacks and pain are trying to teach us something important, but maybe they are trying to teach us something important.

Pain, failure and bad circumstances raise our awareness and show us how to live better than we were previously. They stop us, so that we can slow down, think more wisely and go after a life of meaning.

We might have to dig ourselves out of a hole now, but when (not if, when) we finally crawl over the top, we have a new and better way to live and a story to tell.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #648

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Fear is Univeral

The thing about fear is that it’s universal.

Life is risky, therefore there will always be fear riding along on our backs.

Even things in life we consider “safe” are just short-term comforts (ease-of-minds/blind-eyes) and end up being risks in the long-term.

The cubical job is safe until you start getting health problems from sitting, eating office donuts every day, and getting second-hand stress from your co-workers. (cub-workers?) The job you hate is comfortable and has so many benefits until it’s replaced with AI robots.

Your home and your stuff are safe until there’s an accidental fire.

 We treat fear like it’s our own burden to bear, but in reality, it’s something we all face. Some push past fears that hold themselves back, others don’t.

For me, it always always always comes down to choosing the right fear to be scared of.

Am I going to be afraid of failing and embarrassing myself?

Or am I going to fear inaction more?

Failure is a numbers game. The more you fail, the more opportunity you have to succeed.

Never trying will always be the biggest types of regret I want to avoid.

Even if I get to the end of my life and all I have done is fail, at least I know that I gave it my 100.

Giving something all you got is succeeding, no matter the actual outcome.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Wagoner

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Related Insights

“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

Ready Set Bomb

Sometime you really just need to bomb 💣to get passed your fear of something. An epic fail, awkward starfish, OMG, cringe-tastic, I’m-never-going-to-hear-the-end-of-this flub, kick in the pants, pie in the face, rosy cheeks, bury me in the sand kind of fail.

We can build up sooo much fear and pressure around something in our mind, to the point where we freeze ourselves from doing ANYTHING because of what might happen if we fail. But 99.9% of the time, a funny thing happens when you fail — 

Nothing.

Sure, you might look like an idiot-face, but who cares? (We all do at least once in our lives)

I was talking to a friend about this recently. He said he had the perfect example. One night he was out with his girlfriend and her family and they decided to do karaoke. One by one they each went up and sang until finally, it was his turn.

Someone else picked his song. Ⓧ

It was an obscure oldie. Ⓧ

And they were in Nashville aka everyone and there dog could sing in perfect pitch Ⓧ

He sang and even danced and bombed like the best of them.

You should have heard him tell the story. He wore it like a badge of honor.

Now he can’t wait to try again.

The things most of us fear — public speaking, being called out in a crowd, doing standup, starting our own brand / band / blog etc — are just small trip down a sidewalk when we fail, not a tumble down Niagara falls like our minds tell us.

Here’s a crazy idea: why not just get it over with? Go out there on stage and bomb. Do your best of course, but if it sucks don’t worry about it. 

When we bomb, we lose the pressure we built up to be incredibly perfect.

Give yourself permission to enjoy the bomb, that way, on the next round, there will be nothing left but enjoyment with the process of improving and becoming better.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott

Don’t Let the Fear Win

Some days I let fear come between me and my dreams. You let things slide…. you say yes to many good things instead of saying yes to only great things… you let worries about money and time commitments consume you’re mind… and some times you procrastinate and do everything under the sun but work on your dreams.

And then I have to remind myself, 

Life is a spectrum of our choices.

Each day is not an isolated point in time, rather a pearl that’s beaded on a neckless into a string of pearls. And there aren’t that many pearls.

If you’re not actively thinking and working on your dreams daily then you are letting fear win.

I can run through every excuse in the books in my head… but at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to decide to take a chance on myself and step out into my discomfort zone.

It’s a choice I have to make each day.

It’s going for the gold, even though you might end up in 3rd place. But you know what’s worse than 3rd place, or even last place for that matter? 

Opting out of the race.

Has there been a single person in history who has looked back on their life and thought, “golly, I wish I had listened to my fears more”.

I’m not talking about lions and tigers and bears (oh my). I’m talking about silly creative fears we cling to like a spaceship in the middle of the black sky.

Take it one day, one breath at a time.

Don’t let the fear win. 
Let it drive you to be the person you are and the person you want to be.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“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

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Marcus Aurelius

Breaking the Fear Wall

What is your fear telling you not to do?

