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

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Zero Motivation: Part 1

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.”

James Altucher

Why is it that the things we want to do most are the things we feel the least motivated to do?

It’s not as if we don’t have the desire or the ability. It’s not like we have to do chores or errands. It feels much easier to mow the lawn and run to Walgreens than it is to sit down and bleeping create something, like working on your book or practicing your music.

We want to do it. We dream about being great at it. And yet we do everything but. Steven Pressfield calls this The Resistance. A force within us is doing everything in its power to stop us from practicing our art.

I think the reason we often have zero motivation to get up and create is that we want it too badly. We tell ourselves we need to do it. We know we should be practicing. We build it up so much in our minds it feels too massive and difficult to start.

In this series of posts, I’ll discuss a few solutions I’ve found that have worked for me. At this

Solution #1: Start Small.

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”

Henry Ford

Do one tiny thing. It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as it’s. Think of it as a motivation warm up. Trying to go from couch to flat out sprint isn’t going to go well. We’ve got to warm up our muscles first. The same is true for any practice or activity, not just exercise.

Go small. Start by setting a ridiculously tiny goal. (I think I might have stolen this concept from Tim Ferriss. Thanks, Tim.) The lowest of the low hanging fruits. Instead of “practice guitar for an hour every day” reduce it “If I pick up my guitar from it stands and hold it, I’ve won today.” Instead of “write five pages of my novel” change it to “If I get out my notebook and pen (or if I open up my writing app) I’ve won today.” Or replace “go on a five-mile walk” with “Put on my tennis shoes and workout clothes.”

If I want to learn something, I’ll look for one video, not a hundred. I’ll find one good book and work my way through it. If I want to practice something, I start small but leave room for big.

That’s it. Make it as easy as possible. Because it’s so easy and silly to just pick up our guitar, well, now that we’re holding it, we might as well strum a little right?

An alternate approach is to build momentum through physical movement. Let’s say you are trying to motivate yourself to draw, but you can’t quite pull yourself away from your phone to do it. Instead of immediately trying to jump into drawing, start with tidying up your desk to draw. Clean your entire room if you feel the urge to. Sure, you’re spending a lot of time not drawing, but that’s okay. Remember, this is just the warm-up. What we are doing is trying to switch ourselves from relax mode to create mode.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #895

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Squaring the Hole — How to Think Longterm in Life’s Fragility

“Youth is something I never wanna take for granted. I just want to smile and live life.”

Tyler, The Creator

I write a lot about daily habits. Doing something daily or consistently allows you to take advantage of the compounding benefit of time. We divide a year into 365 days (or 366 days on a leap year). 10 to 30 minutes of practice times 365 days = 3650 to 10950 minutes of practice. An hour is double that. As you can see, a little time invested can go a long way.

But what about if tomorrow doesn’t come? As Logic says in his song Fade Away, “Everybody gonna die, gonna go one day, maybe it’ll happen on a Monday. Driving to work and get hit by a Hyundai, f* it, let it all go one day.” Tomorrow, For all we know we could get hit by a Hyundai, of all things, and never get our chance to do and be all that we want to be.

It’s hard to say where life will take you. Usually where you would never expect, and yet somehow makes since when you back on things and line up the pieces. Most of it is out of our control. The more we can learn to accept that, roll with it and find opportunities no matter what comes our way, the happier and better off we will be.

Our thoughts and decisions are in our control. And while we can’t control everything that goes on outside of our own minds and actions, how we think and what we do place a big part in how our lives shape up.

There’s a lot of things I’d like to accomplish and experience in life. But having a vision or dream for your life doesn’t assure that it will happen. Having a dream is the first step. And making it happen is the second step. But somewhere in that undisclosed middle, a lot can happen.

1. We let fear control us.

“The whole point is to live life and be – to use all the colors in the crayon box.”

RuPaul

We act out of fear. We breathe and sweat fear and failure. We do the wrong thing for the right reasons or the right thing for the wrong reasons. We avoid our dreams because there’s “always tomorrow” or because there’s always something that seems to get in the way.

2. We live by other people’s dreams instead of our own.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”

Benjamin Franklin

We live a shadow dream, as Steven Pressfield calls it in Turn Pro. It looks similar to what we want, but in reality, we’re just avoiding what we really want to do out of fear or embarrassment or not being good enough or any number of other things we convince ourselves of — all with thoughts that are supposed to be in our control.

3. Or we even chase after our dreams so hard and far that we forget to be present and enjoy our lives in the process.

“Confine yourself to the present.”

