Breaking the Fear Wall

What is your fear telling you not to do?

When you hear the phrase, ‘public speaking’, do you break out into arm sweats? Does the idea of writing a book or build an app (or to fail at writing a book or building an app) curdle your blood?

Are the things you want to do — dreams you desire more than anything — always seem to take the back burner, the last thing you do, or something you procrastinate into oblivion?

Then what your fear is telling you not to do, is exactly what you need to be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, fear sucks. No one ever said it would be easy to start a band or build an audience on YouTube.  But the ones who do and stick with it are the ones who are masters of their own fears. Fear is how we grow into our best selves.

The stronger the fear, the more you need to take action and do it.

Creative fears always feel impossible until you do them.
Creative failures always seem fatal before the fact.
Pushing past these creative barriers will amplify your confidence and creativity.

What fears do you need to tear down to build a better YOU? 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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“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

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

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain

Reading Muscles

Saying ‘I hate reading’ is like saying ‘I hate green foods’. You probably don’t know if you like it because you’ve barely tried it. You might still think broccoli taste awful, but maybe you or your family just sucks at making broccoli and are great at overcooking it. (Sorry mom, I didn’t mean it)

The biggest problem with reading is that people don’t tell you why you should read in the first place.

Reading is A straight path toward success. 

(Whatever success means to you. It could mean swimming in a hot tub full of money, or maybe just having flexible work hours) If you want to succeed, if you want to be more than a beginner, and if you seek change and have a desire to live an extraordinary life — start reading. 

Knowledge, Skills, the ability to learn and connect ideas is a surefire way to become a linchpin.

Reading opens up your mind to infinite ideas and possibilities. (Put that on a motivational poster and smoke it) Reading expands your ability to think and see, it wakes you up to new worlds and new perspectives on life. (And that goes for fiction and nonfiction too)

I can’t even count the number of ideas reading has sparked for me. Half of my writing ideas were prompted by a word or phrase that I️ read in a book. And that’s the crazy things about books: they are a summation of experience, expertise, and ideas. Ideas that can change your life, and the lives of thousands of people out there facing their own challenges.

It’s okay if you don’t quite understand a book. When did not understanding become a sign that your an idiot?! Not understanding simply means you haven’t understood it yet

How to Build Up Your Reading Muscles

The act of reading a book is like going to the gym. Each time you do I­t­ you’re working your reading muscles and getting mentally stronger. Reading The Count of Monty Christo is going to feel like you’re jogging through pudding compared to reading The Hunger Games. And reading Plato is going to feel like someone strap hippos to your feet compared to reading Make Good Art. (Both fantastic, but Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art is much easy to understand than Plato) You don’t start working out by going to the gym and bench pressing 400 lbs on your first go. You start gradually and work you’re way up.

Each time you read new a book, pick something that feels like I­t­ might be a little out of your comfort zone. 

Read EVERYTHING that interests you, and be open to new genres that might not. Ideas can come from anywhere. It’s okay to put a book down if you dislike I­t­, but never put a book down because you /think/ that you would dislike I­t­.

I­t­ bears repeating, reading is your path to success. Whatever you want to learn, whoever you want to be, there’s a book out there for you to help guide your way. Mastery begins with the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Get reading.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” — David Bailey

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” — Will Rogers

“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.” — Mark Haddon

The Confidence of Your Inner Child

“Don’t be mad, 
cause I’m doing me
Better than you doing you.”

Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

What did you love to do when you were a kid? (What did you love to do when you were alone, or with friends?) Was it build huge structures and worlds out of legos? Was it drawing weird creatures and imagining them coming to life?

When I was growing up I did so many things.  I would draw, build legos, fight imaginary battles with a tree branch as a sword (still have the scar to prove it) My sisters and I grew up in a great neighborhood with a flock of kids the same age. We would bike, skateboard, run around, climb things we weren’t supposed to and all manner of shenanigans. (My own version of sandlot)  

The older I get, the more value I see in being childish. I have a strong gut feeling that the closer we get to our inner child, the closer we are to our true self. Our true self is the kind of person we would love to be, someone who doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable things, or from trying new things. Someone who just does things. Someone who is resilient, kind, insightful, opinionated and capable living past fear, and boldly moving on from failure.

