Life Seeker

How many non-decisions do I️ make in a day?

Meaning, options were I default to doing nothing or as little as possible, or choosing the lazy way.

How’s that for living?

As hard as it­ may be, we’ve got to choose what’s going to take us towards reaching our dreams. To be ALIVE, truly alive, is to never give into lazy choices. Ignoring debts, neglecting people you love, choosing faster foods over wholesome ones…etc where will these roads take us? 

We are what we put our energy into.

As little effort as possible gives us a little life. Aas much effort we have gives us an extraordinary life.

I️ think we are all secretly waiting for an overnight success to happen to us, but that’s just not how things work. Even the mega-talented still have to earn their talent eventually with hard work and dedication.

One thing I️ should clarify is that resting isn’t being lazy. We all need ways of rejuvenating. But I️ think we can tell when we are resting versus when we are “resting” — one is a necessary part of seeking life, and the other is an excuse.

In whatever matters to you, seek I­t­ with all you’ve got. I­t­ takes all of who you are to be who you want to be, you can’t leave anything on the table. Find what matters to you, set a BOLD goal, and then keep pursuing I­t­ with all you’ve got.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

“The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.” — John C. Maxwell

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” — William Morris

Life Principle #12: Cherish Others

You won’t get far in life without a solid group of friends pushing you to be better and more capable. (You won’t have as much fun either!)

You won’t get far by treating everyone around you like they are beneath you.

And you won’t get far by ignoring everyone that’s not in your group.

A Renaissance Life is a life of cherishing others.

Life Principle: Cherish Others

People want to be seen and heard more than anything in the world. Cherishing others means caring about the well-being and success of the people around you. 

How do you cherish others?

Reach out first. Healthy relationships are nourished by reaching out to those you cherish, in small intentional ways that show you care.

Be Generous. Relationships are a two-way street. You both have to be giving something in order to get something out of the friendship, and Generosity is a great way of doing that. No one in the history of ever has thought generosity is a bad character trait for a friend. Who wants to be surrounded by people who don’t give two shakes of a shake weight about you? Go out of your way to be generous.

Genuinely want them to succeed. Have you ever known someone who supports what you do, yet secret wishes you would fail? Some friend indeed. Don’t be them! Life is abundant, great friendships genuinely desire for each party to succeed in their pursuits. 

Love the mundane. A great relationship is someone you can do absolutely nothing with and still have a great time. Painting a wall? Waiting in line? Walking through an airport? Each can be a laugh out loud moment with the right group.

Be there — especially when I­t­ counts. You have to put yourself first, but cherishing others is being there when it counts. If someone asks you to help them when they are in need — and you can — do it. 

And last but not least. Listen. Cherishing others is about listening to what they say. Listen to their hopes and fears. Listen to their problems, and encourage them to believe in themselves. 

Friendercises 

Q: When was the last time you had a deep, heart to heart conversation with someone?
Call up a friend and talk about your hopes and dreams for the year. Where you want to go, who you want to be. Leave small talk for the birds.

Q: When was the last time you went out and meet new people?
Find a group or event around a topic you love and want to master. Become a strong character in that community.

Q: Who are the people you hang out with the most?
I strongly believe that we are the sum of the people we hang out with the most. Sit down and list out who you spend your time with. Are these the people that will push you higher towards your dreams (and vice versa)? Or are they holding you back? Surround yourself with greatness to become great. Surround yourself with positivity to be more positive. Surround yourself with hope to be hopeful.

In the end, cherishing others might be the best way to cherish yourself.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” — Jim Morrison

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” —  Oprah Winfrey

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.” — Henry David Thoreau

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.” —  Tena Desae

“If you want to become healthy, you have to surround yourself with a group of people that are getting healthy, and you have to be connected to a community that is doing what you want to do.” — Henry Cloud

Principle #1: Become a Lifelong Learner

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pele

Lifelong learning is the foundational principle of believing there is always room to learn something new and improve in things you love. When we start thinking we have nothing else to learn, we begin to plateau and eventually will feel stuck. 

What you pursue is up to you! I love music, writing, design, entrepreneurship, connecting, ideas, psychology, and health and wellness to name a few dozen. 

High performers know there is always the next level — 

Someone who can teach you more and something new.
Something you can practice to hone your skills.
Even something you can create and experiment with to expand what you think, and what the world thinks is possible!

Mastery isn’t an end state; Mastery is a mindset. A mindset that begins with becoming a lifelong learner.

Now, there are two polar extremes that are easy to fall into, (believe me, I’ve been there) which GO AGAINST the learning principle:

1. “I am not enough” “I will never be enough”
2. “Lifelong learning is too long, too hard and too overwhelming. I need results ASAP!:

1. False Belief: “I Am Not Enough”
 

This is a limiting belief that is holding you back. Perhaps a family member or teacher told you this (or implied it). They don’t know anything. They don’t know you. They don’t know what you are capable of. The person that creates your self-worth is YOU. I’m here to tell you, YOU ARE ENOUGH. If you get one thing from this post it’s that. You are enough. Learning isn’t about fulfilling a hole in your life of not being enough. Learning is the mutual belief that you are enough WHILE knowing, with a little bit of elbow grease, you can be more, do more and have a more impactful life.

In other words, learning is one of the keys to unlocking a meaningful life.

The more you know, the more capable you become, the more people will desire your help.

 

2. False Belief: “Lifelong learning is too long, too hard and too overwhelming. I need results ASAP!”

Pursuing a life of learning doesn’t mean it’s going to take you a lifetime to reach greatness in what you do. You will immediately start seeing results from learning and challenging yourself. Even a single day of learning means you know and are more capable than you were yesterday! Learning compounds by how much you practice and who you surround yourself with. The longer you stick with it the more you will accomplish.

So what does lifelong learning look like in practice?

Lifelong learning in practice

Read A Little Every Day.

Create a habit of consuming quality input of work from the wisdom of our ages. When I want to learn something new, the first thing I do is go to Amazon and see if there are any good books on the subject.

Try adding books that feel outside of your abilities too. Expand your mental muscles a little each day!

Find People/Mentors Who Can Push Your Mind and Fill You with Insights

I used to falsely think it was better to learn without imitating others. I would deliberately not read books or learn songs on guitar because I DIDN’T WANT THEIR WORK TO CHANGE MY VOICE.

I D I O T. 

Everything we do since birth is infused with imitation! The greatest ideas are ones that come from other’s ideas and create connections in a unique way.

Share What You Learn

Find friends who love what you love.
Teach what you know.
Create your own community around the skills you are learning to master.

Lifelong learning is your first principle to mastering your life.

Q: What are you going to learn?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” — Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein

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

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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

Origami Life

I want to get to the end of my life and be like a piece of origami paper.

Worn, folded, and forged from a thousand lives lived.

A lifetime of learning, pursuit, and adventure. A life of meaning and worth. A life filled with friendships, creativity and boldness.

Otherwise what was I living for?

Sometimes we have to take a good hard look and ask ourselves, ‘Am I ALIVE or am I just existing?’

Complacency is insidious. It creeps into our lives through comfort and success.

I’m not telling you to throw out your blankets and sleep on a pile of hard candy. I’m saying make sure what you give your time to — what you do on a day-to-day basis — aligns with the vision of the life you want to have. And if you don’t have a vision for your life there’s no better time like the present. It’s hard to see the macro when you’re living in the micro, but our lives are the sum each day we have on this earth. What does your day look like? If you’re going through setbacks — keep going. If you fear something — do it. If you’re experiencing pain or failure — Reset your mind, body, and focus. Start living for the extraordinary.

 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Action Question:

  • Am I ALIVE or am I just here?
  • If I was an origami shape, what would I be?

Related Wisdom:

“If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.” — Derek Sivers

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”Carol Burnett

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

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”  — Reba McEntire

Fear and Desire

“Having wandered some distance among gloomy rocks, I came to the mouth of a great cavern, in front of which I stood some time, astonished. Bending back and forth, I tried to see whether I could discover anything inside, but the darkness within prevented that. Suddenly there arose in me two contrary emotions, fear and desire — fear of the threatening dark cave, desire to see whether there were any marvelous thing within.”

Leonardo da Vinci, excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci Biography

Like many things in life, creativity, and pursuing your dreams creates a juxtaposition of fear and desire. We have a desire to be, do, and become what we dream, but at the same time fear starting, continuing, and succeeding. We desire the outcome, yet fear the outcome.

When we give into fear, we train ourselves to live without the dream, accepting that it will never happen. This is my life as it is. Yet, even so, we live with a longing that by some turn of fate, we will chance upon our dreams on a morning walk. How many of us are waiting for our big break? Waiting for your dreams to happen is like waiting to win the lottery when you haven’t even bought a lottery ticket.

Have you ever heard yourself say or think, ‘oh that could never happen to me’ or ‘I could never do that, only they can do that.’

This is what Paul would call a negative mindset. No matter how much you want something to happen, if you don’t believe that you can do it, it’s not going to happen. A positive mindset is essential. (You don’t have to be overly-happy all the time, but you do have to believe that you will find a way to your goals.)

What happens when we give into desire instead of fear?

When we push through the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, we step into our discomfort zones and change our capacity of what’s possible. We open our minds to new possibilities. 

You step on stage, sing your heart out, and…. well. That’s it. You did it. You did something.
You didn’t die, you probably could have done better, but better comes with experience and deliberate practice.

To make your dreams reality, you must let curiosity win.

In creativity and life, there will always be a choice of fear and desire. Who you become — your potential — will be determined by those choices.

Will you choose to give into fear, or will you give into curiosity?

I could let my writing, music, or ideas slide because of fear. Fear of putting myself out there, fear of rejection, or fear of failure. This always reminds me of George McFly from Back to the Future (Marty’s Dad). He’s always saying the line, ‘I could never put my work out there, what if they don’t like it? I don’t think I could take that kind of rejection.’ An extreme example ha, but applicable to our lives. What does giving into fear do to George’s life? He has a mediocre job and life. He never publishes his novels. He get’s pushed around by Biff (and probably everyone else).

Ultimately, what is giving into fear is going to get us?

What is fear going to give you?

The same thing you’ve always had. The longing and desire for change, but not enough bravado to take the leap. Best case scenario, fear only gives you mediocrity. (And mediocrity is the opposite of a Renaissance Life)

Fear and desire will never be an easy choice. 
At best its going to be a grey area. Sometimes fear is good. The fear of being attacked by a lion is useful when you’re in Africa. (Fear of being mauled in Washington is not very useful) But when it comes to creative fear, curiosity must always beat out fear. If you want to help change the world and be a mover and shaker, you must not let fear stop you.

So back to young Leonardo. As he looked into the depths of the black, villainous cave, did he choose fear or desire?

‘Desire won. His unstoppable curiosity triumphed, and Leonardo went into the cave. There he discovered, embedded in the wall, a fossil whale. “Oh mighty and once-living instrument of nature, your vast strength was to no avail.”… “You lashed with swift, branching fins and forked tail, creating in the sea sudden tempests that buffeted and submerged ships. Oh time, swift despoiler of all things, how many kings, how many nations hast thou undone, and how many changes of states and of circumstances have happened since this wondrous fish perished.”’

Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci

To be unstoppable, we must let curiosity drive us.

And as morbid as it sounds, we are all going to die and only have one life to live in this world.

Whether we choose fear or desire, time waits for no one.

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” — Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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My Personal Vision Statement

What do you want your life and actions represent?

What do you want to be remembered for?

Who do you want to be?

It’s a life-long work in progress, but here is my personal mission statement. I read and say this aloud every day.

 

I live a meaningful and extraordinary life. I make Bold Moves. I challenge all assumptions. Failure, fear, and setbacks are challenging opportunities waiting to be turned into life lessons. Above all, I value time, freedom, learning, creativity, love and friendship. I stand for my beliefs.

I do what I say I will do. I lead by my actions. I have a can-do attitude. I persist. I know when to say yes, and when to say no. I listen to what others have to say and respect their views. I care deeply for others.

I am ALIVE and full of energy. I live with charisma and gusto! I am healthy, fit and active. I make goals and achieve them. I value rest and play and stillness. 

I pursue mastery and excellence in all that matters to me, every day, no exceptions. I am constantly pursuing multiple disciplines and striving towards a Renaissance Life. I am at the forefront of disruption and innovation.

I enable others to be their best selves. I am a catalyst for change. 
I will make the world a better place.

 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Inspiration +

It All Matters by Paul Cummings

Total Focus by Brandon Webb

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Mise En Place Life

Mise en Place — Is a french culinary term for ‘putting in place‘ or ‘everything in it’s place‘.

I see it as structure and order in the hectic world of a kitchen.

When there’s millions of variables that could affect the outcome of a dish and service, a lot of things could go wrong (and will) if you’re not careful.

Things can get messy (literally), but if you have a system in place —

You can stay calm and clearhead even in chaos. 

And you can have more control over the outcome.

A system allows us to stay calm, controlled, and clear, 

even when everything around us are anything but.

 

This sounds like life, doesn’t it?

What if we tried adapting mise en place to our life as well?  

How we think and all that we do?

 

I don’t know about you,

but I’m always looking for greater clarity and organization to keep my mind thriving at an optimal level. This is the Renaissance Way.

If our output is determined by our input,

then our environments are considerable parts of that input.

What and Who we surround ourselves with affects our thinking.

Our mind itself is an environment we live in.

What and How we thinking affects our output just as much as — if not more than — our external environments. 

We can’t control all aspects of our external environment, but we can structure them for our benefit. 

And best of all we can control our mind. How we think and react. How we see.

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

So what can we do?

Action Step — Create structure in your life around what most important to you

First we must decide what’s important to us. What kind of life do you want to live?

Next, Take stock of what you have. Get rid of anything that you don’t love, or is not beneficial to your life.

Create a space for everything you do. So that when you’re using it, it’s in front of you, but when you’re not, it’s put away.

What does the structure of your days look like? What gives you energy and what drains you?

Think about who you surround yourself with, what kind of input you take in, and the environments you frequent. What aligns to the life you want? What doesn’t? What needs to be added? What needs to be diminished or removed?

And finally, don’t think of your life in sections. Work, Home, Family, Friends, Skills, Hobbies, Play — it’s all the same — your life. Your inputs and outputs. Each part of life affects the others.

 

l’espirt droit, l’espirt tranquille

— mind right, mind at ease.

It’s when I don’t have to think about things or any pesky todo’s that I’m at my most creative and effective.

I think that’s why calendars were created — to help clarify the chaos.

Not as an act to tame the chaos life can throw at us, rather to solidify our most important tasks around everything else.

But if your calendar / mind / life looks like a coffee shop bulletin (aka a la clutter) then you’re missing the point. Structure is for our benefit. To put our minds at ease.

Structure isn’t a creative block, it’s a starting point for us to hold onto. A prompt for our creativity to flourish. 

 

Remember,

Systems allow us to stay calm, controlled and clear.

What and Who we surround ourselves with affects our thinking and output.

We may not always be able to control our environment, but we can structure aspects of it for our benefit.

And we can at the very least learn to control our mind.

If life seems like pure chaos, adopt the mise en place mindset by creating structure around what’s most important to you.

‘esprit droit’

 

How will you structure your life?

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner

related

“Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein

Introducing Renaissance Ethos — A Path To Excellence, And Living Well

My mission in life

is to be a Renaissance Man

Mastery in multiple crafts (for me that’s music, design, coding, finances, entrepreneurship, fashion, wellness.. etc)

And pursing excellence in all that I do. (ha sounds easy right?)

My mission has led me to start the Renaissance Life, an extraordinary life of meaning and worthwhile.

The Renaissance Ethos,

is a focus on the spirit of a Renaissance Life.

It’s a series to help define and clarify what an extraordinary life is and what it takes to create it.

 

Excellence and Growth is the core of the Renaissance spirit.

However,  pursing an extraordinary life will not be easy (all great things aren’t),

we will be faced with many challenges and questions, such as

What is excellence? And how do we achieve excellence in all that we do?

How do we become our best selves — living towards our greatest potential, in the time we have been given?

But that’s okay, because we are in this together. We are a community.

We all have something we want to accomplish, or obstacles we must to face in our lives,

The Renaissance Life is about finding clarity, and meaning, so we can focus on what’s truly important — 

living

and impacting others.

Together we will start a movement — a new Renaissance — of change, and growth in our lives,  in the lives around us, and ultimately, the world.

Welcome to the Renaissance.

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner

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