The Gift of Pain

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

The earth continuously spins at a lazy one thousand miles per hour. Roughly every 24 hours, it completes its race and begins a new – the ultimate example that shows steady and slow wins the race.

Is it because of death we feel compelled to hurry up and get things over with? Life is short for each of us. Time ticks on, whether we are working on our dreams or not. Perhaps our patience is at its thinnest when we faced with pain, dislike and fear.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys spending time in wall to wall traffic. But there’s also those of us who, when faced with an uncomfortable reality, want nothing more than to move past it. Like swatting flies out of our food, we want nothing more than to get rid of our circumstances and setbacks.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

Aristotle

It depends on how you look at it, but setbacks and pain can be gifts if you let it. As sucky as they are, our circumstances are teaching us hidden lessons on how to live better if we let them. Nobody wants to be in debt up to their noses. Nobody wants to feel the pain of a heartbreak or the ache of an injury. Depression, anxiety, negativity, bitterness, backstabbing, fear, and discouragement aren’t exactly a fun party to be in.

I’d hate to say that setbacks and pain are trying to teach us something important, but maybe they are trying to teach us something important.

Pain, failure and bad circumstances raise our awareness and show us how to live better than we were previously. They stop us, so that we can slow down, think more wisely and go after a life of meaning.

We might have to dig ourselves out of a hole now, but when (not if, when) we finally crawl over the top, we have a new and better way to live and a story to tell.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #648

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The Underdog

Perhaps the setbacks and problems you are facing are exactly the challenges you needed at this time.

It’s like a little over the threshold what you thought was possible. 

As difficult as it may seem, perhaps this is exactly what you need.

Everyone loves an underdog. 80% of movies out there are about how a person goes against unbelievable odds and makes it out ahead.

That’s why I like to use the word ‘challenge’ instead of the word ‘problem’. It’s only a problem when you don’t see it as a challenge. This is your chance to reach achievement against all odds and live to tell about it.

That’s why I face things head on. That’s how I can motivate myself to keep going during the worst moments.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

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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Own the Crap 💩

This is day 47 of me writing one post a day on the Renaissance Life. I’ve had many days (like today) where I not able to sit down to write until 10:30 PM. (😴) Yet I sit down and ship the best post I have in me. I’m sure when I look back at them they won’t all be great. (Ugh what was I thinking?!) Perhaps I’m even rehashing the same ideas in different ways. It doesn’t matter,

It’s all a part of the process of stretching your capacity. 

Being exceptionally doesn’t come on the first round.

You never want to run a marathon on your first day of trying out running. (Let me see what this running thing is all about)A bestselling book doesn’t happen from cramming a writing session in the night before. It takes the accumulation of experience, thinking, observing researching, writing, editing, building a platform and marketing. You don’t become a hip hop artist by rap-a-longing with Drake or Logic.

But you do become a runner when you get off the couch and put on your shoes and run. You become a writer when you start writing your book. You become hip hop artists by practicing your own rhymes and getting up on stage.

Along the way you’re  going to have some failures and misses.

Own them — Own the crap. Because the crap will is just obstacles on your way to creating something great.

Babe Ruth was the king of home runs, but he was also the king of strikeouts.

People won’t remember your strikeouts if you crowd them out with home runs. 

But you can’t hit a home run without going up to the plate. Sure, you might strikeout instead, but not trying and giving it your all is the worst form of strikeout you can do.

(So many baseball analogies…)

 

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

How to Turn Your Worst Setbacks Into Your Greatest Triumphs

For the Last 8 Months, I’ve been sleeping on my parent’s couch. (Hard to say, but it’s true)

But in all honesty, life couldn’t be better.

Okay, you might be wondering how have I adopted this mindset?

My life imploded into oblivion after my health continuously became worse.

Here’s what happened:

I sprained my neck about 3 years ago. The first year was hell and it put a lot of things in my life on hold.

I burnt myself out at a job where I was barely making enough to pay rent let alone anything else.

I was unintentionally exposed to bad mold from my apartment which led to weird health issues that were hard to pin down.

