Hard-won Lessons

“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

B. F. Skinner

If I had the opportunity to peer into a crystal ball and see my future, I don’t that I would. Because some of my best moments have come from my worst failures. And if I knew how hard I would fall and scrape my knees (metaphorically speaking), I’m not sure I would be strong enough to choose failure.

For me, that was learning how vital health is by dealing with the damage of injuring my neck.

I would never wish misfortune and hard lessons on anyone, but they often are the most rewarding lessons we can experience in life. Well, that is if we humble ourselves enough to bend to their insights. (There are plenty of people out there who fail and fail again but never learn and use their mistakes to their advantage.)

But how to move forward after failure? How to move forward after your life falls apart like a sugar cookie in a zip lock bag being crushed by your grade school bully?

You move forward by starting over and by picking yourself up and trying again. Because that’s what life is—a cycle of “trying agains”. Even success ebbs and flows.

There’s never a moment of “making it.” There’s always the next level. Even Oprah and The Rock are aiming for something. Of course, it’s when you think you’ve made it that you start to un-make it. Casey Neistat has a great vlog on this, My Biggest Failure. The worst thing you can do when you fail (or succeed) is nothing.

Earn your failures by turning them into momentum.

And when you are in the midst of despair, look for the good—shift out the dirt and debris and find the gold in your situation. There are no easy answers in difficult circumstances, only hard-won lessons.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1188

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Practicing Character

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”

J. C. Watts

When you do something nice for others, like donating money to medical causes or treating the checkout clerk like a human being, you’re doing it out of kindness, but you are also doing it for yourself. And I don’t mean selfishly. Rather, our actions are a byproduct of our character. And the same is true said in reverse— our character is spoken through our actions.

Character and action are two way streets. What you do is a reflection of who you are. Not just what you do for a living (although that’s a piece of it) but everything you do (or don’t do).

Which means every decision is an opportunity to practice building our character.

Patience, generosity, sincerity, persistence, optimism, ambition, courage, charm, humility, encouragement— these are all things we can practice in our daily lives.

If we don’t practice them, how else would we except to get good at them? Magic beans?

One simple practice I like to do is whenever I’m leaving the grocery store, I take my cart back to the store’s entrance. It’s so tempting to unload your groceries in your car, and they peel out of the parking lot, leaving your buggy next to where you parked. What the big deal anyway? I don’t have time to bring it back. It’s someones job to gather up all the loose carts anyway. Why should I do their job for them?

Because you are doing it for youself as much as you are doing it for them.

Everything we do not only sends a message about who we are to those around us, but also ourselves.

By leaving your empty cart where you parked and driving away, you are telling yourself that you are lazy. Alternatvely, by taking the cart back to the store’s queue, you are telling yourself you are hard-working and not to mention caring to boot.

The same is true for anything we do. Holding the door for others. Not letting our angry control us when someone cuts us off or someone loses their temper. Cleaning up after ourselves. Following through with a promise or conversation. Staying true to what we value.

It’s like the old saying goes, “How we do anything is how we do everything.” Especially when no one’s around to keep us accountable.

That’s why I adopted a “Do it Now” mentality. Not everything has the same amount of importance and priority, but taking care of things when they need taken care of is a great way to practice character. If there’s a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, I’m going to clean them now, instead of later. Even if that means I have to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher first before I can put the dirty ones in. If there’s a thing around the house that needs to be taken care of, I jump on it. If I’m in the middle of something, I’ll focus all my efforts on that one thing, before I jump to the next.

These are tiny things, but they make all the difference.

Because your actions are telling yourself that “I’m the type of person that get’s things done.” This isn’t a blame game. Just because someone else isn’t doing it doesn’t mean I get to point a finger at them for being lazy. Because if I did I would only be practicing characteristics I don’t want to be.

I’m far from perfect, of course. Some days I can barely manage to do my nightly routine and don’t have the energy to clean up the house or put away my fresh laundry. So then I double down the next day. But if I do manage to put away my clothes when I don’t feel like it, I know I’m working my character mental muscles and showing myself what I’m made of.

Remember, It matters less what you’ve done and more what you do.

If you want to be strong, practice strength. If you want to be resilient, learn everything you can about how to persevere in chaos and get back up when you fail.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #902

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Life Principle #7: Be Your Own Renaissance 

For half of my life, I felt I was living asleep.
I don’t think I was apathetic, at least not completely. I cared about things and loved my life.
But I wasn’t 100% awake. I was sleep living (or awake dreaming). I was letting life happen at me, rather than with me.

The moment I decided to take learning, and pursuing things I love into my own hands, the doors of my mind blew off and I saw what is possible in this life. We are capable of creating our own change.

It was the beginning of my Renaissance journey, and it all started with a decision to become healthy.

I did everything wrong of course. I cooked with the wrong oils. I didn’t eat enough, and probably unintentionally malnourished myself. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing lol. But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is I decided to create myself that day. I took one step towards creating a better life that I dreamed of.

When it comes to decisions, I like to look at life through a binary lens:
Own your life, or let life own you.

Own your life, or let life own you.

Life Principle #7: Be Your Own Renaissance.

When you desire change, no one is going to do it for you. As much as I dreamed of wishing for a fairy godmother to put a briefcase full of money under my bed while I was sleeping, it wasn’t going to come true.

And when we don’t get handed the silver plater we hoped for and we feel disappointed, whose fault it that?

Our own.

Be Your Own Renaissance

If you want to change something about your life, you’ve got to be the one to do it. You are your own renaissance, you make your own change.

Don’t blame the world for your problems, and don’t blame yourself either! Focus forward and change it.

Becoming Your Own Renaissance means taking charge of your fundamental liberties.

It means honing your character to be more positive, capable, resilient, and impactful person.

It means deciding who you spend your time with, and what you spend your time doing.

It means believing that you can be happy and can immediately start creating more happiness in your life.

It means training your mind to develop ideas, solve problems and create financial freedom in your life.

It means being open to experiences, possibilities and new ways of thinking.

It means you can decide your beliefs and values of who you want to be, despite what everyone else tells you.

You have the power to take your life circumstance into your own hands. 

Let me bring out my jazz bongos here for a second and spit some rhymes at you.

Life is perspective. The world feels like it revolves around us because we see through our own eyes, and feel with our own bodies. Happiness, pleasure pain — we can see someone in pain, but until we are in pain ourselves, we won’t truly know how it feels. And the way we see our world determines how we act in it. When you see things as being unchangeable, you live your life through that perspective. You identify with the circumstances. I can’t get fit because I am fat. I can’t start a business, I don’t know enough yet. I can’t learn guitar, I’m too old.

But when you open up your mind to the possibility that you actually get to decide how your life turns out (no matter how old or young you are) all you see is abundance.

I want to be fit, let me figure out how. I want to start a business, okay let me create a website and figure it out. I want to learn guitar, I’ll take lessons. And when things don’t work out, you keep going until you learn how.

I’ll put my jazz bongos away now {:P

Be your own Renaissance, Make your own change.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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