Silence and Voice

Some things are better left unsaid.

These are things that usually come to our minds quickly and in the heat of the moment. Like when we are angry or hurt and our brain seems to be directly attached to our tongue and we usually say something we regret.

Harsh criticism, for example. Criticism is hard to take even if it’s coming from the right place. It’s better to wait for someone to ask you for advice (or to at least ask them if they wouldn’t mind if you gave them a little advice) because unwanted advice usually has the opposite effect.

But other times things are better said than nothing.

These things come from the heart, but feel stuck in our gut out of fear of embarrassment or fear of upsetting the other person.

But this is when we need to dig for the courage to speak out and say what we need to say.

Both silence in the right moment and voice in the right moment are extremely difficult to do, yet very important with defining our character —the kind of person who we want to be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1227

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

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

Overstimulated

One thing you’ll battle as a multidisciplinary is too many inputs (TMI 😜) vying for your time and energy. Heck—everyone alive in the modern connected age is bombarded with knowledge and information nowadays, not just Renaissance types.

Put aside all the ads, opinions, and data you don’t care about, even the knowledge we seek out can be TMI and overstimulating at times.

On any given day, there are dozens of books, hundreds of videos, emails, articles I want to consume, and thousands of decisions I could take, but just because I have the options doesn’t mean I should try doing them all (especially all at once.)

I always feel particularly overstimulated on days (like today) when I haven’t slept well or when I’m not at my best. Noticing this feeling is the first step to counteracting it. When you notice something is off, you can lighten your load for the day (as much as you can allow) and reduce the pressure of the daily fire hose of information.

Minimalism is a good practice to follow to reduce overwhelm. The last thing you want to do when you are overwhelmed is go shopping, or watch 15 shows on Netflix, or stress about all the important things you should be doing today but can’t quite muster up the energy to do.

Filtering is Key.

Quality over distraction. Fewer options. Remove any visible reminders of todo or potentially todos in your immediate environment. Limit access to your phone or computer (only the essential current needs.)

One Thing at a Time.

Do what you need to get everything else out of your head so you can focus on what’s in front of you. Prioritize your tasks, but focus only on the immediate priority. Pretend like nothing else exists during this time you’ve allocated.

Remember What’s Important.

Make sure you actually have to do the things you think you have to do. Is this required of me? Is this task mine? Is this my responsibility? Or am I adding unnecessary items to my to-do list?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1190

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Get Active in Your Own Rescue

I love this quote from Marcus Aurelius:

“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue—if you care for yourself at all—and do it while you can.”

I read it recently in The Daily Stoic. I love it because it sums of own of my life principles so eloquently. Get active in your own rescue.

There have been quite a few quotes I’ve encountered on my journey that rings with a similar tone:

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”Bruce Lee

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”Amelia Earhart

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”Michael Jordan

My version pales in comparison, but it’s —

You are Your Own Renaissance.

Meaning, change starts with you. No one wants it more than you. Perhaps you’re dealing with problems, perhaps you dislike habits and things about yourself, perhaps you wish your life was different—well no one is going to make that happen for you.

Waiting for someone to change our lives for us won’t get us anywhere.

As much as I wish someone would do it for me, it’s not going to happen. I’m the one who has to get active and take steps to make the change happen. If with (generous) help, I still must be willing to change and stick to that aim.

It’s not about refusing help, or going it alone—it’s about owning up to your life and the kind of person you want to be.

If you care for yourself at all—then to hell with problems, fears, and circumstances—go out and create yourself and make it happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #950

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant. 🌱

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Finding Renaissance

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver, The Summer Day, Pulitzer Prize winning poet.

Life is a series of awakenings and revivals. Sometimes awakenings happen inactively without our input. The loss of innocence for example. The multidisciplinary, Neri Oxman, describes the feeling as ‘discovering innocence at the moment you lose it’. Born in Haifa Israel, for her, it was her experiences in served in the Israeli Armed Forces as a teenager that opened her eye’s to the harsher sides of life.

Awakenings can also happen actively from our own curiosity and discovery too. The moment you think you have things figured out, an idea, a quote, a change, a friend or an influence rocks your foundation of who you are and what you think about the world. For me, health was a big one.

Growing up, I didn’t know a thing about health and wellness. (Neither did my parents.) Being a 90’s baby, I practically lived off fast-food, soda, refined bread and lucky charms. I was constantly catching colds and having sinus problems, but I didn’t know that was not normal. I had no frame of reference to compare my health to. It honestly never occurred to me until much later that food changed how you look and feel. I had no idea how impactful food, exercise and sleep could be on the quality of your life. It was until much later after high school when I read a few books on health and exercise and discovered the impact of health. The crazy thing is I know I’m not the only one who was asleep to the ideas of health. Perhaps this blog post is the first time you are waking up to the importance of health yourself.

