Head Games

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Creativity is 90% head games.

Sure, we have to act on our imagination to make it real. But the biggest thing that holds us back (or elevates us higher) is how we think.

Thinking touches every aspect of what we do. Even when we are not actively thinking about it, our brains are thinking about it for us.

What is procrastination but thinking you don’t have what it takes or thinking you’d rather do something else instead? What is a distraction but us thinking and processing the world around us? What is creative fear but mental uneasiness with the unknown and doubt about ourselves?

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker

That’s why habits and rituals are so important. They give us the opportunity to get us out of our heads so that we can focus on creating. When you streamline everything around your creative habit, you remove all the head games that can derail you from doing the work.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #806

Join the Renaissance:


SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

I Need a Tune Up

“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can’t find who it’s originally attributed to, but there’s a great quote from the show Justified where the protagonist, Rayland, is bringing in a drug dealer or something and says “If you run into an *sshole in the morning, you ran into an *sshole. If you run into *ssholes all day, you’re the *sshole.”

Personally, I’ve noticed that when I’m in a bad or discouraging mood, every little things seems to be against me. I wake up late, feeling tired. Everyone I come into contact is in a bad mood. My car is out of gas. There’s construction and traffic on my way to work. I trip and rip my pants.

The real problem isn’t the traffic, the problem is me. (It’s not you, it’s me.) And more specifically its my mental state.

When I’m feeling great mentally, everything is great! Traffic seems much lighter today than normal! Wow, I’m literally getting all green lights. Who cares that I tripped and ripped my pants. It was time to get new ones anyway.

I wonder if our mindset works on the same wavelength of music frequency.

We tune instruments, such as a guitar or piano, to be in tune to a particular harmony. Does ‘tuning’ our minds to a more optimistic mindset create more harmony in our lives?

It’s more likely that having an optimistic view of our life, in good or bad circumstances, changes how we perceive what happens to us. So when setbacks happen, our optimistic mindset become a mental firewall to self-criticism and despair, which makes us more resilient to negative circumstances.

All when need to do is figure out how to turn the guitar tuning pegs, so to speak, and align our mental strings to the correct note.

First, we must become aware of our mental states. It’s hard to stop being a crabby patty if you don’t know you are acting like one. This requires us to make regular mental pit stops to check in with ourselves and make sure we are acting from the mindset we want to be in. Am I grumpy? Do I feel agitated or annoyed by things that normally aren’t? Am I hangry?

Second, we need to cover our bases. Did I get enough sleep last night? Do I need a nap? When was the last time I took a break? When was the last time I had water or ate something? It’s the little things that we are neglecting that cause us the most trouble.

It’s the little things that we are neglecting that cause us the most trouble.

And lastly, we need to find a way to reset. Easier said than done, but taking time for ourselves helps. Go for a walk. Take a break and pick up a good book. Read a blog post or two. Go play a pickup basketball game with a friend. Run up some hills. Breathe. Do whatever you need to do to reset your mental state.

When we are in tune, and acting from a mental state of possibility and opportunity, life is electric. Setbacks become moments to practice resilience. Failure becomes lessons. And all the good things become joy.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #671

Join the Renaissance:


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

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Count Your Wins

Do you ever catch yourself saying, “I wish something would go right for a change..”

Or find yourself in lose-lose situations? ‘Why do this keep happening to me?’

I found myself in a defeated mindset this past week after multiple situations were stacking against me. Issues with finances and some no’s I was expecting to be yes’s.

I was tired too, work-lagged from a lot of exciting events happening at Pass It DownPaul Cummings Enterprises and 60Watts.

A defeated mindset is not what a Renaissance Life is about.

I keep coming back to the idea that winners keep getting back up. They don’t shy away from failure; They see failure as part of the process of success.

This is the ideal state we want to be in. All it takes is the right mindset.

A winner is a winner all the time because they have a ‘keep pursuing’ mindset. They’re going to lose, and probably lose a lot (because they take more risks), but they always get back up. That’s who they are.

A loser loses all the time because they have a ‘give up’ mindset. ‘Oh this sucks, I guess I’ll stop while I still ahead’. When a loser loses, they expected it (and ultimately created that reality). And when a loser wins they think ‘it’s too good to be true’ and self-sabotage.

The question is, how do we Win no matter what we are going through?


Count Your Wins.

One small thing yet life changing thing we can do is count our wins.

It’s easy to lose out on the good things around you, when the bad ones keep slapping you in the face. At the end of a day are you counting your loses or your wins? Our minds tend to bend towards the bad things that happen to us. If one-hundred great wins happen, one lose can completely wash it all away.

By actively counting what goes right each day, you can prevent any negatives from taking over.

Stack your wins.
Where they are small wins, silly wins, big wins or stretch wins, they all count towards a meaningful day.

Did you make your bed? Win!
Did you complement some one today? Win!
Did you NOT have a piece of cake? Win!
Did you do something towards your dreams? Mega Win!

Any time you have a setback or loss, learn from it, and move on. Never count your losses. Only wins baby.

Think of this as a number-lovers version of Tim Ferriss’s Jar of Awesome, or Tony Robbins 3 gratitudes. (In fact I like to do all three. Win Win Win!)

In the morning, write out three things you are grateful for.

When something good happens, write it down on a piece of paper and place it in your jar of awesome.

And count how many wins you have each day (Remember, even one small win means your day was a success)

There’s nothing sweeter than seeing your win count stack up.

All of this might sound absurd to you, but this is how you develop a winners mindset. 

When we stop dwelling on the things that go wrong, might go wrong, misfortunes and things out of our control, the more we can focus on succeeding and living a life true to ourselves.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Inspiration +

Ryan Holiday circa 2007: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:

The only real thing separating the winners from the losers is if they get back up. Am I going to appreciate these events for their extreme improbability or am I going to delude myself into thinking I am cursed forever?’

‘Risk can lead to total failure but cautiousness just the absence of success.’

‘So I didn’t quit.’

‘there is a difference between accepting responsibility and burdening yourself with blame.’

Related Wisdom:

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” — Vince Lombardi

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” — Confucius

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)

Now Testing: Dual N Back

Can brain training increase intelligence?

Let’s test it.


Dual N Back:

This field of research is still relatively new, and results have been mixed, but many studies suggest that brain training challenges (such as dual n back) can increase your IQ / fluid intelligence.

“Fluid intelligence measures how people adapt to new situations and solve problems they’ve never seen before.” (Alexis Madrigal, wired article, 2008)


  • Memory Improvements
  • Pattern Recognition / Connectivity
  • Faster Problem solving
  • Improved Focus / Attention


In the end, there’s only one way to know for sure — Test it for ourselves.


I’ll be testing dual n back with —

20 round (about 20 – 25 minutes) per day, for 4 weeks.

I’ll periodically post my thoughts and results as I go (so be sure to check in!)


If you would like to learn more check out the article on Bulletproof Exec

How to Add 2.75 IQ Points Per Hour of Training

and the book by Dan Hurley, Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power



Josh Waggoner