Livin’ Deeply

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

It’s a simple thing to want lots of things in life. Blame it on our consumer-oriented culture, but most of us want lots of shiny new toys, clothes, and experiences. It doesn’t help that we can with a few taps and scrolls see what everyone else has (and what we don’t have).

I’m no different. I like nice things. My tastes are a disadvantage as much as they are a benefit. I might even be slightly worse than most because I have so many interests and hobbies (more interests equals more expensive tastes).

It’s simple to want many things. It’s complicated to want few.

One way you could describe minimalism as choosing quality over quantity and choosing priority over options. Quality over quantity makes since. By investing in nicer made things, you get more enjoyment and longevity out of your purchases. I think priority over options is something that’s often overlooked. Everything we buy has not only a price tag (i.e. $15 for a book, $60 for stretchy jeans) but also a mental tag—every item we own takes up space in our minds, just as much as our physical spaces. Space where our dreams and ideals for our purchases live.

Think about it like this

One item = at least one to-do.
Two items = at least two to-dos.

At least if you’re planning on using it/them. If you were to look around your house right now, how many things would you find that you want to do but haven’t, or haven’t in a while? Unread stack of books… Stack of dusty CDs you never look at… A travel magazine of places you’d like to (hopefully) visit someday… Racks of clothes that don’t fit anymore…

All of these things take hold in our minds and can, not always but can, weigh us down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to sell all your belongings. All I’m suggesting is to prioritize what matters to you and think about removing (even if temporary) the things that don’t matter.

I like to put my money where my joy is. I really enjoy making things, so a lot of my purchases are around tools and resources that help me do so.

I think Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, has said it best—

“I always encourage people to spend extravagantly on the things they love, as long as they cut costs mercilessly on the things they don’t. Ask yourself: What do you love spending money on? Not just “like,” but love.”

To live deeply, we must live intentionally. We have to choose what kind of rich life we want to have, and prioritize our spending and time around that.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #995

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How to Become Your Best Self

At the age of 25, Jim Rohn was down on his luck without a penny in his pocket. (Hmm… sounds familiar…) He was a hard worker, went to work early and stayed late. But no matter how hard he worked, he was still a broke joke. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was focusing his efforts on the wrong things. His life began to change when his mentor guided him with the phrase, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job”. The Art of Exceptional Living

By striving for your best-self, you are living within the boundaries of the question, “How can I become more valuable?”

Life isn’t about what you do for money. I can become a great barista, (I’ll be the guy who can paint butterflies in lattes) but that shouldn’t completely define me as a person. If you think it does, you need to consider that maybe (just maybe) you are bigger than your job.

You are multifaceted and complex being.
Being a barista is part of who you have decided to be. If that doesn’t resonate with you anymore, perhaps its time to try something else.

And if you want to do and be multiple things — you’re allowed. Despite what society tells you. You can pursue all that you love, not all at once, but you are capable of stepping into something new (for work or fun) at any moment in your life. Colleges were originally created to make well-rounded citizens. The Renaissance Life is about enabling others to be all they can be and creating a community around pursuing life and mastery.

Life is about all the things that you do that make you into who you are. 
Just as Aristotle said so long ago, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

When you focus your time and energy improving yourself, you are creating your best-self life.

No one will improve you for you. You have to do that yourself.
I can show you how to play an instrument, but you are the one who has to pick it up and practice.

For the next odd sum of days, I’m going to be posting about the principles of living a Renaissance Life. To stay up to when the next post goes out, sign up for the newsletter here.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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