The Gift of Pain

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

The earth continuously spins at a lazy one thousand miles per hour. Roughly every 24 hours, it completes its race and begins a new – the ultimate example that shows steady and slow wins the race.

Is it because of death we feel compelled to hurry up and get things over with? Life is short for each of us. Time ticks on, whether we are working on our dreams or not. Perhaps our patience is at its thinnest when we faced with pain, dislike and fear.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys spending time in wall to wall traffic. But there’s also those of us who, when faced with an uncomfortable reality, want nothing more than to move past it. Like swatting flies out of our food, we want nothing more than to get rid of our circumstances and setbacks.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

Aristotle

It depends on how you look at it, but setbacks and pain can be gifts if you let it. As sucky as they are, our circumstances are teaching us hidden lessons on how to live better if we let them. Nobody wants to be in debt up to their noses. Nobody wants to feel the pain of a heartbreak or the ache of an injury. Depression, anxiety, negativity, bitterness, backstabbing, fear, and discouragement aren’t exactly a fun party to be in.

I’d hate to say that setbacks and pain are trying to teach us something important, but maybe they are trying to teach us something important.

Pain, failure and bad circumstances raise our awareness and show us how to live better than we were previously. They stop us, so that we can slow down, think more wisely and go after a life of meaning.

We might have to dig ourselves out of a hole now, but when (not if, when) we finally crawl over the top, we have a new and better way to live and a story to tell.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #648

Join the Renaissance:

IG@Renaissance.Life

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

A Little Tenacity

“If you hang around long enough, they think you’re good. It’s either my tenacity or stupidity – I’m not sure which.”

Adam West

We can get a little too close to our business or creative endeavors sometimes. It’s understandable of course. After all, we are the ones spending, day in and day out, trying to make something happen and real. But when all you can see is weeds and none of the flowers and herbs, your garden starts to look like an uncontrollable slop. You know you are working hard and the small, daily improvements are adding up to something… eventually, but right now it looks like nothing is working, nothing is effective. ‘Why am I even doing this anyway?’

It’s tempting to give up on the spot under the duress of thoughts such as this, or to give up subtly by putting less effort and less attention into your work, until eventually you stop all together.

I experienced this early on in my freelance career.

One of the hardest parts about freelancing is learning to balance the need to find new clients with the need to finish the work of your current clients. Current clients give you work now and have already paid (or partially paid) and sustained you up until this point and the near future. New clients enable you to keep your business going past the near future. Both needs demand all of your time and both can stress you out if your not careful.

When you are working for a company, you typically only have one thing on your plate: the current work. You might have an idea what you will do next after you finish what you are working on, but the demands of finding new clients is delegated by someone else and abstracted into a paycheck you get each month. The abstraction of a paycheck gives you peace of mind and a drip of money beyond the immediate needs. (Whether or not a paycheck is actually a safety net, or just an illusion of one as long as the company or sales people getting new clients continues is up for debate.)

Of course, early on in my freelance career, I didn’t know any of this. I was stressed out to the max, because I was not only dealing with this, I was also facing health issues and my expenses felt overwhelming. Which led me to the number one killer of freelancing: worry.

Worrying about where the next check will come from. Worrying about lack of time. Worry worry worry. And if you let the worry continue and consume you, it becomes a second full time job. By exhausting yourself with worrying over where your next client will come from, you push away the work you have in front of you and begin to feel incapable of doing it. You hit a wall, no energy left to find clients OR do the work in front of you. Which alienates yourself from what you need to do and also alienates you from your current clients.

To skip over the bloody details, early on, I dropped the ball. It was a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson that’s helped me later on. In hindsight, by letting worrying become my second job, I clouded my judgement and mindset on what I need to do and how to move forward.

What matters most is the work that’s in front of you — that’s #1. Go above and beyond with the work you have, and the next gig will follow. Everything else will handle itself. Research new clients, set up new meetings. But don’t let those distract you or suck away all your time from what truly matters: the work.

This lesson highlights two important questions:

What can I learn from the mistakes of others, and plan ahead / mitigate the risk of falling into the same traps?

Personal mistakes sting the most, and are hard-won lessons. But it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others if you can recognize the value and heaviness of the lessons someone else has learned through trial and error, without actually having to feel the weight yourself.

Hard lessons are inevitable, eventually. But avoiding as many as we possible can is the smartest move we can do to avoid derailment and roadblocks on our journey. Obstacles don’t prevent us from freedom, unless we allow them too. Ultimately, they give us stories to tell (like this one) and give us the opportunity to help others on their own journey.

How do we keep going after failure?

Dropping the ball sucks. But it’s not the end of the world. There’s always a way forward. But if you hold onto failure to tightly, there’s no wiggle room to move forward. And if you hold onto a certain outcome to tightly as well, everything feels like failure, like weeds blocking your garden, unless that single outcome occurs, (an outcome blinded by lack of clear certainty and knowledge) versus the potential outcomes and opportunities that exist that we can’t see clearly yet.

We all need a goal, something to reach for, something to drive our actions. But the goal is the aim, not what gets us there. The aim is important, because it gives a ballpark direction. What gets us their is meeting each day by giving it the work and energy it requires.

The best way to holding drum sticks is to have a firm but soft grip between your index finger and thumb in the lower middle of the sticks, while the rest of your fingers lightly rest on the space underneath. This allows you to keep hold of the sticks without they flying out of your hands, but also give you moment and control in creating the sounds you want to create.

We must firmly grip the life we want to create, while not grasping to firmly to prevent our movement and ability to change when we need to change.

In many ways, life is fluid, not fixed.

Acting as though it is fixed only makes us brittle and resentful when we break or when things don’t go our way.

We must also adopt fluidity to create a life of meaning and worth.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #575

Join the Renaissance:

IG@Renaissance.Life

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Principle #2: Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change

Everything you want to be in life starts with what you do today, this day.

Today is a powerful change maker in our life story. What you do each today can make or break you, because a little time NOW compounds later. (Just like investing $)

Think about it: 

If you eat a tub of Ice Cream Today, you’re not going to get fat. Eating bad one day won’t kill you.
BUT (< big but there :), eating bad today, and the next day and the next WILL add up over time and take its toll on your health (and neck rolls).

The same thing works in the positive direction — losing weight, gaining muscle (got swol?)

Authors don’t write a book in a day.
Entrepreneurs don’t create a successful runaway business overnight.
Musicians don’t become famous after one show.

But doing something — anything — every day? That’s going to add up to something extraordinary.

Why do we live (on average) to the ripe old age of 90 or beyond?

Life doesn’t happen at once either. (I came, I saw, I stood in lines, I died)

Life is iterative, which is why each iteration — each day — is vitally important.

By focusing on what you do, the next action/moment, and aligning that action to your priorities, you turn yourself into a powerful force of massive change.

The results you seek in life might not show up tomorrow, but by doing the work today, you’ve planted the seeds of its reality.

Renaissance Life Principle #2:

Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change.

When we focus too much on the future or dwell too much on our past, we lose the ability to create change. 

Living for today is about being aware of what is important to you, prioritizing those over filler or shiny objects, and pursuing them consistently.

Most people see time as a disadvantage or enemy:

“How did time fly so quickly?”
“I never have enough time…”
“There’s not enough time in the day…”

(I’m guilty of these and more.)

When you decide to pursue a Renaissance Life, time can become your ally. By working on your goals each day, even just a little bit (even so small it feels like you didn’t make any progress) and developing the patience to Keep Pursuing, your goals are basically inevitable. 

Look, I know what some of you might be thinking, we can’t all walk on the moon, or be knighted by the Queen, (Sir Waggoner at your service), but we can create massive impact in our lives and in the lives of others by focusing on the little baby steps. Small actions create waves.

But what if today sucked? What if I miss a day (or week)? What if I failed miserably? What do I do then?

Look Forward. 

Failure, missteps, setbacks — they are part of the learning process. Look forward to the person you strive to be, take action immediately on your dreams, and you WILL be that person right now. Focus on the now, each second we are still breathing is a chance for us to make a change. Your fresh start comes the moment you decide to take create the change you wish to see. Take Small actions today!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner
 

https://forms.convertkit.com/317372?v=6

The Only Way Out is Through

I am no stranger to pain.

I️ injured my neck a few years ago. (Injury is a small word)
I’ve dealt with burnout,  toxins, and chronic fatigue.
Gut problems, financial problems, friend problems…

(Pssst. I️ am writing long-form articles on each of these and how to overcome them and any other setback you might face too)

Here’s some clarity I’ve learned from pain.

We get into setbacks when we don’t see them coming or up our own boobs to change our approach.

When you’re bullhead, naive or complacent about the choices you make, you try to change the world around your stance. Being hard doesn’t mean having strength, it means you’re fragile. Like a log placed on a fire, when things get hot you crumble into ash.

Wallowing will get you nowhere.
Giving in too easily will get you nowhere.
Wishing for a different outcome will get you nowhere.

The only way out is through.

Bruce Lee once said, “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns”.

We must bend ourselves around the problems to find solutions. Forward motion. Don’t reject the pain, frustration, and fear. Let yourself feel I­t­. Give I­t­ edges you can grasp onto. Anytime I️ revert back to numbing myself off from the pain, I’m forgoing the ability to adapt to I­t­. Fixed Mindset. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” But when I️ feel the pain and give I­t­ the time of day, my mind and body give me solutions to find a way through. Pliable Mindset.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”Bruce Lee

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”Albert Einstein

On The Rise: A Mantra for a Meaningful Life

Pssst. Here’s a Link to the Audio Version

On The Rise

Up before the morning rays,

coffee in hand,

salutations and praise,

gratitude for another day — 

On The Rise.

 

Mind right,

path is straight —›

Action this day says

small steps lead to big change —

On The Rise.

 

Shoulders of giants, 

the less you’ll mistake

failure is bad

when it stops you in place —

On The Rise.

 

Better together,

words, wit and stone

cherish your tribe

you get what you sow —

On The Rise.

 

Mastery in momentum,

habit is a verb

how you do the small

defines it all —

On The Rise.

 

Focus in to begin

Think sideways to win,

Rome was built one moment at a time

Thoughts are your direction —

On The Rise.

 

Master of all,

jack nothin’ agrees.

Master of few,

one, two, then three.

Priority of mind is a renaissance life — 

On The Rise.

 

Reflect on the good,

learn from the rest

checkin daily, monthly at best 

what gets measured is put to the test —

On The Rise.

 

Rest is equally important,

but the easiest to neglect.

Investment in health

is a long-young road of success —

On The Rise.

 

Are you living or just doing?

Are you challenging and pursing?

Are you asking? Are you improving?

Questions are lightning rods to achievement —

On The Rise. On The Rise.

 

Etch this in heart, mind and soul,

sing, share and wear it,

make it better, make it your own

Life is about creating — 

On The Rise, On The Rise, On The Rise.

 

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner, Feb 7th 2017

Support the Renaissance: Become a Patron (It’s a Win-Win)

Dear Hesitant Creative Like Me,

“What if it doesn’t work?”

‘What if I invest all this time into my idea that I’m really excited about, but it doesn’t get the feedback or engagement I would like?’

‘Would all my time invested matter?’

‘And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?’

 

Dear hesitant Creative Like Me,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I completely understand how you feel.

I was running through the same thoughts when I started my clothing company boldsheep.com (@boldsheep) and when I started this very site.

‘What if no one buys anything from me?’

‘What if nobody reads or comments on my blog?’

And you know what?

Nobody did.

Nobody bought any shirts, nobody read my posts. Nobody was listening.

(And mom’s don’t count)

Even though I implicitly told myself I wouldn’t, I made every mistake in the book.

Fffffff…

But here’s the thing: It was worth it.

Every mistake, every problem, every failure has made me a better and more capable person. 

What if it doesn’t work? It probably won’t. Do it anyway.

Ask yourself, ‘would I rather try and fail or would I rather not try and be exactly where I am now?’

Failure is not an end-point, rather a turning point. It’s Life telling you that your idea needs some reworking and tuning.

What about this worked and what didn’t? What can I change to earn more engagement? How can I do this better next time? Okay that sucked. What went wrong, and how can I avoid it?

The biggest lesson I can give you about starting something is its okay to fail.

If your idea doesn’t work. Keep going. Keep pursuing your dream.

Every good endeavor needs to be honed and crafted.

Reinvent, rework, redesign, pivot, tweak, ask, hone, step back, leap, tack, sprint, redefine..

Do whatever you have to make your idea and yourself better.

And if you must start over with a new idea, take what you learned on your last project and use it to your advantage on your next one.

When it comes to building an audience, focus on helping one person. Focus your efforts on impacting just one person who’s your ideal customer / client.

Because each additional follower count you gain is a person on the other end. Someone you might be able to impact.

 

‘And if people actually like my stuff, how will I keep up with all the engagement and orders?’

That’s a good problem to have. It means what you’re doing is working and having an impact.

Stay honest. Ask for help. Let your audience know. Remember, Vulnerability is Relatability.

Things to note and live by:

  • Every single person who made something wonderful started where you are — at the beginning.

On the ground. figuring out things. failing forward. stepping out of their comfort zones.

  • Continuous action creates continuous opportunities.

what you do will have create far greater value to you than what you don’t do.

  • No is better than maybe. 

Don’t rely on a maybe. Don’t let your life be controlled by ‘some day i will…’

Everything that you want to do, is still in your head, not on the page. And what you should or could do won’t get you anywhere you want to go. 

Everything you can do will change your life for the better if you decide to act on it.

  • Train yourself to think of the positive possibilities, instead of the negative outcomes. 
  • In the end, all the setbacks, frustrations and pains are worth it.

Just because you might fail, doesn’t justify saying no to the good you’ll give to the world if you say yes instead.

I personally believe you are capable of making your dream a reality.

you should too. Once you do, you’ll be on your way.

Remember, today is the best day to start.

I hope this helps you, if it doesn’t I’ll try again.

#KeepPursuing, Don’t Quit Your Day Dream — Josh Waggoner | Feb 3rd 1.30PM EST, Chattanooga TN | Updated Fed 6th

 

If this article helped, let me know in the comments below, or via email: josh@renaissanceamanlife.com.

Dear Creative Like Me, If you are struggling with something and want some advice, email me your thoughts, and you question might be featured on the RL.

Support the Renaissance: Become a Patron (It’s a Win Win)

Support comes from you! Buy Products I love and find helpful

Drink Some Tasty Greens

De-stress Feel Good

related wisdom

Book: Start. Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff

Book: Will it Fly by Pat Flynn

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.

— Napoleon Hill

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

— Seneca

Defining Success & Failure

We are often told to define what success looks like to us.

I think this is an important habit to cultivate. Otherwise, you’ll end up never satisfied with where you are. Undefined success doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like where and what type of success you end up at.

Defining Success is an essential part to actually achieving success in the first place.

However, no one tells us to define what failure looks like to us.

Failure is just as important as success, because failure determines our ability to achieve.

Our relationship with failure determines our success

Failure — in some fashion — is inevitable (unfortunately), so if we are bad at failing, then we’ll be hardpressed to keep going and stay consistent.

Of course failure is far from easy. I know all too well the feelings failure can leave behind in it’s wake. A rock in your stomach. Cold shivers streaking across your back, like claw marks. The feeling of worthlessness

Failure isn’t fun (understatement of a lifetime), but we can have a healthy relationship with it by defining what it means to us.

Healthy success is success aligned with what we cherish and find meaningful.

Healthy failure is seeing failure as a temporary setback, rather than an endstate.

Failure only stops us when we let it control our next actions. (inaction, hesitation, or playing it safe)

We can overcome failure by learning, pressing forward, and changing tactics.

See it as a necessary step on your way towards your own version of success.

Failure loses its weight when it’s just another todo we have to check off.

#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

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” — Morihei Ueshiba

 

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J. K. Rowling

 

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” — C. S. Lewis

How to Succeed (..Eventually)

The first time we try — we could get lucky —

but we’ll probably fail.

The second time we’ll probably fail again. — We’ve gone further than most do.

Failure is not an end state, it’s a stepping stone to success +

Failing isn’t fun. doesn’t feel good.

But it’s how we learn. It’s how we get better.

‘It’s a rite of passage.” Failure shows us what works and what doesn’t and — believe it or not — it’s how we succeed. Maybe not today, but eventually. Soon.

Persistence is what leads us to ‘success‘ —

whatever that means to you — and separates us from those who haven’t yet.

And if we keep going, even in failure after failure, we will make it happen.

we will become what we’ve always wanted to be.

Action Step Persist. Keep at it. Make it happen

Add more of what’s working, Remove what’s not.

Mantra — Failure is a stepping stone. I can succeed with persistence.

#KeepPursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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

Support the ad-free blog by signing up for the Renaissance Life Patreon!

related wisdom

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

“Failure isn’t a badge of shame. It is a rite of passage.” — Tony Hseih, Zappos

Let it Go

Negative thoughts lead to negative outcomes and actions.

fearing failure leads us to fail, because

the fear itself is holding us back from

what we need to do (and are to scared to do) to succeed.

In other words, 

We fail because we fear.

(I fear the fear of failure because the fear of fear of failure makes me fail)

Same with stress, worry, anxiety.. we tend to stress about stress, and worry about worry (which is a spiraling cycle) and we get in our own way of where we want to go.

It’s like we are in a car, with a destination in mind, yet we have one foot on the gas and the other on the brakes. We may be moving but there’s friction. Friction that we cause.

We are unable to succeed because we’ve locked ourselves in a cage that we’ve built.

A cage of assumptions, falsehoods and in-action.

The great relief is 

we have the key to unlock our cages. We can take our foot off the brakes.

We have to let it go.

And open ourselves up to the unknown.

And believe in the idea that

our thoughts direct our actions.

We are going to fail, and get lost, and

experience all the bumps on the road to achievement and brilliance. And that’s okay, because we’ve let it go. We know what’s important, and we’re moving forward.

related:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living — Dale Carnegie

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“Letting go give us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Deal with Failure with James Altucher

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

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