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

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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

You Are Kind of Like The Earth…

There’s a bad ‘Your Mama’ joke in that title somewhere.

You’ve heard the quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, in some form or fashion. 

Reading it face value, the people you spend your days with — your partner, close friends, co-workers, and close family — all influence and impart what your life looks like. Think about I­t­ like you are the layers of the earth in a classic science textbook. You’ve got the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust. If you were to travel from crust to core, like you’re in the magic school bus or you’re Aaron Eckhart in the movie, /The Core/, each layer gets harder and harder to go deeper, and also harder to change.

The inner core is solid.

It’s who you are: where you were born, your experiences, your values, and beliefs. The core is your DNA and what you learn about the world when you were child.

The outer core flows.

It’s filled with swirling hot questions, 
I­t­ also swirls with your fears, doubts, desires, dreams,

The mantel is your habits, routines, actions, and thoughts.  

The mantel is what you do and how you live. It’s a reflection of your inner workings and an amalgamation of your hopes and dreams.  The mantel is war. It’s a continuous battleground of your external world and your internal core. Sometimes those two forces align and your actions and values are in sync. Other times, you external experiences don’t match your core, which leaves you with a multiple choice decision: 

A. Never waver on your inner core. Always make decisions based on who you are instead of who someone else wants you to be.

B.  Test your inner core. Does this change/decision make more sense than what I currently hold true? And if so what do I need to change?

C. Waver. Let the bosses, gatekeepers, bullies, negative Nancy’s or even villainous people compromise who you are. This sounds so dramatic. Usually, we don’t waver with the big stuff. 
Compromise is deadly because it’s subtle shifts, not immediate 180 changes. 

The mantel is where dreams are made, through hard work and effort. But it’s also where bad habits, anger, and negativity can take over.

D. Do nothing. Choose nothing. Which typically defaults to choosing C. When we are indecisive, we let other peoples decisions rule us.

And finally the crust.

The crust is the easiest to enter but can be thickened by experience. Setbacks, failures, hard times, rejection — anything that tells you no, but doesn’t wear you down. 

This is where we are the most influenced by new ways of thinking and living well, but also where we are the most susceptible to bad actors. 
If you hear *no* too often, especially in an area where you, not battle hardened by experience, you start to believe it. ‘Everyone around me tells me I️ can’t do I­t­.’ Depending on your outer fortitude and inner core values, this will either fire you up to prove them wrong and do I­t­ anyway, or shut you down and change the way you think and act about yourself in a small way. 

“I’ll prove them wrong” versus “I️ guess I️ can’t, I’m no good at this, who am I️ to think I️ could do this?”

For millions of reasons, most people want you to be like them more instead of being like you. Maybe it’s because they decided to give up. They didn’t do I­t­, so they h*ll’s for sure don’t want you to do I­t­. Because if you do and succeed, I­t­ directly highlights the fact that they compromised their core.

Every layer down reflects every layer up, and vice-versa. If you were born in an environment of trust and love, you are more likely to trust others, and give them the benefit of the doubt. You’re open to influence more easily, which can be good or bad depending on your circumstances.

Rather, if you were born in an environment of distrust and fear, you refuse to let anyone in. It’s you against the world. Your outer layer is thick with mistrusting first. This isn’t necessarily your fault, but I­t­ is your challenge to overcome if you want to be able to have people in your life you love and trust.

Who you are is directly related to who you surround yourself with, because your surrounds influence your actions, and your actions influence your beliefs about yourself and the world.

If you hate yourself, find new friends who love you for being you, and want to see you succeed. If you hate your actions, surround yourself with people who inspire you and motivate you to take better actions, and work harder for a better life. And if you feel compromised, or discouraged, or empty, or overruled by the opinion that others have on you: lose them. You matter too much to be a slave to someone else thoughts of how your life should be. It’s never too late to start over. Even if you hate everything about your current life, start building a new one. No one can tell you that you can’t. But if they do, who cares? Do it anyway.

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

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

Related Insights

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” — Oprah Winfrey

“To all the other dreamers out there, don’t ever stop or let the world’s negativity disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself with love and the right people, anything is possible.” — Adam Green

“Surround yourself with people who support you. Find champions.” — Sarah Gavron

Book Pairings

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn

Hurry Up and Wait

Yesterday I️ talked about the idea of self-inflicted stress. Stress that we carry around like an orangutan on our back, jonesing for a banana. (…what?) This could be internal stressors we bottle up, such as anger and frustration towards our work or relationships, and this could be external stressors like

comparison (why can’t I️ have what she has?), 

stuff (I️ have too much stuff / I️ don’t have even stuff / I️ don’t have the right stuff), 

Or pursuits (money, happiness, connections, skills).

But usually its all the above, internal stressors, external stressors, twisting around like earbuds in your pocket, eventually forming into one giant life crisis that floors you and feels impossible to untangle.

I️ mentioned that a big self-inflicted stress that I️ carry is being late / hating rushing. I️ HATE rushing. It’s one of my least favorite feeling. (Did I️ say that already?) I️ want to be on time, but I️ fit so much in my day that I️ don’t have a lot of margin in between doing things. (which is an entirely separate topic I️ need to explore…)

I also live on island time 🏝 This is definitely something I️ picked up from my mom. Her parents (my grandparents) were the complete opposite. They would leave a movie before I­t­ was over just to beat the traffic. I️ think she rebelled into the opposite direction, taking her time, not beholden to it, not afraid of showing up late. My dad, on the other hand, is completely opposite from her (Which makes for regularly hilarious entertainment 🍿). He wants to be on time for everything, but when he can’t — usually because of mom — he goes through the 10 stages of grief.

In the army, they have a phrase for this: Hurry up and wait. You’re either 15 minutes early or your late. I️ learned this from gabriella, who, centuries before we met, was in the army. To them, I️ imagine it’s all about being prepared. You want to be where you need to be, at the right time, the right place, with the right structure and gear to be able handle anything.

Which sounds fantastic. I️ want to be in the right time, right place and have everything I️ need to handle anything. That sounds amazing!

Putting that mindset into practice starts with the level of commitment you have on your goal. You can’t be 15 minutes early if you keep hitting snooze. If you are 10 minutes away, you need at least 25 minutes to get there early.

The same is true for entrepreneurship and creativity.

Deadlines are not restriction, they are margins of time that give you (ideally) flexibility and space to be your most creative and effective self. Of course unrealistic deadlines are restriction. They are the equivalent of rushing or cramming. Without structure, work doesn’t get done. Without margin, creativity isn’t at its best. There’s a tight balancing act between island time and chronic panic.

It’s impossible to be creative if you’re not actually in the habit of creating. And it’s hard to be creative with a banana crazy orangutan for a backpack.

How to find this balance all depends on how you want to live. What you do for work, Who you work for, spend time with and surround yourself with, What types of content you consume and what principles and values you hold all add up in a big, and unique way. There is no one way, because there is only one you. I️ can show you how I️ live my life and you can be inspired and challenge by that or not. But trying to be me doesn’t mean that will work for you. Making I­t­ (dreams, passions, experiences etc) work comes from making I­t­ work for you.

The thing to be watchful of is the question: do you feel good about how you act?. When you’re actions don’t align with who you are and your aspirations / intentions / values, then you’re adding stress to the ‘I hate myself’ bucket.

Do you feel good about how you act?

If you do then you’re on the right track. If you don’t it’s time to change how you feel or change how you do things.

Being on time is great, and being late is fine — unless your stressing yourself all the time by carrying around two opposing beliefs: 

I️ should be early, 
I️ am never on time.

Should being the key word here. Our ‘should’s’ are the very core of what our self-inflected stresses are. We should be doing something, but we are not.
we want to be doing something, but we haven’t.  We wish we could, but we are not trying. 

I️ try my best to live my life by the things that I️ do, versus the things that I️ should do.

I️ hardly succeed at it, and easily fall pray to comparing myself to others, but as long as I️ reaching for the goal, I️’m better off than I was.

The more ‘should’s’ you can remove from your life, the greater life you will have.

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

Feedback: What did you think about today’s blog post? Did it spark any insights for you? Thoughts? Outrage? Email me: josh@renaissancelife.com. Join the Renaissance Email List below for more content on creativity, mastery and life.

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Related Insights

“Your best ideas, those eureka moments that turn the world upside down, seldom come when you’re juggling emails, rushing to meet the 5 P.M. deadline or straining to make your voice heard in a high-stress meeting. They come when you’re walking the dog, soaking in the bath or swinging in a hammock.” — Carl Honore

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

“A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man’s life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars.” — Henry David Thoreau

Book Pairings

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety by Charlie Hoehn

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

 

Self-inflicted Stress

In school I️ literally had a wall in my first class of the day dedicated to my tardy slips.

