The Downside of Doing Multiple Things

There are dangerous lands on the road towards a Renaissance Life (aka a life of creativity, mastering and meaning). Namely, when you decide to pursue multiple things, you are also deciding to split your resources. Where a ‘one thing’ kind of person has the power to prioritize all their resources to a single focus, we have to divvy our resources into multiple.

A Specialist becomes really good at one thing and aspires to be a master of one.
A Generalist becomes really good at a bunch of things, and aspires a jack (or jill) of all.
A Multiplist* (Renaissance Human, Polymath, Multi-hyphenate) becomes really good at a handful of things and aspires to master the chosen few and connect them in interesting ways.

Our time, attention, energy and money all have to be carefully given, otherwise we can stretch ourselves too thin and dilute our ability to make progress. Even if you have all the money on the planet, you still will be limited by how much time you give to your pursuits within the span of a day.

“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

Guard Your Resources

Like a mamma bird protecting her young, we need to guard our finite resources with care.

Ultimately, every resources used comes down to what we say yes and no too.

It’s difficult in the moment, but t he more we say no, the more we can say yes to what we really want to say yes to.

Knowing what you want to master is a great way of what you should say yes or no to. If the opportunity doesn’t align with your pursuits, it’s a no. If it does then its a yes. This balance of yes’s and no’s is a continuous process. It’s like mowing grass —you have to keep doing it. Of course, saying yes to the wrong things has a bit more consequence than a tall, messy lawn.

*Not a word but should be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #647

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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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Related Insights

“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

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

Principle #2: Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change

Everything you want to be in life starts with what you do today, this day.

Today is a powerful change maker in our life story. What you do each today can make or break you, because a little time NOW compounds later. (Just like investing $)

Think about it: 

If you eat a tub of Ice Cream Today, you’re not going to get fat. Eating bad one day won’t kill you.
BUT (< big but there :), eating bad today, and the next day and the next WILL add up over time and take its toll on your health (and neck rolls).

The same thing works in the positive direction — losing weight, gaining muscle (got swol?)

Authors don’t write a book in a day.
Entrepreneurs don’t create a successful runaway business overnight.
Musicians don’t become famous after one show.

But doing something — anything — every day? That’s going to add up to something extraordinary.

Why do we live (on average) to the ripe old age of 90 or beyond?

Life doesn’t happen at once either. (I came, I saw, I stood in lines, I died)

Life is iterative, which is why each iteration — each day — is vitally important.

By focusing on what you do, the next action/moment, and aligning that action to your priorities, you turn yourself into a powerful force of massive change.

The results you seek in life might not show up tomorrow, but by doing the work today, you’ve planted the seeds of its reality.

Renaissance Life Principle #2:

Small, Consistent Actions Lead to Big Change.

When we focus too much on the future or dwell too much on our past, we lose the ability to create change. 

Living for today is about being aware of what is important to you, prioritizing those over filler or shiny objects, and pursuing them consistently.

Most people see time as a disadvantage or enemy:

“How did time fly so quickly?”
“I never have enough time…”
“There’s not enough time in the day…”

(I’m guilty of these and more.)

When you decide to pursue a Renaissance Life, time can become your ally. By working on your goals each day, even just a little bit (even so small it feels like you didn’t make any progress) and developing the patience to Keep Pursuing, your goals are basically inevitable. 

Look, I know what some of you might be thinking, we can’t all walk on the moon, or be knighted by the Queen, (Sir Waggoner at your service), but we can create massive impact in our lives and in the lives of others by focusing on the little baby steps. Small actions create waves.

But what if today sucked? What if I miss a day (or week)? What if I failed miserably? What do I do then?

Look Forward. 

Failure, missteps, setbacks — they are part of the learning process. Look forward to the person you strive to be, take action immediately on your dreams, and you WILL be that person right now. Focus on the now, each second we are still breathing is a chance for us to make a change. Your fresh start comes the moment you decide to take create the change you wish to see. Take Small actions today!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner
 

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Expectations

I tend to create high expectations for myself when I­t­ comes to goals and visions of who I want to be and how I want to live. (Who doesn’t?)

Actually, scratch that. I tend to have high expectations for myself about EVERYTHANG. I’m not seeking perfection, but I don’t want to live my life at 11.

High expectations can backfire.

One big problem I need some improvement in is having huge expectations of how much I can take on at once, and how much I can fit in a day. Sometimes packing your day in with 30 – 50 different things work, but you’re not left with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. You feel tired and empty like a container of squeezed toothpaste. And on the days where things do NOT work, everything sets on fire. (AHHHHHH!)

When I expect more for myself, and I don’t reach that expectation I’m a ball of anxiety, frustration, and discouragement (probably a little hungry too). All that these negative emotions give me is the exact opposite of what I wanted and why I had high expectations in the first place.

Clearly high expectations don’t work for me.

If a sound vision and specific goals and sticking with it make the dream happen, what do we do with our expectations during the rollercoaster ride on the way?

What if low expectations + high self-esteem is the winning formula for happiness and achievement?

Here’s a small example: I’m a big superhero fan. When the movie Man of Steel came out, I was pumped. After the string of great and good Marvel movies, and the Dark Knight movies by Nolan, I was expecting this D.C. movie would be killer. I wanted I­t­ to be good, but the more I watched the more disappointment I was. Cut to this year past year, I had low expectations for Wonder Woman and Justice League. Yet Wonder Woman was fantastic! And Justice League — all be I­t­, not the greatest thing in the world — was a fun ride too! Now, I’m not saying the quality of these movies was determined by my expectations (You still have to create excellent work), I do think that our perception of a result/outcome we have in our head can skew how we paint the world.

Expectations is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

Expectation is another word for perception. It’s perceiving a future value in the outcome.

 

Putting in a different light, it’s like saying, ‘I can’t be happy unless X 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 self-esteem could be believing that no matter what happens, I’m still complete.  I’m still me. My life is still worthy and full. (worthful?) It’s saying I have this vision of what I want to look like, and knowing that no matter what happens, If I stay true to me, trust those I 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 I may face).

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights:

“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

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” — Confucius

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”Bruce Lee

Me Me Me! Over Here!

In a world of Me Me Me, what if I did the opposite?

What if I️ lifted other people up instead of me?

Of course, I want Renaissance Life to be huge. I want to create a massive tribe of friends pursuing mastery and living life to the fullest. But is pushing out one more social media post really going to do it for me? 

Binge reading Ryan Holiday’s blog has shown me how timeless our work can be. I’m reading his thoughts from over a decade ago, and yet there they are — fresh as the day they were conceived. What stands out most to me is not the insights (although there are a bunch of them) but the connections he made along the way. And the same goes for us.

My writing is important, but it’s the connections I make that matter.

That’s why I’ve started interviewing Creatives Like Me on the blog.
I want to create deep and lasting bonds with likeminded humans.
I want to surround myself with charismatic and energetic people who are striving to make the world a better place.

Action Steps: Focus on the we culture, not the me culture. Focus on lifting others first.

Who knows what kind of friends we’ll have if we do?

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Wisdom:

“What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It’s about leading and connecting people and ideas. And it’s something that people have wanted forever.” — Seth Godin

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” — Steve Jobs

Let’s Assume I’m Right

My biggest mistakes and faults in life tend to be centered around making assumptions about how things work.

Actually, its more like two assumptions: I️ make an assumption about how things work, then I️ assume that I’m right. Or in other words I’m making false assumptions based on nothing concrete.

  • I can assume someone doesn’t want to hang out or talk to me, but really they’re just busy. (and were assuming you would reach out first
  • If I️ make a mistake at work, it’s usually because I️ made an assumption that bandaids a problem I’m not seeing.
  • With Gabriella, I️ can assume something I’m doing is good, but really it’s annoying the H E double hockey sticks out of her. (Same goes with friends and family)
  • When something negative happens to me I️ assume the worst. (a one-way train to rock bottom)

A great example is first impressions. Sometimes you run into a guy or gal who is a master of bad first impressions. Maybe it’s how they speak, or what they talk about (or their stupid hair). We make assumptions about who they are and that they’re like this all the time. But really they could have had a bad day and came across as negative or boring. (a dinosaur stepped on their kitten, they’re just really hangry or a thousand other reasons). And when you run into them again they usually actually nicer than you thought. (hmm their hair’s nicer today)

Assumptions can cause frictions that lead to bigger problems.

A timely example is false news. It’s easy to make the false assumption that everything you read online and in books is true fact. (even though we’ve all heard the classic phrase ‘don’t trust what you read on the internet’) It’s hard, because you read something that sounds true (why would it not be? there are hundreds of other people who have liked this post…) but really someone is trying to manipulate us. Psychological factors like confirmation bias comes into play too — we want it to be true, so we see only what we want to see.

I’m not saying that all assumptions are bad. (There are two sides to every coin)

However, assumptions can cover up flaws in our way of thinking that lead us to make mistakes. We assume our way is the only way. 

Assumptions are how we perceive the world around us.

The best way we can stop making false assumptions is to make your intentions clear and keep an open dialogue of communication. Talk it out.

The more we can catch ourselves assuming things, and asking whether our assumptions are correct or not, the better our decision making will be.

 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

related wisdom:

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” — Henry Winkler

“It’s sad that we never get trained to leave assumptions behind.” — Sebastian Thrun

“When you’re surrounded by people who share the same set of assumptions as you, you start to think that’s reality.” — Emily Levine

Are You Phoning It In?

Plot Twist: There is an actual limit to how much we can do at one time. 

I️’ve always been late to this party. (Mostly because I️’m in permanent denial) ‘Wait, you mean I️ can’t do everything all at once?!’

Right now, Somewhere in time and space, an economics class is talking about opportunity costs. (Pour one out for all the economic homies) The term describes the idea that choosing one opportunity prevents you from choosing others. And it’s true, there’s only so much time, energy and work you can give in a day. If you want to master basketball, you’re not going to have the necessary time you need to master guitar too. (Well.. you can try but you’ll be a jack of all trades master of nada)

I’ve been experimenting with where my line in the sand is when it comes to how much and how many pursuits I️ can have at once. (Because I’m crazy) What I’ve learned is I️ can be quite resilient with the amount and variety of things I️ can hold in my head.. however (like everyone and their mamma) I am limited by the 24-hour cycle. But more importantly, doing too much at once gives me the opposite of want.
More more more doesn’t give you peace of mind, happiness, creative space — it sandblasts away all of those and leaves you as a shell of a human. (aka about as interesting as a broomstick in a vacuum cleaner world) And it’s just not a great way to live. On the worst days you feel rushed, overwhelmed and like you’re making zero progress in a million things.

Whenever I️ fall into the fallacy of  ‘I can do everything all at once’ my life becomes a nightmare and I️ need to re-evaluate. (before I implode) Life isn’t about how much you do, it’s about how much you give to what matters to you.

 

How do we know what matters most to us?

Look at everything in your life and ask yourself, ‘Am I️ phoning this in?’
‘Is this important to me or just distracting me from what’s important?’

If it’s not important — if it’s a distraction from what you really want — why are you doing it? Because it’s easier to do more than do less.

Choosing less is HARD (Believe me I️ know more than anyone)
It’s something I️ need to work on. It’s just hard for me to say no to opportunities when my previous year was so difficult and rot with no’s. 

But more won’t bring me a meaning life filled with Renaissance, friendships and purpose.

Action Step: Choose What’s Important to You; Learn to say no to everything else.

Action Question: Am I phoning this in? 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Wisdom:

“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.”

“Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursed little distractions instead of big dreams.”

“Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re begin the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.”

“If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” About something, say “no”.

Derek Sivers, Anything You Want