Marcus Aurelius

We get everything we want, but forget to spend time with the people we love and forget to enjoy the process towards success while we are building it. Or worse — we don’t get what we want, and we still miss out on the time and experience spent with our love ones.

But luckily, all there’s are in our domain of control — our thoughts and our actions. We can learn and train ourselves not to act out of fear, but out of abundance and beginner’s mind.

There’s room in life to enjoy the present, while also preparing and building for the future.

By living life to the fullest each day.
By taking things as they are, not as they could or should be.
By not letting fear win.
By choosing our own path.
By not letting our dreams consume us.
And by living a little when we remember too.

“What really matters is what you do with what you have.”

H. G. Wells

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #872

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Excuses Excuses

“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”

Pope Paul VI

There’s always a great excuse not to do something.

I can give one-thousand justifications why I can’t, why something didn’t work out, why something didn’t go the way I expected to. However, at the end of the day, the only questions that matter are:

Did I put the work in?
Am I doing what I said I’m doing?
Am I doing what I want to do?

If not, I’ve got some work to do.

Kevin Hart once said, “Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.”

Let’s suppose that hard work doesn’t pay off. You put all this work in to make your business, art, band, acting — whatever — happen and years go by without results. When you put in the hard work, at least you know you gave it your all. You were too early, or too late or the fit wasn’t right. That’s okay. Nothing done well is without its takeaways. Hard work doesn’t leave you with nothing. Now you have developed more and better skills, you’ve connected with more people, you learned and grown from your experience. And now you can take those experiences with you to the next thing. The key is never losing your enthusiasm.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

There’s a lot of excuse that can stop us from achieving our dreams. Tell me, what do you want more — excuses or your dreams?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #630

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Are you taking your dreams seriously?

People treat you the way you treat yourself.

How you think, talk, emote, dress, eat, and act determines how people respond to you.

When you act like a goob, people are going to treat you like a goob. 

What brought this on? 

I’ve been thinking about / wonder whether or not people (especially people I️ know) take me seriously. Take me serious about what I️ know, what I’m doing, and what I️ want to accomplish.

These thoughtful questions lead me to an even harder question to answer:

Am I️ taking myself seriously?

Am I️ putting in the belief, time, effort, challenge and blood, sweat, commitment and tears necessary to take my goals seriously?

Am I️ taking this blog seriously? Am I️ taking my writing practice, desire to be a fiction and nonfiction author seriously?

Am I️ taking my songs seriously? Do I️ practice my guitar, vocals, piano and song crafting as seriously as someone who is a professional?

Am I️ taking my business seriously enough? My work, relationships, health (and health problems)?

Am I️ taking my life seriously??! We treat death like a far-off event, but in reality, I­t­ could happen to any of us at any moment. If I️ got hit by a bus today, would I️ feel accomplished and satisfied with the life I️ led?

Maybe its just my tween-age angst talking, but I️ don’t think so. I’ve got a lot I️ dream about, and very little precious time to give to make I­t­ happen.

When I️ say being serious, I’m not talking about being the kind of person were you suck all the fun out of everything and beat your head against a wall until everything is perfect. (Fun-suckers)

I️ mean taking my mission and dreams seriously.

I mean talking, thinking, and squeezing out everything I️ got to make my dreams happen, despite the fears and challenges that life brings.

If you’re like me, then it’s time to put down the cookies and make a change.

Your dreams — be that building interplanetary rocket ships, winning the Nobel laureate, or simply starting a blog — don’t work if you only give half *ssed work. You have to give all of yourself to make them happen. 

Grab a piece of paper and write down a commitment to change. Create a promise to yourself that you will keep pursuing your dreams no matter what. Take what you what most out of this life seriously, and go find a way to make I­t­ reality.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“God will not place a burden on a man’s shoulders knowing that he cannot carry it.”Muhammad Ali

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” — Tony Robbins

“If your mom asks you to do the dishes, do not pull out your pirate attitude. But if someone tells you you’re not good enough, says your dreams are too lofty, or claims there is no room in showbiz for a dancing violinist – well then, by all means, pull out your eye patch, my friend, and take to the high seas.” — Lindsey Stirling

Life on Fire

Plants need just the right amount of sunlight, just enough water and the right kind of soil to grow. Too much sunlight and they die. No water and they die. But give them what they need and there’s no limit to how much they grow.

I’m not a parent, but I️ bet it’s the same with a baby — … water, dirt, and sunlight 😉  — you don’t feed a baby filet mignon, you give I­t­ what I­t­ needs.

