Iron Will

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Iron is a malleable metal. It’s not too soft to be directionless and not to ridged to be brittle. But it takes heat to form it into what you need.

I know, it is a very cheesy self-help things to write, but it’s true.

Nobody like to be knocked on their *ss, but everyone loves an underdog.

Resistance is a natural part of reaching for success. Whatever that success is for you, things are going to get in your way.

Bad luck, circumstances, setbacks and failure may not be our fault, or maybe they are, but it doesn’t matter. Either way, they are our responsibility. They are our opportunity to get stronger and more capable.

Difficult moments will try to break you, and they can if you let them turn you ridged and bitter. Anger and resentment held to long seeps into the bones and poisons our capacity to act if we aren’t careful.

However, difficult moments can’t hurt an iron will.

Let the past go. Forget the future for now. Focus on the here and now. Rest. Take a moment. Do what you need to do to reset. Then get up and find a way forward.

But don’t take my word for it. Instead, listen to the insights of all the strong willed people who said it cooler than me:

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

Bruce Lee

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #706


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Roots

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”

Robert H. Schuller

Problems feel very… mushy when you are confronted by them. ‘I need to fix my health’, ‘I need to earn more money’, ‘I’m not motivated enough’… 

Without proper consideration and clarity, our problem (and associated thoughts with those problems) can easily derail us by there intangible nature.

That’s why the first course of action when dealing with something is acknowledge that it exists. Once we do that, we can begin to get a grasp of what the problem is and where we can start hacking away at it.

We’ve got to get to the heart of the issue. Where does the problem start? Where are it’s roots? What’s feeding and watering it? 

Often problems arises from little things we neglect and slowly build into bigger things before we know it.

We can’t change the past, but we can hedge and do our part to protect our future. What are the little things you know you are neglecting that need attention right now? What are the little things you might be missing?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #694


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How to Help Someone (And Ultimately Help Yourself in the Process)

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

Richard P. Feynman

There’s a funny, slightly insulting quote you’ve likely heard, from the author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw, that goes “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches”. And perhaps, an even funnier follow-up quote by Woody Allen, saying “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

Now that I’ve insulted every teacher and, specifically, gym teacher reading this, I’d like to discuss a somewhat related idea (that might be a bit more helpful to us than criticizing our doing and teaching abilities):

If you can’t help yourself, try helping others.

When we hear about other people’s problems, Why do we think they are so much easier to solve than our own?

Because we can usually see their — our friend, family member, coworker, boss, etc —problem with a clear mind and come up with linear ideas and strategies to solve it. Our problems are too close to us because we are the ones dealing with them (and at the same time trying not to have a panic attack and emotionally eating an entire cake). And it’s the same both ways. They might see your problems and think they are easy to solve, just like you think the same about theirs. In reality, most problems are messy and hard to deal with. But we make them harder by weighing them down with fear and blindly try to fix things without clarifying the problems first. Clarity is key.

Clarity is what we can give to others. And clarity is what we need for our own problems. We need to see all the visible cards on the table and think through (and gut feel) our way through the cards we don’t know about.

How do you help someone gain clarity about their problems? Have a conversation with them. And more importantly, listen to them. Be a sounding-board first; A helper second. Sometimes all we need is to hear ourselves speak aloud about our problem. Having a person in front of us who is giving us eye contact, nodding their heads every so often, and allowing us to talk is a great way to do that and really hear what we need to hear.

After, listening, giving actionable advice and ideas is another way we can help someone. I believe advice needs to come from a neutral place. The point of helping is not to tell them what you think is best for them. You need to think about the advice that is best for who they are and what their goals are. Remember, we’re not trying to make clones of ourselves. We’re trying to help others be the best version of themselves they can be. Not the best versions of us they can be.

Of course, sometimes people don’t know what they need. Use your best judgment. Some skills and piece of advice are universal. For example, building a better community and support group around you who all want you to succeed is always a great idea. (Or at least, I’ve never heard or read anyone giving the opposite advice — ‘don’t be friends with anyone. support groups will get you nowhere’ 😜)

However, there’s a caveat I would be remiss if I didn’t say: we first need to make sure that the person (or people) we are trying to help actually want our help. If we’re just telling them what to do and giving them a dozen ideas to try that they don’t want and didn’t ask for, the help isn’t going to work. And related, it’s always good if you can back up your advice with experience. If you haven’t taken your own advice, very few people are actually going to listen. Help works where it’s needed, not where it’s assumed to be needed.

