Creative Barriers: Continuing (Part 4)

So you’ve started something new. You’ve broken down doors that were keeping you from starting. Now you have to navigate the world of Continuing.

The three main barriers in this stage are:

1. How to stay motivated

2. How to stay focused

3. What to do when you get derailed

But what’s my motivation?

My motivation on any given day looks like a rollercoaster. One day I’m super tired, the next my neck is hurting worse than usual, another day and loved ones seem to be particularly hangry. It’s up and down and ultimately unreliable.

Luckily I don’t rely on motivation to keep me going. I lean on habits and daily practices.

When you start the day knowing you’ve got something to do, no matter what, it’s much easier to get it done—even if you don’t feel like it. Once you get a habit up and running, you expect it.

It’s helpful to expect and plan for rainy days too. Most days won’t be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time on your creative pursuits. Even if you occasionally have to get up super early, or stay up a little later, it’s much better than the alternative—not following your dreams. Feeling stuck. Wishing you would do something.


Staying focused is similar to staying motivated. If you’re not staying focused, then there’s probably a good reason for it. Remember your goals. Visualize why you are doing what you are doing.

I notice I start getting more distracted when I try to do too many things at the same time. When I’m reading 40 books, taking 15 online courses, working on 5 business ideas and 10 creative projects, I’ve obviously taken on too much at once.

Trying to do everything at once is the same as doing nothing.

0One thing at a time.

The key to continuing is **consistency**.

When you look at the work of people you admire, no matter the discipline, one thing that stands out most is their continuous dedication to their craft. You can see it in their output. It’s easy to mistake someone’s huge library of work as instantaneous—as if they pulled a couple of all nighter’s over the weekend and made everything you see. But really what you’re seeing when you’re looking at someone’s successes is little pieces and individual projects added up over time.

It’s like this plus symbol: +

For each creative project we do, we start to accumulate another +






Before you know it, you’ve got years of work behind you. Sure some of it you’d rather set on fire than showcase them, but even the flubs and bad work helped push you to a more meaningful and experienced place.

Success stems from consistency. Often we fail because we don’t stick to it long enough to succeed. Not that we have to permanently stick to every habit we try—just the ones we love and find valuable.

Even when we fail and get derailed, as long as we get back up in the saddle we have a chance of success.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1126

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Creative Barriers (Part 1)

Many things can limit us and distract us from creativity and doing what we dream of doing.

There are barriers at every stage:

  • Before
  • Starting
  • Continuing
  • Finishing
  • After

(There’s also a “Meanwhile…” stage. This is a concurrent stage that happening simultaneously with all the other stages. It’s everything that’s happening in the world and your life in addition to where you’re currently at.)

People handle different stages differently. Some of us can breeze through Starting, but have trouble with Continuing.

Someone, for example, who starts on a lot of great ideas, but never finishes anything because they’ve enthusiastically picked up a new idea, just as quickly as they’ve enthusiastically dropped the last one.

But if we want to be artists and entrepreneurs and musicians and designer—creators then we need to learn how to navigate every stage and learn to solve our current barriers to get where we want to go and create at the highest capability.

Once we do that—the doors are open. Or, more accurately, we discover that the doors were open the whole time but we were able to see it that way yet. Difficultly becomes Challenge. Failure becomes Wisdom. Problems become opportunities.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1123

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Life is Work (But Work Isn’t Life)

“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” — Albert Camus

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi

Work means different things to different people. I may enjoy pitching ideas to clients and marketing products to customers, whereas you would rather eat your own left foot than deal with customers directly.

A lot of creative “work” I do doesn’t feel like work at all. Technically I am working and working towards a vision, but it doesn’t feel laborious. Naturally, I get joy and energy when I’m working on things I love. But then again, I’m not just doing one thing I’m juggling a few things throughout the day, so there’s rarely a moment where I feel like I want to stop. 9 AM turns into 3 PM very quickly. Plus, I’m sprinkling in healthy practices and breaks here and there—like meditation or going on a walk—so there’s a lot of factors at play.

One important lesson creative work has taught me is life takes work, but work shouldn’t be your entire life.