But what we do we give ourselves?
We eat potato chips and fast food and wash I­t­ down with sugar-drinks. We stay up late drinking. We mindlessly consume media, argue about political issues we’re 8 degrees away from, and talk about negative things or things we can’t control.

And we do everything possible except what are heart desires:

Following our dreams, building a legacy, being our weird, undiluted selves, and creating connections with people we care for and love.

Living your life on fire 🔥 requires waking up with just the right amount of input (learning, connections, possibility), the right amount of fuel (whole foods, water, enough sleep, play) and the right amount of action.

That’s how we grow into our own.
The nice thing is we don’t have to do everything at once. We can start with creating one positive change — like drinking a big glass of water upon waking up — and focus all our energy on that until we master I­t­. One change leads to another, and another, until eventually, you wake up to the life of your dreams.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” — Whitney Wolfe

“There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” — Colin Powell

Boundaries

Gabriella and I recently discussed the idea of becoming Life Coaches, so I removed my stubborn shades I was wearing and asked her to help tame my chaos. (which sounds ironic, but coaching isn’t about having a perfect life and pushing that life onto others; Coaching is helping others ask the right questions that will help them come to the answers they already know.)

Lucky me, I have an incredible companion who was willing to help. 

I had priority of mind, but no structure. I had the big goals, but they were pulling me underwater, drowning me.

She divided each of my priorities into there own sections, labeling them from A to J (Important goals desired)

I was only allowed to focus on two letters a day. (Three at most if I was feeling perky) (Attention Limitation)

With each section, there’s a square of block you can fill in once you’ve completed something within that priorities domain (such as write book.) (Progress Dopamine)

I was to report back each night on what I did and my progress to her. (Accountability)

Each priority was something I was already doing, but I was usually trying to do all of them every day (cue insanity). This was less about me starting the day with a city-wide todo list, and more like todos popping up and me giving into the tangents making things harder to finish.

The goal in mind was to be ahead of my creativity, rather than flying by the seat of my pants each day.

When you find your why(s), you should go after them with all that you have and then some. However, dreams can easily become nightmares without the properly defined boundaries to stay in.

Boundaries aren’t restrictions on your art, rather how you create the freedom you seek. They narrow your focus, enabling you to flourish within them. Freedom comes from less, not more.

Think of Netflix as an analogy.
If you have a small get together and say, ‘hey let’s watch something!’ 

Two hours later…

You’ve spent more time scrolling through the catalog than watching a josh darn movie. Rather, If you had said, ‘Let’s watch a Wes Anderson movie!’ maybe you would be enjoying The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou right now,? Instead of losing your mind.

Less is better.

Boundaries give you fewer options and small circles to master. 
Once you master those, then you can elevate your freedom by redefining your focus into bigger and bigger circles.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

The Art of Being Capable

My greatest goal for wanting to be brilliant 

is the ability to create whatever idea I dream up.

To have, talk about, design, and execute an idea into fruition.

When you’re brilliant,

you are capable of trying any idea you can dream up.

The idea might end up not working, but that’s okay — there’s always other ideas.

Capability. My friends, Capability.

 

So how do we go about being more capable?

We must deliberately practice the art of being capable.

We dream up an idea.

We talk and get feedback on it.

We design it.

We build it and refine it.

Then we repeat.

 

related:

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” — Lou Holtz

 

#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?

Introducing Antidotes — Cures For The Everyday Strive

Like mine,

Your story is unique — 

but we all face similar hardships in life.

Our story is our own — but life is universal.

 

Pain, frustration, fears, dreams, hopes,

desires, failures, a search for meaning and purpose,

conflict, despair, overwhelm, barriers, loss, choices,

joy, misfortune, depression, happiness, injury, challenge,

obstacles, trials, triumphs..

 

Antidotes, is a new series from the Renaissance Life,

focusing on cures for the everyday strive we all face.

The goal is to forge ancient virtues in our life, specifically resilience —

so that we may fight for what we believe, and have an extraordinary life.

To not only withstand hardships, but to thrive in them — and ultimately,

turn them into victories.

#KeepPursing,

Josh Waggoner

Priority

Focus on getting the right stuff done, rather than just getting things done.

Getting things done doesn’t mean we’re making progress on our dreams.

‘Things’ can be anything and everything, and can take us in every direction except the direction we want.

Priority starts with deciding what your right stuff is. It’s a choice you make, and is something you have to put above everything else you do.

 

Brilliance and achievement require priority, and everything we do (and want to do) is not on the same level of importance — it can’t be.

If we want brilliance, we have to prioritize our life towards creating it.

related

“Action expresses priorities” — Gandhi

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

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