How to Dance in the Rain

“Some people come into your life as blessings. Other people come into your life as lessons.”

Mother Teresa

There’s an ancient Italian maxim that roughly translates to ‘he who is resistant to change is destined to perish’*. When things are good — work is — we hold on to that good thing like we’ve glued our hands to it. We keep doing the same thing over and over expecting things to always work the way it did the first time. And when things are bad, all we want is for things to change, but we cling to what we know like a life-preserver for dear life because everything is so unassured and unknown.

Which hits on the problem (if you want to call it a problem) with change:

We all want change that works for us, and we don’t want change that doesn’t work for us. We want to bend change to our will, and not the other way around.

However, Life likes spontaneity and flow. Change happens whether we want it to or not. Sometimes things happen we don’t want to happen to us. We lose money, we lose our job, we break our leg, we end up in circumstances we don’t want to be in.

Water that becomes still and doesn’t connect to other streams, rivers and movement quickly becomes stagnant — a breading ground for pesky mosquitoes and parasites. We too can become stagnant if we aren’t intentional. Our skills, bodies, friends, and wither away into man-boobs. Without change in our we can quickly become stale, complacent and stuck where we are. And too much spontaneity we can become unstable and reckless.

We automatically assume that things we don’t want to happen (or didn’t expect to happen to us is a bad thing, but what if misfortunes are a good thing? Maybe not now. Maybe not tomorrow, but someday. What if it makes you a better you? What if it changes your life for the better?

I’m not justifying or saying I want bad things to happen to us, but when they do, we’ve ultimately got a choice: thrash against them, make things worse and mentally negative, or let it go and turn it into an opportunity.

For every problem you are focusing on, there’s an opportunity you could focus on instead.

*inside joke 😉

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #669

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Break The Pattern

Patterns, Routines, Habits… Call it what you want, there are systems in our lives that we live out as we go about our day. Some patterns are good and lead us to where we want to go — happier, healthier, more financially free, more creative etc. Some patterns are bad and keep us stuck reliving our past or keep our car barreling towards a cliff.

These systems are ingrained in our mental makeup. It’s hard for people to quit smoking because they like it. They know its probably killing them (or at least ruining their teeth) but they do it anyway because it feels good, and that feeling outweighs the long-term side effects. It’s much easier to ignore problems when there’s an eventual-maybe-not-right-now major downside sometime in the near future. (My pithiness is on point tonight! :P) 

And smoking is just one, easy go-to example. There are a lot of other patterns that we may be doing that are holding us back and we don’t even know it yet.

The question is, how can we break the bad patterns?

Start with developing your self-awareness.
It’s hard to change things when you don’t know if you’re doing something detrimental to yourself and your goals. And if you don’t know what is bad vs. good for you, start with asking yourself who you want to be.

Who do you want to be in 6 months? What positive traits, habits, and lifestyles do you want to create?

For me, I want to increase my confidence, energy (or liveliness!), boldness, risk aversion, and ability to enjoy challenges (despite fear, failure or embarrassments that may occur). I want to work less and smarter while making more money to spend on learning and creating. I want to master finances and know where every penny goes. I want to prep food, while still eating as healthy as possible, and earn my way to zero debt.

Change Your Mental State

Positive mindsets and perspectives lead to positive outcomes. I’ve yet to meet anyone who was incredibly self-defeating and incredibly lucky at the same time. I don’t know if Luck with a capital L is a real thing, but I do know that the more you push positive thoughts towards yourself, the more capable you will become. And the more capable you are, the luckier you’ll be.

Affirmations is a fantastically silly way to start. Silly, because it sounds very woo-woo, born on a full moon kind of outlook. Fantastic because it works. A great primer on the positive benefits of affirmations is the book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Naval Ravikant. Think of a phrase you want to be more of and repeat it over and over in your head. Write it down in the morning and the evening. Embody the phrase. Feel it in your moon bones. 
“I am confident. I am confident…”
“I will enjoy challenges. I will enjoy challenges…”

Change Your Physical State

Are you hangry? When’s the last time you ate something good for you?
Are you thirsty? How much water have you had today?
Are you tired/anxious/achy? Move your body!

