If you had complete mastery over a skill or passion you loved, what would your life look like?
Paint a picture in your mind. How does your life feel, how does it taste, what does a day in the life look like? Maybe you’re further along in your journey and have reached mastery, what does it feel like to you?
Mastery isn’t being complacent at the top of the mountain. Mastery is being fully capable of creating an idea from your head and making it come to life. Mastery is helping others and showing them how to be capable too. Mastery is continuously learning more, and exploring the entire scope of mountain ranges, versus never leaving the hill that you’re on.
So what does mastery feel like to you?
For me, mastery is waking up with energy and happiness. It’s making a living and meaningful change doing what you love. It’s practice and honing essential habits every day. It’s having the freedom and cheerful spirit to spend time with those you love. Mastery is seeing challenge, fear, embarrassment, and failure as old friends — life lessons to forge a better you. Mastery is having the skill and wisdom to create with impact and live for something bigger than yourself.
Mastery will probably mean something different for you, depending on what you want to master, and that’s fantastic. What a boring world this would be if we were all the same LEGO pieces.
What matters is that you’re giving it your all to create that ideal day and feeling you have when you think of mastery.
Life won’t be perfect, but perfection is for the birds.
However, by pursuing mastery, life will be exceptional.
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” — Albert Einstein
“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” — Michelangelo
“Wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life – in firmness of mind and a mastery of appetite. It teaches us to do as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a color.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Beginner’s body is the disconnection between what you’re mind says you can do and what your body is capable of doing.
Drawing is a great example. If you don’t know how to draw and you sit down and try to draw a landscape or from your imagination, most of the time you’ll be disappointed because you can only manage to draw stick figures.ww
When we think, ‘I can run a triathlon’ and then go do it — without a day of training (unless you count MarioKart) — but our bodies say ‘what the h🌋ll you think you’re doing?
At this stage, our skills aren’t aligned with our mind. Beginners bod can be really discouraging especially when we are trying to learn something new. We think we should be great immediately (like the movies) and when we’re not we tend to give up before we get going.
However, the beginner’s body is just a part of the learning process. In fact, I think successful people are envious of you. To see the world with a fresh set of eyes without the weight of success. Of course, you’re going to suck at the beginning. That’s why they call it the beginning.
Fear not: Keep going — despite the suckitude — you will grow out of your beginner’s bod. If you really want to master a skill you have to learn to be okay with failing at the start. What could possibly stop someone who decides to never give up?
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” — Jack Ma, Alibaba
“Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.” — Simon Sinek, Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, Find Your Why
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
The Renaissance Life is not a solo endeavor.
Sure, if we wish to create change in our lives and the lives of others, we must be self-reliantand take continuous action with our own hands.
Being an Individualist doesn’t mean being alone.
We are more capable together than we are by our lonesome.
We become our best selves by connecting with others. We are better together.
And thus, a new segment on the RL called We the People: highlighting creatives who are a part of the Renaissance Tribe and represent our Ethos.
I ask you questions, you give us insights from your own life.
Enter Bonny Jean.
(bold’s and styling by yours truly — Josh Wags 🙂
Q 1. What are the best lessons your mom and dad taught you? (Or siblings)
“It’s okay if you’re not okay” – My little sister Suzannah. She told me that two years ago in the depths of my depression. I’ve learned that over and over again these past couple of years: It’s okay to be broken, to admit brokenness, to lean on friends and family who love you, and then do art, run, dance, sing, be outside… do something to work through your pain, but never ever ignore it. Your pain brings you closer to a truer version of yourself, but you have to face it and feel it to let it shape you into who you are meant to be. The first step, for me, was hearing “It’s okay if you’re not okay”.
Q 2. What’s your favorite travel experience?
Living on a hospital ship off of the coast of West Africa: My roommates from that time are still my best friends. It was definitely a life changing experience.
Q 3. What are some decisions you’ve made that have made you into who you are today?
Traveling after high-school and college and most recently moving to San Clemente- up rooting my life, starting over. I was once told “Travel trims the fat off the soul” by John Stember, a man I met while camping in the Grand Tetons. It’s true! Being around people with completely different childhoods and belief systems tests you. It reveals who you truly are deep down under all that comfort we’re surrounded by in our daily lives.
Probably the most profound decision I ever made was to live.
I found myself with bleeding wrists on the bathroom floor, hysterical, crying, rocking, wanting to die, when suddenly a profound calmness poured over me. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “NO. there is more life to live, people to meet, places to see, laughter to be had. You will not kill yourself” So I bandaged my wrists, wiped my face, and started being honest with myself and others.
Being honest means disagreeing with people.The decision to listen to my still small voice has been a big change for me. disagreeing with people is hard, but learning to exist and observe the world around me from an island within myself has been life changing. If you can live from a place of solitude (read: Henri Nouwen’s “reaching out”) you can love others more and appreciate and respect their beliefs and ideas.
