I was doing my morning walk, had my headphones on with The James Altucher Show playing, and a beat up car creeps up to me.
I didn’t hear them at first, and when I did I was thinking to myself, ‘ok, pass me car’. I was really engrossed in Jim Kwik’s story about speed reading.
But the car kept hovering near me.
Then I heard “give me your headphones and phone.”
“What?” I said. “Just take those headphones and phone and put them in the car.”
I looked at the driver, then and his front passenger. Looked at his left hand, he was holding something at his side in an unnatural way. I glanced into the back, a lady was apologizing and sympathizing. The car smelled of smoke and grime.
I looked back to the driver and said,
The lady kept apologizing, I kept looking at them, and then they just drove off.
Your life is worth more than a pair of headphones and an iPhone, but after the year I’ve had — setback after setback, pain, health problems, frustrations, financial problems, and more — I guess nothing phases me anymore.
My instincts are crazy.
More on my setbacks and how to turn your worst circumstances into your greatest opportunities soon.
What’s normal for you, may be vastly abnormal for someone else (and vise versa). Flying might be normal for you, but some people wouldn’t even put their left picky toe on a plane. Stepping up on stage might be normal for you but make others melt into a puddle of fear and embarrassment even thinking about it. Playing guitar, writing, dancing — every facet of our lives combine into one big amalgamation of what normal means to you.
Same thing applies to groups. Your groups verbal tenacity and things you enjoy discussing are more than likely completely different from the next table over.
Who Moved My Normal?
When you begin to learn something new, you are stepping out of your normal zone. When you continue to progress, your idea of what normal is no longer is in the same place as someone starting out (a pair of shoes you were in not so long ago). If the Internet was a camera, then the world would be the show freaks and geeks. We all have different interests and opinions and that’s okay. Just because you watch a lot of reality tv doesn’t mean I can make fun of you. (well.. maybe a little 🙂 Reality tv is normal to you.
Be Your Weird Normal Self.
Seeking mastery and a Renaissance Life is far from normal, unless you are surrounded by people (like me) after the same thing.
After taking BOLD action towards a goal, it’s good to pause and see how far you’ve improved from the mainstreams normal. ‘Wait, you don’t know how to use illustrator? … ‘you’ve never heard of Simon Sinek?’ … ‘What do you mean you don’t have a blog?’ … 😛
The more we step towards change, the less conventionally normal we become. Which is not a bad thing at all. In fact, as we continue to change and pursue, we become more unique and influential for those seeking similar things. ‘Wow, I’ve trained myself into something unique, haven’t I?’
The more different you become the more your voice matters.
Some people won’t get you, because their idea of normal is different. But some people will, and those are the ones to connect with.
It’s also good to compare your current normal, to where you want to be. Make sure who inspires you and who you spend your time with matches up with that.
Stay Bold, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner.
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Whenever I purchase a new notebook, everything feels so fresh and clean. Each blank page has the potential to be my next great idea (such a bragger). A song, business idea, design, personal insight, or blog post (much like this one I hope). But then my jumbled thoughts and multi-disciplined life grabs its messy hands on it. I jump from one thing to the next. Sometimes I’ll leave a great thought on a nearly blank page unfinished. (dun tun dahhhh)
The mess itself doesn’t bother me (… too much 🙂
It’s the fear that my ideas will never leave the notebook. Ideas trapped in another book of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe somedays’ on a shelf gathering dust.
Your ideas are the path to your best-self, but if they only exist in your notebook or head, do they even exist at all?
Ideas are meant to be shared.
Ideas are meant to be made.
Ideas are meant to be challenged.
And ideas have an expiration date.
It’s okay if you have to start over. Sometimes you must step back before you can step forward.
We all need a fresh start sometimes.
A fresh starts can be exciting if you look at them the right way. Instead of a past mistake or failed attempt, you have a clean page, a new today.
A fresh start begins by pausing —
Seeing what’s working and what’s not, what needs improvement and what whale fails that need to be avoid in the future.
After all, life is a series of fresh starts, big and small, don’t you think?
Growing up, endless summers, high school, college, first apartment, falling in love, finding fulling work.. everything is a new beginning. Every day is a new chance to be someone better than the last.
Fresh starts are what The Renaissance Life is about.
I personally don’t want to be old and grey before I live a live of creativity and boldness.
No, I must start today. I must make each day a fresh start. I must push through any fear I face.
And when I am old and grey, I hope to remember that fresh starts never end, and are ultimately what life is about. If future me is reading this, I hope you look at my struggles and pursuits fondly and see a life well-lived. And remember old man, it’s never to late to turn the page.