When you hear the phrase, ‘public speaking’, do you break out into arm sweats? Does the idea of writing a book or build an app (or to fail at writing a book or building an app) curdle your blood?

Are the things you want to do — dreams you desire more than anything — always seem to take the back burner, the last thing you do, or something you procrastinate into oblivion?

Then what your fear is telling you not to do, is exactly what you need to be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, fear sucks. No one ever said it would be easy to start a band or build an audience on YouTube.  But the ones who do and stick with it are the ones who are masters of their own fears. Fear is how we grow into our best selves.

The stronger the fear, the more you need to take action and do it.

Creative fears always feel impossible until you do them.
Creative failures always seem fatal before the fact.
Pushing past these creative barriers will amplify your confidence and creativity.

What fears do you need to tear down to build a better YOU? 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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

Related Insights

“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

“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

Types of Fears

 In my mind, there are two big categories of fear:

1. Fear of Life

Jaguar in the jungle. Hateful or abusive relationships. Gun violence.

These are the types of fears should listen too, but sometimes ignore despite our better judgement. We freeze and lock up from gut-turning fear. If you’re in a bad relationship (friend or love) you’ve got to get out. Hoping the  problem will go away won’t make I­t­ go away. I’m not an expert, find someone who is that can help. This category of fear keeps us safe when we need I­t­.

The second category keeps us safe when we don’t need I­t­.

2. False Fears

Public-effing-speaking. Starting a company. Traveling alone. These are the things that lead to unknown — or potentially worse case — scenarios in our mind. False fears hold us back from the life we want.

Fears like: 

Fear of failure

Fear of embarrassment

Fear of winning

Fear of not being enough

Fears from your past. (Even Fear of Life events that still haunt you)

 

The more we let these types of false fears control our lives, the less confident, creative and capable we will be.

No more. 

Worrying about what we can’t control needs to end.

Anxiety about what might happen needs to breathed out and released.

False fears are great when we lean into them. They provide us an outlet of change by pushing past them, despite the anxiety they bring. If you lean into the fear of failure, you might fail, or you might succeed. (Which is better than not doing anything, which is failing on its on) And if you do fail, you’ll usually find the fall on your face wasn’t that bad, not as bad as you thought I­t­ would be.

The worst moments I’ve lived through have becoming defining moments that have made me into a better me. Boldly pushing past your false fears will make you stronger, better and brighter than you can imagine.

 

Be Bold.

Own your fear.

Practice what scares you.

Fail so many times you enjoy I­t­.

 

Leaning into fear is immediate feedback on what works and doesn’t.

Our successes will be sweeter knowing the ups and downs we relentlessly pushed through to accomplish a life of meaning and mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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

“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

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Marcus Aurelius

Get Busy Living (Playing I­t­ Safe)

Playing it safe doesn’t work.

When has putting one foot in, one foot out worked out in the end?

I get it. I catch myself doing it too. I’ve been burned out, injured, broke, overwhelmed, exhausted, and a number of other bad places in my life. I don’t want to end up in those places again but playing I­t­self only leads to a mediocre life.

The idea that I might die without putting my writing, music, art, and creativity out into the world terrifies me much more than taking risks.

Don’t die with your ideas still only in your head.

This is my worse case scenario. (That and losing my hands in a freak accident… which is an odd fear I have)

The question I have is how do you tell the difference between playing it safe and making smart choices?

Usually playing I­t­ safe situations aren’t black and white. They live in the grey zones where we might not even know we are playing I­t­ safe and holding ourselves back.

Risk mitigation, and knowing when to say yes or no is smart. But it’s easy to trick yourself into not taking action when in actuality you scared out of your pants.

Fear is the difference. 

Gut check your intuition: Does pursuing this goal or creative endeavor align with who you are? Are you terrified of embarrassment, or failing? Then say YES. 

 

Playing I­t­ safe is:

Giving into fear of failure, embarrassment, or disbelief, even just a little bit. 

Staying at a job you hate because of the benefits.

Never starting your idea because you ‘don’t know enough’.

Doing what others tell you to do without thinking whether its right for you.

Not asking that person out on a date.

Not asking for help or advice because you don’t want to look weak. 

There are so many things that can keep our potential down, but the biggest one of all is ourselves. The moment you break free of your own chains that you locked yourself up in is the moment where life becomes too precious to give into fear.

Your life is too important to give into fear

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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

Related Insights

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”Leonardo da Vinci

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

“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