It takes work to live an intentional and meaningful life. In fact, it’s likely much easy to live a flippant, unintentional life. It doesn’t take much effort to eat fast food, never exercise, stay up late, work just for a paycheck, drink heavily, and veg out on the weekends.

Living intentionally and pursuing a dream, on the other hand, takes effort. Lots of effort. But the effort is part of the joy.

There’s rarely anything more rewarding than sticking to a goal and being consistent with it.

There are limits, of course. If all you do is work then your life is off balance. Friendships, love, community, mind-body, and spirit are just as important (and rewarding) as what you do for a living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1053

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Are You Ambitious Enough? (Ambition Part 1)

“A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.”

Marcus Aurelius

I can usually tell if someone is ambitious. It’s not necessarily how they speak, or what they wear or who they are—it’s their eyes that give it away. There’s a glimmer of energy and fire in the eyes of ambitious people. Their actions speaking loudly too, of course. More specifically, how their actions compare to their words. Are they living out what they philosophize?

Ambition is a lot of things—following your dream to become a professional athlete, achieving your goal to publish a novel, starting your own clothing brand, etc.

But at its core —

Ambition is the willingness and the drive to change—especially when change is difficult. 

Let’s look at the opposite—If someone hates something about themselves or their lives, but they don’t do anything about it (or they don’t even give it a college try) then they lack ambition.

Ambition isn’t binary—it’s not that we either have it or we don’t—rather, it’s a muscle we cultivate. If you want to start your own company but don’t, you’ve got weak ambition. Time to “pump some iron” and work your ambitious muscles.

How to be Ambitious

1. Start doing things that scare the 💩 out of you.

Change starts with the knowledge of knowing that you want to change. After that comes the hard part of making it happen. This can occasionally happen overnight, but 99% percent of the time it happens incrementally, on a day-to-day basis. If you’re not challenging yourself and doing something that scares you every day—even just in a small way—you aren’t working your ambition muscle.

2. See Failure as Feedback and Use it to Get Better

Failure sucks—but it’s part of the process of pursuing mastery and achieving goals. I would never actively seek out failure, but when I do fail, I try to use it as an opportunity to learn something I’ve been neglecting or didn’t know. This isn’t easy because failure can be very emotional. It’s not like we’re failing in a vacuum. Failure happens in the middle of our lives and can have far-reaching ramifications—but again, that part of what it means to live. Avoiding that is avoiding living.

Plenty of people failure and never learn from their mistakes. But not us. Failure is a precious, albeit painful chance for us to learn and rapidly improve.

3. Do What Others Won’t

Jerry Rice, three-time Super Bowls champion with the 49ers, has a great quote— “Today I will do what other’s won’t, so tomorrow I will do what others can’t.”

It’s uncomfortable to be unconventional. Going against the grain is never easy. There will be times when nothing is working and you question why you even keep doing what you’re doing. But that’s what makes it unconventional and ambitious in the first place. Stepping out. Raising your hand. Standing for what’s right. Apologizing and changing when you’re wrong. Being an example to others. 

We do what others won’t and maybe one day our drive and ambition will inspire others to do the same.

Q: Do your words align with your actions?

Q: Are you living according to your own dreams or towards someone else ideas for your life?

Q: What’s one thing you can do today that scares you?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1034

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Creative Crisis

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Winston Churchill

Pressure, responsibilities, and pain can ignite your creative fire. Of course, first, you need to have a creative outlet or two (or three) so that you have something to direct the pain through. All Pain goes somewhere. Sometimes it quickly leaves our mouths through anger and snide comment. Pain can also be let out gently through conversation with a close friend or therapist. The worst kind of pain takes root inside us, and cause damage on the inside.

I find it better to direct pain to create things or move them with muscles. Music, writing, and exercise are some of the habits I use to channel things I’m struggling with or experiencing (Not all bad! Any emotion can become beautiful art.)

It’s not just the pain itself. My goal isn’t to shout from the rooftops just to shout. There are timeless lessons in the mistakes and problems we face.

Too much pain, however, and you’ll dampen your creative fire. No pain and you’re a kid who thinks she/he is invincible. Too much pain and you’re a sad old man yelling at neighbors to get off your lawn. Balance is the key (in all things, really).