Change your physical state can dramatically increase your mood and mental state. Our physical state directly affects how you think. If your life and work are stressing you out, your not going to be in the best state to do positive habits, or work on your dreams. Sometimes, a few rounds of pushups and a nice walk outside is all we need to increase our happiness. Do some burpees, dance like no one is watching, splash some cold water in the face — do what you need to do to break the bad patterns.

Our path in life is determined by the patterns we choose (or let happen to us). Anxious daily habits create an anxious life. We don’t get fat by eating one fry 🍟, we get fat by eating one fry mindlessly every day. Once you realize that you are on your way to a better you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

Book: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Norman Vincent Peale

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Force of Nature

Change is a lot like a storm.

Sometimes, I­t­ can catch you off guard if you aren’t looking, we’re rain sweeps in and lightning strikes.  A little preparation and you could have probably seen I­t­ coming, but alas, preparing for a storm that’s already above you doesn’t do much good. You could equate this to the ‘sh*t happens’ category. The death of a loved one, broken bones, or sudden opportunity.

Other times, storms roll in from the distance. You can feel the drop in temperature, and see something is about to occur. These, in my opinion, are the most powerful storms. (At least, in this analogy to change in life anyway) Where you are faced with a decision, in fact, have made a decision in your heart, and are just waiting for your mind and body to catch up.

Storms like these are how you create massive growth in your life.

A storm is a storm. I­t­ could be seen as a force for evil or good, but that depends on the personification we give I­t­. Pain and setback can either lead to suffering or opportunity — it’s our choice. Possibilities and decisions can do the same, complacency or opportunity. Again our choice. 

The worst storms can wash clean our expectations and assumptions of what ouïr life should be. The storms we make ourselves can bring fresh water to the earth and ripple across our lives and the lives of others.

How many lives have been positively changed because of a small decision to create good in the world.

You can be a force of change too, if you choose to be.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Decide Who You Want to Be — Life Principle #24

Labels give us power.

We label ourselves with our work, our hobbies, our brands.

But what do you do when other people label things for you? What do you do when you find yourself in a place where your life is labeled by other peoples hopes and dreams?

You decide to change.

Life Principle #24: Decide and Commit to Who You Want to Be

Decisions are the foundations of making change happen. 

What areas in your life are you seeking change?

When you want to create a change, something new and exciting, you first have to make a decision. Decide on the change, commit to I­t­ 100%, will I­t­ into existence.

Life can either happen to you, or you can choose what you want your life to be. Again, a decision.

Choose Creativity.
Choose Freedom.
Choose Differences.

Decide who you want to be, then go make I­t­ happen.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Hello, World!

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Related Insights

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.”Emma Watson

“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

See Change as Good — Life Principle #20

You don’t realize how quickly time moves until its already passed. 

When I was in high school (and middle school) I had a really tight-knit group of friends. We were into making music, movies, jokes, making funny short videos, and being your typical, well-rounded goofballs.

I’ll never forget a video that one of the guys (Jonathan) stitched together from us jamming out and having a helluva good time. He set it to the song, I’ve Got Friends by the Manchester Orchestra. It’s like he intuitively knew our time in high school as a group was about to close, and we would be moving on to college and would never see each other as much as we did, every day, waking up at 6 am and hanging out at and around school.

I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the feeling it gave me, (and gives me every time I play that song)

I miss those moments we had and think about fondly on them.

Life Principle #20: See Change As Good

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing your stuck in place.

Happiness and meaning are fluid — they happen on the journey, not the destination (put that on a poster and smoke it).

Change is good. Its the conduit that takes us from sad times to happy times (and sometimes vice versa). Change can lead to unknown adventures and wild places. It’s hard we were stepping away from something or people we love to follow a calling or jump into a new way of living, but you always have those collective memories. I always have those times with my friends goofing off in my room at my parent’s house (I’m tearing up thinking about it). No one can take that from you. (Another reason why health is vitally important too. A healthy mind is a more capable collector of memories)

I think we fear change for the same reason that we can love change: Because it breaks our status quo and leads to unknown, potentially exciting places.

The best part about change is we can make it. We have the power to change our minds, opinions, the direction in your life and more at ANY MOMENT. Usually, it takes a failure or painful experience to see that, but the power to change is always within our reach. Even small actions can lead to big change eventually.

Often times, you’ll face situations or setbacks you don’t want to be in. This is where change is not only good but can become your best friend. When you’re feeling stuck or have hit rock bottom, burnt yourself, or pulling your hair out because you’re at your wit’s end, it’s time to make some change. 

Change starts with you. Be the change you want to see in your life and in the world. Break the status quo.
And when change happens, be good with the new possibilities.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

“There is nothing permanent except change.” — Heraclitus

 

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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Related Insights

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

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” — Oprah Winfrey

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” — Bertrand Russell

Principle #2: Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change

Everything you want to be in life starts with what you do today, this day.

Today is a powerful change maker in our life story. What you do each today can make or break you, because a little time NOW compounds later. (Just like investing $)

Think about it: 

If you eat a tub of Ice Cream Today, you’re not going to get fat. Eating bad one day won’t kill you.
BUT (< big but there :), eating bad today, and the next day and the next WILL add up over time and take its toll on your health (and neck rolls).

The same thing works in the positive direction — losing weight, gaining muscle (got swol?)

Authors don’t write a book in a day.
Entrepreneurs don’t create a successful runaway business overnight.
Musicians don’t become famous after one show.

But doing something — anything — every day? That’s going to add up to something extraordinary.

Why do we live (on average) to the ripe old age of 90 or beyond?

Life doesn’t happen at once either. (I came, I saw, I stood in lines, I died)

Life is iterative, which is why each iteration — each day — is vitally important.

By focusing on what you do, the next action/moment, and aligning that action to your priorities, you turn yourself into a powerful force of massive change.

The results you seek in life might not show up tomorrow, but by doing the work today, you’ve planted the seeds of its reality.

Renaissance Life Principle #2:

Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change.

When we focus too much on the future or dwell too much on our past, we lose the ability to create change. 

Living for today is about being aware of what is important to you, prioritizing those over filler or shiny objects, and pursuing them consistently.

Most people see time as a disadvantage or enemy:

“How did time fly so quickly?”
“I never have enough time…”
“There’s not enough time in the day…”

(I’m guilty of these and more.)

When you decide to pursue a Renaissance Life, time can become your ally. By working on your goals each day, even just a little bit (even so small it feels like you didn’t make any progress) and developing the patience to Keep Pursuing, your goals are basically inevitable. 

Look, I know what some of you might be thinking, we can’t all walk on the moon, or be knighted by the Queen, (Sir Waggoner at your service), but we can create massive impact in our lives and in the lives of others by focusing on the little baby steps. Small actions create waves.

But what if today sucked? What if I miss a day (or week)? What if I failed miserably? What do I do then?

Look Forward. 

Failure, missteps, setbacks — they are part of the learning process. Look forward to the person you strive to be, take action immediately on your dreams, and you WILL be that person right now. Focus on the now, each second we are still breathing is a chance for us to make a change. Your fresh start comes the moment you decide to take create the change you wish to see. Take Small actions today!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner
 

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Looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles

Gabriella and I did something fun tonight.

… No not that, get your mind out of the gutter.

We went rollerskating!

The Skate Place was my jam back in the middle school days.

Tricks. Pizza basically made out of cardboard. Trucking and Jamming.
Aka living the dream.

I bought a pair of skates for Gabriella for Christmas 🎄 so we went to go try them out.

The place hadn’t changed an ounce. The only thing that has changed was me. I had grown wiser yet also more anxious about my world. (Also taller, I’ve gained a few inches since middle school. I was definitely the tallest person there and I’m only 6 ft)

Before we went, we grabbed some dinner and hopped into Barnes and Nobles for a bit.

We always have fun in booklandia. (Well… aren’t you the life of the party Josh)

I wanted to find a book that will change my life, help me simplify and handle overwhelm better.

I asked Gabriella to help me find some and as we were looking she wisely said,

“If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place”.

She’s right of course.

If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place.

Books are windows into mastery and wisdom.

Books can give you the insights and answers you seek. But there comes a time where books aren’t going to work for you. To change your life you must do the work. You must make the hard decisions and take action towards the life you dream of. Same goes for talking, daydreaming, complaining, wishing — eventually you must decide whether you are just going to talk the talk for the rest of your life or also walk the walk.

The difference between those who have and those who don’t is consistent, persistent actions towards the life they want. Dreams don’t fall from a book, or plow into you as you go around the skating rink; Dreams happen through Bold actions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.” — Carol Burnett

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou