Breaking the Fear Wall

What is your fear telling you not to do?

When you hear the phrase, ‘public speaking’, do you break out into arm sweats? Does the idea of writing a book or build an app (or to fail at writing a book or building an app) curdle your blood?

Are the things you want to do — dreams you desire more than anything — always seem to take the back burner, the last thing you do, or something you procrastinate into oblivion?

Then what your fear is telling you not to do, is exactly what you need to be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, fear sucks. No one ever said it would be easy to start a band or build an audience on YouTube.  But the ones who do and stick with it are the ones who are masters of their own fears. Fear is how we grow into our best selves.

The stronger the fear, the more you need to take action and do it.

Creative fears always feel impossible until you do them.
Creative failures always seem fatal before the fact.
Pushing past these creative barriers will amplify your confidence and creativity.

What fears do you need to tear down to build a better YOU? 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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“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

“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

Decide Who You Want to Be — Life Principle #24

Labels give us power.

We label ourselves with our work, our hobbies, our brands.

But what do you do when other people label things for you? What do you do when you find yourself in a place where your life is labeled by other peoples hopes and dreams?

You decide to change.

Life Principle #24: Decide and Commit to Who You Want to Be

Decisions are the foundations of making change happen. 

What areas in your life are you seeking change?

When you want to create a change, something new and exciting, you first have to make a decision. Decide on the change, commit to I­t­ 100%, will I­t­ into existence.

Life can either happen to you, or you can choose what you want your life to be. Again, a decision.

Choose Creativity.
Choose Freedom.
Choose Differences.

Decide who you want to be, then go make I­t­ happen.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Hello, World!

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“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.”Emma Watson

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” — Amelia Earhart

Let It Go — Life Principle #21

What do you do when something isn’t working?
What do you do when you run into a dead end?
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Life Principle #21: Let It Go.

Let Go of Holding Yourself Back

More often than not, I️ find that I️ am ultimately the one that holds myself back. Little moments of fear or setbacks slowly keep me back from doing what I️ want to do.  A little piece of me thinks that I’m not good enough, I’m not _________ (successful, happy, connected etc ) enough yet, but really that type of thinking is just getting in my way forward. Success, happiness, and friendship is a state of meaning. That’s one reason why the happiest people in the world are in a third world country. They’ve naturally detached themselves from chasing happiness because they already are happy.

We decide what we perspective we want to live in.

You are as ready as you’ll ever be to START your dream right now.
Experience will come through time and practice.

Let Go of Being Cool

Being embarrassed isn’t fun, but also helps you grow into a better you. Vulnerability is relatable.

Let Go of What You Can’t Control

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

Let Go of Trying to do Everything at Once

Nothing good ever comes from spreading yourself too thin. I’ve burned myself out before and let me tell you, it’s not a happy place to be in. Burning yourself out is a sure fire way for you to not get anything do, not make a lasting impact, nor have any energy to do what you love to do.

Let Go of Expectations

Expectations is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome. Put in a different light, it’s like saying, ‘I can’t be happy unless this happens.’

Perhaps the old adage, ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ is actually wise. Low expectations are not about living based on negative attitude toward life, it’s about fundamentally understanding that anything can happen to us — good or ill — and what really matters if we stay true to who we are.

In essence, high esteem could be believing that no matter what happens, I’m still complete. My life is still worthy and full (worthful?) It’s saying I️ have this vision of what I️ want to look like, and knowing that no matter what happens, If I️ stay true to me, trust those I️ look up to, consistent in my actions and pursue my life with fire and gusto everything will turn out okay in the end. (No matter the setback or failure I️ may face).

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

Book: Let Go by Pat Flynn

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” — Brene Brown

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” — Bryant H. McGill

See Change as Good — Life Principle #20

You don’t realize how quickly time moves until its already passed. 

When I was in high school (and middle school) I had a really tight-knit group of friends. We were into making music, movies, jokes, making funny short videos, and being your typical, well-rounded goofballs.

I’ll never forget a video that one of the guys (Jonathan) stitched together from us jamming out and having a helluva good time. He set it to the song, I’ve Got Friends by the Manchester Orchestra. It’s like he intuitively knew our time in high school as a group was about to close, and we would be moving on to college and would never see each other as much as we did, every day, waking up at 6 am and hanging out at and around school.

I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the feeling it gave me, (and gives me every time I play that song)

I miss those moments we had and think about fondly on them.

Life Principle #20: See Change As Good

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing your stuck in place.

Happiness and meaning are fluid — they happen on the journey, not the destination (put that on a poster and smoke it).

Change is good. Its the conduit that takes us from sad times to happy times (and sometimes vice versa). Change can lead to unknown adventures and wild places. It’s hard we were stepping away from something or people we love to follow a calling or jump into a new way of living, but you always have those collective memories. I always have those times with my friends goofing off in my room at my parent’s house (I’m tearing up thinking about it). No one can take that from you. (Another reason why health is vitally important too. A healthy mind is a more capable collector of memories)

I think we fear change for the same reason that we can love change: Because it breaks our status quo and leads to unknown, potentially exciting places.

The best part about change is we can make it. We have the power to change our minds, opinions, the direction in your life and more at ANY MOMENT. Usually, it takes a failure or painful experience to see that, but the power to change is always within our reach. Even small actions can lead to big change eventually.

Often times, you’ll face situations or setbacks you don’t want to be in. This is where change is not only good but can become your best friend. When you’re feeling stuck or have hit rock bottom, burnt yourself, or pulling your hair out because you’re at your wit’s end, it’s time to make some change. 

Change starts with you. Be the change you want to see in your life and in the world. Break the status quo.
And when change happens, be good with the new possibilities.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

“There is nothing permanent except change.” — Heraclitus

 

ASK — Life Principle #19

Learning to Ask

At a very young age, we go to school and have the opportunity to ask the teachers any question we might have about their class. When you’re younger, you don’t care — you’ll shoot up your hand and ask anything. ‘Why is the sky not purple?’ ‘What’s inside a ballon?’ ‘What’s a huckleberry?’

But somewhere along the way, most of us stop asking. Whether it’s not wanting to be embarrassed or bullied or not wanting to be labeled as a nerd, we stop asking and begin to fear asking.

If you think about I­t­, most schools are designed for answers, not questions, unfortunately. 

After school, most of us take this fear into our adulthood. We fear standing out, yet desperately want to. We fear asking, but can’t think of anything else. We fear trying, because what if we fail?

But what has anyone gotten from not trying? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing.

Questions are our North Star towards a meaningful life. Questioners rule the world. Become someone who asks great questions, and you’ll become someone who reaches mastery and creates an extraordinary life for themselves. 

Life isn’t a solo adventure and won’t always be butterflies and apple pies. That’s why questions and asking are vitally important. When you learn how to ask for I­t­ — whatever I­t­ is — you take control of your life into your own hands.

Life Principle #19: ASK 

You probably have something that comes to mind that you’ve been wanting to ask someone about, but haven’t quite got the nerve yet.

ASK IT. 

Do I­t­ right now. Don’t let fear win again. 

Let me ask you this, what do you get when you decide not to ask? What do you get when you let fear win?

The exact same thing you’ve got now — nothing. A bag of pennies and a fountain full of dreams. The worst they can do is ignore you or say no.

A ‘no’ is always better than a ‘what if’.

And if they do say no, GREAT! You’re building your asking muscle. But if they say yes, that changes everything doesn’t I­t­? I­t­ puts the power of change into your hands.

Making asking a daily practice in your life.

Practice asking for what you want. Ask for help. Ask questions. Ask for career advice. Ask someone out on a date. Ask for a raise. Ask for knowledge. Ask for a break. Ask for directions. Be curious. Like the old phrase goes, Ask and you’ll receive.

You never know until you ask.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” — Og Mandino

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” — Thomas Berger

“You create your opportunities by asking for them.” — Shakti Gawain

“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Live a Little (For Josh’s Sake) — Life Principle #18

Lately, I’ve been bad about being spontaneous. 

I️ think it’s the fact that I’ve been working so much this past year that any time remaining is incredibly precious to me. It’s ironic that I️ had to give up the majority of my time to work, to understand how precious time really is.

When someone asks me if I️ want to go hiking, grab some sushi, or whatever on the spot, I️ stammer and mumble out a no and lame excuse more often than not. It’s not that I️ don’t want to go hiking, it’s just that I️ already have a mental checklist of things I️ want to do (or have to do). My expectations of what I️ could be doing get in the way of what I️ am doing. It’s kind of a lose lose. I️ could get sushi, but I️ would also like to write. Or the other way around! Okay, I’ll say yes to sushi, but then be thinking about all the great writing I️ could be doing!

