Mr. Brightside

What good will being pessimistic do for you?

When has being negative ever helped you succeed?

When things suck, look for the good in your situation. There is always a sliver of hope in a sea of despair that when clutched shines out the darkest moments. 

I know it’s hard to be positive when you’re in the middle of things and everything is crumbling around you like a smushed cake donut, but positive is the way out.

Those insufferable optimistic people are usually the happiest and most fulfilled out there afterall.

Like anything else, optimism is a habit. It takes practice. It’s looking at reality and facing it head-on. It’s a genuine smile in the face of your fear. It’s words of encouragement to a friend or colleague when things are dreary. It’s believing in yourself that you can do this, that you can make a difference.

Positivity is a habit we cultivate and grow, not something we are born with.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” — Joseph Campbell

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” — Zig Ziglar

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

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

Bubbling Resolve

Don’t hesitate.

I️ feel a change coming in my life. A calm before the storm.

How can I️ be ready, yet feel not feel ready at the same time?
Fear, creativity, anxiety, challenge, confidence, workaholicism, boldness are all bundled up, fighting each other for dominance.

I’m not trying to be poetic here, just trying to describe the song being repeated in my mind.

Resolve is bubbling up to the surface, gaining speed, getting louder.

I­t­ says:

“Start living and acting like whoever the hell you want to be.”

Love painting, but hate accounting? Then why are you an accountant? Safe doesn’t mean ALIVE. “When given a choice, take both.” — Peter Diamandis

Last year, I️ gave away all of my time so that I️ could survive. To eat, pay rent, and live, which didn’t give me much time to create and make things for myself. I️ continued to try, but its hard to focus on creativity when you worry about money. But after I️ got my work in better shape, I️ still wasn’t creating, not enough anyway. Even though most of my time was taken up, I️ started a daily blogging challenge. I️ squeezed I­t­ out with the little free time I️ had at night.  This is day 114. But it’s not enough, I️ want to do more, and do it better.

I️ want to be all that I️ can be, no exceptions.
I️ want to create: to sing, speak, write, design, act, connect, dance, instruct, paint, move, build and live a life true to my creative self.

That’s who I️ am. That’s how I️ resolve to live.
Perhaps you want the same.

If so, know this:

You don’t have to be ready to start, you just have to be TRUE.

Be the truest person in the room.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

https://forms.convertkit.com/317372?v=6

Related Insights

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” — Helen Keller

“To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.” — Ralph Bunche

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

The Only Way Out is Through

I am no stranger to pain.

I️ injured my neck a few years ago. (Injury is a small word)
I’ve dealt with burnout,  toxins, and chronic fatigue.
Gut problems, financial problems, friend problems…

(Pssst. I️ am writing long-form articles on each of these and how to overcome them and any other setback you might face too)

Here’s some clarity I’ve learned from pain.

We get into setbacks when we don’t see them coming or up our own boobs to change our approach.

When you’re bullhead, naive or complacent about the choices you make, you try to change the world around your stance. Being hard doesn’t mean having strength, it means you’re fragile. Like a log placed on a fire, when things get hot you crumble into ash.

Wallowing will get you nowhere.
Giving in too easily will get you nowhere.
Wishing for a different outcome will get you nowhere.

The only way out is through.

Bruce Lee once said, “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns”.

We must bend ourselves around the problems to find solutions. Forward motion. Don’t reject the pain, frustration, and fear. Let yourself feel I­t­. Give I­t­ edges you can grasp onto. Anytime I️ revert back to numbing myself off from the pain, I’m forgoing the ability to adapt to I­t­. Fixed Mindset. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” But when I️ feel the pain and give I­t­ the time of day, my mind and body give me solutions to find a way through. Pliable Mindset.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”Bruce Lee

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”Albert Einstein

Mindspace

What do you give your mind to?

I’ve been feeling mentality drained recently. I’ve been falling into the trap of “everything all at once”.

There’s only so much mental capacity you can give at once. We tend to live as though our mind and body are separate entities, but as we’re going about our lives they are intrinsically linked. Our body affects our mind, and our mind affects our body. 

Watch anyone who is lost in suffering and you can see their pain with their expressions and the way they carry themselves. Their body slumps and bends towards the earth, submitting to the pain. Their eyes look hollow and lifeless — they’ve lost their willpower and spirit. I’ve been there when I️ injured my neck 4 years ago. The same is true for someone happy and confident. Their eyes are like electricity. Their body is upright and true. Their stride is strong.

The biblical idea of ‘Treat Your Body as a Temple’ rings true to me. A temple in those days was sacred and respected. Only certain people and things were chosen to be allowed in.

The thing about our modern age is we don’t know face-value what’s good for us, or what bad. What’s the right thing to eat? What’s the right amount of sleep? What’re the right things for me to do? 

There are no easy answers, and the choices won’t always be as simple as yes or no. The key is training your self-awareness and reducing your mind space to only what lightens your spirit up.

The more things you own and the more todos you have at once weakens your ability to give your complete focus on what’s in front of you. We spin our wheels trying to do everything and end up doing nothing.

Think of each item, todo, or person we surround ourselves with like a message in a bottle in the sea of our mental psyche.

A ‘thing’ isn’t just a thing — its also the hopes, emotions (positive or negative), and memories (past, future) bottled up into I­t­.

A todo is a task you feel as though you must do. I­t­ could be something small like clean your house. Our something life-changing like write a best seller. All todos are not created equal in terms of priority, but they all are equal in terms of the resources they require to complete: time, attention and energy.

A person can either negatively weigh you down or positively lift you up. Same goes for you. You can either be a force of positivity and change, or a force of negativity and complacency.

So ask yourself,

Who am I️ surrounding myself with?

Am I️ treating myself with respect? Do I️ give myself time to rest, recharge and refuel?

Am I️ living optimally?

Am I️ taking in positivity or negativity?

Am I️ getting in my own way?

What do I️ want to give me energy and focus on RIGHT NOW? What can I️ save for later?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.” — Thomas Merton

Get Some

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.

— Peter Marshall

Are you putting pen to paper?
Oil on the canvas?
Words in the mic?
Hands on the keys?

I don’t care what’s stopping you, or why it’s stopping you from living the life of your dreams.

All I care about is the fact that it is stopping you. 

Let go of your expectations, let go of your assumptions and the shoulds you’ve created in your mind. Let go of the person you think you should be, and be the person you are. Be the voice of change. Wherever there was a triumph success to a mission, there was a beginning step into the unknown and fear.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Zig Ziglar

A Worriers Guide to Living in the Moment

I­t­ was chilly outside. I️ was wearing a casual grey suit jacket with a camel colored scarf. The restaurant was hustle and bustle. I️ walked up to the counter and asked for a table for 2. The wait time was 20+ minutes and my lovely date was just leaving the gym, so I️ whipped out my kindle and started where I️ left off with Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. Times fly’s way to fast (I️ never to read enough) And then she stepped in.

She was wearing a purple coat with a large black circular scarf. Her hair was prim and curly, and her eyes sparkled as she looked at me. Fortunately for me, she was (and is) mine. We embrace with a hug and I️ tell her how lovely she looks.

Dinner was excellent, the conversation was fun and very renaissance life. Lots of talk about how we wanted to become better and more capable than we are. We talked about friendships we wanted to cultivate and the life we wanted to live.

It’s a small moment, but a moment that will be etched into my memory (and now the internet lol) I️ was practicing the art of living in the moment and I­t­ was exceptional.

It’s hard for me to be in the present moment. It’s something I️ strive for, but I­t­ doesn’t come easy. It’s one of those skills (and I­t­ is a skill) that no one teaches you, but affects everything.

I worry a lot. More than I️ would like to admit. More than I️ am conscious aware of. But I️ don’t worry about things I️ can’t control — the weather, other people’s attitudes / moods, fortune’s favor — instead I️ worry about the future. I️ worry that who I️ want to be — an musician, author, entrepreneur, connector, artist.. — isn’t going to happen. That the me I️ am now isn’t the one that creates that version of me I️ picture. Basically, I️ worry that I’m not doing enough, being enough to align to my values.

I️ know this is bogus. I️ know intuitively that I️ can create radical change in my life at any moment, that my future isn’t set in stone no matter how old or young I️ am. Yet I️ can’t deny my anxieties.

That’s why I️ practice living in the moment. Developing a moment practice allows you to step out side of your self-centered nature and see the big picture. If worry and anxiety was a hurricane, mindfulness is viewing the hurricane from outer space. Most of the problems in our lives are created by ourselves. It’s not until you can step back and see that can you start designing how you want to live and how you can solve them.

 

Breathing Practice

I️ use Headspace in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day. Sometimes I’ll use I­t­ at night as well, or use oak to add a second time out for myself. Oak has a great guided feature with background noice (like rain) that really calms me down and allows me to focus in on the textures of my surroundings.

Most of my work day is on on on on on (repeat to infinity). Often times I’ll look up from my computer and half the day goes by without me having moved or given myself mental and emotional breaks.

I️ also challenge myself to see how many deep breathing exercises I️ can do in a day. I️ use Dr. Weil’s Deep breathing method: Inhale (nose) for a count of 4, Pause for a count of 7, and exhale for 8 seconds (mouth). Repeat 6 times.

Intentional Practice

The second living in the moment practice I️ do is actively telling myself to be intentional about a particular moment. (For example my dinner experience above) What you do is tell yourself to give 100% on whatever you are doing in this moment. If you’re eating lunch, focus exclusively on eating. The taste, smell, textures, feelings. Your mind is always going to wander, and that okay (perfectly normal). The mission is to practice and hone your ability to focus in.

Nothing Practice

This one is a new concept to me, and one that I’m still bad at. Often times, there is so much that I️ want to do and be, I️ fill my days up wall to wall with activities. If I’m not working, I’m working on something else. I’m writing, playing guitar, listening to podcasts, chatting with friends. The nothing practice is setting time in your day where you do absolutely 0 things. Nothing, Nata, Zip. I️ see I­t­ as applying architecture’s concept of negative space with your mind. Designing a building — or a city is important, but how people move and interact within the space is determined by the negative space — the space between structures. So too with our minds. We need to leave room for negative space to give our minds room to rest, rejuvenate, be bored and wonder. I️ think we tap into our unconscious mind when we wonder. The best ideas I’ve ever had in my life have been my minds has wondered off into my imagination.

Creativity and connections happen in the negative space.

 

Do you have any other tips you practice on living in the moment?

Let me know!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Expectations

I tend to create high expectations for myself when I­t­ comes to goals and visions of who I want to be and how I want to live. (Who doesn’t?)

Actually, scratch that. I tend to have high expectations for myself about EVERYTHANG. I’m not seeking perfection, but I don’t want to live my life at 11.

High expectations can backfire.

One big problem I need some improvement in is having huge expectations of how much I can take on at once, and how much I can fit in a day. Sometimes packing your day in with 30 – 50 different things work, but you’re not left with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. You feel tired and empty like a container of squeezed toothpaste. And on the days where things do NOT work, everything sets on fire. (AHHHHHH!)

When I expect more for myself, and I don’t reach that expectation I’m a ball of anxiety, frustration, and discouragement (probably a little hungry too). All that these negative emotions give me is the exact opposite of what I wanted and why I had high expectations in the first place.

Clearly high expectations don’t work for me.

If a sound vision and specific goals and sticking with it make the dream happen, what do we do with our expectations during the rollercoaster ride on the way?

What if low expectations + high self-esteem is the winning formula for happiness and achievement?

Here’s a small example: I’m a big superhero fan. When the movie Man of Steel came out, I was pumped. After the string of great and good Marvel movies, and the Dark Knight movies by Nolan, I was expecting this D.C. movie would be killer. I wanted I­t­ to be good, but the more I watched the more disappointment I was. Cut to this year past year, I had low expectations for Wonder Woman and Justice League. Yet Wonder Woman was fantastic! And Justice League — all be I­t­, not the greatest thing in the world — was a fun ride too! Now, I’m not saying the quality of these movies was determined by my expectations (You still have to create excellent work), I do think that our perception of a result/outcome we have in our head can skew how we paint the world.

Expectations is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

Expectation is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

 

Putting in a different light, it’s like saying, ‘I can’t be happy unless X happens.’

Perhaps the old adage, ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ is actually wise. Low expectations are not about living based on negative attitude toward life, it’s about fundamentally understanding that anything can happen to us, good or ill, and what really matters if we stay true to who we are.

In essence, high self-esteem could be believing that no matter what happens, I’m still complete.  I’m still me. My life is still worthy and full. (worthful?) It’s saying I have this vision of what I want to look like, and knowing that no matter what happens, If I stay true to me, trust those I look up to, consistent in my actions and pursue my life with fire and gusto everything will turn out okay in the end. (No matter the setback or failure I may face).

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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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

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” — Confucius

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”Bruce Lee

What Does Success Mean to You?

For me, success is five things:

Success is having the ability to create anything you dream up. Developing the ability to come up with great ideas, and mastering the skills to execute them and make them reality.

Success is having the wherewithal to know when to say yes, and when to say no. (I still needs some work on this one.) Understanding that time is short and therefore precious. What we do with our time shows a lot about who we are. I want to use my time for what’s important to me and makes the most impact.

Success is taking bold moves. Taking steps past your fears into your discomfort zone. Not being afraid to push past failure. Not giving up to setbacks. I want to look back at my life and think, ‘wow, that was bold’.

Success is how deep and wide the relationships you make. It’s not about the quantity, but the quality of the relationship. That being said, I️ want to know a large diverse group of human beings, pursuing excellence in their own way. I️ want to be surrounded by greatness, love, and wisdom.

Success is the impact you have on others. Living by example. Your words speak loud, but your actions speak louder.

 

And if I was forced to pick a sixth, it would be the interweaving connections between these five. 

In other words, success is a lifelong pursuit. It’s not about the end, but the journey of how you got there.

What does success mean to you?

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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