Regret-free Decisions

Plenty of folks would look at my plate (interests/projects/dreams) and say that I say yes to too many things.

I’ve always been someone who has been interested in many subjects. Art, music, sports, exercise, technology, learning, etc. I also occasionally feel slightly envious of the people who can stick in one lane for most of their lives (for example, just graphic design). But I enjoy too many things to be that kind of person.

But you can’t do everything (at least not all at once 😜). So there’s always a matter of which pursuits to spend your time on.

I try to say yes to as much as I can tolerate without sacrificing health or quality. And if I walk outside of that tolerance range I rebalance.

Right now I’m less concerned about quantity and more about quality. Meaning, how can I say yes more to the right things (and no to the wrong things) instead of saying yes to things that don’t matter?

Ultimately what we decide is worth our time comes down to each of us. A question I ask myself is what I’ve found helpful is “would I regret not doing this in a year (or five years) from now?” Or said the opposite way, “would I regret saying yes to this after a year has passed?”

Pay attention to where you’re answers are coming from. Make sure they are coming from the heart and not from your wallet or from someone else’s mouth. Not that there is anything wrong with making money or following the path of another great leader—quite the contrary. And yet still. When it comes to making important decisions, make sure you know why or why not you’re saying yes.

Think of a decision like it’s not yours but a close friend making them. What would you advise them? Would you give them the same advice that you are giving yourself?

Consider all sides. And at the end of the day, if it turned out to be a bad call, then learn from it. Mistakes are scars earned. They can be something we try to hide and ignore, or something we learn from and wear like a badge that tells a story for others.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1050

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Yes Yes Yes No No No

When is an idea or decision worth saying yes to? I can think of 6 ways a decision can go:

1. Yes—I would love to do this.

For the majority of the time, these are the easiest decisions to say yes to. These are the decision’s we should say yes too, but there are quite a few situations that often make saying yes to what we love extremely difficult.

The first reason is bad timing, luck or lack of self-awareness — which I’ll discuss as #4.
The second reason being fear—which I’ll discuss as #5.

2. Yes — but you want to say no.

There are our most innocent and humbling decisions. Whether out of love, force, pity or magic, we agree, but would rather say no. As innocent as they appear, these types of decisions can quickly take over our entire lives. This the number one regret of the dying, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” It’s great to help others, but if you are only living your life by the expectations of what others want for you, you aren’t making decisions for yourself or living at all.

Sometimes we say yes, but don’t know we should have said no. This is tricky because now we’ve said yes and are beholden to that choice. If there’s an opportunity to get out of it, do it. There’s no sense wasting our time on something we clearly don’t want to do. But if you’ve backed a yes with your word and reputation, see it through. We never want to waste our time, but we also want to make sure our actions also align with our words.

There’s a version of this type of yes that I’ve personally experienced. (Well, I’ve experience all 6 of these types of decisions, but this one was a real doozie.) Sometimes when you say yes, but you don’t want to (or you eventually figure out you don’t) AND then you keep doing it anyway—out of fear or obligation etc.—then you are on a short unfortunate path to burnout. There are many flavors of burnout, but one of the surest ways to burn yourself out is to continuously do something you don’t want to do.

Eventually you hit a wall and you’re body forces you to stop. That’s what happened to me anyway. My body’s response was—“Oh, I see. You’re going to keep working at this even though you know we don’t want to? The Nerve of this guy. He think’s he’s the boss. We’ll show him whose the real boss around hear.” Don’t let yourself be steamrolled by a decision you don’t even like doing.

3. Yes — but your future self won’t.

These’s are also painful decisions, usually based around an event, agreement or project in the future. It sounds so lovely (and distant), but when the moment arrives you completely dread it to your core. Ugh! Why did I agree to this?!

The key is asking yourself what your future self would want to do. “If this thing (that I’m about to agree to) was tomorrow, would I still want to do it?

It’s great to plan for the future, but keep decision locked in the immediate.

