Finding Renaissance

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver, The Summer Day, Pulitzer Prize winning poet.

Life is a series of awakenings and revivals. Sometimes awakenings happen inactively without our input. The loss of innocence for example. The multidisciplinary, Neri Oxman, describes the feeling as ‘discovering innocence at the moment you lose it’. Born in Haifa Israel, for her, it was her experiences in served in the Israeli Armed Forces as a teenager that opened her eye’s to the harsher sides of life.

Awakenings can also happen actively from our own curiosity and discovery too. The moment you think you have things figured out, an idea, a quote, a change, a friend or an influence rocks your foundation of who you are and what you think about the world. For me, health was a big one.

Growing up, I didn’t know a thing about health and wellness. (Neither did my parents.) Being a 90’s baby, I practically lived off fast-food, soda, refined bread and lucky charms. I was constantly catching colds and having sinus problems, but I didn’t know that was not normal. I had no frame of reference to compare my health to. It honestly never occurred to me until much later that food changed how you look and feel. I had no idea how impactful food, exercise and sleep could be on the quality of your life. It was until much later after high school when I read a few books on health and exercise and discovered the impact of health. The crazy thing is I know I’m not the only one who was asleep to the ideas of health. Perhaps this blog post is the first time you are waking up to the importance of health yourself.

A more common word for awakenings we experience is change. Life is continuously changing.

The historical Renaissance (14th – 16th century) was a time of innovation in art and human potential based on the revitalization of Roman and Greek thinking. To put simply: It was an age of discovery, creativity and pursuit. Today, life and technology moves at breakneck speeds. So must we if we are going to take advantage of our brief and precious life. Because life is moving so fast and becoming more connected, things can easily feel overwhelming at times. It’s easy to default to living a life of someone else’s dreams, instead of one you decide on yourself.

Today we face a new renaissance — A personal renaissance. And a renaissance of like-minded individuals like us all seeking a different and more meaningful way to live. We must become more resilient, adaptable and creative to be who we want to be and to do what we want to do. Dreams of a lifetime don’t happen with wishes. We must create them happen.

‘Renaissance’ comes from the combination of the French verb ‘renaitre’ — ‘to revive’ and the noun ‘naissance’.

Your renaissance life is your own, but it begins the moment you decide you want to seek out change and recreate yourself into the best you possible. The more we can learn about ourselves — who we are, what we like, what we stand for — the better we will get at reaching for the ideal. The renaissance life isn’t about perfection, it’s about pursuit. It’s about pursuing intentional changing and being lifelong learner in the skills and characteristics we want to master.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #733


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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