The Cost of Lying to Yourself

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

Richard Feynman

The biggest lies are the ones we believe about ourselves.

Who you are and who you want to be aren’t the same.

You don’t have to fake it to be who you want to be. You need to start acting how you want to be, and slowly stretch your life towards that reality.

For example, think of how we can easily wash over or even boast about our lives and how we feel to others, yet the opposite is true.

“Oh hey! How are you?”

(Everything sucks) “I’m great, you doing well?”

“Yeah! things are good.” (I hate my job. My back is killing me.)

I don’t necessarily see this as lying to others. Technically yes, but these kinds of opposing inner thoughts and outer dialogue are more like a protective mechanism. Whether or not you think this is an example of lying to others, it is an example of how we lie to ourselves.

The cost of lying to ourselves is staying stuck—right where we don’t want to be.

We hold in pain and anger so we don’t have to explain how we got here and protect ourselves from looking stupid. But by brushing off how we feel to others—especially people who are close—we do a disservice to ourselves. We’re avoiding our problems by pretending like things are normal.

Think about, how many people have you actually confided in with your problems and goals? Does anyone actually know what you are going through?

Maybe that’s why no one seems to not care to help you. Because they don’t know.

How does that help you be the person you want to be?

We can begin removing these barriers that are holding us back in three stages:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Assessment
  3. Action

Acceptance

Acceptance isn’t about giving up to your situations, it’s taking a bow and respecting the good, the bad, and the fugly of your life.

Accept things as they are. Accept who you are. Accept the moment, so that you can move beyond it.

Assessment

Assessment is about turning over every rock, shining a light into every dusty cobweb filled corner, and looking head-on at the things you’ve been avoiding.

Things like looking at where your money is going and how much debt you owe. And journaling about what values and principles you’ve been living by. And assessing where you’re time is going. Comb through every aspect of your current life and see how it relates to the life you want to have.

It isn’t fun, but it can often be a relief, because at least now you know and have something specific to work towards, versus a mystery blob of problems and fears.

Action

After accepting where you are and looking at the state of things, the last step is to take immediate action.

Make a list, prioritize that list, then focus on knocking out one thing at a time.

The key is building up momentum. The more momentum we have, the easier it is to keep stepping forward.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1075

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Get Active in Your Own Rescue

I love this quote from Marcus Aurelius:

“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue—if you care for yourself at all—and do it while you can.”

I read it recently in The Daily Stoic. I love it because it sums of own of my life principles so eloquently. Get active in your own rescue.

There have been quite a few quotes I’ve encountered on my journey that rings with a similar tone:

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”Bruce Lee

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

“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

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”Michael Jordan

My version pales in comparison, but it’s —

You are Your Own Renaissance.

Meaning, change starts with you. No one wants it more than you. Perhaps you’re dealing with problems, perhaps you dislike habits and things about yourself, perhaps you wish your life was different—well no one is going to make that happen for you.

Waiting for someone to change our lives for us won’t get us anywhere.

As much as I wish someone would do it for me, it’s not going to happen. I’m the one who has to get active and take steps to make the change happen. If with (generous) help, I still must be willing to change and stick to that aim.

It’s not about refusing help, or going it alone—it’s about owning up to your life and the kind of person you want to be.

If you care for yourself at all—then to hell with problems, fears, and circumstances—go out and create yourself and make it happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #950

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You Are What You Want to Be

“What I have is a malevolent curiosity. That’s what drives my need to write and what probably leads me to look at things a little askew. I do tend to take a different perspective from most people.”

David Bowie

What makes you you?

Is it your likes and dislikes? Is it your culture or your heritage? Is it where you go to school or what you do for a living? What about your taste in podcasts or your ironic mug collection? Is it your fashion style (or lack thereof)? 

There’s a lot that goes into making a person. Sure, you’ve got your blood, muscles, and bones, but there’s a lot that we naturally absorb as we live our lives. We absorb what’s around us and either accept, ignore, or reject everything in millions of ways. 

Music plays a large part in our foundational makeup. We identify who we are by the music we are interested in. Lack of music defines us too. Every so often I’ll run into someone who doesn’t like music, or at the very least doesn’t listen to it. To me, this is baffling (This emoji sums my reaction up nicely: 😧) — how can someone not like music?! But it’s true, and that’s a piece of what makes them who they are. 

I wouldn’t say that I grew up in a musical household per-sé. My first concert was likely a Christian pop or rock band like the Newsboys or Audio Adrenaline… I definitely got my taste in the 60s, 70s music from my parents. Creedence, Thin Lizzy, The Bee Gees, and AC/DC — from my dad. Prince, Tears for Fears, The Beatles, Michael… — from my mom.

Friends and other people I looked up are a huge influence on my taste in music. One key influence was from my friend Jake Lemons. (Hey Jake 👋) Being a killer guitarist, he’s the one who lit the spark for my interest in learning to play music (him and my grandfather). He’s also the one that helped me find Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Ozzy — the kind of people who take music to a whole new level. (Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar On Me — Jimi Hendrix: “…Hold my beer”)

It’s funny how a single person, a small moment, or a passing conversation can have a massive impact on your trajectory in life.

A spark is the best analogy I can think of at the moment. Influences are like little threads that lead us down a path towards who we are. One second we are seeing in low-resolution standard definition, and the next second we are seeing in 1080p. We’re not quite at 8k HDR yet, but if we keep searching we’ll get there before we know it. 

And at the heart of it all— music tastes, personality, dreams, etc— is discovery. I discovered who I was by taking an interest in things. 

Or put another way —

You are what you want to be.

Curiosity makes us who we are. *Deciding* to do, like, or be a certain person makes us who we are. Allowing ourselves to be influenced by the people around us makes us who we are. Most of the time this isn’t a conscious decision we make. Rather, something we just do and notice (or not) afterward. Oh, wow. It looks like I just ate the weight of a triceratops in ice cream — again.

Invisible scripts run a lot of our lives. But not if we decide to do something about it. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, or how your life looks, you can change it. Depending on what it is, it might not be easy — but it’s possible. You have the power to own your life. And it starts with seeking it out.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #935

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Define Yourself

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every day I have to carve out time for myself to write, practice music and read. I ‘have to’ because if I didn’t, it would never happen. I have to make time to be the person I want to be. Otherwise, other people’s desires and schedules would own my day.

Whether you are practicing building your character, looking for ways to improve your motivation, or reaching for mastery, you make your own life with your choices. 

Circumstances and setbacks may bring us down, places were we don’t want to be. But we are ultimately the ones who define who we are. 

How we spend our time and energy speaks highly to what we value.

The poet E. E. Cummings once wrote: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

Nobody said pursuing a meaningful life of creativity and skill would be easy, but that’s what makes it worthwhile when you decide to. 

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #903

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