How much balance will likely be different for each of us. I suspect this can also be trained like a muscle, but it would be most unpleasant and perhaps unnecessary. A little heartache might make you a better artist. Too much heartache and your art won’t be the only thing you wish would bleed.

Of course, I would never wish or intentionally cause pain towards myself or others, but better to use it when it comes, rather than to let it sit and fester.

If you don’t know where to start, reconnect with your inner childlike spirit. What did you enjoy doing when we’re younger (before the world got in the way)?

Start there. There’s wisdom in being childish (…sometimes. Nobody likes an adult baby).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1027

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All In

Learning never exhausts the mind. Leonardo da Vinci

It’s a misconception that a renaissance human — someone who practices multiple skills — can’t be as good as a specialist who only focuses on only one skill.

Yes, It’s true that the more you divide your focus, the less amount of time and energy you can give to each. And yes, there is a limit to how many things you can pursue at once without scattered yourself in too many (ineffective) directions.

But a multi-disciplinary can be just as great if not more so that single-disciplinary individuals. Divided time doesn’t mean you aren’t putting in the hard work.

Even pursuing one skill, there’s only so much time and energy you can give to something before you need to stop and take a break. For a renaissance type, it just so happens you’re likely going to take a “break” by jumping into another skill. You aren’t reducing work, you are adding in different work.

You can go all-in on multiple things. Not too many — there are only so many hours in the day. Try too many things at once and you won’t be able to go deep enough. (This is the jack/jill of all trades zone.)

While alive, our hearts keep beating. Our minds keep thinking. Even while we sleep our mind and body are still active.

When you are jumping from one skill to another to another, you are feeding your curiosity. The key is to pursue interests that rejuvenate you and keep you doing and learning new things. We get stale when we stay in our comfort zones instead of challenging ourselves. (That goes for both specialists and renaissance humans.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #868

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Get Busy Living (Playing I­t­ Safe)

Playing it safe doesn’t work.

When has putting one foot in, one foot out worked out in the end?

I get it. I catch myself doing it too. I’ve been burned out, injured, broke, overwhelmed, exhausted, and a number of other bad places in my life. I don’t want to end up in those places again but playing I­t­self only leads to a mediocre life.

The idea that I might die without putting my writing, music, art, and creativity out into the world terrifies me much more than taking risks.

Don’t die with your ideas still only in your head.

This is my worse case scenario. (That and losing my hands in a freak accident… which is an odd fear I have)

The question I have is how do you tell the difference between playing it safe and making smart choices?

Usually playing I­t­ safe situations aren’t black and white. They live in the grey zones where we might not even know we are playing I­t­ safe and holding ourselves back.

Risk mitigation, and knowing when to say yes or no is smart. But it’s easy to trick yourself into not taking action when in actuality you scared out of your pants.

Fear is the difference. 

Gut check your intuition: Does pursuing this goal or creative endeavor align with who you are? Are you terrified of embarrassment, or failing? Then say YES. 


Playing I­t­ safe is:

Giving into fear of failure, embarrassment, or disbelief, even just a little bit. 

Staying at a job you hate because of the benefits.

Never starting your idea because you ‘don’t know enough’.

Doing what others tell you to do without thinking whether its right for you.

Not asking that person out on a date.

Not asking for help or advice because you don’t want to look weak. 

There are so many things that can keep our potential down, but the biggest one of all is ourselves. The moment you break free of your own chains that you locked yourself up in is the moment where life becomes too precious to give into fear.

Your life is too important to give into fear

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Related Insights

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”Leonardo da Vinci

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

“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

Relentless Pursuit

So much can happen in two months.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it all.

I haven’t posted a blog in a while. I’ve still been writing and interviewing but haven’t created the time to actually do all the little things required to ship it out to the world.

Editing, uploading, linking, photography, posting, social media, connecting.. rinse repeat.

I’ve got the creativity down but not the managing.

I need to learn how to better manage myself and my time effectively so the little things don’t add up to big things.

Now I could stand here and explain (*cough* complain *cough*) why I haven’t made the time for the small things.

Setbacks — My life’s been in turmoil this year with finances, friends, health..

