Life Principle #6: Live For Challenge

Imagine yourself backstage.

You’re about to go one and speak to a crowded room of thousands of people.
The crowd is lively, the stage lights are bright, and you’re freaking the E. F-ing G. out.

Good.

That means you’re doing something right.

Public speaking is one of the most feared and revered skills we can have as humans. The ability to capture the minds and imaginations of thousands all at once with words — interpreted sounds — is incredible to me!

But unless you practice and hone your skills, it’s easy to see how being in front of that many people all looking at you at once can create such a fear-inducing effect. When I’ve spoken in front of people, I’ve either killed it or completely (arti)choked. It was all about the mindset I wore and the perspective running through my mind at the moment.

One prevailing theme I’ve observed from reading multiple biographies and from my own experiences is that challenges ultimately lead to greatness.  We become more capable, more confident, and grow faster when we jump into our discomfort zones and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Life Principle #6: Life for Challenge

Mastery of life begins in our discomfort zones. Do what you fear.

When you feel a ping of fear* about something, that is something you should immediately start doing.

(* fear doesn’t mean stupid. Don’t go frolic with tigers or play hopscotch with the mob.)

Every moment of pain, discomfort, failure, critique, hiccup, rock-bottom fall is a challenge to overcome.

The worst setbacks we face can become opportunities for going further than we ever imagined. 

Setbacks don’t define you, it’s what you do with them that speaks about who you are.

Chronic neck injury, burnout, useless college education, financial meltdown, shallow friendships, fatigue, uncertainty, these are my experiences. These are the stories I have the opportunity to share with others and teach them how to endure and overcome their own challenges.

I think we all know intuitively that we have to do something in order to be something. (I feel dumb even writing it)
If you want to be a blogger, you have to blog.
If you want to be a musician, you have to practice, record and play.
If you want to start an online business, you have to start.

And yet we still let fear hold us back. We let discomfort keep us from our ideal future.
But the strange thing is when you live for challenge, you learn to enjoy the discomfort.

Do you think Jimmy Fallon still get’s nervous every time he goes out on stage during Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Of course he does! But he loves it.  He loves the fear and uncertainty.

The same goes for everyone who’s ever done anything and stood out in their lives.

And when you do step into your discomfort zone, despite the fear, you become unstoppable. Not because you can’t fail (you will) but because you proved to yourself that you are more capable then you or others thought possible. 

Anyone can crowd surf, but only a few try.

Starting a business is terrifying. What if I fail? What if I lose all of my money?
Becoming a public speaker is terrifying. What if I bomb? What if I embarrass myself?
Becoming an author is terrifying. What if I never finish? What if it’s my work is no good?

But what if it works? What would you’re life look like if you succeed?
And if it is terrible, if you do bomb, what if you kept going until you succeed?

What’s scarier to you: stepping into the fear and challenging your comfort zone, or giving into the fear and living a lifetime wondering if your life would be better if you had?

The largest regrets I’ll have on my deathbed are challenges I didn’t take, and opportunities I missed because I was too scared in the moment to try. 

A moment of discomfort looking like an idiot, falling on my face, being criticized is nothing compared to a lifetime of giving into fear and taking the normal road.

The Renaissance Life is about challenging yourself to become a part of something greater, to be what you know you are capable of.

Live for Challenge.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights (From People Smarter Than ME)

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” — Trent Reznor

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” — Steve Jobs

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