Reach Out First

Wherever you are in life, whatever your goals are, waiting for a something to happen is a surefire way its never going to come.

Dreams and opportunity work a lot like ordering a pizza — if you don’t call it in and order it, it’s not going to be delivered to you. And they aren’t delivered for free — you have to pay for them in with something (time, energy, sanity etc).

(What a cheesy line josh 🙂

There is no limit to the amount of opportunity that surrounds you. But it’s not going to show up with breadsticks and ranch sauce without you seeking it out.

You have to reach out first.

Ask for help. Work on your art. Practice your pursuits everyday. Learn to be great at what you love to do. Time is just an incubator for your greatest success. Failures become lessons. Priorities reveal themselves.

Complacency is letting life happen at us. Renaissance is relentlessly pursuing life, 110 percent.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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I Wont Stop

When something goes wrong, I️ tend to default to being discouraged. If someone reprimands me or tells me I️ can’t do something (you can’t accomplish x, you’ll never be able to do Y), its easy to fall for their point of view or, at the very least, let I­t­ effect my mental performance. But this is not a successful mindset.

Complaints, criticism, disbelief, or hate towards you is inevitable when you’re doing something out of the status quo. (Something the hater wishes they would do themselves) 

The status quo is the collective agreement of the way things are, from the people and culture that surrounds you. The funny thing about status quo’s is that they are different depending on who you surround yourself with. What’s normal and expected from your typical college student is wildly different from what’s normal and expected from billionaires changing the world. What’s abnormal for your circle when you break the status quo can be natural to another groups point of view. Reading, for example. If you are surrounded by people who hate reading or saying something like ‘what’s the point of reading when you have a TV?’, you’re going to be shamed into the same mindset. And if you start reading they’re going to give you hell for I­t­. But on the opposite spectrum, point out to me any billionaire who doesn’t have a massive library and are constantly soaking up knowledge.

Once you realize that status quo’s are not all created equal, you can begin to take BOLD actions and create massive improvements in your life.

Instead of being discouraged, a successful mindset takes what the person says and turns I­t­ into fuel. Coal to the fire. It’s an “I won’t stop” or “I’ll prove you wrong” mentality. Although you’re not doing I­t­ for them — you’re doing I­t­ for you. I️ won’t stop — no matter how hard or scary I­t­ gets — because I️ know that I️ am capable of achieving my goals with enough time, effort, and intent.

By thinking this way, not even pain can stop you.
By adopting the mindset of the type of person you want to become, your dreams are inevitable.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“I like criticism. It makes you strong.” —  LeBron James

“In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.” — Edgar Allan Poe

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard

Small Ways to Reset

Falling off the treadmill is inevitable. Someone’s bound to bring in a box of donuts 🍩 to work. You’ll inevitably miss a day of writing (insert your own pursuit here) because you were sick or traveling. But jumping off the boat doesn’t mean you should say in the water. In fact, getting into the habit of reinforcing your passion and reason why you are making habits and going after goals in the first place is key to achieving them.

I used to have a binge mindset. Dang, I ate a cookie… oh well might as well eat 100 more. I told myself I wasn’t going to watch TV today… oh well, guess I’ll watch THE ENTIRE CATALOG on Netflix. But just because I mes up shouldn’t give me permission to go crazy. What if I messed up every day this week? What would that do to my health or long-term progress? If I binged watch shows an entire week I would end up being a vegetable, unable to do anything my heart desires.

Missteps are a part of the learning progress. Mastery comes to those who fail and yet keep going anyway. 

When you catch yourself doing bad habits that don’t build your long-term dreams, here are small, practical ways you can reset yourself:

MOVE: Reset your physical state by going for a run, swim, sprint (name your poison). It doesn’t have to be long, even 5 minutes of moving can reset your mental state.

Cold exposure: Reset your physical state splashing water on your face. (Or more hardcore: take a cold shower or ice bath)

Check yourself: Are you hungry? When’s the last time you took a mental break? Take time to rejuvenate yourself.

Small actions: Doing a small incremental action can reset your mind to do the bigger tasks. Win small to win big. 

Change your location: Moving your body to another place (think coffee shops, outside etc) can shift your mindset as well. 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Embrace New Beginnings

I think New Years, and New Year Resolutions, in particular, feel good because we see them fresh starts. New Years is the ultimate clean slate. Last year was.. well sooo last year. This year will be different. It’s brimming with possibility. 

So we set multiple goals and stick with them for a week or so, but when we fall off the treadmill, we give up on the year. Maybe next year. (Well, I missed one day of working out, I guess I’ll go eat some cheesecake)

There are multiple problems with this mindset:

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

During school, I always loved when the new school year came around. (Well, first I dreaded it and wished dragons would rain down fire on the school building, but I came around to the idea once I saw a new semester was inevitably going to happen.) New classes, books, and classmates. New opportunities to learn and connect. But then the class would sink in. Oh, wait we actually have to *study*… what did I sign up for… or God, please save me, why is this class/ teacher so boring.

Changing our life requires putting in the time, attention and work. The sweat, blood, and tears are the cost of admission but are well worth it. The results and our lives will be amplified by the amount of effort we put In!