I️ don’t want to let others define what I️ do with my time. 

But I️ also don’t want to be a tightwad.

There’s a fine balance between making time for priorities and actually living a little. 

Which bring me to the next Renaissance Life Principle:

Life Principle #18: Live a Little (For Josh’s Sake)

It’s good to be responsible and intentional about our goals and habits, but don’t let I­t­ sideline you from actually living. Focusing on today is how you make tomorrow brighter, but take yourself too seriously and you’ll create the opposite result.

Being responsible shouldn’t also mean ‘Up your own butt’.

Take your shoes off and stay awhile. Learn to live in the hectic moments, and learn to enjoy the silent moments too.

The key to a meaningful life is not cramming your calendar with so much stuff.
Minimalism can apply to not only things we own but things we do. (This is sometime I️ still need to learn and apply.) Trying to add 48 hours worth of work into 24 hours will leave you exhausted and not very excited about what you’re doing, even I­f it’s enjoyable to you.

The quality of your time means everything, but spend too much time focused on yourself and your own goals and aspirations and you’ll end up doing a lot but not really living

How to Live a Little

Create room each day for negative space — time in which you do nothing. No podcasts, no music, just enjoy the silence and reflect on the moment. I­t­ could be 20 minutes, I­t­ could be 1 minute — whatever you have to give.

Practice intentionality. The more intentional we are about how we live, the more we can squeeze out happiness in every moment (even the sucky ones).
Go for a walk weekly or daily, with the mindset of practicing being intentional. From the small blades of grass to the buildings around you — focus on the world around you. Look at the sky, feel the wind, see and smile at the people you come across.

Plan Spontaneity. If you’re sometimes a tightwad (like me), plan to be spontaneous at least once a week. I️ know, planning spontaneity is not very spontaneous… but it’s a step in the right direction. When someone asks if you want to do something, be open to I­t­ if I­t­ sounds enjoyable to you. Get yourself ready for someone to ask you to be spontaneous. Steel yourself up. Make time to live a little.

Prioritize. Ask yourself, “Am I️ trying to fit a week’s worth of work into one day?” If you are, take a step back and reprioritize. We create the life we live with the decisions we make with what we have to go on. Reinvention is just one action away from reality.

Go on that hike, grab that sushi. 
Whatever you need to do, I­t­ can probably wait. But if I­t­ can’t, don’t fret about I­t­. Do what you have to do and grab sushi next time.

Live a little.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Youth is something I never wanna take for granted. I just want to smile and live life.” — Tyler, The Creator

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” — Dale Carnegie

Life Principle #16: Optimize Your Health

Each life principle from the Renaissance Life ebbs and flows. I­t­ comes with the territory of pursuing lifelong goals. Learning doesn’t stop after high school. If I­t­ does, you’re going to find yourself stuck with your hands tied. Being bold isn’t a one-time thing — it’s a lifestyle. You have to choose I­t­ every time you’re about to step into your discomfort zone. The same goes for health.

Health is vital to every aspect of our lives. From the energy you have, to the body you live in, to the mind you create with. Without health, we are living sub-optimally.

We know this deep down. That’s why it everyone and their grandma puts “lose 10 pounds” “exercise every day”  or “eat healthy” on their New Year Resolutions.

Sometimes I’ll hear someone say, “food doesn’t affect me, I don’t get fat so I can pretty much eat whatever I want.”

I internally laugh slash roll my eyes every time I hear it. I used to be that guy. Don’t be like how I used to be.

What you may not realize is that health is a lot like credit.  

Sure you can enjoy that fast food cheeseburger and milkshake today, but if you keep eating like that one day you’ll pay for it. The house always wins. You’ll start to feel a little pudgy around the waist, or worse — run into chronic diseases. 

The same is true when you go out drinking. You’ll have a blast tonight, but one too many and you’ll pay for it tomorrow. (or eventually)

The key to vital health is deciding to make the change to live healthy, while not being too religious about it.

It’s downright impossible to be healthy 100% of the time, for your entire life. (If that’s what you’re doing you might want to consider living a little).