Opportunity — My time and energy are elsewhere with new Pursuits — I got a new full-time job at Pass It Down as the Creative Director. I got a second full-time job as Paul Cummings Online Business Hacker.. (Yes, I am crazy)

But honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. Setbacks happen, and what we do with forges us into who we are. Opportunities are in arms reach when we say yes more. Knowing how you can apply setbacks and opportunity to what’s important to you is the hard part.

Writing is too important for me to take shortcuts or do anything but take the little things seriously.

You could make the case that the little things in life are the most important things.

The Little Things ARE the Big Things.

Our daily actions add up to our dreams becoming reality. Each day we invest in.. something (whether we realize it about it or not). What are you investing in? The little things act like compound interest. They habitualize. (I love making up words.) They build and build until one day they become BIG.

Q: What important things are you neglecting right now?

In the next coming months, I’m going to focus on mastering the Micro-Skills involved in writing, blogging, and podcasting.

Creating doesn’t magically equal success because creating is only a small piece of the work.

You have to have ridiculously good content first, (otherwise, why would anyone want to consume your work?) but you also have to be great at all the skills that surround the pursuit that you love. (Or great at outsourcing what you’re not good at)
Writing, Music, Learning, and Connecting are important to me.

When you have something that’s important to you, you can’t just let it slide by. (You can, but that’s the path of most regret)

Do you want to be someone who looks back at a shoulda-coulda-woulda life with remorse? Longing for something more than a job you hate, friends you don’t have, and opportunities you didn’t take?

You have to pursue it with all your might no hesitation.


Relentless Pursuit is how we make dreams happen.


Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Making Time for the Most Important Things

How do I motivate myself to do the important things when I don’t feel motivated?

“I’ve noticed that my motivation to start my own freedom business is always at an all-time high when I’m at work, sitting at my desk, with the realization staring me in the face that I do not want to spend the rest of my life sitting in a cubicle all day every day… I feel a burning desire to take immediate action towards a freedom business. The only problem is that I’m at work so I can’t! When I’m finally on my own time and can focus on learning and creating the motivation is still there but not nearly of the same caliber.

Have any of you experienced a similar situation? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to channel, on command, that same level of motivation that I feel when I’m face to face with the reality of what my life will continue to be if I don’t take action now?”


Dear Creative Like Me,

I usually find myself in the same situations after work. A burning desire to work my pursuits — to write, learn, connect, code, design, write songs and build successful business — but also the need to rest.

Such a paradox —When I finally have time for what my soul is pining to do, I feel unmotivated to do them. (Heck!) Even more so recently since my energy hasn’t been great, and my three-headed demon.

The need of rest is good, but after resting, it’s easy for me to slide into mindlessness, which is the enemy.

Rest is equally important as effort, but mindlessness is the enemy to creativity.

I know I need to spend time creating and pursuing my goals, but I feel exhausted, obligated to other things and others, and reluctant to do so. (Even though I know doing so would create a better reality for me!) ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, I think. (But you know what they say about tomorrow.)

So what’s an motivated unmotivated creative to do?

One solution I’ve found is to

first re-energize yourself.

  • Go for a walk
  • Mediate
  • Talk to a friend / loved one
  • Read
  • Workout
  • or do something you enjoy that’s restful yet mindful

and second, sit down and

Start with purpose and intention.

It doesn’t have to be the best thing you’ve ever done, it just has to be something.

You just have to start and stick with it for as long as your able.

Oddly enough that lazy, tired feeling I have fades away once I start and keep pushing through. I think this idea goes along well with one of Dale Carnegie’s strategies for removing worry and despair by ‘losing yourself in doing.”

Taking action consumes your mind and leaves no space for exhaustion. 

My feeling of reluctance and fatigue doesn’t completely go away, but I become more comfortable with it, each day I do it. I think that’s how most people find their success, they learn to thrive in un-comfort. They make the uncomfortable, comfortable and do so continuously.

Personal success comes to those with the largest comfort zone.


Keep Pursuing,

Josh Waggoner, Renaissance Man.  April 18th 10AM EST, Chattanooga TN

If this article helped, let me know in the comments below, or via email:

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.


related wisdom


The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.

— George Bernard Shaw

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

— Zig Ziglar

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.