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

I’ve been updating my 27 goals for my 27th year by rewriting out my goal list for 2018. 

I’ve got 5+ pages of goals I want to accomplish which even just looking at overwhelms me (I can’t imagine what my friends or Gabriella would do if I tried walking through them.) I’m bad about getting past wanting everything all at once. If not properly prioritized, prepared and tamed, your ambitions will kill your drive and ability to take actions.

Remember, your not competing against others, you’re competing against yourself. Instead of trying to lose weight, AND learn photography AND start an online business, start with one. The others will be waiting for you to accomplish them. And by focusing on one goal at a time and chaining each win, you skyrocket your motivation to do the others once you achieve each goal you set out to do. 

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

But every second you are still alive is an opportunity to reset and change your life.

I’m here to tell you that you can push reset at any moment. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can move forward. Even when we hit rock up there’s always a way to find our way back up. It’s cliche to say, but every new day is a fresh start and opportunity to improve. All it takes is one little step in the right direction. 

And when we fall off the treadmill as we will inevitably do, know that falling is a natural part of living. We fall when we learn to walk. We fall when we learn to ride a bike. We fall when life punches us in the face.

But we can always choose to get back up and keep going. Hit reset. Grab a fresh sheet of paper, and start again.

Embrace new beginnings: anytime, anywhere.

Happy New Years everyone!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner 

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Related Insights

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach, best-selling author

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs

Micro Rewards

Making progress happens with consistent action, but motivation is usually the issue.

Having long-term motivations are great, such as visualizing yourself on stage playing or speaking to a sold-out stadium, or interviewing Oprah, or picturing your book on the NYTBS list. They­ help keep you pointed on the right course.

But sometimes high-minded motivations aren’t enough when you are in the mud, doing the work. That’s where short-term micro-rewards (microwards?) come into play. Short term motivations adjust you to the long-term vision.

Over time, you can incrementally change your behavior to complete hard tasks by motivating yourself with a healthy reward if you complete the work first.

I say ‘healthy reward’ because the last thing you want to do is make a micro reward unhealthy. (Eating cake after every time you finish a blog post is not going to do you any favors)

Think of I­t­ like, ‘I would love to do X but first I will do Y’. You’re not depriving yourself of pleasure, you’re just pushing I­t­ off and actually making the pleasure more enjoyable. ‘No one loves water like a man who is thirsty’ (Someone said that once… probably) Of course, I’m not telling you to stop drinking water until you work out. (That’s silly) The absence and gap between allowing yourself a little treat are all the more rewarding.

A great example is a vacation. Planning and daydreaming about a vacation you’re about to go on is usually more enjoyable than the vacation itself!

Micro Rewards give you the discipline to focus on what you really want, versus what you’re mood, mind, and body says you want in the moment.

Want to watch an episode of The Runaways? Great idea, but finish writing your two pages of your book first.

Want to read Tech Blogs? Good! Me too. Just make sure you call a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to first.

Want to go out for a drink? Okay, but first practice your piano scales.

Small daily habits towards our long-term goals are how we achieve them.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.” — Jim Rohn

Priority of Day

Are you lashing onto what others think is important or are you sticking with your own priorities?

I was having trouble prioritizing what’s most important to me. On paper, everything felt like a priority. I could picture all these future versions of myself, but being so far from those realities what do you prioritize?

Do I choose music or writing? Entrepreneurship or art? Speaking or programming? Is it possible to choose them all?

Here’s the secret:

Priorities are what you spend your daily time on.

So does your daily priorities align with your future self? 

Dreams stay in your head unless you’re working towards them consistently, day in day out.

Visualize where you want to be, then take small moments towards that vision.

If you are already pushing yourself to the limit and have 0 time to spare, then you probably shouldn’t be adding more to your plate. Too much food piled on a plate is eventually going to fall down. Knowing when to say yes, when to say no and when to say not right now is directly related to how much progress you’ll make on your priorities. If you end up having no time to spare yet you’re focusing NO time on your priorities, do what you can to slowly remove todos from your plate.

When the desire doesn’t align with the execution, your priorities are out of alignment.

Desiring to be healthy yet eating unhealthy day after day.

Saying yes to todos instantly without a whim of consideration devalues your time and wipes away your ability to prioritize.

Know your goals and your compatibility. Know who you are and where you want to be. And then compare notes to what you spend your day on.

Study a day in your life and your actions will tell you what’s a priority or not.

StayBOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

“Action expresses priorities.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” —  Myles Munroe

Find Low Barriers to Entry

Sometimes the fear is too strong.
I­t­ can overwhelm us and prevent us from going forward.

That’s where low barriers can be a godsend. Low barriers are ways we can put our toes in the water.  It’s a half step towards making the dream happen. Is it better than total immersion? A whole step? No. But half of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. Essential, we are breaking down our big hairy goals into executable bite-sized chunks.

Low barriers to entry can show us that ‘hey, this isn’t so bad after all’.

Want to start a blog/vlog or podcast? Start with making one episode. You don’t have to post it, you just have to hit record and show yourself that you can.

Want to start a freelance business? Start by becoming your own client. Design or code something you want to create first.

Want to get healthy? Start with breakfast. Eat whatever you want during lunch or dinner, but focus on making breakfast as healthy and as possible. (Or try Intermittent Fasting)

Make the first step easy. Show yourself how good it can feel to do good for yourself and your aspirations. 

Stay BOLD. Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” —  Lao Tzu

The first step is you have to say that you can.” — Will Smith

A Great Day Checklist

What are the boxes I need to check to make today great?

1. Be Intentional: Don’t just go through the motions — fall in love with the process each day.

Habits are enduring, but to make them net positive they don’t need to be mindless. 

Fall in love with reading again each time I read.

Fall in love with mediation today.

Fall in love with what you love over and over.

2. Be BOLD: step out of the normal and into the uncomfortable, 

Do something that scares me, take on new challenges, take planned risks.

3. Be Original: Use my creativity to write, design, play and solve problems I set my mind to.

4. A warm mug of something (Matcha, Turmeric, Chai) and an hour or so with my thoughts and a book (or two).

5. Intentional time with Gabriella.

Spontaneity, or time to just be.

6. Move: do some yoga poses, go for a walk (by myself, with others, walking meetings), exercise (work on my body, sprint, do calisthenics: pushups, burpees) and make time for play.

7. Cherish friends and family.

Call at least 1 friend.

8. Mind: learn, train the mind, write down 10 idea every day, read, leave room for negative space, mediate, refuel my mind.

9. Body: Eat well, move (see above) hydrate, skin / hair care, focus on developing my body.

10. Spirit: Focus on what truly matters to me, connect with others, focus on meaning and fulfillment.

11. Daily creatives: Blog every day, write for nonfiction and fiction books, journal, design, play music, code day. Make time for each pursuit I’m developing.

12. Negative Space: time blocked off where I’m doing nothing. Leaving space for my mind to imagine, wonder and replenish.

 

Q: What does a great day look like to you?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

 

 

Next Level Pursuits

“Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one ‘s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

Midnight in Paris

Sometimes it can be frustrating to do so much, yet feel so far away from where you want to be.

Wherever you are, whatever you are aiming to do, there’s always going to be that next level. 

A place where you’re smarter, better, more connected…
more ______  than you already are. And the more you do, the more there is to do.

There’s always a level up you can climb and a level down you can atrophy. That goes for every aspect of your life too:

Money:
Working at Starbucks for minimum wage > working at a 9 to 5 for 10k a year > 50k > 100k > Becoming a millionaire, Billionaire >

Connections:
Having no friends > having a friend > groups of friends > online following > deeper friends > nationwide connection > global network > super-connector >

Business:
Bootstrapping a startup > Getting your first client/customer> Making a profit > Growing your team > Exiting or IPO > Becoming the next Amazon, Google or Apple >

Loving the process

The next level is a lifelong pursuit. Striving for greatness is a fine balance between being good with where you are while pursuing a better you (and life). In our connected world of follows, downloads, likes, and shares, you have to have the right intentions — personal growth, helping others, making deep connections etc.— behind your actions. Pursuit, with the right intentions, can be a fun process of striving for the next level of performance. However with wrong intentions — for personal gain (money, power, attention) — will be a nightmare and leave you in a cycle for wanting more more more and being miserably unhappy. Growth vs. Greed. Passion vs. Dissatisfaction. Happiness vs. Longing

So the question is where will you plant your flag?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights I’m Thinking About:

“Excellence is being able to perform at a high level over and over again. You can hit a half-court shot once. That’s just the luck of the draw. If you consistently do it… that’s excellence.” — Jay-Z

You’re a Slacker McFly, Just Like Your Old Man

How many of us go through our entire life living passively

We spend most of our time hoping for a better life while taking part in a life that doesn’t align with our core self. We work, interact, read and exist as if we will live forever and that we have the option to slack off. We avoid who we want to be, in service of who don’t want to be.

All the while, we could die tomorrow in a freak hotdog accident.

I don’t want to live a life of a slacker and wake up one day when I️’m fat and 85 and wonder what happened.

Slacking isn’t having negative ‘nothing’ space or spending time with what you love. Slacking off is distracting yourself from what you should or want to be doing. It’s the fidget spinner of our humanity. 

Do people plan to be apathetic?

No, I️ don’t think so. Living asleep happens gradually and it’s hard to notice unless you’re  already out of it­ looking back to the bizarro world you lived in.

How do we keep ourselves from being apathetic and complacent?

1. Have a reminder that life is short.

A phrase you read each morning or a memento you carry as a reminder.
Read I­t­ in the morning, feel I­t­ in your bones.

2. Create weekly, monthly check-ins to review what you’ve been doing.

 What’s working, what’s not?
 Are you giving time for the important things?
 Are you taking steps towards accomplishing your goals?

3. Make a plan for what’s important, and take daily actions that challenge your status quo.
    What are you afraid to do?
    

We must live in our discomfort zone to create radical change in our lives.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Related Ideas I’m thinking about:

Fear Setting from TF
The Tail End, from Wait But Why
Guilt, Happiness and Honesty, from Ryan Holiday (Feb. 2008)