Quality First

“Do not discourage yourself with what you haven’t done, encourage yourself with what you will do.”

Neale Donald Walsch

I could wag* my finger and tell you to stop watching the news or stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians or stop caring about whether Tayshia gives a rose to Ben or not.

But I’m not writing this to tell you what you can and can’t do. With everything you consume—from news, articles, podcasts, shows, social-what-have-you’s—the question we must ask yourself is this—

How does this make me feel?

How do I feel ~while~ I’m consuming this? And how do I feel afterward?

Am I tense? Angry? Lazier? Numb? Happy? Energized? Does ~this~ make me feel motivated or inspired to create?

Or in essence—Is this adding to or taking away from my life? Is this enabling or distracting me from what’s important?

There’s a simple rule we can follow to keep ur most valuable resource, time, on track with what’s most important to us. Before watching whatever I feel like, focus on quality and creativity first. Of course, I’ll watch the latest Netflix show, but first I work on my music. Yes! The Bachelorette is back! But first I better put some time into my side business.

The goal is to not get rid of things we enjoy, but delay them for things that (ultimately) matter more in the long term first. This allows us to train ourselves to want to do the hard work first, and then enjoy whatever media later (if we still even want too.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1105

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

*Wag pun intentional

Better Now Than Never

I have a rule for myself, where if anything that takes me less than five minutes to do, I’ll do it immediately.

If I’m making lunch, I don’t leave the dirty dishes in the sink, I eat and then immediately clean them (sometimes I managed to clean before I eat.) there’s nothing worse than having a full day of work and then coming home to a mountain of todos.

Not just dishes, but all the little “chores” and habits we tend to ignore or put off because of not feeling like it.

I like to think of it as a gift to my future self. In a way, it’s also a gift to my present self too, because I’m trading a few minutes of my time for feelings of accomplishment.

Just because I don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean I should give in to that feeling.

Often success is the accumulation of small actions and key decisive moments done well.

A “Do It Now” is a great habit to get you there.

It’s one thing to want to do or be something, it’s another to be able to do it when it counts.

This can also improve the lives (and attitudes) of the people around you. When your significant other asks you to do something, doing it immediately will not only make them happy and cared for, it will help you build the discipline to make sh*t happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1088

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Willpower is a Muscle.

There’s this dumb ritual I do that actually has a lot of benefits in my life.

Whenever I’m lying in bed about to go to sleep, now and then, I’ll forget to do something. I’ll forget to turn off the hall light, or look at the front door, or brush my teeth. You’ve probably experienced this too.

Ugh, you just started getting settled in under the covers.

Depending on what it is, you might dismiss it and go to bed. ‘Ah so what the closet lights on, one night won’t hurt.’ Or you might reluctantly throw off the warm covers and grumble your way toward the front door to lock the door, and grumble your sleepyhead back to bed.

But that’s not what I do. Instead, I train.

Whenever I’m in this situation, I smile, because I see it as a chance to practice my willpower.

First off, dismissing what I’ve forgotten to do isn’t an option. But before I get up, I lay there with that reluctant feeling. It’s heavy and uncomfortable. My mind is trying to make up every excuse in the book for me to not get up. My body is telling me just to give up and go to sleep. I let it wash over me like I’m going to give in, but then I push.

I will myself up, past the heaviness, past the excuses. And… well, you know, go turn off the light, or brush my teeth and then head back to bed.

Like I said, it’s dumb. I have no research or science to back up that this is actually doing anything. But it feels tough.

But I see the results in my life—I have strong discipline.

I exercise every day. I write every day.

The difficultly of turning things into a habit doesn’t seem to bother me or trip me up like it does for others.

I’m probably delusional, but maybe not?

I see willpower like a muscle rather than a battery.

Willpower is a Muscle.

A lot of people view willpower like how runners used to view sub-four-minute mile They view it like something that can be depleted if you use too much of it. But I find that thinking limiting.