— Mario Andretti

We The People: Erwin M. Davis II

 Erwin M. Davis II


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-reliant and 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 Erwin:




(bold’s, styling and * by josh :P)

Q. How do you answer the infamous question, 

“So what do you do?”

I normally answer with, “I inspire people to think more effectively about the world we live in”.


Q. What are the best lessons your mom and dad have taught you? (Or siblings)

Work hard for what you want and don’t let anyone stop you. Give back and protect your family.


Q. What’s your favorite travel experience?

I don’t think it has happened yet. I want to travel to Montana and experience what I believe to be nature in it’s ultimate form.


Q. What are some decisions you’ve made that have made you into who you are today?

  • Changing my reading habits.
  • Taking my financial growth into my own hands.
  • And trusting God no matter what.


Q. What songs do you sing when you are alone? And what new bands are you digging recently?

Ah man..I don’t really sing. I like to whistle. Khalid* just came on the scene. He’s super relaxed and groove heavy. That’s a lot of my listening lately.

*I second Khalid, Bonny Jean Worland agrees too)

Q. If you could have a dinner party with anyone in the world (or in history) who would you invite?

Cleopatra, John F. Kennedy, Dave Ramsey, and Tony Robbins.


Q. What are the most important things you bought in the last few months? (Best money investment. Can be anything, big or small)

Website, business cards, and books. A LOT of books. 


Q. What advice would you give to someone pursuing creative work?

Find that place that puts you in the zone and go there every day until the ideas start keeping you up at night. 


Q. And what advice would you give someone going through creative struggle right now?

Don’t quit. Keep thinking and listening. It may take 500 mistakes and failures, but it just takes one idea to catch fire. After that, it’s on.


Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stay alert. Don’t let anything distract you. Be a disciplined autodidact. 


Q. Who inspires you and why?

My parents, Patrick Bet-David, Apple team, Porsche team, and whenever I see someone going through a struggle but is pushing past it. 


Q. In one word, how would your best friend describe you?



Q. What’s something challenging you faced recently and how did you handle it?

Figuring out how to run a business has been a huge learning experience. I have a lot of CEOs and bosses to pull ‘how to’s’ from. I handle setbacks as a business owner with strategic problem solving and a mindset of it always coming out successful. 


Q. What does success mean to you?

Success to me is being able to inspire thousands of people using my words and actions to do more for the person next to them.*



Q. If someone gave you 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?

5 million to my mom, 2 million to my baby sister, $500,000 to my grandma, and the rest will be split between investing and giving back.*

* That’s very specific ha. Have you thought of this Q before?


Q. Are there any quotes / phrases that follow you wherever you go?

“Every day is a challenge. Accept it.” -EMD

“The secret to living is giving.” -Tony Robbins

“Nothing is ever hard unless you say it is. Believe it is easy and it will be.” – My grandma


Q. Do you have a mentor? If so describe them and what you’ve learned that’s brought you the most value.

I have about 4 that are CEOs and Presidents that I’ve worked for or with. They keep me on track with putting myself in the best possible position to succeed. 


Q. One thing you liked about last year, and one thing you want to improve this year?

Haha, I like that 2016 taught me a laundry list of lessons. I want to improve on every aspect of my brain functionality this year. Making my brain stronger, faster, and healthier is my goal. That will undoubtedly lead to success. 


Q. What are some impactful books you’ve read recently and why? 


Q. Same Question above, but with Podcasts?


Q. Who do you follow that have influence you? (People who have change your perspective, motivated you, or inspired you to take action)

John F. Kennedy, Victor Antonio, Jeffery Gitomer, Patrick Bet-David, Dave Ramsey


Q. If there were 5 skills you could master instantly, what would they be and why?

Stock investing, social media marketing, not giving girls handshakes*, golf, swimming.

*Hahahahaha I want to know the story behind that one.



Thank you Erwin for your advice and words of encouragement.

You can follow him on Instagram: @erwindavisintnl, on twitter @erwindavisintnl

or his site:

 #StayHonest #KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner, 3 PM EST, Feb. 13th 2017, Chattanooga TN


If you want to give your story on the Renaissance Life, email me @: 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.