Life Principle #16: Optimize Your Health

1. Start by Making a Plan

Are you trying to be healthy or just saying so? Do you have chronic health problems that slowly eat away your ability to focus and have the energy to work on your dreams?

Then it’s time to make a health plan.

It doesn’t have to be a great plan, in fact, make it a mediocre plan! A mediocre health plan is better than no plan.

You don’t have to know what you’re doing to be able to start.
When I️ made the decision to get healthy, I️ was clueless. 
You name it, I made every mistake in the book. But that’s okay. I wish I had someone who could train me, but if you stick with things long enough, you pick up on what works and doesn’t work for you.

2. Follow the Lead of Great Health Influencers

There is so much information out there its hard to know who to trust.  And within that last sentence is the answer, don’t trust, test. The best health plan is the one that works for you. How do you know that it’s working? Do you feel incredible? Do you have bucket tons of energy? Are you in the best shape of your life? Sounds like you could give me advice then!

Find someone that seems trustworthy, and test their information for yourself. Try on their shoes for a month or three. If you’re not seeing results, drop it and try something else. 

Here are a few starting points I recommend:

Foodist: Using Real Food And Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting — Darya Pino Rose

The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease and Optimize Weight — Valter Longo

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

3. Share this plan with a friend

Pursuing health is 1000 times easier when you have a friend or group of friends wanting the same thing. If none of your friends are healthy, either recruit them on the health train or find a couple of friends who are on the same track as you.

4. Focus on Food and Fitness.

Food and Movement go hand in hand. You can do one without the other, but if you want to have an optimal kick-a life create a plan for both.

A few fitness starting points:

Body by Science: A Research-Based Program for Strength Training, Bodybuilding, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week — Doug McGuff, John R. Little

Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally — Kelly Starrett

Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition — Mark Rippetoe

5. Make Health a Lifelong Habit

Don’t become a health prune. Its okay to accidentally eat a donut every so often. And if other people around you want to live off wingdings and greased tater tot casseroles let them. As much as I’d like to force my health choices onto others around me, that just doesn’t fly. It’s hard, if not impossible to tell people how to be healthy, especially those closest to you. The only thing you can do is show it — show how good eating healthy and exercising makes you feel. When you are a walking talking energetic ball of sunshine, they’ll start to wonder how you do it, and hopefully, they might get their courage up enough to say, I’ll have what he’s having.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.” — Joyce Meyer

Life Principle #15: Go Deeper

Life and learning can be a lot like digging a hole on the beach.

You dig and you dig… and your hole get’s a little better (you know, more…. holy 😆)
But digging is hard, and the sun is hot, and you’re thirsty and ooo look some seagulls!
Why was I digging in the first place?

When you stop digging, sand immediately starts filling up your progress. Time and sea washes away all traces of your work. You worked hard but you let things slide.

When you’re pursuing a goal or learning a new skill, you’ve got to really dig deep to make it happen. If you try to pursue too many at once you’ll end up with a bunch of shallow holes, and hardly any progress on them.

To go for the gold, we’ve got to go deeper. We’ve got to choose our opportunities and relentlessly pursue them with all we got.

Life Principle #15: Go Deeper

I see a lot of influencers online who seem to be doing it all, but they didn’t start that way. The ones who have made something of themselves started with one thing, went deep on that skill, and then after mastering it expanded their circle to another avenue.

Ask yourself, how can I go deeper in my skills, in my relationships and in all aspects of my life?

How can I go deeper with my friends?
How can I go deeper with my love?
How can I go deeper with my family?
How can I go deeper with my community?

How can I go deeper in my skills?
How can I go deeper in my finances?
How can I go deeper into my positive mindset?

How can I go deeper with my nutrition?
How can I go deeper with my physical health?
How can I go deeper with my relaxation and sleep?

Start small, focus in, go deep and expand.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

P.S. I’m Josh darn tired tonight, hopefully, all these hole digging analogies won’t sound like pure fatigue gibberish in the morning.

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Book: Deep Work — Cal Newport

“If you go deeper and deeper into your own heart, you’ll be living in a world with less fear, isolation and loneliness.” — Sharon Salzberg

“This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is.”— Dennis Rodman

Life Principle #14: Become a Super Connector

I’m what you call an ambivert.

I’m a half introvert, half extrovert.
I️ love knowing and connecting with other creatives and people pursuing extraordinary lives, but I️ also just kinda want to stay at home reading most of the time. (…okay, all of the time)

I’m not like a hiding-in-my-sweater-at-a-party kind of introvert, but I­t­ take effort for me to go out of my way to go to social events.

Yay a party! Where are your books?

The problem is, if you want to impact others, if you want to build a network of incredible people pursuing big and BOLD things, if you want to build your knowledge, wealth, and tribe you’ve got to connect with others.

Lucky for us, becoming a super connector is a skill.

Life Principle #14: Become a Super Connector 

I️ would be willing to bet you know someone who is a Super Connector. They are that guy or gal who you run into around town everywhere and who seems to know everyone.

Heck, they probably do know everyone.

What is a Super Connector?

A Super Connector is someone who connects others in a mutually beneficial way. Not only do they make great friends themselves — lovable, charismatic, genuine, interested… — they also life matchmakers. They’re Hitch with or without the romantic elements. (Maybe romance is what you’re looking for, a super connector would be able to help!)

Super connecting is a lot like New York City Subways or London Tubes. You meet someone lost on their way, and you point them to the right connections. You don’t know there exact destination, but you can help them head in the right direction.

Simply put, a super connector knows what you want, and can connect you with someone who can help you. Need some tips on email marketing? he know’s a guy. Looking for a new job? She’s got your back.

A Super Connector loves to help others and loves to connect you to others needs.

A great network is essential for a Renaissance Life.

When setbacks happen (and they will), who are you going to call? When you need advice on work, when you are looking to increase your income, when you’re looking for a great vacation spot — A healthy network can give you that.

The millionaires and billionaires of the world play by a different rulebook. The self-made billionaires got they way from who they know, and what they know.

So how do we start becoming a super connector? How can we make I­t­ a daily habit?

1. Be friendly:
Don’t just be friendly to the people you know who can benefit you! Be a friendly person. Smile, be genuine. Talk to anyone and everyone you meet. A super connector doesn’t hold back on who they do or do not talk to.

 

2. Go Deep:

You’ve got to care. You’ve got to genuine care about the other person’s job, life, worries, dreams, and goals. If you don’t go deep, you’re not really making true connections, you’re just adding up numbers on a followers count. Go deep. Know their names, their hobbies and pursuits.

 

3. Give Give Give:

Give and expect nothing in return. Connecting isn’t about taking. Receiving will come naturally. Just from the sheer fact that you’re being friendly, going deep and giving without expectations will set you up from them remember you and what you did for them.

 

4. Connect:

Go out of your way to help others. Connect them to ideas, knowledge, and people. A Super Connector connectsso start connecting.

Vow to reach out to at least one person a week to connect with them. If you see the opportunity to help them or connect them along their way do I­t­! Who knows where I­t­ will take you!

 

5. Start an Interview Podcast:

This is one of the reasons I️ started the Renaissance Life show. I️ wanted to talk and connect with creatives in all areas of life! People pursuing high performance and mastery in what they do. A podcast is like speed dating without the dating. Even just a dozen or so interviews in and I’ve collaborated on multiple projects with guests. 

 

6. Finally, You’ve Got to Put Your Heart Into It­:

You have to 100% believe in helping others for the pure joy and happiness I­t­ brings. Wealth and collaboration are nice, but building a network of friends who care about who you are and what you do is what its really about. Care about them, and they’ll care about you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn

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Related Insights

James Altucher: 9 Skills to Become a Super Connector

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  ― Herman Melville

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ― Brené Brown

Life Principle #11: Define Your Values (Throw A Party)

Do you ever look at a homeless person and wonder what happened to end up where they are?

One time, when I️ was selling my boldsheep clothing at a Sunday market, my Gabriella and I️ somehow came to the conclusion I­t­ would be funny if she sat on the floor in front of my pop-up shop holding a cardboard box with the words ‘will sell shirts for $’ written in big bold lettering.

What happened blew me away!

No one would look at her.

Not even a glance. They couldn’t even take the time to read the sign to see I­t­ was a joke. Someone even called the market cops in! 

We quickly explained the story.

I️ wonder if the reason we ignore homeless people is that deep down, we know that in a bad turn of choices and circumstances that could be us. (Either that or its because they always ask for drinking… er… I️ mean food money)

In the last couple years, I️ experienced a very stress-filled financial meltdown.  Things weren’t working at work and essential I️ wasn’t making enough to live, WHILE I️ was going through some health setbacks. All that to say, my brush against finance chaos made me realize how important your values are, your support group (the people you are closest too), your mindset (what you think, and how you talk to yourself) and your willingness to let go and ask for help is. Without those four things, there’s not much that separates you from a nice home and good food, to no home and going to bed hungry.

This is an extreme example, yet true.
However, finding yourself on the street might not even be the worst way to live. You could argue that going your entire life without knowing hardly anything about who you are and what you love is worse. I️ think I️ can speak for all of us when I️ say, being on your deathbed with regret, looking back at an aimless life in which you flutter from one thing to the next, with no rhyme or reason might be worse than death itself.

This is why defining your values is vitally important.

Life Principle #11 Define Your Values

Defining your values is identifying what you stand for and then standing for them.

What do you want in life?
What matters more than anything to you?
What
makes you feel ALIVE?

Now take a good look at the life you are living today. The closer aligned your values of who you want to be and the way you live each day are direct cause and effect. Or in other words,

Show me your values and I’ll show you how far you will get in life.

The problem is, no one each us this shtuff. And if they try it’s so boring we never actually sit down and ask ourselves the most important question: Who do I️ want to be?

But not here, I️ like to keep us on our toes here at the Renaissance Life.
So you know what that means…

It’s time to party. 🥂

Next time you have a chunk of time off, say when you get off work, or this weekend throw a party. Block off some time, put i­t­ on your calendar and make I­t­ mandatory. Who should you invite? You, yourself and you of course! (Buzzkill?) Seriously. It’s time to have a knockdown, drag-out, uncomfortable talk with yourself about who you are, and who you want to be.

Sit down with a pen and some paper. Have a list of questions you want to ask yourself. (Including the three above). Turn off your phone, Block all notifications and social media. Clean your house beforehand so you’re not distracted by your environment. Do whatever you gotta do to be alone for your party.

It’s going to be challenging, I­t­ might even be awkward, but it’s going to be worth i­t­ because defining your values is the most important thing you can do.

How many of us go through the motions in life, aimless, and hoping something good would happen. I️ say, let’s make I­t­ happen!

Imagine as if you were having dinner with your current self, your childhood self, and your future selves. Every action and choice you make today can determine your future self, so there might be a few of future you’s at this party.

Start with where you are:

What lights you up?
If you could learning anything instantly what would I­t­ be?
Where do you dream about living?
What do you really think of your current job/school life?
What kind of people do you love to be around?
What did you love to do as a kid?
How do you think about yourself? 
Do you defeat yourself with your mind before you even begin?
How much time do you let yourself have fun on any given week?
What are your current inputs? (TV, books, people, food etc)

And then ask yourself questions about who you would like to be:

What does my ideal job? What sounds like the greatest job to you?
What would make me happier? 
What life would make my childhood self proud?
What is missing?
Am I️ letting fear win over courage?
What do I️ want to master?
Who do I️ want to know and be friends with?
What kind of life would make my future self happy on his/her death bed?
What are my strengths and how can I️ make them daily habits?
What are my weaknesses and how can I️ turn them into opportunities?
What would I­t­ look like if I­t­ was easy (This ones’ from Tim Ferriss)

The person you want to be is closer than you think. All I­t­ takes is a decision, this day, about who you want to be. I️ believe we are capable of change, and that change begins the moment we decide that we want I­t­.

Your values will change as you grow, they will ebb and flow depending on where you are in life. But your core foundations will always stay the same.
For me, life principles are my defining values. Be a Lifelong Learner, Act Boldly, Live Boldly, Be Your Own Renaissance. These are the values I️ have and the life principles I️ aim for. I️ don’t always hit the bullseye, but I’m always aiming my arrow in that direction.

Knowing who you want to be makes failure and bombing easier. Failures change from cataclysmic my-life-is-over moments into stepping stones to opportunities.

Today is the day to choose to be different.
See the change, take the leap.
Whoever you think you are, you are correct.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” — Ellen DeGeneres

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” — Michelle Obama

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.”
 
― Mahatma Gandhi

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” —  Jon Stewart

“Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.” 
― John Ratzenberger