Practice #1: Do The Verb

Note: This is a post pulled from my premium monthly email publication, Practices. Practices the sister publication to Considerations. Where Considerations is about creative inputs, Practices is about creative output. If you are looking to up your game, sign up for Practices.


A few years ago, I was fed up with myself. I was constantly droning on and on about wanting to be a writer (likely to the annoyance of everyone around me). My heart was in the right place, but I just wasn’t doing it.

I had recently started a blog, Renaissance Man Life (which is now Renaissance Life) around the goal of writing more and my main goal of being multidisciplinary. The problem was I wasn’t writing.

I would tell myself that once inspiration struck, I would write something worthwhile and post it. But inspiration rarely came—if at all.

I was doing a lot of dreaming, but not a whole lot of doing.

I finally had an epiphany on how to resolve this after I started my podcast around creativity and mastery, and noticed a pattern between some early guests on the show.

Josh Green (@permanentrecorddrums) a musician, mentioned how he improved his skills by creating and filming a daily drum groove for a year.

Travis Knight (@travisknight), illustrator and designer, did something similar by drawing a “creep” monster every day for years.

After hearing their stories (and also being influenced by Seth Godin’s work) I decided to start writing a blog post every day.

Today, I’ve written 900+ consecutive blog posts and counting. Not only am I writing more and honing my writing skills every day, but I also feel like a writer.

Have I written a best-selling book yet? No. But each blog post is a step towards achieving that goal.

It’s impossible to be a writer if you never write.

That goes not just for writing, but for any craft you want to become great at.

Are you a musician if you don’t practice?

Are you a potter if you don’t sculpt clay?

Recently I came across this quote from Austin Kleon that summarizes the essence at what I’m driving at:

“If you want to be the noun, first do the verb”

The noun and the verb – Austin Kleon

Or in other words, if you want to be something, you have to go do it.

Of course, you don’t have to go out and start a daily habit like me. Writing daily is just what works for me personally and helps build momentum. You can just as easily work on your craft on the weekend, or weekdays after hours.

The key is to start.

If you want to be something, go do it.

Reflection: What’s one thing you want to do that you can start doing today?

“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.”

Epictetus

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #904

Note: This is a post pulled from my premium monthly email publication, Practices. Practices the sister publication to Considerations. Where Considerations is about creative inputs, Practices is about creative output. If you are looking to up your game, sign up for Practices.

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Zero Motivation: Part 2

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”

Winston Churchill

There’s a lot of things that I fear. I fear of making the wrong decisions and never recovering. I fear complacency. I get nervous whenever I talk in front of a crowd, or sing and play music in front of others. I even get nervous every time I’m about to record a podcast interview. I play it off easily, but my heart is thumping loudly in my chest. But there’s one thing I fear more than anything and that’s inaction.

One thing that really kicks me into high gear is considering the consequences of inaction. 

Perhaps its because I enjoy many disciplines (art, music, design, programming, dancing, health, etc), but I’m keenly aware of how little time I actually have to focus on learning and creating. 

After a relationship, job, friends, family, dog, eating, exercise and rest, there are only a finite amount of hours remaining to pursue creativity and learn new skills. It’s easy to forget and fall into a spiral of endless tv and movies on the dozens of (and growing) streaming platforms vying for our time. Don’t get me wrong— I love entertainment. I love a good story. I watch TV and movies and read fiction and occasional play games. For example, I’m obsessed with the limited series DEV’s right now, from FX on Hulu. But is entertaining myself at the same level of importance as pursuing my dreams? I think not. Otherwise, my priorities are misaligned.

Besides starting small and building momentum, another great way to motivate yourself to do something is through fear of inaction. 

Solution #2: Fear Inaction Over Action

Having a dream by itself isn’t enough. How many countless people over the centuries have come and gone without fulfilling their dreams or living a life true to themselves. It’s sad but true. And it can happen to us too. Having a dream doesn’t mean it will happen. That takes work and the discipline to work even when you don’t feel like it at the moment.

Is this something you want? Is this goal of yours something you are passionate about?

Then take a good long at what’s preventing you from doing it. Passion is the true motivator. But fear of inaction is what get’s the engine revving. 

Fearing inaction essentially means paying attention to what your life could look like if you didn’t act. Imagine yourself learning how to write and practicing writing every day for the next five years. What kind of writer would you be then? Would you have a bestselling novel? Would you impact not only your life but the lives of others everywhere? Now imagine yourself not writing for five years. You wanted to, but you never made the time for it. Things always seemed to get in the way. And now, five years have gone by but your dream of being a writer hasn’t moved an inch. This is the heart of fearing inaction.

Replace “writing” with whatever it is you desire to do— dance, practice guitar, calligraphy, run, become a vegan, etc.

This isn’t about patience. This is is about complacency. By fearing not taking steps towards our goals, we learn to push through our lack of motivation and what we are feeling like at the moment (lazy, tired, bored, achy, sore, depressed, sad, scattered, etc) And find a way forward. 

We take action because if we didn’t we would regret it.

Now ask yourself, “if I didn’t do _____ today, would I regret it?”

“In a year from now, what would I regret not having done?”

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #896

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Introducing Elbow Grease — Put a Little Elbow Grease on it

I love having a great idea (arrogant much josh?)—

or the thrill of goal setting, visioneering, and dreaming.. but —

An idea is only as good as its execution.

Having an idea is not enough, we must also act on creating it.

Head in the clouds feet on the ground.

 

Elbow Grease is a new RenaissanceLife series focused on

The Art of Grit — the blood, sweat, and tears needed to making things happen.

To take a dream and make it reality.

From something we say, to something we do.

And the hard work and grit it takes to do so. (For Grit is necessary if you want to build an empire.)

 

How do we make an idea more than just an idea?

How do we make our dreams reality?

How do we follow through on what we say?

How do we thrive in failure?

How do we be resilient in our work and relentless in our pursuits?

There’s only one way to figure out.

Let’s get to work.

 

related

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner

Write Your Own Story — The Renaissance Life Model

What’s the model I follow to pursue a Renaissance Life?

Decide who I want to be,

— who I am, what’s important to me, the traits / virtues I want, what I want to do.. all leading towards the best I can be) 

— who I want to be is a decision I make.

Take daily action steps towards being the best me,

— do what I can, stay consistent, and think long term over short term 

— Remember that you make your own change (You Are Your Own Renaissance)

And resolve to pursue excellence and mastery in all that I do,

— even through hard day’s, challenges, pain and obstacles I may face 

Always with the goal of impact in mind.

— On my life, other’s lives, and the world 

 

We can’t control our entire life, but we can shape it by our models of thinking.

To be who we want to be, we must write our own story.

 

related:

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” — Marianne Williamson

 

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius

 

 

#KeepPursing,

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?