4. No — but you want to say yes.

In essence, you wish you could say yes, but the timing isn’t right or you’ve already committed and said yes to another earlier opportunity. Decisions like these aren’t worth your time dwelling over. Stick with what’s in front of you, and keep learning about yourself and your dreams. The better we know ourselves, the more accurate we can be in our decision making.

5. No — not right now.

This is a slight variation of the last decision (#4) and again comes down to timing. There’s only so many things we can say yes too. There’s only so much time to go around. If the timing isn’t right, it’s better to say No—not right now. And try to revisit it later.

For me, there’s a million-billion things I want to learn and experiment on, but if I tried doing them all at the same time, I’d make no progress on anything (and likely go insane). This idea is often called your “not right now list”. A list of things you want to do or see, but right now you are prioritizing other things instead.

6. No — I’d rather get dirt.

Knowing when to say no might be the hardest decision of them all. But saying no is also the most exhilarating and uplifting decisions we can make. It’s easy to say yes. It’s easy to say yes to things we want to do AND don’t want to do. But it takes training and discipline to say no.

No free’s up our time.

No gives us room to think, dream and play.

No opens up more opportunities.

In a backwards, up is down, left is right sort of way, by pursuing less, we end up gaining more.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #875

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Related:

No “yes.” Either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.” | Derek Sivers

8 Ways to Say No Without Hurting Your Image | Adam Grant

Giving up Success

Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.

Dwayne Johnson

Success and giving up start on very similar paths.

Step 1: Awareness.

You discover where you are on your path. When you know where you are, sometimes you find yourself on track, other times you realize you are further than you think. You can, unfortunately, discover you’ve been going the wrong direction.

Step 2: Acceptance.

This is where the paths seem to be going in the same direction, but are actually starting to diverge. This is where a deciding factor determines your course. Now that you are aware of and accept where you are, what are you going to do about it?

Lastly, step 3: Deciding

The road towards giving up is accepting where you are and decide to do nothing. In the act of doing nothing, acceptance becomes defeat. We cope. We blame. We write off our dreams. We avoid. We do everything but the thing we need to do: something.

The road to success is accepting where you are and decide to do something about it. Sometimes that means going back to the drawing board or folding the cards this round. Sometimes that means you pushing on, living each day better than the last. But the key here is you keep going. Despite the pain, frustration, anxiety, fear and doubt. You keep going, because doing anything else would mean defeat.

When all seems lost, there’s always a road back to success. Even in defeat, there’s a chance to do something about it. 

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #628

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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

Life Principle #11: Define Your Values (Throw A Party)

Do you ever look at a homeless person and wonder what happened to end up where they are?

One time, when I️ was selling my boldsheep clothing at a Sunday market, my Gabriella and I️ somehow came to the conclusion I­t­ would be funny if she sat on the floor in front of my pop-up shop holding a cardboard box with the words ‘will sell shirts for $’ written in big bold lettering.

What happened blew me away!

No one would look at her.

Not even a glance. They couldn’t even take the time to read the sign to see I­t­ was a joke. Someone even called the market cops in! 

We quickly explained the story.

I️ wonder if the reason we ignore homeless people is that deep down, we know that in a bad turn of choices and circumstances that could be us. (Either that or its because they always ask for drinking… er… I️ mean food money)

In the last couple years, I️ experienced a very stress-filled financial meltdown.  Things weren’t working at work and essential I️ wasn’t making enough to live, WHILE I️ was going through some health setbacks. All that to say, my brush against finance chaos made me realize how important your values are, your support group (the people you are closest too), your mindset (what you think, and how you talk to yourself) and your willingness to let go and ask for help is. Without those four things, there’s not much that separates you from a nice home and good food, to no home and going to bed hungry.

This is an extreme example, yet true.
However, finding yourself on the street might not even be the worst way to live. You could argue that going your entire life without knowing hardly anything about who you are and what you love is worse. I️ think I️ can speak for all of us when I️ say, being on your deathbed with regret, looking back at an aimless life in which you flutter from one thing to the next, with no rhyme or reason might be worse than death itself.

This is why defining your values is vitally important.

Life Principle #11 Define Your Values

Defining your values is identifying what you stand for and then standing for them.

What do you want in life?
What matters more than anything to you?
What
makes you feel ALIVE?

Now take a good look at the life you are living today. The closer aligned your values of who you want to be and the way you live each day are direct cause and effect. Or in other words,

Show me your values and I’ll show you how far you will get in life.

The problem is, no one each us this shtuff. And if they try it’s so boring we never actually sit down and ask ourselves the most important question: Who do I️ want to be?

But not here, I️ like to keep us on our toes here at the Renaissance Life.
So you know what that means…

It’s time to party. 🥂

Next time you have a chunk of time off, say when you get off work, or this weekend throw a party. Block off some time, put i­t­ on your calendar and make I­t­ mandatory. Who should you invite? You, yourself and you of course! (Buzzkill?) Seriously. It’s time to have a knockdown, drag-out, uncomfortable talk with yourself about who you are, and who you want to be.

Sit down with a pen and some paper. Have a list of questions you want to ask yourself. (Including the three above). Turn off your phone, Block all notifications and social media. Clean your house beforehand so you’re not distracted by your environment. Do whatever you gotta do to be alone for your party.

It’s going to be challenging, I­t­ might even be awkward, but it’s going to be worth i­t­ because defining your values is the most important thing you can do.

How many of us go through the motions in life, aimless, and hoping something good would happen. I️ say, let’s make I­t­ happen!

Imagine as if you were having dinner with your current self, your childhood self, and your future selves. Every action and choice you make today can determine your future self, so there might be a few of future you’s at this party.

Start with where you are:

What lights you up?
If you could learning anything instantly what would I­t­ be?
Where do you dream about living?
What do you really think of your current job/school life?
What kind of people do you love to be around?
What did you love to do as a kid?
How do you think about yourself? 
Do you defeat yourself with your mind before you even begin?
How much time do you let yourself have fun on any given week?
What are your current inputs? (TV, books, people, food etc)

And then ask yourself questions about who you would like to be:

What does my ideal job? What sounds like the greatest job to you?
What would make me happier? 
What life would make my childhood self proud?
What is missing?
Am I️ letting fear win over courage?
What do I️ want to master?
Who do I️ want to know and be friends with?
What kind of life would make my future self happy on his/her death bed?
What are my strengths and how can I️ make them daily habits?
What are my weaknesses and how can I️ turn them into opportunities?
What would I­t­ look like if I­t­ was easy (This ones’ from Tim Ferriss)

The person you want to be is closer than you think. All I­t­ takes is a decision, this day, about who you want to be. I️ believe we are capable of change, and that change begins the moment we decide that we want I­t­.

Your values will change as you grow, they will ebb and flow depending on where you are in life. But your core foundations will always stay the same.
For me, life principles are my defining values. Be a Lifelong Learner, Act Boldly, Live Boldly, Be Your Own Renaissance. These are the values I️ have and the life principles I️ aim for. I️ don’t always hit the bullseye, but I’m always aiming my arrow in that direction.

Knowing who you want to be makes failure and bombing easier. Failures change from cataclysmic my-life-is-over moments into stepping stones to opportunities.

Today is the day to choose to be different.
See the change, take the leap.
Whoever you think you are, you are correct.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” — Ellen DeGeneres

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” — Michelle Obama

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.”
 
― Mahatma Gandhi

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” —  Jon Stewart

“Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.” 
― John Ratzenberger

How to Be Who You Want to Be

When you see the world as a stage, you can Play the role of who you want to be.

Who you are is defined by each action you take.

Detach yourself from traits that you dislike.
Act on the traits you desire.

Think not ‘I am frustrated’ or ‘I am tired’ but rather ‘I am playing the character frustration’, ‘I am playing the role of tired’.

Frustration, fatigue, overwhelm… my emotions are identities attached to me, not aspects of who I am.
Little angel’s and devil’s on my shoulders.

You can even detach yourself from your fear.
Your fear is not you, your fear is a part of you.
It’s a hat we all wear, and it’s up to us whether to take it off or not.

Who we are is what we do with the circumstances we’ve been given+

I am not my past or my current circumstances.
I am what I do and represent from this moment forward.

I Am ME.

#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?

Renaissance Life, How to Be Brilliant

related wisdom

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.

— Gretchen Rubin

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

— Marcus Aurelius

Smarty Pants – 4 – yes, no, or not right now

Being Brilliant is knowing when to say yes, no, or not right now+

I can’t tell you what you should say yes, no, or not right now to.
I can’t tell you because the answer is tailored to you.
Your answer depends on who you are, and who you want to be.
Your answer is up to you to decide, not me.

Others can give you advice (and is a smart thing to ask for), but you have to make the call.

I can’t tell you to take the job, or date the hottie, or make the purchase. I can give you advice, but it’s up to you to whether to take it or not.

This is about making decisions – BIG or small – branches in your path of life.

Unless you can see into the future, you’re not going to know if it’s the right decision until way later. Hindsight’s 20/20.

However, I can tell you what not to do. 
Don’t make indecision your answer. Don’t say maybe, or whatever, or I don’t care.

Remove Maybe and Whatever from your vocabulary.

If a yes and a no had a baby, it would be a maybe. 
A maybe is letting someone else make the decision for you. They’re pushing who they are – good or bad – onto who you are.

Indecision is the answer you don’t want

because it takes you away from the path you want (even if you are unsure of where that may be)

I made a bad decision of picking where I went to college. I didn’t know what I wanted so I let someone else choose for me.
Good or bad (honestly both), I am where I am because of that.

Even if you’re not sure what you should do, a yes or a no will get you somewhere else, whether that’s somewhere important is determined by if you listen to your true self or not.

For every decision, you must make, remember to pause and respond with yes, no, or not right now.

#KeepPursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

related wisdom

“Maybe! Maybe! Maybe if your aunt had a beard, she’d be your uncle.” — Alvah Bessie

 

“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.” — Grantland Rice

 

“Saying ‘yes’ to one thing means saying ‘no’ to another. That’s why decisions can be hard sometimes.” — Sean Covey

 

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the furthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness: a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say ‘no.’ But saying ‘yes’ begins things. Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow.  — Stephen Colbert

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

Grit

Grit is what makes us stronger.

It’s what leads us to a thriving life.

 — doing the legwork.

— Taking the necessary steps to get there. (you know… there)

— To be who we want to be.

Hustle, Heart, Effort, Grind, Action..

You can’t climb a mountain by just dreaming about it —

or half *ssed, or only doing it once.

Achievement takes more than one-and-done. It’s takes grit.

But there’s also one more component: Rest

Without grit there are no gains. Without rest there is no rejuvenation.

Habit both and you’ll truly thrive.

Related:

“Hustle it’s the most important word. Ever.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

 

“If you have no time to rest, it’s exactly the right time.” — Mark Twain

 

#KeepPursing,

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?

Write Your Own Story — The Renaissance Life Model

What’s the model I follow to pursue a Renaissance Life?

Decide who I want to be,

— who I am, what’s important to me, the traits / virtues I want, what I want to do.. all leading towards the best I can be) 

— who I want to be is a decision I make.

Take daily action steps towards being the best me,

— do what I can, stay consistent, and think long term over short term 

— Remember that you make your own change (You Are Your Own Renaissance)

And resolve to pursue excellence and mastery in all that I do,

— even through hard day’s, challenges, pain and obstacles I may face 

Always with the goal of impact in mind.

— On my life, other’s lives, and the world 

 

We can’t control our entire life, but we can shape it by our models of thinking.

To be who we want to be, we must write our own story.

 

related:

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” — Marianne Williamson

 

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius

 

 

#KeepPursing,

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?