Confidence Sandwich

“Courage is a mean with regard to fear and confidence.”

Aristotle

I find it quite difficult to jump into something new right away, like a new skill, habit, relationship, or idea.

When we start something new, it’s like we are a beginner all over again.

We’re excited, but we’re also nervous, and our confidence is unsteady.

We’re just starting out, so we’ll likely fail. And low confidence plus potential failure is a combination that usually leads us to throw up our hands and give up.

But not if you have a confidence sandwich. A confidence sandwich, or—if you prefer—a confidence burger, is stacking a low-confidence experience with two high-confidence experiences, one on top and bottom. Think Oreo—strong cookie exterior, soft gooey center.

This allows us to warm up with something that boosts our confidence, which gives us more impetus to try something new/different (aka the goal). And then we end on a high note with another confidence booster.

High confidence
Low confidence
High confidence

Or put another way —

Familiar/comfortable
Unfamiliar/new/uncomfortable
Familiar/comfortable

I use this when I’m practicing music. I’ll start with a song I’m comfortable with and have played many times. Then I’ll experiment and try new things. And I’ll end with another song I’m used to and enjoy playing.

You can use the confidence sandwich for any situation that requires an extra boost of confidence.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #962

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

Fool’s Errand

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

Richard P. Feynman

Don’t mistake action for progress. Movement is good, but if you’re going in circles you’re not going to see the results you are looking for.

For example, no amount of programming you do will make you a better guitarist. It might give you ideas, but it won’t make you better at songwriting—only practicing guitar can do that.

Here’s a subtle one—posting and commenting on social media for your business or client. Will it get you likes? Sure. Will those likes turn into sales or true fans? Maybe a few. But it won’t make your product better. That takes work and customer research.

Progress is doing the right things on the stuff that matters to you.

Everything else is either play or a waste of your time.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #949

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Get it Done

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Bruce Lee

Ideas last longer when you work on them before you talk to them.

It’s not that your ideas will get stolen.
It’s not that sharing your ideas with others is bad.

It’s because talking about an idea before do it takes away its momentum. You lose the drive to act upon it because talking about it feels like you’ve already done it.

There’s a great insight from Marcus Aurelius that hits on this idea nicely, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

Your idea is awesome! Now go work on it some. Test it out with customers. Make the first draft and then discuss it with friends and colleagues.

I’m saying this to myself as much as I am to you, my friend. I’ve had countless ideas in the past that I never did because I lost the motivation and momentum after talking about it but never put it into action.

No more. Now I do my best to only discuss what I’m actively working on, and save the discussion of ideas I haven’t started until I’ve put pen to paper, so to speak.

In my mind, the best ideas are the ones that get done.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #923

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant 🌱 or supporting the Renaissance in other ways.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

The Undo Button

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Bruce Lee

It’s easy to make tasks grow into monsters in your mind. A large and heavy goal can become too impossible to start. There’s just too much pressure riding on it.

Sometimes the desire of something so badly becomes the reason that stops you from getting it.

This goes for love, to be sure, where we fantasize about being with someone who really isn’t that person we are making up in our heads. It also rings true for any outcome or success we wish to achieve.

The desire to become healthy, and the tightly held tension in the attempt (or vision) to make it happen becomes the stressor that leads us to being unhealthy. Or, more often, we become more healthy in how we were striving, becoming a runner for example, but become unhealthy in areas we aren’t paying attention too, such as always eating junk food.

It’s good to pause every so often and look at the whole playing field of your good habits and bad habits you currently have. Our bad habits are often hampering or subtracting our good habits, leaving us feeling like they aren’t helping us, or that we aren’t making any progress.

For example, having a good habit of doing great work at your job, but having a bad habit of mis-communicating or even not communicating what you are doing and why. Nothing kills a project like forgetting to stay in touch with the client and updating them on your progress.

To make a goal possible, we need to take the pressure of it off our shoulders. What would it look like if you were doing it for fun, rather than doing it because you need or really want to? Think about how you can break the goal into smaller and smaller components. It’s difficult to act on something that isn’t tangible and easy to grasp.

Instead of trying to accomplish this giant scary thing, why not start with this tiny un-scary thing first? Remember—on a micro level, there’s very you could do that you couldn’t immediately undo if it doesn’t work out. Didn’t work out? No problem—undo it. Get in trouble for trying something new? Apologize and go back to where you were before. Small decisions add up on a large time scale, but here in the daily actions of today, small decisions are rarely permanent and can easily be rolled back into something that works better for you if need be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #917

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee or a new plant or supporting the Renaissance in another way.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Zero Motivation: Part 2

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”

Winston Churchill

There’s a lot of things that I fear. I fear of making the wrong decisions and never recovering. I fear complacency. I get nervous whenever I talk in front of a crowd, or sing and play music in front of others. I even get nervous every time I’m about to record a podcast interview. I play it off easily, but my heart is thumping loudly in my chest. But there’s one thing I fear more than anything and that’s inaction.