It’s true that willpower ebbs and flows depending on your mood and energy levels, but if you practice and train yourself hard, you can be disciplined for any situation.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1080 ☕️

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee 

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Zero Motivation Part 7: Resources

Note: You can read this motivation series in any order, but this is the last post (7 out of 7), so you might want to read some of the others first:

“No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”

John Locke

I talk a big game, but I only know what I’ve personally experienced and seen work in my life.

I still feel fear, sweaty palms and fluttering stomach, any time I try something new and step out of my comfort zone. I’m excited, but I’m also nervous. I still worry about looking like a failure or embarrassing myself. But I’ve found ways forward, past the fear and worry. Because life’s too short to sit on your dreams.

Besides, embarrassment and failure are a part of life. Only my ego thinks otherwise.

Maybe you have a very good reason not to do what you wish you would do. But then why do you keep thinking about it? Why do you keep wishing you would?

There are times when we have to put a dream down so that we can pick up another dream.

And there are other times when we need to see the situation for it truly is: we are scared. And that little bit of fear is holding us back.

My hope that this series will help you shake off some of the shackles that fear has on you. I hope you find you find the strength to pursue the life you dream of, despite the life you may have.

Remember, it’s not zero-sum. The pursuit of your dream exists on a spectrum. Even a piece of it is better than never trying. (This is getting a little too self-help-y, so I’ll stop there.)

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

Amelia Earhart

Here are some great resources from smarter people than I:

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win by Jeff Haden

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #901

If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a tip or supporting the Renaissance.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Zero Motivation Part 6: Build Discipline

Note: You can read this motivation series in any order, but if the thought of reading something out of order makes you want to tear off your shirt hulk style and run naked in the streets, then here’s are links to the others in order:

Motivation Part 6: Build Discipline

“Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.”

Bertrand Russell

If I were to boil down this motivation series to one thing—when you think about it, motivation isn’t very useful on its own.

If motivation was a tool in our toolbox, it wouldn’t be very good at its job.

It’s like using a flat head screwdriver (—) to screw in a Phillips screw (+)—it will do the job (…eventually,) but we’ll waste a lot of energy doing it. 

Or maybe it’s like using a dull bandsaw when what we really need is a chainsaw. 

What we need is discipline.

Discipline is a chainsaw to creativity and making our dreams happen.

Why rely on motivation when you can have the discipline to practice your craft at any time, no matter how you feel nor what’s going on in your life?

Ever since I started eating healthier and pursuing a Renaissance Life, friends and family have occasionally commented on how disciplined I am. ‘Josh, you are so disciplined, I don’t see how you do it…’

I’m not sure if there’s a “secret” behind having discipline. 

Pain could be one. When we experience pain (like from a breakup or loss or, in my case, injury) we have the opportunity to practice and hone our discipline. We *could* sit in the sadness or numbness, and sometimes we do in the beginning. But usually, we sleep it off and eventually pick ourselves up out from the misfortune and find the strength to carry on and live our best lives we can muster.

Taking Action could also be one component behind discipline. Movement takes us away from letting our worrisome and negative thoughts cloud our judgments.

I had discipline, but I didn’t have the vocabulary to what discipline meant or what it was until I listened to Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL on The Tim Ferris Show and eventually read his book, Discipline Equals Freedom.

If you are looking for a go-to primer on how to have discipline, I would highly recommend this book and his podcast.

Discipline is doing what needs to be done, what you know that needs to be done, despite how you are feeling at any given moment. 

As Jocko says,

“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”

“Is this what I want to be? This? Is this all I’ve got—is this everything I can give? Is this going to be my life? Do I accept that?”

“Question yourself every day. Ask yourself: Who am I? What have I learned? What have I created? What forward progress have I made? Who have I helped? What am I doing to improve myself—today? To get better, faster, stronger, healthier, smarter?”

We don’t need motivation to do something. We just need a plan that gets us going, removes temptations to be lazy and complacent and allows us to show up every day with the discipline we need to create the life that we want to live.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #900 🎉

If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a tip or supporting the Renaissance.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify