Thirty, Flirty and Thriving (part 2)

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee

30 goals for my 30th year:

  1. Get married and go on a ballin honeymoon
  2. Nanowrimo
  3. 1000 Email Subscribers
  4. 2 podcasts episodes a week
  5. Start a side business that makes an extra $1000/mo
  6. Become a confident singer
  7. Resign the Renaissance Life website
  8. Create and ship an app
  9. Become a YouTuber
  10. Create an online course
  11. Find / Build an incredible work environment
  12. Earn $10,000 / mo
  13. Get Nutritionist License
  14. Self-publish a book
  15. Debt-free lifestyle
  16. Surround myself with a solid group of friends and communities
  17. Piano music theory, Learn Jazz
  18. Get better at music production
  19. Release a music ep
  20. optimize my mind, body, and spirit
  21. Take an acting/theater/performance class
  22. Take an improv class
  23. Be more decisive
  24. Become a better decision-maker. Plan. Prep. Perceive.
  25. Learn a martial art
  26. Increase my RAM: Learn accelerated learning/ memory techniques
  27. Improve storytelling/communication skills
  28. Make stuff with my hands
  29. Learn to “greet what comes my way with gratitude”
  30. Learn Japanese

For the last couple of years, instead of doing New Years Resolutions, I do them on my birthday and come up with a list of goals I want to pursue during the year. (Part 1 was a brief look back at my twenties.)

The plan is to add one more goal each year, until I (God willing) reach a certain age (50 or 55) and then start removing one goal per year. So at age 55 I’ll have 55 goals, but at age 110 I’ll only have one goal (aka get out of bed lol.)

Ambition isn’t always about reaching for more. Often it’s more ambition to pick a big idea and go deep on it.

One thing you might notice about my 30 list is I’m a little all over the place. I feel like I’m still in the discovery phase of who I am and what’s possible. The two big themes that stand out are creativity and fear. Put another way, my list may look scattered, but each item is driving toward the goal of pushing me to be bold, put myself out there and try things that scare me.

Fear is a powerful motivator. It’s something that can motivate us to keep our heads down and shy away from attention. Yet fear is also something that can show us what we need to do. A flashing signing telling us we need to do this. Taking an improv class terrifies me—that’s why I know I need to do it.

Some of these are specific and concrete, others are a little too vague for my liking, so I’ll be thinking about how I can refine them into tangible actions.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1095

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Thirty, Flirty and Thriving (part 1)

Yesterday was my 30th birthday.

I’m feeling good about it (not panicking, promise) and excited about the future—but it’s still crazy to think that I’m 30.

For the last couple of years, instead of doing New Years Resolutions at the end of the year, I do them on my birthday. (That will be in part 2).

“Resolutions” has such a bad wrap and follow-through, so I rarely think of it in those terms. I think of it as more like specific, tangible goals and a lifestyle I want to aim for.

30 goals for my 30th year.

My idea is to add one more goal each year until I’m 57 and then start counting backward. 50 goals when I’m 50. (Which is a lot!) 56 goals when I’m 58—down to 1 goal when I’m 115 (keep breathing).

Of course, I don’t exactly know my expiration date, so this is more of a fun way to reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to be.

Today I want to talk about my twenties.

I’m not gonna lie, my twenties were tough. Health, work, community, finances—you name it. But it’s so easy to focus on the negative things and lose track of all the good.

Instead of being negative, or the opposite—annoying positive, I want to highlight great experiences and lessons learned from difficult experiences.

Great things that happened in my 20s:

  • I started eating healthily and exercising.
  • I met Gabriella (now my Fiancée.)
  • We adopted Ren—the best dog I didn’t know I needed.
  • I met a lot of new people and made some great friends.
  • I started taking writing seriously and have written every day for 1000+ days in a row.
  • I started a podcast.
  • I taught myself design, marketing, entrepreneurship, cooking, yoga, and so much more.
  • I picked music back up.
  • I found my voice and started learning how to sing.
  • I traveled to LA, Austin, Thailand, New York, London, and Ireland.
  • I went to the beach a million times with my family.
  • I freelanced, worked at a couple of startups, and worked at a creative agency.
  • I started a YouTube channel.