One thing that really kicks me into high gear is considering the consequences of inaction. 

Perhaps its because I enjoy many disciplines (art, music, design, programming, dancing, health, etc), but I’m keenly aware of how little time I actually have to focus on learning and creating. 

After a relationship, job, friends, family, dog, eating, exercise and rest, there are only a finite amount of hours remaining to pursue creativity and learn new skills. It’s easy to forget and fall into a spiral of endless tv and movies on the dozens of (and growing) streaming platforms vying for our time. Don’t get me wrong— I love entertainment. I love a good story. I watch TV and movies and read fiction and occasional play games. For example, I’m obsessed with the limited series DEV’s right now, from FX on Hulu. But is entertaining myself at the same level of importance as pursuing my dreams? I think not. Otherwise, my priorities are misaligned.

Besides starting small and building momentum, another great way to motivate yourself to do something is through fear of inaction. 

Solution #2: Fear Inaction Over Action

Having a dream by itself isn’t enough. How many countless people over the centuries have come and gone without fulfilling their dreams or living a life true to themselves. It’s sad but true. And it can happen to us too. Having a dream doesn’t mean it will happen. That takes work and the discipline to work even when you don’t feel like it at the moment.

Is this something you want? Is this goal of yours something you are passionate about?

Then take a good long at what’s preventing you from doing it. Passion is the true motivator. But fear of inaction is what get’s the engine revving. 

Fearing inaction essentially means paying attention to what your life could look like if you didn’t act. Imagine yourself learning how to write and practicing writing every day for the next five years. What kind of writer would you be then? Would you have a bestselling novel? Would you impact not only your life but the lives of others everywhere? Now imagine yourself not writing for five years. You wanted to, but you never made the time for it. Things always seemed to get in the way. And now, five years have gone by but your dream of being a writer hasn’t moved an inch. This is the heart of fearing inaction.

Replace “writing” with whatever it is you desire to do— dance, practice guitar, calligraphy, run, become a vegan, etc.

This isn’t about patience. This is is about complacency. By fearing not taking steps towards our goals, we learn to push through our lack of motivation and what we are feeling like at the moment (lazy, tired, bored, achy, sore, depressed, sad, scattered, etc) And find a way forward. 

We take action because if we didn’t we would regret it.

Now ask yourself, “if I didn’t do _____ today, would I regret it?”

“In a year from now, what would I regret not having done?”

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #896

If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a tip or supporting the Renaissance.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

A Whole Lotta Learning. Not A Whole Lotta Doing

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Learning is a double-edged blade. It can be your greatest opportunity to knowledge and becoming the person you want to be, but it can also be your biggest hindrance. Without practice and application of what we are learning, we are essentially wasting our time. If all we do is jump from one interest to another without using them, we might as well be binging TV.

Skills, values, character, dreams, goals, ideas—none of these things amount to anything without putting them into practice.

Reading a book is the start.
Taking a course is a great way to learn.
Watching tutorials on Youtube can save you a load of time.

That’s more than most will ever do.

But that’s just the first step. Learning doesn’t replace doing. And learning doesn’t get us anywhere by itself. Sure, we can talk big, but one look at our work and any professional will be able to see that we don’t have anything tangible to back up our words.

We need both learning and application to succeed. Now we have to put our knowledge to the test.

The tricky thing is we keep staying in learning mode because we think our skills are good enough. We want to be a professional, so we keep learning but never practice or show the world what we have to offer. This is a lie.

The best thing about practice is its learning in motion. When you practice something, you are both learning and doing at the same time. You might not be as good as you want to be (…yet). But every time you pick up the guitar, or pen or paintbrush, you are getting in your reps.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #893

If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a tip or supporting the Renaissance.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Initiative

“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

The only thing that separates those who are successful and those aren’t yet is the willingness to act on their ideas. (Well, that and a lot of good luck.)

Initiative is —

  • Listening to your gut.
  • Figuring out how even when you are unsure where to start.
  • Pursuing your dream, instead of being idle
  • Not only having ambition but putting it into practice.

Initiative is putting your ambition into practice.

It’s tasing your hand in class or speaking up when the opportunity strikes. 

Initiative is seeking opportunities versus waiting for an opportunity to magically come to us. If you don’t ask- if you don’t try- if you don’t act- if you don’t speak out- then who will?

Everyone will tell you how you should live your life. But it’s up to each of us to choose who we want to be and what we want to do.