By putting our energy towards helping others, we end up helping others and helping ourselves. Not only do we do a good thing by lifting someone up when their down and teaching them something valuable, we also begin to feel better about our own circumstances and problems because we are no longer are wasting so much energy into doubt, fear and worry about ourselves. By channeling our energy towards others, we’ve taken away energy that we would be giving to fearing our own issues.

Giving a helping hand doesn’t have to be just people we know too. We can also help others online or in our local community that we haven’t met. We could even put energy towards helping a group of people, like the homeless, or a type of need, like clean water.

In a roundabout way, helping others usually helps ourselves in the process. We gain motion through the act of helping others, and in the process gain the confidence and momentum we need to help ourselves.

How can you leverage your skills, connections and extra resources to help others?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #684

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Related

“Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“It’s also selfish because it makes you feel good when you help others. I’ve been helped by acts of kindness from strangers. That’s why we’re here, after all, to help others.”

Carol Burnett

The Gift of Pain

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

The earth continuously spins at a lazy one thousand miles per hour. Roughly every 24 hours, it completes its race and begins a new – the ultimate example that shows steady and slow wins the race.

Is it because of death we feel compelled to hurry up and get things over with? Life is short for each of us. Time ticks on, whether we are working on our dreams or not. Perhaps our patience is at its thinnest when we faced with pain, dislike and fear.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys spending time in wall to wall traffic. But there’s also those of us who, when faced with an uncomfortable reality, want nothing more than to move past it. Like swatting flies out of our food, we want nothing more than to get rid of our circumstances and setbacks.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

Aristotle

It depends on how you look at it, but setbacks and pain can be gifts if you let it. As sucky as they are, our circumstances are teaching us hidden lessons on how to live better if we let them. Nobody wants to be in debt up to their noses. Nobody wants to feel the pain of a heartbreak or the ache of an injury. Depression, anxiety, negativity, bitterness, backstabbing, fear, and discouragement aren’t exactly a fun party to be in.

I’d hate to say that setbacks and pain are trying to teach us something important, but maybe they are trying to teach us something important.

Pain, failure and bad circumstances raise our awareness and show us how to live better than we were previously. They stop us, so that we can slow down, think more wisely and go after a life of meaning.

We might have to dig ourselves out of a hole now, but when (not if, when) we finally crawl over the top, we have a new and better way to live and a story to tell.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #648

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Life Blocks

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Alexander Graham Bell

There are times in life, where everything feels in doubt. Plateaus are inevitable. Ruts are par for the course. But when life punches us, there’s usually multiple blows. What do you do when you feel stuck in all areas of your life? What do we do when your health sucks AND your work sucks AND your relationships could use some work AND on and on it goes.

Take a deep breath. Maybe take three. Then, look at this:

The Universe
sololos/Getty

Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

In Marcus Aurelius day, the universe and its shining glory used to be a daily reminder of how small our problems really are in the grand scheme of things. Nowadays, unless you are in a rural area, only a few of the brightest stars peak out of the night sky to challenge us. But one look at this photo or photos like it can center and ground you to what matters.

The worst part about feeling stuck is how limiting our minds become. Instead of focusing on doing the things we need to do, we spiral in self-pity and waste time feeling bad, overwhelmed and despaired.

“Begin — to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.”

Marcus Aurelius

The quickest solution I’ve found is to focus all your efforts on one thing and check that off. Each time you check off something that’s been bothering you (whether its having coffee with a friend you’ve been meaning to call, eating health today, etc), the mental rain cloud clears ever so slightly. Our problems / obstacles are bad enough on their own, we don’t need to berate ourselves internally too with negativity, hate and harsh criticism on top of it all.

Focus on completing what’s in front of you. Some might pick the easiest thing to complete first, others might go for the most pressing issue. I usually sit down with myself and see which problem I’m facing is effect the other problems.