Every day I felt more tired than the last. When you go to bed tired and wake up tired you know something is wrong. (But the question is what?) Continuous Signs of Fatigue, Do I have CTF? The worst part is not knowing what’s wrong.

I attempted to make my side-business more than a side-business at the worst possible time. It worked at first, but after having some bad-egg clients, things got worse. (And cue financial problems.) My girlfriend was also having job issues, so I was helping her as much as I could.

I kept talking (complaining *cough cough*) circles around fatigue, ache, money, and other problems that made me and everyone else blue in the face. I started identifying who I was with the problems I had.

I felt isolated and alone. Unable to keep up with my friends, be that energetically or financially.

It’s difficult to be yourself, your whole self, when you’re tired, broken, broke, despairing and on the verge of tears.

All of these setbacks were a one, two, PUNCH on my psyche and on my desire to be the best version of myself I can be.

But here’s the punch line:

I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past few years, it’s
Your greatest triumphs come from your worse setbacks.

What separates those who use setbacks to their advantage and use them to surpass where they were, versus those who give up and never recover? (And how do we become the former rather than the latter?)

You are not your problems.

Having an injury or bad job, or health issue, or anxiety, or ______ (insert pain-point here) doesn’t me you are that experience. Everyone has issues, even the larger than life characters we look up to, but that doesn’t mean that’s your identity. Pain is a shared human experience. It’s not meant to be bottled up instead. It’s meant to be shared and relieved by the hands of others. Pain is a touching point to guide, inspire, and related to others through there own pain.

Every moment in my life where I’ve been broken down and beaten to a pulp by failure and setbacks, Has been the path to my greatest success and growth. As much as I️ would rather not feel the anxiety, frustration, pain, illness and all the negative outcomes of facing setbacks, I️ now see the value and blessing of going through hard times. Once you see the blessings in disguise, you having something to focus on besides the pain itself. Knowing there is a kernel of truth in pain and that truth will help you achieve your wildest dreams is how we can take advantage our worst experiences and allow us to build an extraordinary life.

There are hard-earned lessons in pain. (It’s hard to see this during, and might be impossible to really know what I’m talking about unless you’ve gone through your own share of setbacks) There are also opportunities and abundance in pain too. 

Where am I today?

I’ve got a new apartment, one that I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve got a great job working on Pass It Down and working with Paul Cummings. My business started to thrive when I️ made it my side business again. My relationship with Gabriella and my family has improved. And best of all, I’m thinking less about me and more about you and how I️ can make an impact on your life and on the lives of others everywhere.

How did I get here? What do you do when you are facing down the barrel of a setback?

I️ asked for help. I️ reached out to friends to see if they knew of any work available I️ could take on.
I️ said yes to opportunities that came my way, big or small. I took chances. I created challenges for myself.
I pitched ideas to others to collaborate. Not all of them said yes, but one, two, three yeses are better than none. One yes is all you need to get going.
I️ invested money in going to the doctor and have started to unlock the solutions to my health and energy problems.

I’m still working on my health, my friendships, finances, spirit, creative pursuits (like this blog) and other areas of my life. But as long as I️ focus on improving in each area every day, and remember the lessons learned from my experiences, I️ know any setback I️ face I️ will be able to turn it into my greatest triumphs. And you can too with yours.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Action Steps:

  • Share your pain
  • Look for opportunity and truth when you are facing down the barrel of a setback.

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Related Wisdom:

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” Rumi

“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.”Oprah

“A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle.”Malcolm Gladwell

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”Henry Ford

Gunpoint

I think I was just held up at gunpoint.

(Wait. What did you just say?)

I was doing my morning walk, had my headphones on with The James Altucher Show playing, and a beat up car creeps up to me.

I didn’t hear them at first, and when I did I was thinking to myself, ‘ok, pass me car’. I was really engrossed in Jim Kwik’s story about speed reading.

But the car kept hovering near me.

 Then I heard “give me your headphones and phone.”

“What?” I said. “Just take those headphones and phone and put them in the car.”

….

I looked at the driver, then and his front passenger. Looked at his left hand, he was holding something at his side in an unnatural way. I glanced into the back, a lady was apologizing and sympathizing. The car smelled of smoke and grime.

I looked back to the driver and said,

“No.”

The lady kept apologizing, I kept looking at them, and then they just drove off.

Your life is worth more than a pair of headphones and an iPhone, but after the year I’ve had — setback after setback, pain, health problems, frustrations, financial problems, and more — I guess nothing phases me anymore.

My instincts are crazy.

More on my setbacks and how to turn your worst circumstances into your greatest opportunities soon.

 

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Living With A Glass Half Full

I’ve been Running on Empty for Quite some time now.

Recently, I took a small hiatus from blogging, podcasting and from @boldsheep because of constant lack of energy. I wanted to determine whether the sheer number of things I was doing was the cause. 

You see, when you wake up just as tired as you were the night before, feel that way throughout the day, and do it all over again the next, you’ll try anything to fix it.

Maybe you can relate.

You don’t realize how much you need something, until after it’s broken.

 
Systems break all the time, and any number of setbacks can and will occur to all of us.

(ignorance is not bliss — it’s negligence)

This is why awareness is so important. If you know yourself, and recognize something is off, you can start doing something about it before it blindsides you.

But maybe you’re already knee deep in it like me. 
We have 2 choices — give up, or keep going. (And it’s a choice you have to make every day.)

I choose the latter.

If the break from my side hustles has taught me anything, it’s that we need creative outlets for a more fulfilled life. Outlets for the shear fun of it.
 

I am called to create and make — no matter the medium — whether that’s through learning, writing, design, coding, music, or what-have-you.

Luckily I have RenaissanceLife, boldsheep, and 60Watts  to do so.

I would rather live a life half-full, filled with meaning and worthwhile endeavors, than a life half-empty with nothing at all. 

I may not have the capacity to do all the things I aspire to do with the energy I have, but I am capable of doing what I can with what I have to give.

 

Action Step: Create / Find your outlets that make you feel alive

I’m still running on empty, and until my glass is full and VIBRANT again, I’ll just have to be okay with that. But until then,  I’ll do what I can with as much enthusiasm I have to give. You can count on it.

— Keep Pursuing, Josh Waggoner

 

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related wisdom

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” —Christopher Reeve

 

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney

 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” — Marie Curie

 

“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” — Victor Hugo

 

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” — Leo Tolstoy

Bandwagon Blues

When we fall off the bandwagon, the easiest thing for us to do is jump right back on.

No muss no fuss gus.

Just pick yourself up, and keeping going. 

Failure is an essential ingredient of success.

If someone doesn’t talk about their failures, it just means they’re keeping them to themselves.

Everyone in the universe falls off the bandwagon  — it doesn’t mean your life is over — it means you’re ALIVE.

When we continuing despite setbacks — we’re not really failing at all really.

We’re growing. We’re persevering. We’re taking feedback. We’re being stubborn (not today failure, not today.)

And that means,

 we are living fully.

 

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me (josh@renaissancemanlife.com) your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

related wisdom:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

 

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill

 

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” — Paramahansa Yogananda

 

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan

 

Setbacks

 

Life gives us lemons all the time —

usually, at the most inconvenient time possible.

It’s where every problem and frustration hits you at once (each, on their own, not a big deal, but together adds up to an overwhelming sense of anxiety and lack of control)

‘I got sick and lost my consistency with blogging..’

‘I missed one workout, now weeks have gone by without exercise’

‘Things have been crazy, I’ll get back to it once everything slows down..’

How we see and handle our lemons (aka setbacks) is what separates us from

being brilliant or not.

The hardest thing to accept is

setbacks are inevitable.

Somethings are just out of our control.

Once I accepted that, it was easy to focus on what I can do, rather than pushing against what I can’t.

So how can we take setbacks and use them to push forward?

The best solution for setbacks is just do something.

If you fall off the wagon, just get back on.

Break it down to one small task at a time.

You’ll be well on your way to where you were and beyond.

You have the power to turn trials into triumphs.

no lemonade analogies allowed.

related wisdom:

The Bounce Back Book: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks, and Losses

“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead” — Les Brown

 

#KeepPursuing,

~ Josh Waggoner.

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me (josh@renaissancemanlife.com) your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?