Creative Downtime

“I have the habit of attention to such excess, that my senses get no rest – but suffer from a constant strain.”

Henry David Thoreau

One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that I need a healthy amount of downtime (Josh time) during the week. Otherwise, I’ll turn into a Granny Smith apple (aka sour and don’t talk to me vibes). Ideally, I try to have at least an hour each day to myself — but that depends on the week. And if I can, I try to have a full day of creativity where I can focus on personal projects and learning.

The weekend is technically supposed to be our downtime, but since everybody’s off, it’s like nobody’s off. Chores to do, places to be and people to see. But what about us?

Are we giving ourselves what we need to thrive? Are we nourishing our minds, bodies, and spirits? Or are we just running from one thing to the next like our hair is on fire, completely putting ourselves last? Are you even giving yourself downtime?

It’s not selfish to put yourself first.

There are a time and place for giving (your time, energy and other resources) to others. But if you’re emotionally and energetically bankrupt from giving too much of yourself, then what good are you to others?

Prioritize downtime for yourself, whatever that looks like for you.

Here are some ideas:

  • Daily walk with your thoughts
  • Journalling
  • Taking a dance class
  • Drawing
  • A hot bath
  • Practicing music
  • Writing
  • Doing something with your hands — pottery, woodwork, origami, etc
  • Exercising
  • Cooking for yourself

Choose something that rejuvenates you. (And ideally, something you don’t do for money).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #827

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“It’s very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Worth it

Essential should take priority over immediate. And yet, we often allow ourselves and feel driven to do the opposite. There’s many reasons we could point to — we didn’t sleep well last night, we are distracted by pain or distracted by shiny things, etc.

What’s easier: answering a few emails and clearing out your inbox or working on your app?

What’s more appealing: watching Netflix or sweating at the gym?

What’s more exciting: going out for drinks or putting butt in seat and writing?

Essential over immediate.

The essential takes more time, energy and intention. No wonder we struggle to get anything important done! We trade short-term pleasures for long-term success and happiness. Not that we have to give up happiness in the present in order to have it in the future. Rather, happiness comes from the process of spending our time and energy in ways that we love and find meaningful. Even an ounce of effort spent on what we love creates massive returns on the rest of our effort (which we might have to give to our other responsibilities, such as working to afford food for our family).

There’s another big reason that the important things tend to get benched:

The important things become too important. Or in other words, the essential things we want to do are so important that we end up not doing them. We idealize and fantasize them into a undefeatable monster in our minds. We (consciously or subconsciously) delay, avoid, distract, procrastinate and psych ourselves out from doing them. And eventually we end up filling our time and energy with everything BUT the things we want to do.

I’m making it seem clear and cut-and-dry, but it’s usually anything but. In reality the tradeoffs are so subtle. We hardly even notice we are selling ourselves short and are feeding the wrong things. We trade what we really want to do, for second or third-best options because we think that’s all we desire or are capable of doing.

Because what if we fail?
What if we waste all this time and energy for nothing?
What if we succeed and are still unhappy?

Ultimately it comes down to giving yourself some space and asking yourself is it worth it or not.

Is this worth my finite amount of time and energy?
Is this going to add value to my life AND the lives around me?
Is this going to provide me meaning and happiness in the present, regardless if I fail or succeed in the end?

Failing at something you love is better than succeed at something you hate or find mediocre.

Because failure is recoverable. But we can’t get back wasted time on things that don’t matter.

The road to mediocrity is born from hesitation and feeding ‘what you are supposed to do’ instead of what you feel called to do.

What do you feel called to do in this life?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #734

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Health Tomfoolery

Give yourself permission to be healthy.

If there ever is a word with that is more overused then the word ‘health’, the planet would explode.

We are bombarded with opinions about health and what it means to be healthy. One news source tells you Fats are bad for you, someone else may tell you it’s great for you, and your family will have all manner of opinions about what’s good and what’s bad. With all of these differing philosophies, it’s easy to lose your sanity on what you should do and instead do nothing at all. (Ugh! One day they tell me eggs are bad for me, the next day they tell me they’re great… eff it! I’m going to go eat some cake.)

What you’re seeing in the health industry is the battle between science and money. Why is a large french fry and soda less money than a pack of blueberries? Why is the immediate response to most mainstream doctors is to give us pills to mask the problem versus figuring out how to fix the problem. There are so many facts and figures, opinions and antidotal answers, it’s hard to know who to trust.

Ultimately, you are the one who decides what’s best for you. The choice to be healthy or not is up to you. Opt out of the games. Trust your gut. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

There’s one thing I know and that’s why you should want to get healthy in the first place:


What’s one thing that affects our ability to create and enjoy life?

I’ve experienced first hand the frustration and despair of Chronic Fatigue and low energy. If the energy you use is more than the energy you generate. Without enough energy, you are a slave to your health. 

Eating whole, moving your body, breath work, and aligning your daily habits to the lifestyle of your dreams is how you can build up positive energy.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.” — Henry David Thoreau

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” — Thomas Fuller

Sleepwalking Mask

I’ve been reflecting on Lewis Howes new book The Masks of Masculinity. (Great read highly recommended it) In it, he discusses the mask that guys can put on as a lens into how to live in the world. Athletic Mask, Stoic Mask, Material Mask… Lady’s can have these masks too, but they generally have better support groups and talk with friends differently than guys. (More honest and open relationships about what’s going on)

Being honest and open about my life and mission in life to be a Renaissance Man is one of the reasons I started the Renaissance in the first place.

Somewhere between middle school and high school, I changed. (No duh stupid it’s called puberty idiot-face 🙂 When I say change, I mean I lost a piece of who I was and put up a barrier. Instead of being more outgoing and taking chances, I would hold myself back. A veil of apathy maybe.. although apathy might be too strong of a word… I was mild. It was more like a piece of glass between who I was and who I came across as. Paul would say I wasn’t living at level 10, instead, I was living at level 7 or 8.

Inside, I was energetic, curious, outgoing, creative (and a little rebellious) but subdued, possibly even a little distant on the outside. I still cared about things, — which is why the word apathy doesn’t quite fit — I enjoyed hanging with my friends and pursuing passions (music, art, math, sports) and creativity, but I wasn’t living my life to the utmost. I wasn’t completely awake. I was living like I was sleepwalking.

I didn’t see this at the time of course, (hindsight is a 20 / 20 Bee) and I doubt others did either. I think this continued to college and on. It wasn’t until I started the Renaissance and improving myself that I started to feel the glass between the world and my real self.

Living asleep won’t kill you, but it won’t give you an extraordinary life.

I want to find my childlike curiosity and boldness again.

There’s wisdom in living your life with child-like wonder and imagination. I’m not trying to look over the childish traits — self-centered, stingy, short — those are there too.

But the closer we can get to who we were as kids — imagination, playing, laughter, making friends, taking action, learning — the better our perspective and experiences in life will be.


The questions I’m facing today are:

Q: How do I live every day by being fully ALIVE?

Q: How can I increase my energy, charisma, and enthusiasm for what I do, who I am and who I aim to be?

Q: How do I live a fulfilled and extraordinary life?

Q: How do I create the most impact on others lives and build a network of incredible relationships

Q: How can I practice curiosity and childlike wonder and imagination every day in all that I do?

I don’t know if I have an answer yet on how to remove the sleepwalking mask, but I do know that continuing what I’ve been doing can do nothing but help:

Asking hard questions.

Making new connections.

Challenging myself with daily challenges.

Getting into what makes me uncomfortable.

And doing what I fear so that I can become what I dream.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”Marcus Aurelius

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

Grumpy Pants

One thing I’ve learned about myself is I️ need space for Josh time to read, write and have space for thoughts without interruption.

I’d call myself an ambivert — outgoing introvert —  so that makes sense. Anytime I️ don’t make space for myself (like today) I️ start feeling frustrated and put on my grumpy pants.  I’m short, distant and an all-around Scrooge McDuck. It’s like I’m hangry, except I’m hangry for silence and books. 
Reading, Writing, Music, and Reflecting is how to replenish. I️ don’t mean to be a grumpy pants, but whenever I️ don’t make the space to recharge I️ start losing my sanity when I️ try to write or read with a steady stream of interruptions for everyone (and every dog) around me. Don’t get me wrong it’s not them — it’s me. The last thing I️ should be doing is trying to write at my grandparents while my sister is watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, my other sister is asking me for the WiFi password, my dog Ren is nosing me to play with her, and my mom is asking me questions.

But what’s a grumpy pants to do?
I️ don’t know if I️ have a great strategy to overcome the grump grumps, but here are two things I’m trying to improve upon:

1. Let go of what I can’t control.

Focus on only things you can control, and let go of what you can’t. What’s important to you is important, but it’s not as important as the time you can spend with your loved ones.

2. Make space for what’s important to me.

We tend to fill up idle time with todos. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t happen. If you don’t *make* time for what’s important to you, you’re not going to have the time. (Extra free time won’t fall out of your 👖ss)

Certainly a work in progress for me, but necessary for myself and the sanity of those around me. Ha 🙂

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”Epictetus

Living With A Glass Half Full

I’ve been Running on Empty for Quite some time now.

Recently, I took a small hiatus from blogging, podcasting and from @boldsheep because of constant lack of energy. I wanted to determine whether the sheer number of things I was doing was the cause. 

You see, when you wake up just as tired as you were the night before, feel that way throughout the day, and do it all over again the next, you’ll try anything to fix it.

Maybe you can relate.

You don’t realize how much you need something, until after it’s broken.

Systems break all the time, and any number of setbacks can and will occur to all of us.

(ignorance is not bliss — it’s negligence)

This is why awareness is so important. If you know yourself, and recognize something is off, you can start doing something about it before it blindsides you.

But maybe you’re already knee deep in it like me. 
We have 2 choices — give up, or keep going. (And it’s a choice you have to make every day.)

I choose the latter.

If the break from my side hustles has taught me anything, it’s that we need creative outlets for a more fulfilled life. Outlets for the shear fun of it.

I am called to create and make — no matter the medium — whether that’s through learning, writing, design, coding, music, or what-have-you.

Luckily I have RenaissanceLife, boldsheep, and 60Watts  to do so.

I would rather live a life half-full, filled with meaning and worthwhile endeavors, than a life half-empty with nothing at all. 

I may not have the capacity to do all the things I aspire to do with the energy I have, but I am capable of doing what I can with what I have to give.


Action Step: Create / Find your outlets that make you feel alive

I’m still running on empty, and until my glass is full and VIBRANT again, I’ll just have to be okay with that. But until then,  I’ll do what I can with as much enthusiasm I have to give. You can count on it.

— Keep Pursuing, Josh Waggoner


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related wisdom

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” —Christopher Reeve


“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney


“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” — Marie Curie


“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” — Victor Hugo


“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” — Leo Tolstoy

How to Love Each Day: Do One Thing You Enjoy

VIBRANT002: How to Love Each Day — Do One Thing You Enjoy

Do you feel tired all the time?

Stressed? Discouraged? Frustrated? Overwhelmed?

If you’re not feeling VIBRANT the majority of the time then something’s off with your lifestyle.


Times of stress, challenge, and difficulty are a part of life, but that doesn’t mean we should live in a perpetual state of discouragement or flight-or-fight mode!

Feeling lackluster could be a host of different things, and it’s not something easy to find (believe me I know). What I do know is that adding more joy to your day will help, even in the smallest of ways.

Small wins can make your day. Even if everything is a suck-fest, at least you can look back and say, ‘At least I did something I love’.

Start Loving your day by doing something that gives you energy. (and I don’t mean coffee :P)


Love listening or playing music?  Make sure you do every day.

Enjoy dancing? Well… Dance Baby*!

*Dirty Dancing Reference Duuuh

Does having a conversation with someone gets you jazzed? Then by all means.

Joy isn’t a state. It’s a habit. 

Find small nudges that gives you energy and push you towards a positive mindset.

Brighten your day by doing at least one thing you love each day.

Reclaim your energy, fuel your life +

— Josh Waggoner


disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. If you want medical advice, find a doctor. V I B R A N T is my way of focusing on energy, and striving for a thriving, happy life.

related wisdom

Where there is love there is life.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

— Joseph Campbell

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

— Helen Keller

Going Bulletproof

Now Testing The Bulletproof Diet

I’ve been drinking bulletproof coffee for about 5 years now (it’s the bee’s knees), but I’ve yet to go full on bulletproof diet.

My diet typically aligns with a paleo-like guideline, (i.e. whole lotta veggies, grass-fed meats, wild seafood, pasture-raised eggs, no grains, no sugar) but with the occasional Tim-Ferriss-style cheat meal (aka gelato man life). This has worked well for my lifestyle, but recently I’ve felt like I’ve been run over by an oscar myer wienermobile. (🌭)

Turns out I’ve had exposure to mold in my apartment since the winter (😱)

My symptoms of Mold Poisoning (3+ months of)

  • Constant Fatigue, zero energy.
  • Weakness is a strong word, but I don’t feel as strong and vibrant as I should be.
  • Can’t catch my breath
  • Sinus congestion (I haven’t had allergies in decades)
  • Aches and slight sensitivity to light

Aka I’m a hot mess.

E.  eFfing. G.

We don’t realize how much health and our external environment affects us until we’re broadsided by it.

This is unacceptable to me. 

My dreams are too big for me to constantly have no drive and energy.

I’ve got empires to build.

Luckily, The Bulletproof Diet is tailored around mold prevention, energy and mental performance.

This isn’t an endorsement per se, (well except for the coffee!), this is a test.

I’m going to start with going bulletproof for one month, (recording my energy levels periodically throughout the day as I go) and then see what’s what afterward.

I’ll be adding updates on my progress as I go (what I’m doing, why and how), so be sure to check in to the Now Testing blog series.

(Or if you’re interested in joining me for this experimentation, let me know via email or the comments below)


xoxo Josh Waggoner.