Lessons Learned From my Twenties:

  • Health needs to be your number one priority. (Don’t wait until something is broken to take care of it.)
  • Not knowing what you want to do is part of the process.
  • Don’t Half-Ass anything, (especially decisions).
  • Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you want.
  • Get it in writing.
  • Compound Interest works for more than just money.
  • Reach out first. Jump on the dance floor first. (If everyone is waiting for someone else to go first, then no one will.)
  • Surround yourself with people who’ve got your back.
  • Aim for something big: it’s impossible to create a meaningful life you want by staying where you are.
  • Speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. Embarrass yourself. Because it’s such a small thing in the grand scheme of things.
  • Think through big decisions. (Just because you want something new, doesn’t mean you need it.)

It’s okay to wish you to go back and change things. It’s a sign that your heads on a little straighter than it was and that you are learning and growing.

Just don’t your mistakes keep you stuck in the past.

Allow your mistakes to improve your decisions and priorities going forward.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1090

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Day 1000

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee

I started writing daily out of ambitious desperation. You see, I wanted to write, to be a writer (among other things), but I wasn’t writing. I’d squeeze out a blog post every month or so, and jot down lots of ideas, but I was doing more non-writing than writing. I made the mistake of waiting for inspiration to come, instead of seeking inspiration out through motion.

Before:

I knew something needed to change, but I wasn’t quite sure what that was yet.

Seth Godin was a big inspiration. Somewhere around this time, I was reading his book, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck? A compendium of blog posts from his daily blog organized into centralized ideas. It was a thick-baby, coming in at 605 pages. I had read a few other books from Seth and would read his blog every so often. I think what drew me to the book was the fun and silly book cover with rubber duckies and the title. (I’ve always been drawn to ducks and birds, but that’s a story for another day).

It was inspiring to see how a writing practice could add up to something bigger and deeper than its individual parts.

Around the same time, I was also inspired by a couple of people I knew who had challenged themselves to draw every day for a year and make a drumbeat every day for a year.

At this point, I had what you could call an epiphany (aka the obvious thing that keeps smacking you in the face trying to get your attention).

If I were to write every day for, say a hundred days, that would be like writing a one-hundred-page book. Or a full year would be three-hundred and sixty-five pages.

With a daily habit, I could quickly go from being a “wannabe writer” to a “writer”.

This isn’t exactly an original thought. Plenty of people do this in their own craft (whether they have a name for it or not). But it was original to me. Going daily planted the seed for something much greater than myself.

During:

Ideas come from Momentum

When it comes to wanting to do something (wanting to be something) it’s all about momentum. Taking a yoga class once is a fun exercise. Doing yoga every weekday is a practice. One is a pastime, the other is taking you somewhere. Where you are going depends on the habit you are cultivating. But whatever it is, you are going somewhere. That goes for good habits and bad habits. Building momentum comes from being consistent and intentional. Phoning it in is almost like standing still. You have to pour your heart and energy into something in order to make it become something alive and special. Some days, all you have to give is phoning it in. If that’s all you got today, then that’s all you got. But that just means you have to get up the next day and try harder.

One thing I noticed fairly quickly as I had no shortage of ideas, almost as if having a creative outlet gave my mind permission to open myself up to my life and let ideas flow in. I’ve noticed this before when I write songs.

Sometimes the music comes first and then inspires lyrics, other times coming up with lyrics naturally gives way to musical ideas. Regardless, the songs that come are a reflection of what I’m feeling, observing and-or experience at the moment.

Creativity needs an outlet, whatever that is for you. It’s not enough to want to be a dancer or want to be an Entrepreneur. You have to go out and live it. Your creative outlets are like lightning rods to ideas. But if you aren’t in motion ideas come much more slowly (if at all).

Another observation was that a writing idea could come from anywhere. A conversation. A new book. An old book. A walk in the park. Frustration. Anxiety. Anger. Random objects. Writing made me more observant of the world around me. I would have to pick and choose which writing idea I wanted to grab onto for the day.

Creativity is a mixture of conscious and subconscious influences. I can have a writing idea—call it a prompt or a question—in the morning, go about my workday without thinking about it, and have an answer to it by the evening when I sat down to write.

Of course, not every idea will be a masterpiece. But each day gave me the chance to work on my skills and hone my ideas. For every six decent to bad ideas, there was bound to be one good idea worth more than the rest combined.

Mistakes Lessons Learned

Mistake #1 Not Sharing Enough

One thing that took me an embarrassingly long time to do was to write one day in advance. Early on, I would could up with an idea, write, edit, upload, publish, and share all on the same day. This works but takes up a lot of mental space and the work doesn’t come out as nicely as I would like. Probably about a year in I took the initiative and wrote two posts in one day so that I schedule a post to go out in the morning instead of publishing it in the morning. If I were to go back and start over again, I would have done this from the beginning (people are more likely to read your work in the morning than in the evening). Writing the post that would go out the next day also gave each one a little room to breathe. I more time an idea has to stew, the more I could hone the message into a succinct idea.

Now I’m working on writing multiple posts in advance so that I can give each of them more time and attention. I’m still writing and editing every day, I’m just building on top of my craft and experimenting with ways to improve my skills, have better ideas, and provide more impactful and meaningful work.

Mistake #2 Not Leading with Story

Another thing I would do differently (and am working on improving now) is adding more storytelling to my blog posts. Storytelling is one of (if not the) most powerful ways to teach or get a message across to others. When we listen to a story, whether fantasy or reality, we put ourselves into the equation and are much more willing to listen and discover the knowledge and wisdom buried in the tale. A lot of my blogs are just straight up insights or observations. This type of writing has its place, but if you want to make people feel and care about what you have to say, you have to tell it in a way that they will want to listen.

Mistake #3 Dropping the Ball

The last thing I’ll mention is if I could go back and improve things, I would have kept up with my newsletter and podcast. I had a tiny newsletter even before I started daily blogging, but I just couldn’t stay consistent with it. And the same goes for my podcast. My life was in turmoil at the time, and those were the things that I had to give. But I’m kicking myself because they are powerful ways to connect with likeminded people and ways to share what you doing.

I’ve more recently reworked both my podcast and have started a few newsletters. My plan is to double, triple down on both of them.

Streaks are a powerful motivator

I’m not sure what the exact number is—it’s likely different for each of us—but perhaps around thirty days of doing something in a row, you build up a streak that you don’t want to break. Take walking for example. Walk today, and you might not think of anything if you didn’t walk tomorrow. It gets interesting when the day starts adding up. Walk six days in a row and you’ll likely want to walk on day seven. But what about thirty days? Ninety days in a row? A full year? You better believe that when day three-hundred and sixty-six rolls around you’ll do anything and everything to make sure you don’t miss it.

Here’s what one day of a habit looks like in star emojis:
⭐️

Here’s a full week:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A year:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

And here’s one thousand days:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Days add up. Whatever it is you want to do, whatever you want to be good at—make them work for you. It’s not easy, but if you stick to it it’s worthwhile.

After:

Daily blog has been a guiding force in my life for the last year plus years. Just as a daily habit can be your too if you take up the challenge. What better way to prove to yourself that you have ideas worth sharing and that you can help others by sharing your story.

You Have Ideas Worth Sharing.

Hitting a thousand days in a row doesn’t make me want to quit—in fact just the opposite. I want to do more, help more, connect more, tell better stories, and challenge myself to make The Renaissance Life something truly special.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1000 🎉

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The Benefits of a Multidisciplinary Life

The concept has many names:

Polymath, multi-hyphenate, multi-faceted, multidisciplinary, renaissance human, wunderkind

It essentially means being skilled and knowledgable in many things. Not a genius, per se, but someone who pursues a life of learning. And behind that learned skill is an insatiable curiosity that only grows the more you know and question.

The first person that likely comes to mind is Leonardo da Vinci. His curiosity knew no bounds. On top of being a master painter, he was also interested in architecture, geometry, engineering, mathematics, music, anatomy, botany, cartography, playwright stage design and more.

Being multidisciplinary isn’t for everyone. It isn’t an easy goal to take on. You have to spend time and them some to become competent—let alone exceptional—in one skill. More than one and you’re crazy. Luckily, you are in good company. The journey may be long and hard, but that makes it all the more special.

There are many benefits to seeking a multidisciplinary life:

Greater sense of wonder and curiosity. Instead of just following the path everyone else follows, or memorizing the answers and following the rules, a multidisciplinary life gives
you a mind that desires to understand the reason behind the rules. Questions awake curiosity and the desire to figure things out for ourselves. Instead of following the path most taken you to create your own path, leading to true wisdom and a fundamental understanding of how things work.

Ability to learn new things quickly. One skill relates to others. Your previous knowledge interweaves into new things you are learning. Wisdom combined with curiosity keeps you humble and in a beginner’s mind—never too arrogant enough to think you know all the answers. And with that comes the ability to easily apply what you know to other interests, soaking up knowledge like a sponge.

More unique ideas. Because you are interested in many subjects and crafts, your ideas tend to cross-pollenate. Skills influence one another. Lessons you picked up from learning photography might go on and influence how you learn to program, or what you use programming to build (a photography app for example). Each idea leads to another which leads to —

More connections and more opportunities. By learning multiple disciplines, you start to combine, mix and match interests with each other. Your love of film combining with your love of dance and your curiosity about sunsets. Each connection creates a new opportunity for a new project or a person you might meet.

All of these leads to better and more chances to create. And it also gives you more self-awareness of who you are and what you want in life.

curiosity > ideas > insights > skills > opportunities > connections > impact > more curiosity

But…

There are downsides too —

More on that tomorrow.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #905

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Zero Motivation Part 5: Remember Why You Do What You Do

Note: You can read this motivation series in any order, but if the thought of reading something out of order makes you want to curl up into a fetal position and stare off into space here’s are links to the others in order:

Part 1: Start Small
Part 2: Use the Fear of Inaction to your Advantage
Part 3: Creating something each day.
Part 4: Change your approach

Motivation Part 5: Know Your Why.

“Know yourself to improve yourself.”

Auguste Comte

It’s difficult to muster up the energy to do anything if your heart isn’t in it. No amount of trickery or cajoling will motivate you to do something you ultimately don’t want to do. At least without consequences.

The problem is sometimes we don’t know that our hearts are not in it. Or even worse, someone else does everything they can to convince us this is what we should be doing — despite how we feel.

You see this all the time with parents forcing their kid(s) into a particular job, like being a lawyer or engineer, when the kid(s) clearly would rather focus on dancing, music or running.

I don’t blame the parents. 98% of the time a parent is doing because they want the best for their kid(s). The parent is older and more experienced in the hardships of life than the bright-eyed kid who thinks (s)he’s invincible.

There’s much more to it, but I think it comes down to a difference of strategy. The parent wants their child to be happy and they know that safety and security is the best way for them to do that. The kid wants to be happy and they know that creative expression and pursuing their passions is the best way for them to do that.

Happiness likely is the balance between just enough safety and security and just enough passion and challenge.

Too much safety and you boredom yourself into conformity. Too much challenge and you are stressed out of your gourd. And both conformity and too much stress lead to unhappy campers.

First, we must know what we are passionate about. otherwise, we’ll try everything wastes our energy or let others dictate our lives for us. Then, we can begin to find a way to pursue our passions while also figure out how to live, save money and eat.