If there’s an idea you feel driven to try — Go for it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #884

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Do first; How second

“Your best chance to grow us to do something you don’t know how to do.”

Michael Bierut

‘How’ is also wears many disguises:

‘How’ trips early and it trips often.

“I’d love to be a photographer, but I don’t know how.”

“I don’t know enough yet. I’ll start when _.”

“I’d love to, but I don’t have a lot of time between the full time job and my other blah blah.”

“I know how, but I don’t have enough money, y z…” (False illusions of how.)

And the many faces of fear, of course.

I’ve battled ‘how’ over the years myself. I’ll apply to that job when I’m better at what I do. I’ll write a novel when I know how to build characters and great dialogue. On and on it goes — I’ve let not knowing ‘how’ dictate my life. I’ve come to the conclusion that knowing ‘how’ is just a distraction (and a justification not to start). The people that know ‘how’ are the ones who’ve already done the work themselves. Knowing how comes from doing.

‘How is a bi-product of action’. Do something enough and you’ll figure out how soon enough.

Sure, if you want to scuba-dive, it might be smart to learn how first before you try. But in exceptions like these you already have your ‘how’ — a guide. An experienced instructor will show you the ropes, and in ya go. Sometimes the how is part of the doing. The scuba-diver instructor isn’t just going to teach you on land and that’s that. No, he / she will expect you to try it after the lesson. You are learning by doing.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Aristotle

Doing is another form of learning. It’s learning on wheels. You’re moving and learning as you go— slow and unsteady but moving nonetheless.

There will be trial and error, but there’s always trail and error — that’s part of the journey.

“The best way to learn a thing was to do it, he had found; sails or scrolls, it made no matter.”

George R.R. Martin

How comes from joy. When you enjoy doing something, how (and how to do it better) will come the more you do it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #625

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

Life Principle #8 Act Boldly Live Boldly

Give me even ONE successful idea that changed the world that wasn’t crazy or “impossible” before it became reality.

Ideas that change the world are BOLD ideas. They capture the hearts and imaginations of generations. They resonate with all age groups and ethnicities. They are a piece of the human experience. 

Before there was print, people copied books one at a time by hand.

Before electricity, light bulbs, heat & air, computers, and space travel were mere fantasies.

Flight was only for the bird until the Wright Bros soared.

Look at all the things around you are right now and I’d make a strong bet that 80% of it would be impossible a century or two ago.

And yet someone was bold enough to try.

Bold enough to try.

Impossible is just an excuse for the rest of us to say until someone does it.

Life Principle #8 Act Boldly Live Boldly

In order to create the life that we desire we must act boldly, and live boldly.

Boldness is a lifestyle.

Being bold is taking smart risks while mitigating the downsides. To live boldly, we must do things that most won’t. Are you complacent with your life? Your job? Your body? Your friends? Act like the person you want to be, and you’ll become the BOLD person you were meant to be.

Boldness is freedom.

You have to be bold when you step into your discomfort zone. People are going to criticize you. They are going to tell you’ll never make it. That your dreams are impossible. Fear will be a constant companion in your pursuit of creativity. But the difference between someone whose bold and whose not is what you do with your fear: Give in to it and never pull yourself out, or see fear as a challenge. A challenge to do something different. Boldness means not hesitating.

We can plan, prepare, talk and research until the cows come home 🐄 🐄 🐄, but at the end of the day, if we are going to create our own Renaissance we need to act.

How to Practice Boldness

Do that thing you’ve been putting off because of fear.   

Ask him or her out. (or go on a dating fast)
Take that trip you been dreaming about.
Apply for a job that doesn’t suck the life out of you.
Start a YouTube channel.

The only thing that separates you and your dreams is a little boldness

People might think you are crazy. But you know what, 

We all need to be a little crazier.

Crazy as in, I’m probably definitely gonna die if I do this? 

No.
 
But crazy as in, I might fail, look like a fool, go against what people say, tear a hole in the fabric of the universe know as the ‘status quo’, or do something against the norm?

Abso-friggin-lutely.
 
Because being BOLD requires you to be different. And for me, at the very least, 

I choose to be different.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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

Related Insights

“Freedom lies in being BOLD.”Robert Frost

“Boldness doesn’t mean rude, obnoxious, loud, or disrespectful. Being bold is being firm, sure, confident, fearless, daring, strong, resilient, and not easily intimidated. It means you’re willing to go where you’ve never been, willing to try what you’ve never tried, and willing to trust what you’ve never trusted. Boldness is quiet, not noisy.” —  Mike Yaconelli

“Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become.” —  Angelina Jolie

“Though we may have desires or bold goals, for whatever reason, most of us don’t think we can achieve something beyond what we’re qualified to achieve. Why, I ask, do we let reality interfere with our dreams?”Simon Sinek