A more common word for awakenings we experience is change. Life is continuously changing.

The historical Renaissance (14th – 16th century) was a time of innovation in art and human potential based on the revitalization of Roman and Greek thinking. To put simply: It was an age of discovery, creativity and pursuit. Today, life and technology moves at breakneck speeds. So must we if we are going to take advantage of our brief and precious life. Because life is moving so fast and becoming more connected, things can easily feel overwhelming at times. It’s easy to default to living a life of someone else’s dreams, instead of one you decide on yourself.

Today we face a new renaissance — A personal renaissance. And a renaissance of like-minded individuals like us all seeking a different and more meaningful way to live. We must become more resilient, adaptable and creative to be who we want to be and to do what we want to do. Dreams of a lifetime don’t happen with wishes. We must create them happen.

‘Renaissance’ comes from the combination of the French verb ‘renaitre’ — ‘to revive’ and the noun ‘naissance’.

Your renaissance life is your own, but it begins the moment you decide you want to seek out change and recreate yourself into the best you possible. The more we can learn about ourselves — who we are, what we like, what we stand for — the better we will get at reaching for the ideal. The renaissance life isn’t about perfection, it’s about pursuit. It’s about pursuing intentional changing and being lifelong learner in the skills and characteristics we want to master.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #733


Join the Renaissance:

IG@Renaissance.Life

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

The Downside of Doing Multiple Things

There are dangerous lands on the road towards a Renaissance Life (aka a life of creativity, mastering and meaning). Namely, when you decide to pursue multiple things, you are also deciding to split your resources. Where a ‘one thing’ kind of person has the power to prioritize all their resources to a single focus, we have to divvy our resources into multiple.

A Specialist becomes really good at one thing and aspires to be a master of one.
A Generalist becomes really good at a bunch of things, and aspires a jack (or jill) of all.
A Multiplist* (Renaissance Human, Polymath, Multi-hyphenate) becomes really good at a handful of things and aspires to master the chosen few and connect them in interesting ways.

Our time, attention, energy and money all have to be carefully given, otherwise we can stretch ourselves too thin and dilute our ability to make progress. Even if you have all the money on the planet, you still will be limited by how much time you give to your pursuits within the span of a day.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs

Guard Your Resources

Like a mamma bird protecting her young, we need to guard our finite resources with care.

Ultimately, every resources used comes down to what we say yes and no too.

It’s difficult in the moment, but t he more we say no, the more we can say yes to what we really want to say yes to.

Knowing what you want to master is a great way of what you should say yes or no to. If the opportunity doesn’t align with your pursuits, it’s a no. If it does then its a yes. This balance of yes’s and no’s is a continuous process. It’s like mowing grass —you have to keep doing it. Of course, saying yes to the wrong things has a bit more consequence than a tall, messy lawn.

*Not a word but should be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #647

Join the Renaissance:

IG@Renaissance.Life

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

On Pain

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Lao Tzu

A lot of things have been bothering me lately, more so than I would like to admit. It’s like I’ve been in the war room as multiple battles rage across all fronts of my life. By itself, each battle is not that much to look at, they’re more like a skirmish between two raccoons over a thrown out piece of pizza 🍕, but when you add them up it’s been taking its toll on me.

I won’t bore you with the details (nor give myself the chance to complain about them), suffice it to say, every problem I face today is something that we all face as humans, and someone somewhere in the past has experienced and overcome. (The ones that didn’t overcome their problem are usually lost to failure or obscurity.)

Health, Money, Wisdom, Power, Boldness, Courage, Creativity, Resilience, Resolve, Connection…

And their opposites:

Sickness and Injury, Debt, Foolishness and Ignorance, Weakness, Comfort, Fear, Burnout and Unimaginative, Overwhelm, Indecisive 🤷‍♂️, and Lonely…

Every new experience is unique to me, but it’s not unique to humanity. Look at enough biographies and you start to see patterns of humanity. Experience enough cultures and you start to see how that culture reflects in the people (and the people reinforcing the culture) Bad things happen. Mistakes are made. And unless you’re Patrick Star living under a rock for your entire life, you’ve been through and are going through some difficult moments too.

The boring question is ‘Why me?’ ‘Why do I have to feel this way?’ ‘Why do I have to go through this?’ ‘Why is this so hard?’

I wonder about the differences between difficulties. Is depression worse than cancer? Is an injury more painful than a broken home, or a loss? Is loneliness worse than apathy? …

Of course these are impossible comparisons (unless you’ve experienced them all and can tell me). One thing I do know for sure is that pain unites us. Pain is the door to empathy that ties us all together. Our own pain gives us a measurement of what someone else’s pain must feel like. I did not understand what someone goes through when they injury themselves until I injured my neck. Now I know the debilitating pain someone must feel when they hurt their back or knee etc. I don’t know exactly what it feels like, but I can compare their pain to my own and create a connection with them through my experiences.

Why me? doesn’t matter. The real question is what are you going to do about it?

What are you going to do about it?

If there is a why behind the circumstance, its

To rely on something bigger than yourself and your own ego. To trust others or God (or whatever you believe) rather than always carrying the weight of the world by yourself.

To challenge yourself to take the painful lesson and turn it into a chance to improve and become better than you were.

To give you the opportunity to share your story with others and inspire others to overcome their own difficulties.

What are you going to do about it?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
 

If You’re Not Trying, Your Dying

Things I’m trying right now:

Tai Ji

Masterclass

Writing fiction

Acupuncture

Podcasting

No coffee!! (1 year in so far)

Sketching with an iPad

Ketogenic Diet

Boxer Briefs 
. . . . .

Routine is fantastic and keeps you focused and stable. Too much routine though is the opposite of fantastic. It’s all the ‘un’ words. Uncreative, uninspired, unoriginal, unfantastic. Feeling stuck is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different life. Get out there and try stuff, and stick with the ones that make you feel ALIVE. Whenever possible, add more ‘unknown uncertain or uncomfortable ’ to your routine.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are in life, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner

Follow me on instagram: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan

“Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.” — Bear Grylls

Book Pairing

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson

The Ketogenic Bible by Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery 

Something…

Is Better Than Nothing.

Today really sucked to be honest with you.

I wouldn’t say it was one thing in particular that made it an ugly day, more like too many things adding up at once.

But what can I say?

Nothing is going to change the past. All I can do is read and watch some uplifting things I love, eat some good food, go to bed early and start fresh tomorrow.

Sleeping doesn’t reset my problems, but it does reset me. By the time wake up tomorrow, I’ll be a new man, in a new day, with a blank piece of paper and a chance to improve my life. Some have it much worst than me, Some have it much better. Where you fall on the spectrum doesn’t matter. What matters is what you are going to do about it.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

And wherever you are on your journey, keep smiling 🙂

— Josh Waggoner

Pain is Story

I imagine there was blood everywhere.

I️ bit the tip of my tongue in half when I️ was really little.

I️ have no recollection of the memory, only the tiny scar to prove I­t­. Just even thinking about that happening makes me cringe and want to VOM all over this keyboard. I️ imagine a diaper wearing, curly blonde haired baby version of me, running around the house, playing like a pro, completely unaware of the large step ahead leading into another room. (Large step for a curly headed baby anyway.)

I️ also have a tiny scar on my left side of my abdomen, from when I️ has holstering a tree branch, walking around my parent’s old house, pretending to be a noble knight, and, of course, my stick was my shining blade of steel. I️ don’t remember what I️ was fighting, but I’m sure I­t­ was EPIC.

These are just two small, but resonating stories of pain from hundreds of moments of pain, setbacks, loss, injury, discomfort and despair that I️ have been through, and the thousands more I️ will hopefully get through. When you hear my stories or the stories of other people, you can’t help but put yourself in our shoes. Our entire humanity is built on stories. Stories of struggle, and exploration and pain. 

Pain is a part of being human. From small moments of stumbling up the steps to unimaginable moments of disease or worse, we all experience bad moments. What you decide to do with your pain each and every day will determine whether you live an ordinary life or extraordinary life of Renaissance

You see, pain flipped on its head can actually be a good thing. Pain makes us better. I’m not talking about a ‘No Pain, No Gain’ type of mentally. No, that’s like swimming with sharks holding a bag of steaks. A lot of risk; very little reward. Never seek pain, but always be ready for I­t­, or ready to unmask pain that you are holding inside.

Pain makes us better because I­t­ gives us the opportunity to learn and become a better version of ourselves.

Which sucks and is awesome at the same time. It’s almost the equivalent to having the worst sandwich of your life… until you realize it wasn’t a sandwich, it was actually a bowl of fruit. (Almost the same.) Fruit can be great when you are expecting fruit, but if you’re ordering a sandwich and get fruit, you don’t immediately see how good and fresh the fruit is in the moment. Pain and opportunity are the same things. Some only see pain, others see a chance to use the pain for a greater purpose.

Sometimes, when my day to day life and pain is really wearing me down, I️ feel broken and overwhelmed by what’s going on with me. Pain can do that. I­t­ can add up and morph into a giant spider web you feel like you can’t get out of. And when all you do is focus on the feelings and regret of pain, you amplify the pains effects and hold on you. All you want to do is complain and share and get someone to listen to you. But complaining about the weather doesn’t make I­t­ go away. And complaining doesn’t make a great story. 

Maybe I️ am broken, maybe we all are. But letting that part of me control my life is no story I️ want to tell. ‘This is the story of a man who laid in bed, and never got up again.’  That’s no story I️ want to tell. There’s always a way to turn pain into challenge and inspiration for others.

Pain is one of those things in life that I️ would never wish upon anyone, but if you are going through hell, it’s the best / worst thing you can experience in your life. This is part of your hero’s journey. This is your call to arms, your challenge of a lifetime. Pain is your story to tell. It’s the tale of how you fell into the dragons din, found the silver lining, discovered a new world, challenged the status quo, and journey back to us to tell us your story.

A journey or challenge is a much different story you live, instead of giving into the pain, doing nothing and accepting your fate. Most, unfortunately, fail to see the value in pain, the ones that do are usually the ones that become inspiration stories for generations. Pain is a perspective. A cold dip into the icy waters you didn’t ask for, but will you be grateful and remember the experience for the rest of your life? Maybe. 

All that matters with pain is how you see I­t­, which ultimately leads to what you are going to do about I­t­.

My pain is my story to tell. I’m the one who gets to share my stories with you, and hopefully impacts you and inspires you to see your struggles and pain as a challenge too.

Pain can also well up inside you. Pain that you ignore, or aren’t even aware it’s there. It speaks to you through small chinks in your armor, injuries and problems you can’t explain, or constantly feeling sick or not yourself. Your current way of life has become incompatible with yourself, and your body knows I­t­.

These types of bottled pain are perfect opportunities for stories. This is your chance to bleed on the page your thoughts and experiences you’ve gone through or are going through. Writing and telling your story is like squeezing your pain into a bottle like a sponge, and sending I­t­ out into the sea. You don’t have to tell your story (some stories are meant to be kept for yourself) but I️ would bet you a hundred pushups that if you were to tell your story, thousands of people would resonate and find I­t­ beneficially for what they are going through.

I wonder sometimes, 

Would there be life without death? Would there be happiness without despair? Friendship without loneliness? Exhilaration without fear? Pleasure without pain? Energy without fatigue? Love without longing? 

And does I­t­ have to be the ones who know pain firsthand, who understand how valuable life, really is?

I️ didn’t know how vital having energy is, until I️ experienced chronic fatigue first hand.

I️ would like to believe stories help capture insights and lessons that will help us avoid pitfalls and painful experiences ourselves, but first, you must be really open to I­t­.

If you are going through something impossibly difficult, it’s time to write your story. And the fact that you are holding the pen means you get to write how and where your story ends.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”Eckhart Tolle

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevyn Aucoin

“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.” — Oprah Winfrey

Book Pairings:

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Pain is Your Teacher

Pain either really sucks or it really sucks and you see it as a chance to improve and learn something.

Both options, not so fun. But the first keeps you focused on your pain, and the other focuses you on finding solutions to solve it.

When I first injured my neck, all I saw was pain. The excruciating tension and ache was one thing, but there was also the pain of loss and despair, of what I couldn’t do or be because of it. By mentally focusing on only your pain in a discouraging way, you are amplifying its power over you. Hell is a place of hopeless pain.  It’s the feeling that things will never be the same (which is true) and that your life is over (which is not true).

Life as you know it is over, but your new life has begun. The nice thing about pain is that it gives you a chance for a Renaissance. A rebirth of who you are. The opportunity to reinvent and challenge who you were, and find a better possible future for yourself and your story. Whether or not you take on the challenge or let the pain rule you, is your choice. It took me a while to understand this. I didn’t make the choice when I first injured myself. All I did was focus on the pain and think ‘why!? Why me?’ to myself.  Pain masks your ability to see the other options and choices you have in from of you.

And it’s not just one decision. Victory doesn’t happen automatically. It’s a decision you have to decide to make every day.

You’ve got two choices:

1. Live how you are living — in some sort of twilight zone / black mirror land where you are suck in your pain won’t seem to go away no matter how much you wish it would. Keep your head down. Resign to your fate.

Or —

2. Decide to do something about it.
Which isn’t about healing yourself; It’s about deciding to heal yourself. Doing something about it is a vow to yourself to try to find a resolution. A choice to find a better you. A lesson that gives you the opportunity to change and prove to yourself that you can.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are on your journey, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner