Always in Transition

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Norman Vincent Peale

The last two years have been a whirlwind for me. Some moments where good, others not so much. It’s hard to not let the bad moments crowd out the good ones. But I know that it is possible to have an optimistic perspective on life. I’ve been slowly walking this path towards a realistic optimism this past year. The kind of optimism that allows you to learn from the bad, but not let the bad control you.

Life is always in motion, we just so happen to be living in it and it’s difficult to notice. The earth spins. The sun dances with energy. We age chronologically and biologically. Technology is certainly changing.

And whether we like it or not, we change too.

The people who reach success and joy in life are the ones who see change for what it is and take advantage of it. Change is our ultimate chance to do something that matters and grow. Change gives us the opportunity to be better. And as long as we’re still breathing, we’re still changing.

And because life is messy and sometimes difficult, so good moments will eventually transition into hard moments and then eventually back to good. Which is nice to know, especially when you are going through mud and tears. As long as we can persist and strive towards a better tomorrow today, change will take us somewhere exciting.

The tool that cuts through the emotional rollercoaster of life’s ups and downs is our perspective. In a way, perspective is also a chance for change. If we can learn to look at difficult moments and see possibility, and slow down to see the lessons from our failures and fears, then we will be able to thrive in whatever situation / opportunity that comes our way.

There’s two sides to every coin. For every tails, there’s a heads. Each problem* has an opportunity, we just have to flip our head over to see it. (*Or swap problem for doubt, fear, complaining and negativity.)

It’s not easy, but once you switch your mindset to possibility, it becomes easy.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #686

Related:

Book: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant


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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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Embrace Change

There is nothing permanent except change.

Heraclitus

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. (Likely because Gabriella and have been watching DARK recently. 🙂

It’s interesting to me how quickly we can change, but also how stuck we can feel sometimes in the present. I’m in a completely different place than I was last year, but there’s also a lot that feels the same.

I wonder if this is because the present is slow but the past is fast. The present moves at the speed we live — one second at a time. The past moves as quickly or as slowly as we want. We skim past (pun intended) certain moments, misremember others and pick and choose how to remember. The past influences the present and the present influences the past.

Last year was incredibly stressful, for multiple reasons. But was it worth it? Today, do are any of those reasons even relevant anymore?

Some, perhaps. But mostly no.

In a year from now, are you going to even remember why you are stressing yourself out over x, y or z?

Will it even be relevant a year for now? Or will change wash it away.

Time is our companion — someone who stays with us our entire lives. (And out lives us all.) And just like time, we are all constantly changing and becoming something new each and every day that passes. We can change what we become tomorrow by focusing on getting there today. It’s slow and sometimes its painfully uncertain, but its universal.

We survive and we change. We thrive and we change. We get stuck and we get un-stuck. Storms come, and they pass. The only thing that’s constant is everything is always changing.

That’s why I try to embrace change. If today sucks, tomorrow is my chance to try again. If I don’t like where my life is heading, today’s the day to change it.

We heal our lives by embracing change and slowly becoming someone we love and care for a little bit each day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #627

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Get Busy Living (Playing I­t­ Safe)

Playing it safe doesn’t work.

When has putting one foot in, one foot out worked out in the end?

I get it. I catch myself doing it too. I’ve been burned out, injured, broke, overwhelmed, exhausted, and a number of other bad places in my life. I don’t want to end up in those places again but playing I­t­self only leads to a mediocre life.

The idea that I might die without putting my writing, music, art, and creativity out into the world terrifies me much more than taking risks.

Don’t die with your ideas still only in your head.

This is my worse case scenario. (That and losing my hands in a freak accident… which is an odd fear I have)

The question I have is how do you tell the difference between playing it safe and making smart choices?

Usually playing I­t­ safe situations aren’t black and white. They live in the grey zones where we might not even know we are playing I­t­ safe and holding ourselves back.

Risk mitigation, and knowing when to say yes or no is smart. But it’s easy to trick yourself into not taking action when in actuality you scared out of your pants.

Fear is the difference. 

Gut check your intuition: Does pursuing this goal or creative endeavor align with who you are? Are you terrified of embarrassment, or failing? Then say YES. 

 

Playing I­t­ safe is:

Giving into fear of failure, embarrassment, or disbelief, even just a little bit. 

Staying at a job you hate because of the benefits.

Never starting your idea because you ‘don’t know enough’.

Doing what others tell you to do without thinking whether its right for you.

Not asking that person out on a date.

Not asking for help or advice because you don’t want to look weak. 

There are so many things that can keep our potential down, but the biggest one of all is ourselves. The moment you break free of your own chains that you locked yourself up in is the moment where life becomes too precious to give into fear.

Your life is too important to give into fear

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“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

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

“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

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

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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

 

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

Embrace New Beginnings

I think New Years, and New Year Resolutions, in particular, feel good because we see them fresh starts. New Years is the ultimate clean slate. Last year was.. well sooo last year. This year will be different. It’s brimming with possibility. 

So we set multiple goals and stick with them for a week or so, but when we fall off the treadmill, we give up on the year. Maybe next year. (Well, I missed one day of working out, I guess I’ll go eat some cheesecake)

There are multiple problems with this mindset:

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

During school, I always loved when the new school year came around. (Well, first I dreaded it and wished dragons would rain down fire on the school building, but I came around to the idea once I saw a new semester was inevitably going to happen.) New classes, books, and classmates. New opportunities to learn and connect. But then the class would sink in. Oh, wait we actually have to *study*… what did I sign up for… or God, please save me, why is this class/ teacher so boring.

Changing our life requires putting in the time, attention and work. The sweat, blood, and tears are the cost of admission but are well worth it. The results and our lives will be amplified by the amount of effort we put In!

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

I’ve been updating my 27 goals for my 27th year by rewriting out my goal list for 2018. 

I’ve got 5+ pages of goals I want to accomplish which even just looking at overwhelms me (I can’t imagine what my friends or Gabriella would do if I tried walking through them.) I’m bad about getting past wanting everything all at once. If not properly prioritized, prepared and tamed, your ambitions will kill your drive and ability to take actions.

Remember, your not competing against others, you’re competing against yourself. Instead of trying to lose weight, AND learn photography AND start an online business, start with one. The others will be waiting for you to accomplish them. And by focusing on one goal at a time and chaining each win, you skyrocket your motivation to do the others once you achieve each goal you set out to do. 

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

But every second you are still alive is an opportunity to reset and change your life.

I’m here to tell you that you can push reset at any moment. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can move forward. Even when we hit rock up there’s always a way to find our way back up. It’s cliche to say, but every new day is a fresh start and opportunity to improve. All it takes is one little step in the right direction. 

And when we fall off the treadmill as we will inevitably do, know that falling is a natural part of living. We fall when we learn to walk. We fall when we learn to ride a bike. We fall when life punches us in the face.

But we can always choose to get back up and keep going. Hit reset. Grab a fresh sheet of paper, and start again.

Embrace new beginnings: anytime, anywhere.

Happy New Years everyone!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner 

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Related Insights

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach, best-selling author

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs

Change Starts With You

Change is a decision.

It’s something we decide to do.

Most of the time, we are doing this without thinking,
which can be good or bad depending on our instincts.

Ultimately,

Changing your life starts with you+

Catalysts can open us to to change, but we have to initiate it.
New opportunities, new possibilities..

Outside events will affect our lives, and change can seem scary because it feel’s like we don’t have control over them..
But we’re the ones who get to decide how we react to them.

We can’t control the event,

but we can control our response.

If you feel stuck, dissatisfied, or want to change something — then make the decision to do something about it today.

The first step to change (and therefore growth) is implicitly deciding to do so.

You’ve got this.

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me (josh@renaissancemanlife.com) your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

related

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