Q 4. What songs do you sing when you are alone? And what new bands are you digging recently?
I sing “Day Dreamer” by Adele a lot… it’s just in a good key for me.
Q 5. What advice would you give to someone pursuing creative work?
Do something that scares you and you think you’ll hate. Turn off your brain and create, even if you think it won’t make any sense. Sometimes I paint something, then I write a bunch of stupid stuff all over it to ruin it and then I paint over it again… just don’t put boundaries on yourself. There are no rules!
Q 6. What or who inspires you and why?
Nature– being outside fuels my creativity. It’s big and fathomless and beautiful. We could never come close to creating something as magnificent, simple, and complex as a blade of grass.
Q 7. In one word, how would your best friend describe you?
Q 8. What’s something challenging you faced recently and how did you handle it?
It’s been a challenging year, to be honest, but the best thing I have learned to do is to make a list. One side is a list of things I know I want to do but aren’t good for me (think drink, reach out to certain people that aren’t good for me, rely on certain relationships too much) and on the other side is a list of things that give me life and bring me joy (think yoga, running, tea, safe friendships). I make rules for myself that I try to follow and then I breathe and do the next right thing for however long it takes to come out of the cloud I’m in. Sometimes that’s a day and sometimes it’s three months. I claim grace days. Where, if i got out of bed, put on clothes, and went to work, I am very proud of myself. “Should” doesn’t exist in my dictionary during these times and if I slip up and do something on my “not good for me” list I breathe, forgive myself, and remember that all that exists is today and I can do my best with what I have in this moment.
Q 9. What’s your mission in life? (Or mission right now)
To be present
Q 10. If someone gave you 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Invest in small businesses in 3rd world countries.
Q 11. One thing you liked about last year, and one thing you want to improve this year?
I learned to laugh again. I want to be more consistent.
Thank you Bonny Jean for your vulnerability, advice and words of encouragement.
If you want to give yours on the Renaissance Life, email me @: email@example.com with the subject: We The People. Tell me who you are, why your a good fit for the Renaissance Tribe and link your social media’s.
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“It’s about expanding yourself, and improving yourself in multiple areas, but [having priority in mind] by starting with one area, and going from there.”
Apologies for saying, “on the daily” I’ve disgraced myself and all josh’s out there in the world.
1. Choose a set of skills (3 – 5) you would love to be a master.
2. Make them into daily habits by practicing in a small way. make it something stupid small, the easier it is, the more likely you’ll make a habit out of it.
3. Prioritize your skill list. Choose one that’s the most important to you RIGHT NOW, focus on it first. Build up your abilities in that skill before pursuing the next. Developing multiple skills at once is possible, but it’s far more likely (and easy) if you stick with one at a time.
4. Study the greats of today and from history. Who is a master in what you want to do already? What can you learn from their path? What systems do they have in place?
5. Add regular feedback, and measurements to your routine to get the most improvement in the shortest amount of time. Remember, what gets measured get’s managed. Measure things in a way that is easy rather than difficult. If it takes longer to measure than it does to practice your skill, figure out a way to simplify. Simplify simplify simplify.
Mastery happens on the day to day. Whatever we can do to set up our day right to practice our skills will create space for us to become mastery in them.
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‘Honest is the best policy’ is one of those phrases you hear over and over again until it loses it’s meaning entirely. Once a phrase ends up on a coffee mug and a dog sweater, it’s becomes background ascetics rather than practical advice.
However, if you take a moment to let the idea sink in, it can become one of your greatest assets.
By living with honesty — being honest with yourself, and being open to sharing that with others — your impact and life can improve dramatically. Here’s why:
being real gets you furthest in life.
Recently, I’ve been wondering why I follow / admire certain people and what sets them apart from the majority.
If they have anything in common, it’s their ability to be true to themselves and unafraid to show their failures and faults as well as their successes. (Or more aptly Put, they feel the fear, yet do it anyway).
Standouts are not only honest to the world, but honest with themselves.
How does one standout? Why do I want to consume everything this person does?
How do they inspire me and how can I do the same to inspire others?
By being true to yourself and open — good and bad. Struggles and all.
They stand out because they are more them, then you are yourself.
Vulnerability is Relatability*
(*to coin up a word 🙂
And being relatable is the key to connecting with others.
How can you expect to get anywhere without the people — your audience, your tribe, your friends — that push you there?
How can you expect to know yourself, if you’re not honest with yourself?
And its not that your not honest with yourself necessarily. But are you being 100% you everywhere you go? Or are you picking and choosing what to show or hide depending on the situation?
Honesty is how you stand out, and differentiate, because Being honest means being you.
You become something more when you become more yourself +
#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner, Renaissance Man | Dec 5, 2016 Updated: Jan 20th, 2017