Our inner child Is filled with wonder and possibility and has no doubt about who he or she is, no fear of failure, no worry or stress about what to do or who to be. Our inner child just is — he / she loving who we are, the way we are.

I think as kids we feel invincible. 
We don’t shy away from things, because what’s there to shy away from?

But somewhere down the line circumstance tells us to be cautious.
And in some cases, the circumstance is right. We should be cautious. Crossing the street can be dangerous. Sometimes stranger-danger is no joke. And if you jump off enough things, you’re bound to injure yourself.  The problem is being cautious is a slippery slope towards being hesitant.

We are hesitant to make new friends because, ‘what if they don’t like me?’
We are hesitant to try new things because, ‘what if I suck at it?’
We are hesitant to go outside our comfort zones because, ‘what if I embarrass myself?’

And the inner child in all of us says ‘So What?’

Kids don’t think, ‘man I really suck at this’. 

No! They think they’re great at everything! And maybe their josh-awful at it, but at least they are trying. To master anything, you must start as a beginner, just like everyone else, and then you must give it your all.

So what if I embarrass myself? Own it. Go ahead embarrass yourself. What’s it to them? By stepping outside your comfort zone, you’re doing what 80% (just made up that number) of the population won’t do. Be proud of that.

As humans, we are not invincible. (Just vincible) But that doesn’t mean we play our life safe. Be cautiously optimistic. Feel invincible while being smarter too.
You might end up worse, or better off. Play it safe and you’ll only get the same.

Your challenge today is to do something you loved to do as a kid. (Something no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do… scratch that — especially what no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do)

It could be something as simple as an activity you haven’t done in years: 
Throw frisbee with a friend, play pretend and build an epic imaginary adventure across your city, join a pickup basketball game with strangers at the YMCA. Build a pillow fort with your kids. (Building a pillow fort is always a great idea)

Whatever you do, the sillier the better. There are no brownie points for half-assing things. (Sure you could play Mario, but so is everyone else in the world, 50 years old and down)

Challenge: Do something childish.

Call a friend and invite them to do it too.

Take a photo, tell me what you did! tag me @renaissance.life on Instagram or email me Josh@renaissancelife.com. Make it public for all to see. Make them jealous of your new childlike freedom.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children. ” ― Jim Henson

“I think you have to keep a childlike quality to play music or make a record.” — Beck

“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

Beginner’s Friction

Have you ever felt the desire to do something but haven’t worked up the courage yet?

I have.

A hundred excuses pop into your head, telling you why you shouldn’t or can’t.
For example, maybe you have an idea for a book. You think about it often, you might even talk about it, but there it sits — only in your head. I’m not a good enough writer yet. I don’t know enough yet. I don’t have enough life stories. I don’t have a platform. I would if I have more time…

Excuse after excuse runs in your head until it creates a knot in your stomach. And the further time moves away from the idea, the more impossible it seems to try. And tell the wrong person, and they’ll give you a hundred more excuses too.

It’s time to let go of thinking you’re not good enough.

You are good enough to start right now. You know what happens when you write a bad book? Nothing. Maybe you get some bad reviews on Amazon, but nothing can stop you from picking up that keyboard or pen and paper and writing a better one.

I think it’s easy for us to fall into the belief that our first try needs to be perfect. look at anyone starting out in ANY industry their first piece of work is hilarious bad. But that doesn’t invalidate them, in fact, it makes me like them more. It shows me there just like me, and with a little time, attention and elbow grease I can do it too.

The crazy dreamers who keep going through the failure and suck are the ones you rise up to the top eventually.

We’ve only got one life to live on this earth, are you going to spend it wishing you would be and do more or showing yourself that you can.

Show yourself you can.

Stay B O L D, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” —  Lao Tzu

ASK — Life Principle #19

Learning to Ask

At a very young age, we go to school and have the opportunity to ask the teachers any question we might have about their class. When you’re younger, you don’t care — you’ll shoot up your hand and ask anything. ‘Why is the sky not purple?’ ‘What’s inside a ballon?’ ‘What’s a huckleberry?’

But somewhere along the way, most of us stop asking. Whether it’s not wanting to be embarrassed or bullied or not wanting to be labeled as a nerd, we stop asking and begin to fear asking.

If you think about I­t­, most schools are designed for answers, not questions, unfortunately. 

After school, most of us take this fear into our adulthood. We fear standing out, yet desperately want to. We fear asking, but can’t think of anything else. We fear trying, because what if we fail?

But what has anyone gotten from not trying? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing.

Questions are our North Star towards a meaningful life. Questioners rule the world. Become someone who asks great questions, and you’ll become someone who reaches mastery and creates an extraordinary life for themselves. 

Life isn’t a solo adventure and won’t always be butterflies and apple pies. That’s why questions and asking are vitally important. When you learn how to ask for I­t­ — whatever I­t­ is — you take control of your life into your own hands.

Life Principle #19: ASK 

You probably have something that comes to mind that you’ve been wanting to ask someone about, but haven’t quite got the nerve yet.

ASK IT. 

Do I­t­ right now. Don’t let fear win again. 

Let me ask you this, what do you get when you decide not to ask? What do you get when you let fear win?

The exact same thing you’ve got now — nothing. A bag of pennies and a fountain full of dreams. The worst they can do is ignore you or say no.

A ‘no’ is always better than a ‘what if’.

And if they do say no, GREAT! You’re building your asking muscle. But if they say yes, that changes everything doesn’t I­t­? I­t­ puts the power of change into your hands.

Making asking a daily practice in your life.

Practice asking for what you want. Ask for help. Ask questions. Ask for career advice. Ask someone out on a date. Ask for a raise. Ask for knowledge. Ask for a break. Ask for directions. Be curious. Like the old phrase goes, Ask and you’ll receive.

You never know until you ask.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” — Og Mandino

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” — Thomas Berger

“You create your opportunities by asking for them.” — Shakti Gawain

“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Live a Little (For Josh’s Sake) — Life Principle #18

Lately, I’ve been bad about being spontaneous. 

I️ think it’s the fact that I’ve been working so much this past year that any time remaining is incredibly precious to me. It’s ironic that I️ had to give up the majority of my time to work, to understand how precious time really is.

When someone asks me if I️ want to go hiking, grab some sushi, or whatever on the spot, I️ stammer and mumble out a no and lame excuse more often than not. It’s not that I️ don’t want to go hiking, it’s just that I️ already have a mental checklist of things I️ want to do (or have to do). My expectations of what I️ could be doing get in the way of what I️ am doing. It’s kind of a lose lose. I️ could get sushi, but I️ would also like to write. Or the other way around! Okay, I’ll say yes to sushi, but then be thinking about all the great writing I️ could be doing!

I️ don’t want to let others define what I️ do with my time. 

But I️ also don’t want to be a tightwad.

There’s a fine balance between making time for priorities and actually living a little. 

Which bring me to the next Renaissance Life Principle:

Life Principle #18: Live a Little (For Josh’s Sake)

It’s good to be responsible and intentional about our goals and habits, but don’t let I­t­ sideline you from actually living. Focusing on today is how you make tomorrow brighter, but take yourself too seriously and you’ll create the opposite result.

Being responsible shouldn’t also mean ‘Up your own butt’.

Take your shoes off and stay awhile. Learn to live in the hectic moments, and learn to enjoy the silent moments too.

The key to a meaningful life is not cramming your calendar with so much stuff.
Minimalism can apply to not only things we own but things we do. (This is sometime I️ still need to learn and apply.) Trying to add 48 hours worth of work into 24 hours will leave you exhausted and not very excited about what you’re doing, even I­f it’s enjoyable to you.

The quality of your time means everything, but spend too much time focused on yourself and your own goals and aspirations and you’ll end up doing a lot but not really living

How to Live a Little

Create room each day for negative space — time in which you do nothing. No podcasts, no music, just enjoy the silence and reflect on the moment. I­t­ could be 20 minutes, I­t­ could be 1 minute — whatever you have to give.

Practice intentionality. The more intentional we are about how we live, the more we can squeeze out happiness in every moment (even the sucky ones).
Go for a walk weekly or daily, with the mindset of practicing being intentional. From the small blades of grass to the buildings around you — focus on the world around you. Look at the sky, feel the wind, see and smile at the people you come across.

Plan Spontaneity. If you’re sometimes a tightwad (like me), plan to be spontaneous at least once a week. I️ know, planning spontaneity is not very spontaneous… but it’s a step in the right direction. When someone asks if you want to do something, be open to I­t­ if I­t­ sounds enjoyable to you. Get yourself ready for someone to ask you to be spontaneous. Steel yourself up. Make time to live a little.

Prioritize. Ask yourself, “Am I️ trying to fit a week’s worth of work into one day?” If you are, take a step back and reprioritize. We create the life we live with the decisions we make with what we have to go on. Reinvention is just one action away from reality.

Go on that hike, grab that sushi. 
Whatever you need to do, I­t­ can probably wait. But if I­t­ can’t, don’t fret about I­t­. Do what you have to do and grab sushi next time.

Live a little.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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“Youth is something I never wanna take for granted. I just want to smile and live life.” — Tyler, The Creator

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” — Dale Carnegie

Life Principle #14: Become a Super Connector

I’m what you call an ambivert.

I’m a half introvert, half extrovert.
I️ love knowing and connecting with other creatives and people pursuing extraordinary lives, but I️ also just kinda want to stay at home reading most of the time. (…okay, all of the time)

I’m not like a hiding-in-my-sweater-at-a-party kind of introvert, but I­t­ take effort for me to go out of my way to go to social events.

Yay a party! Where are your books?

The problem is, if you want to impact others, if you want to build a network of incredible people pursuing big and BOLD things, if you want to build your knowledge, wealth, and tribe you’ve got to connect with others.

Lucky for us, becoming a super connector is a skill.

Life Principle #14: Become a Super Connector 

I️ would be willing to bet you know someone who is a Super Connector. They are that guy or gal who you run into around town everywhere and who seems to know everyone.

Heck, they probably do know everyone.

What is a Super Connector?

A Super Connector is someone who connects others in a mutually beneficial way. Not only do they make great friends themselves — lovable, charismatic, genuine, interested… — they also life matchmakers. They’re Hitch with or without the romantic elements. (Maybe romance is what you’re looking for, a super connector would be able to help!)

Super connecting is a lot like New York City Subways or London Tubes. You meet someone lost on their way, and you point them to the right connections. You don’t know there exact destination, but you can help them head in the right direction.

Simply put, a super connector knows what you want, and can connect you with someone who can help you. Need some tips on email marketing? he know’s a guy. Looking for a new job? She’s got your back.

A Super Connector loves to help others and loves to connect you to others needs.

A great network is essential for a Renaissance Life.

When setbacks happen (and they will), who are you going to call? When you need advice on work, when you are looking to increase your income, when you’re looking for a great vacation spot — A healthy network can give you that.

The millionaires and billionaires of the world play by a different rulebook. The self-made billionaires got they way from who they know, and what they know.

So how do we start becoming a super connector? How can we make I­t­ a daily habit?

1. Be friendly:
Don’t just be friendly to the people you know who can benefit you! Be a friendly person. Smile, be genuine. Talk to anyone and everyone you meet. A super connector doesn’t hold back on who they do or do not talk to.

 

2. Go Deep:

You’ve got to care. You’ve got to genuine care about the other person’s job, life, worries, dreams, and goals. If you don’t go deep, you’re not really making true connections, you’re just adding up numbers on a followers count. Go deep. Know their names, their hobbies and pursuits.

 

3. Give Give Give:

Give and expect nothing in return. Connecting isn’t about taking. Receiving will come naturally. Just from the sheer fact that you’re being friendly, going deep and giving without expectations will set you up from them remember you and what you did for them.

 

4. Connect:

Go out of your way to help others. Connect them to ideas, knowledge, and people. A Super Connector connectsso start connecting.

Vow to reach out to at least one person a week to connect with them. If you see the opportunity to help them or connect them along their way do I­t­! Who knows where I­t­ will take you!

 

5. Start an Interview Podcast:

This is one of the reasons I️ started the Renaissance Life show. I️ wanted to talk and connect with creatives in all areas of life! People pursuing high performance and mastery in what they do. A podcast is like speed dating without the dating. Even just a dozen or so interviews in and I’ve collaborated on multiple projects with guests. 

 

6. Finally, You’ve Got to Put Your Heart Into It­:

You have to 100% believe in helping others for the pure joy and happiness I­t­ brings. Wealth and collaboration are nice, but building a network of friends who care about who you are and what you do is what its really about. Care about them, and they’ll care about you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn

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James Altucher: 9 Skills to Become a Super Connector

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  ― Herman Melville

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ― Brené Brown