That could mean our passion is our job or we find a way to support our passion through selling our work or find patrons. Or it could mean our passion is what we do in our free time. By day, we are accountants, by night, we are YouTubers!

Once we have a good idea of what we like, finding out why we like it is a whole other matter. There’s some great work out there on this, particularly Simon Sinek’s writing.

Knowing why you create is slippery. Maybe it’s because you like to express yourself and the way you’ve found to do that is through design. Maybe a goal is driving you, like to be one of the best or to be admired. Maybe curiosity it’s what drives you. You can’t help but ask another question and figure out what’s behind the metaphorical mountain in front of you.

Whatever it is that drives you, make sure it comes from within. Don’t let external drives like fame, fortune, and power be your only motivator. Each one of those can take you far, but I hear they can leave a bad taste in your mouth if that’s all you care about. Fame, fortune, and power are side effects to impactful work, not the ultimate goal.

Once you know your why, you can remind yourself every day what you must do.

Knowing yourself also allows you to avoid any pitfalls or temptations you know will trip you up. If you want to avoid eating ice-cream, then having it in the house and serenading your name every time 10 PM rolls around. Get it out of the house! The same with anything that is taking you away from your craft. If Netflix is distracting you from creating, then unsubscribe. Don’t think of it as a permanent decision. You can always resubscribe next month. Think of it as an experiment to improve your practice.

One of my big goals is to be someone worthy of the title “Renaissance Man”. I want to be a true multi-disciplinary — a master of many skills. That drives me to always keep learning and challenging myself. This is one reason why I write. This is why I can create and learn all day, and never get tired. My body and mind may fatigue, but my spirit doesn’t.

What’s your driving goal?
Why do you feel called to your craft?

If you want to be an incredible guitarist, what’s stopping you?
If you want to be a regarded programmer, then start coding.

Knowing yourself also allows you to avoid any pitfalls or temptations you know will trip you up. If you want to avoid eating ice-cream, then having it in the house and serenading your

Always remember why you do what you do.

And then get to work practicing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #899

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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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Magic Beans

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on
being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Anna Quindlen

I think New Years Resolutions usually fail because we put too much pressure on ourselves to succeed. By the end of January, we want to have lost 25lbs, read a hundred books, run a marathon and thirty other goals on top of that.

We want the magic beans, the thing that will immediately give us what we want as easy as possible. But that’s no how change works.

Change happens slowly. A decision to change can happen instantly, but the hard work and commitment to make it reality takes some time.

While you’re thinking about 2020 and what you want to accomplish and experience, remind yourself that it’s okay if a goal might take a while. It might be easy, but it might not be. Either way, if it’s something you want to do or accomplish, do let difficulty stop you from doing it. Difficult moments are fleeting. They are like a campfire in a rainstorm.

By all means, make a giant list of things you want (I know I am going to). Then, pick on and focus in 100% on it. You’re not saying no to the others you’re are just saying no to them right now while you focus on the goal at hand.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #791

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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

Daily Focus on Your Vision

If you’re like me, you have all these big aspirational goals and visions in your head of what you want your life to be.

These goals are clear-cut and motivating on paper. Buuuuut then life happens. Responsibilities, commitments, debt.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the freedom and flexibility yet to build a writing cabin in the woods so I can write my novel.

I have to find ways to do it in between two full-time jobs, time spent with loved ones, and a side business.

Things come up. Some of them truly important, others that feel important at the time. Everything and everyone around is vying for your attention and energy. So there your vision of the future sits, in dream status. 

How many dreams of a better tomorrow exist only in people’s heads?

But if you are reading this, I know you have a desire to be more. You want to make change in, not only yourself, but the world.

You here the phrase, ‘life is a marathon, not a sprint’ but that leaves an important piece out:
Life is a marathon where at the finish line, you die. Morbid, I know, but vital. (Pun intended)

We can’t just jog our way through life. 

Sure, we are making progress and doing important things, but are we giving it our all on what’s important to us?

Vision is longterm thinking, but lived on a daily basis.

Vision is not fixed. Your future desires can change and improve as you grow and expand into a better person.

Here’s how:

Write and Read your goals everyday

Keeping your vision in your mind will paint how you see the world. Everything you do will be viewed through the lense of how to make your goals happen. Opportunities and ideas will be abundant.

Hone your vision by honing yourself

Read. A lot. Learn from people if different circumstances and walks of life from you. Study the greats. Craft your vision of your future around what has worked for others before.

Make small, yet bold moves towards that future every day.

We make think on our past experience and have our thoughts towards a better tomorrow, but the vision of what can be happens in the actions of our today. What we do in the present not only defines how we feel about our past going forward, but creates the future we all desire. I’ve said it a million times, and will say it a million more until everyone in the universe hears it — Small action leads to big change. Take bold moves towards your future every opportunity you can today.

Whatever obstacles and pain you’ve faced in the past, your future is determined but what you do in this very moment. You have the opportunity to write your own story.

Remember, dreams don’t just happen, they are made. And ‘future’ ‘vision’ are words that elicit powerful emotions and motivations, but your future lies in your today. Getting things right today and the next today, compounds into a life where your vision is a reality.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Inspiration +

Ryan Holiday, 2007 The Business of Running:

“You run to define yourself, and when you allow a short term challenge to alter your pace and long term strategy, you’ve just been defined by someone else.”

‘I Can Do That’

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “I can do that” when you see greatness on display?

(Write a book? I could totally do that… NFL? Psh move over Manning..)

I’ll make jokes about it sometimes, but other times I’m serious. I desire what they have. I want to be that good at writing, speaking, singing or whatever it may be.

That idea got me thinking.

What’s the difference between someone saying I can do that, versus someone saying it and doing it?

 

walking the walk  

Developing strategies of self-awareness will help guide you down the road you truly want to go, instead of the one you think you want to go.

The first thing we need to do is ask ourselves, “Is this right for me?”

“Is this right for me?”

Is this something I really want and value for myself and those around me? Or is this simply jealousy or flight of fancy?

The second thing to be aware of is compatibility. “Is this right for me right now?”

Does this goal work with my life? Does this goal align with my other goals and the goals of those closest to me?

https://forms.convertkit.com/273691?v=6

“Is this right for me right now?”

Once you know you’re in it to win it, there are three tips I can think of to push you into action:

  1. Having some idea of what your getting into
  2. Knowing where you’ll end up if you stick with it
  3. Leaping into it immediately.

There’s always going to be a beginner mode (aka suck fest) where you be laughably bad at it. (Whatever *it* is for you)

By getting real with yourself and acknowledging that, you won’t see the flaws when you fail, you’ll see ways you can improve.

And if you know what consistency will lead to — how your life will change if you compared to where you are if you actually do this — you will see the value in taking action. Your mind and what you need to do will be clear. 

With a sound perspective on your start and the possibilities of the finish, you are ready.

All that’s left is stepping out into the fear. The longer you wait the harder it will be and the more likely you’ll hold it off indefinitely. Leap.

When you decide to do something, take an immediate step towards your dream. 

After that, it’s all about belief. ‘Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.’

No one stumbles upon greatness.

Point me to anyone who has achieved what they desire without having belief in themselves that they could make it happen. No — that they will make it happen.

Believe in yourself josh d 🐞mn it.

Inspiration:
Ryan Holiday: 2007 SEPT. https://ryanholiday.net/ryanholiday-net/

“I can do that.” … I bet there are at least a thousand other people that felt the same way. I have seen their applications. But I went out and did it. Almost everything I have done in the last 4 years was in some way connected to making that a reality. It wasn’t “I can do that now” or “I deserve that today” but that it was within my range. And so I made it happen.