You could say that in my past I️ was chronically late to a lot of things. (Well… everything)

Showing up late to my first class became an inside joke to my teacher and classmates. We would tape each green, tardy-shaped piece of paper up next to the whiteboard every time I️ strolled into school past 8 AM. I️ wish I️ remembered the number of slips I️ got by the end of the year. I’d guess somewhere in between ‘wallpaper for your house’ amount and or ‘block out the sun’.

I️ also may or may not have been late (fashionably) to my high school graduation.

I­t­ wasn’t that I️ intended to be late to everything. I️ was stuck in a cycle that pushed me towards the probability of being late. I️ went to bed late, usually studying until midnight or later, then I️ would try to get up at 5:30 / 6 AM to make I­t­ to school on time — which never happened. I️ would inevitability be late, be mostly a zombie all day, leave school and immediately take a nap and have dinner, and then do I­t­ all over again. 

The thing is I️ HATE rushing. The feeling you get in your chest or stomach when you have to be somewhere but you don’t have enough time to get there is the worst type of feeling to me. I’d rather eat a bucket of tardy slips than feel rushed. If you ever find me in a tizzy, it’s most likely because I’m in a rush. The day society creates teleportation travel is the day I️ will never be late again! Probably. I️ don’t want to be late, I️ don’t mind being late,

There are a lot of systematic loops, like staying up late, that we can easily fall into if we’re not careful. Even if we do something for good reasons, I­t­ doesn’t necessarily mean we will create good outcomes. Another example is coffee.  Maybe you’ve never had a hot cup of liquid energy before, or maybe you’re knocking back 5 cups a day and rounding out the night with a decaf before bed. I­t­ doesn’t take much to go from 0 cups to 5 cups. I­t­’s usually just one fluke decision you fall into, like meeting a friend at Starbucks and them buying you a free coffee, that can lead you into a habit of drinking coffee. I’m picking on coffee a little bit here. I­t­ has some fantastic benefits. But if you MUST have your cup or your day isn’t the same, or if you are anxious and feel like you have a panic attack all the time, you have turned something beneficial into pure unfiltered stress.

Rushing is a self-inflicted stress. ‘Why am I️ rushing to get to work, stressing myself completely out, driving like I️ just stole a sports care, all in order to sit quietly at a desk for the next hour?’ Stressing myself out isn’t a great way to start out the day and be creative.

I’ve had travel companions like this too. RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH wait. RUSH RUSH wait. It’s like they want to edit out the journey so they can get to the destination as quickly as possible. And I️ get I­t­, we are beholden to other peoples clock and expectations sometimes. The plane doesn’t care that you’re late, it’s just going to leave you at the gate. Your boss probably doesn’t care that you’re stress from rushing to work.

I️ don’t know maybe I’m weird. Maybe its poor planning or living on the edge too much.

Whatever the case, the key nugget here is that we all have self-inflicted stresses that we carry around with us. Stressful habits make you tense and hold that tension like a rock that won’t go away. Our bodies know this, but our minds tend to ignore the tension, rationalize them away, and mask them with other potential stressors. Oh, I’m tired, I️’ll grab a cup of caffeine. My head hurts, I’ll take an Ibuprofen. I️ can’t go to sleep, I️ guess I’ll stay up a little longer and watch YouTube. All of our habits don’t live in isolation. They build on top of each other and multiple and negate each other in unforeseen ways.

All of our habits don’t live in isolation. They build on top of each other and multiple and negate each other in unforeseen ways.

Maybe you’re tired because you stayed up late. Maybe your head hurts because you’re dehydrated from drinking only caffeine instead of water. Maybe you can’t wind because you’re stimulating your body and mind with too much caffeine and watching bright screens at night. Broken down, each chained stress makes since when you but I­t­ that way, but we usually wake up one day to hundreds of little things that are stressing us out a that adds up into a big, messy question mark.

The first step to unraveling your self-inflected stressors is to Identify them. It’s hard to sell something when you don’t own I­t­.

Q: Think about your day to day habits. Are you controlling your habits, or are your habits controlling you?

The second step is to go to the source of the problem. If you’re tired, start with sleep. Do what you can to make sure you’re in bed when you want to and relaxed enough to fall asleep easily. The bad thing about cyclical bad habits is there hard to get out of. The great thing about cyclical bad habits is that the moment you do break free, you cause a chain event that begins to wash away everything else downstream.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Preparation: Rules of the Game

Preparation brings up many emotions for me.

Not Good Enough: Sometimes preparation stops you from starting.

The first thing to note about preparation is to ask yourself, “does this preparation get me where I️ want to go effectively and help me avoid common pitfalls or is this just excuses and laziness in disguise?” Often times, preparation is really just excuses you have to delay yourself from doing something that scares your butts off.

I’ve felt, and I’m sure most of us have, that I️ was unable to take on something new because I️ didn’t know enough yet. “As soon as I️ take this second online course, I’ll start executing my idea.” “As soon as I️ finish school” “As soon as I️ have the right equipment” “As soon as have more $….”

Excuses excuses. 98% of this is BS. A disempowering belief of “I’m not good enough yet” that’s wrapped in a shiny gold ‘someday’ that never comes. I­t­ took me a while to understand, but here’s honest truth: You will never know enough. You will always think you’re not good enough. Even if you know more about music than anyone else you know, you’ll still feel inadequate. Unless you try I­t­ and go after I­t­.

Too Much Info For Your Own Good: Something I­t­ hinders you and muddles your ability to see and think clearly 

The second thing to note about preparation is too much preparation can actually be a bad thing depending on your goal. Ask yourself, “Is this preparation a requirement?”
If you’re studying to be a doctor — you need to prepare. No one in their right mind would let you be their surgeon on your first day of medical school. You can cover a bad tattoo or haircut, but you can’t recover from a bad surgery.

But if you are trying to do something new by piecing together commodity types of thinking, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even leave the starting point. No about of reading is going to make you a better public speaker. I­t­ can inform you on certain arts like how to tell a great story, but becoming a great speaker requires you to speak, and get up there and fail.

There have also been people I’ve known who just know too much for their own good. You probably know someone that is so smart and wise, yet they never do anything that they want to do. They know too much about the negative side of what might happen if they try, so they never try at all.

They learn and understand so much — usually narrowly focus in one area — that they’ve completely thrown out everything else about how to live. 

Some of the best programmers in the world would become even better if they also actually knew how to talk to other human beings. Some of the most outgoing and connected people can’t even stand to be by themselves and alone with their thoughts for more than 5 minutes. They’ve learned to be great about connecting. They suck at connecting with themselves. We need both to make a real impact in the world.

Being too narrowly focused makes you top heavy. And one thing leads to another and you find yourself unable to reach higher levels of performance.
Unless you start working on counterbalancing your knowledge.

Life’s emergency kit / Batman’s toolbelt: Sometimes I­t­ takes you higher than you thought was possible.

The third note about preparation I️ want to close with is just the right amount of preparation might be exactly what you need to become great in your endeavors. What’s the right amount? I️ have no idea.

What I️ do know is adopting and creating systems and principles will put you in the right margin of having the right amount of information.

Take applying for a new job, for instance. If you send your resume to a company that you know nothing about, whose employees or values you haven’t gotten around to yet, with a resume you haven’t updated in 2 years, you’re not gonna get that job. Even just 20 minutes of preparation might have shown you that a friend of yours actually knows someone who works there. And reaching out through that channel would have dramatically improved your odds of getting a job, even with an outdated resume. 

Another example is learning. Do you really need to learn the entire worlds knowledge archive about photography, before you even purchase a camera? No! You just need to read a Wirecutter article on which camera to buy. And after you buy a camera, you need to learn how to turn I­t­ on. Then you can learn how to shoot I­t­ automatic mode. Then you can play around with lens. And so on and so on, chipping away at a skill on curious step at a time.

Takeaways:

If it’s an excuse, start immediately.

If you know too much for your own good, start immediately if you’re holding yourself back, while learning other life skills you’ve been neglecting in your thirst for knowledge.

If it’s not an excuse, and you’re looking for ways to avoid common pitfalls and to have the clearest path to your destination, then start seeking systems and principles to keep in your toolbelt. What is a toolbelt, after all, but a set of instruments you curate, for just the right types of needs or emergencies.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

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