Grab a fresh page and take action on your new life today.
Then do it again the next today.
— Josh Waggoner
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“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
The Renaissance Life is not a solo endeavor.
Sure, if we wish to create change in our lives and the lives of others, we must be self-reliantand take continuous action with our own hands.
Being an Individualist doesn’t mean being alone.
We are more capable together than we are by our lonesome.
We become our best selves by connecting with others. We are better together.
And thus, a new segment on the RL called We the People: highlighting creatives who are a part of the Renaissance Tribe and represent our Ethos.
I ask you questions, you give us insights from your own life.
Enter Bonny Jean.
(bold’s and styling by yours truly — Josh Wags 🙂
Q 1. What are the best lessons your mom and dad taught you? (Or siblings)
“It’s okay if you’re not okay” – My little sister Suzannah. She told me that two years ago in the depths of my depression. I’ve learned that over and over again these past couple of years: It’s okay to be broken, to admit brokenness, to lean on friends and family who love you, and then do art, run, dance, sing, be outside… do something to work through your pain, but never ever ignore it. Your pain brings you closer to a truer version of yourself, but you have to face it and feel it to let it shape you into who you are meant to be. The first step, for me, was hearing “It’s okay if you’re not okay”.
Q 2. What’s your favorite travel experience?
Living on a hospital ship off of the coast of West Africa: My roommates from that time are still my best friends. It was definitely a life changing experience.
Q 3. What are some decisions you’ve made that have made you into who you are today?
Traveling after high-school and college and most recently moving to San Clemente- up rooting my life, starting over. I was once told “Travel trims the fat off the soul” by John Stember, a man I met while camping in the Grand Tetons. It’s true! Being around people with completely different childhoods and belief systems tests you. It reveals who you truly are deep down under all that comfort we’re surrounded by in our daily lives.
Probably the most profound decision I ever made was to live.
I found myself with bleeding wrists on the bathroom floor, hysterical, crying, rocking, wanting to die, when suddenly a profound calmness poured over me. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “NO. there is more life to live, people to meet, places to see, laughter to be had. You will not kill yourself” So I bandaged my wrists, wiped my face, and started being honest with myself and others.
Being honest means disagreeing with people.The decision to listen to my still small voice has been a big change for me. disagreeing with people is hard, but learning to exist and observe the world around me from an island within myself has been life changing. If you can live from a place of solitude (read: Henri Nouwen’s “reaching out”) you can love others more and appreciate and respect their beliefs and ideas.
Q 4. What songs do you sing when you are alone? And what new bands are you digging recently?
I sing “Day Dreamer” by Adele a lot… it’s just in a good key for me.
Q 5. What advice would you give to someone pursuing creative work?
Do something that scares you and you think you’ll hate. Turn off your brain and create, even if you think it won’t make any sense. Sometimes I paint something, then I write a bunch of stupid stuff all over it to ruin it and then I paint over it again… just don’t put boundaries on yourself. There are no rules!
Q 6. What or who inspires you and why?
Nature– being outside fuels my creativity. It’s big and fathomless and beautiful. We could never come close to creating something as magnificent, simple, and complex as a blade of grass.
Q 7. In one word, how would your best friend describe you?
Q 8. What’s something challenging you faced recently and how did you handle it?
It’s been a challenging year, to be honest, but the best thing I have learned to do is to make a list. One side is a list of things I know I want to do but aren’t good for me (think drink, reach out to certain people that aren’t good for me, rely on certain relationships too much) and on the other side is a list of things that give me life and bring me joy (think yoga, running, tea, safe friendships). I make rules for myself that I try to follow and then I breathe and do the next right thing for however long it takes to come out of the cloud I’m in. Sometimes that’s a day and sometimes it’s three months. I claim grace days. Where, if i got out of bed, put on clothes, and went to work, I am very proud of myself. “Should” doesn’t exist in my dictionary during these times and if I slip up and do something on my “not good for me” list I breathe, forgive myself, and remember that all that exists is today and I can do my best with what I have in this moment.
Q 9. What’s your mission in life? (Or mission right now)
To be present
Q 10. If someone gave you 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Invest in small businesses in 3rd world countries.
Q 11. One thing you liked about last year, and one thing you want to improve this year?
I learned to laugh again. I want to be more consistent.
Thank you Bonny Jean for your vulnerability, advice and words of encouragement.
If you want to give yours on the Renaissance Life, email me @: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: We The People. Tell me who you are, why your a good fit for the Renaissance Tribe and link your social media’s.
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