What’s the one thing I can work on fixing that will alleviate or perhaps even get rid of all the other problems I’m facing?

It doesn’t really matter what you choose to start with, as long as you start with something. I find it’s often the case that my problems turn into monsters, simply by me ignoring them or not actually taking the time to access them. Here’s a weird analogy: It’s like having a sore or cut in your mouth — it feels massive when you run your tongue over it, but when you open wide and look at it threw a mirror, it’s just a tiny little thing. Things in the rear view appear closer than they are. Problems feel bigger until you get a good look at them.

The last thing to remember is to keep going. Through all the ups and downs we will face in life, as long as we keep going and persevering, things will inevitably unblock themselves. It’s good to know that there are both ups and downs, not just downs. Again, the mind can play tricks on us, and we can skew our life only in the down moments and forget the good.

Remember: you are alive. You can think, you can enjoy and you can love. Perhaps tomorrow we won’t be (you never know). All the more important reason to live and be alive today.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #641

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Getting Through Anything

In whatever you do, never lack in enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm is part of your fire, your will of an extraordinary life.

No matter hard or stupid things get, your enthusiasm is your way through. It gives you the strength to attack head on any problem and persist until an opportunity arises.

How do you build up your enthusiasm? Like most things, one day at a time. Enthusiasm is a mixture of positivity and genuine care about things. Resetting your mind to be more enthusiastic starts with small acts of being enthusiastic. A moment of choosing to say something positive, even though you might be thinking negatively. A moment of practicing genuineness by listening and caring about what a friend or acquaintance is saying. 

Build up your resilience with an enthusiasm practice and you can get through any setback

— Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Share the Weight

Sometimes,
Just letting it all out on the table and talking through things with a friend or loved is life’s best medicine.

We often feel alone in our experiences (of pain, failure, remorse etc.) but loneliness evaporates as soon as we speak out our experiences. The act of speaking to someone who cares and is listening lightens the load of each person involved. To love and be loved. To care and be cared for.

When you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s time to share with others. No one person is made to carry that much weight. You need a team. If you don’t have one it’s time to make one.

Our experiences are touching stones of connecting and inspiring others.

Perhaps the worst things that happen to you and how you got through can be shining beacons of hope for those going through similar things.

Perhaps we can pull ourselves off the cliffs of our darkest moments by recognizing that how we handle the problems can have a positive influence for others, and having a positive impact is the reason why we have to keep persevering through the dips.

Be A Positive Influence You Wish You Had Yourself.

You can be an example of negative change or positive change to everyone in your life. Which will you choose?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.” — Brene Brown

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” — Paul J. Meyer

God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” — Billy Graham

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

Own the Crap 💩

This is day 47 of me writing one post a day on the Renaissance Life. I’ve had many days (like today) where I not able to sit down to write until 10:30 PM. (😴) Yet I sit down and ship the best post I have in me. I’m sure when I look back at them they won’t all be great. (Ugh what was I thinking?!) Perhaps I’m even rehashing the same ideas in different ways. It doesn’t matter,

It’s all a part of the process of stretching your capacity. 

Being exceptionally doesn’t come on the first round.

You never want to run a marathon on your first day of trying out running. (Let me see what this running thing is all about)A bestselling book doesn’t happen from cramming a writing session in the night before. It takes the accumulation of experience, thinking, observing researching, writing, editing, building a platform and marketing. You don’t become a hip hop artist by rap-a-longing with Drake or Logic.

But you do become a runner when you get off the couch and put on your shoes and run. You become a writer when you start writing your book. You become hip hop artists by practicing your own rhymes and getting up on stage.

Along the way you’re  going to have some failures and misses.

Own them — Own the crap. Because the crap will is just obstacles on your way to creating something great.

Babe Ruth was the king of home runs, but he was also the king of strikeouts.

People won’t remember your strikeouts if you crowd them out with home runs. 

But you can’t hit a home run without going up to the plate. Sure, you might strikeout instead, but not trying and giving it your all is the worst form of strikeout you can do.

(So many baseball analogies…)

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner