RL Personal Freedom is

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom
  • Happiness
  • Belonging
  • Creativity
  • Impact

We all want some version of these seven things.

You might have a different perspective on what each means and what’s more important to you, but, after all, that’s what makes freedom so special and personal.

Their definition is difficult to nail down because they are foundational and old as humanity itself, but they also change as you change. Your definition of what “health” as a teenager will be completely different (aka nonexistent) compared to your thirty-year-old self.

They are each tailored to who we are too. For you, that might be expressing your creativity and making an impact through art.

Each freedom (for lack of a better word) mixes and mashes in interesting ways and also affect each other. They are independent but also connected. Think of it like they’re all driving the car and they all have a hand on the steering wheel.

For example, lack of wisdom can lead to poor health and wealth, which could ultimately lead to unhappiness.

But I don’t think I need to write a blog post to tell you that.

What I want to focus on today is what happens when one or many of these escapes you?

What do we do when our health fails us? What to do when our wealth and health are poor?

What do we do when we make financial mistakes and are suddenly struggling?

What do we focus on when life gives us a bad hand or our circumstances take one of these personal freedoms away?

Well, luckily these personal freedoms aren’t an all or nothing thing. You don’t need all of these to have a meaningful life.

I don’t think I’m wise enough yet to say which ones take priority over the others.

I do know that holding on to something you’ve lost/once had will only increase your problems.

The key is letting go of what we don’t have control over, and narrowing our focus on any one of these things will get you back on your feet.

“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”

Bruce Lee

If I were a betting man, I’d say that happiness and wisdom are the best ones to focus on.

Get Happy

By focusing on happiness, you become resilient to difficulty. You’re not Superman—you’re just not as phased by problems. Happiness protects you. If you’re happy, truly happy, not because of the material things you have, but because you love yourself, care about life and others, then nothing can touch you. Hardship rolls off of you. Your happiness is a shield.

Happiness leads to — wisdom.
which leads to health.
which heightens your creativity.
And adds to wealth.
And draws people in.
All while leaving everything and everyone you interact with better than you found it.

Get Wise

By focusing on gaining wisdom, then every other personal freedom increases too. Wisdom reminds you to be more healthy. It shows you how to build wealth. It fills you with impactful ideas. It teaches you how to be kind and loving and patient and happy.

When in doubt—

Focus on happiness.
Focus on gaining wisdom.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1037

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Growing Well

“Wisdom is the one thing that makes growing old worth it.” — Jiraiya, Naruto: Shippuden 

I’m in that weird age of not being old, but not being young either. In my head, I picture myself like I’m college young, but I’m definitely no longer in that demographic. In fact, my younger sister just graduated from school with a photo-media degree, and when I look at who is in college right now and I’m like—Nah bro. You old.

Age is not something I ever think about. Mentally, I’ve always felt like an old man. someone who can talk to anybody, no matter how old or young they are. And someone who would prefer a good book or deep conversation than a night out drinking or hitting the town.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having fun and playing. But my play looks different than most muggles. I get kicks off creating things, learning, and trying new things and exercises.

Each year of our lives brings something new. (Each second, really.) It’s up to each of us to make it mean something.

Do you know who you want to be when you grow old? Because the things we do now have a big impact on us later on. How we move, eat, what we watch, what we do for work, who we hang out with, what we do in our free time, etc.

I’d like to be some who grows wiser each day, and learns to say no to what doesn’t matter to me, and say yes to what does. I’d like to be the kind of person who stands up for what we believe and apologizes for when he’s wrong.

Wanting it—that’s the first step towards being a better version of ourselves.

The next step is figuring it out to the best of our abilities as we go.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #934

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Reading Muscles

Saying ‘I hate reading’ is like saying ‘I hate green foods’. You probably don’t know if you like it because you’ve barely tried it. You might still think broccoli taste awful, but maybe you or your family just sucks at making broccoli and are great at overcooking it. (Sorry mom, I didn’t mean it)

The biggest problem with reading is that people don’t tell you why you should read in the first place.

Reading is A straight path toward success. 

(Whatever success means to you. It could mean swimming in a hot tub full of money, or maybe just having flexible work hours) If you want to succeed, if you want to be more than a beginner, and if you seek change and have a desire to live an extraordinary life — start reading. 

Knowledge, Skills, the ability to learn and connect ideas is a surefire way to become a linchpin.

Reading opens up your mind to infinite ideas and possibilities. (Put that on a motivational poster and smoke it) Reading expands your ability to think and see, it wakes you up to new worlds and new perspectives on life. (And that goes for fiction and nonfiction too)

I can’t even count the number of ideas reading has sparked for me. Half of my writing ideas were prompted by a word or phrase that I️ read in a book. And that’s the crazy things about books: they are a summation of experience, expertise, and ideas. Ideas that can change your life, and the lives of thousands of people out there facing their own challenges.

It’s okay if you don’t quite understand a book. When did not understanding become a sign that your an idiot?! Not understanding simply means you haven’t understood it yet

How to Build Up Your Reading Muscles

The act of reading a book is like going to the gym. Each time you do I­t­ you’re working your reading muscles and getting mentally stronger. Reading The Count of Monty Christo is going to feel like you’re jogging through pudding compared to reading The Hunger Games. And reading Plato is going to feel like someone strap hippos to your feet compared to reading Make Good Art. (Both fantastic, but Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art is much easy to understand than Plato) You don’t start working out by going to the gym and bench pressing 400 lbs on your first go. You start gradually and work you’re way up.

Each time you read new a book, pick something that feels like I­t­ might be a little out of your comfort zone. 

Read EVERYTHING that interests you, and be open to new genres that might not. Ideas can come from anywhere. It’s okay to put a book down if you dislike I­t­, but never put a book down because you /think/ that you would dislike I­t­.

I­t­ bears repeating, reading is your path to success. Whatever you want to learn, whoever you want to be, there’s a book out there for you to help guide your way. Mastery begins with the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

Get reading.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life


Related Insights

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” — David Bailey

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” — Will Rogers

“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.” — Mark Haddon

The Confidence of Your Inner Child

“Don’t be mad, 
cause I’m doing me
Better than you doing you.”

Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

What did you love to do when you were a kid? (What did you love to do when you were alone, or with friends?) Was it build huge structures and worlds out of legos? Was it drawing weird creatures and imagining them coming to life?

When I was growing up I did so many things.  I would draw, build legos, fight imaginary battles with a tree branch as a sword (still have the scar to prove it) My sisters and I grew up in a great neighborhood with a flock of kids the same age. We would bike, skateboard, run around, climb things we weren’t supposed to and all manner of shenanigans. (My own version of sandlot)  

The older I get, the more value I see in being childish. I have a strong gut feeling that the closer we get to our inner child, the closer we are to our true self. Our true self is the kind of person we would love to be, someone who doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable things, or from trying new things. Someone who just does things. Someone who is resilient, kind, insightful, opinionated and capable living past fear, and boldly moving on from failure.

Our inner child Is filled with wonder and possibility and has no doubt about who he or she is, no fear of failure, no worry or stress about what to do or who to be. Our inner child just is — he / she loving who we are, the way we are.

I think as kids we feel invincible. 
We don’t shy away from things, because what’s there to shy away from?

But somewhere down the line circumstance tells us to be cautious.
And in some cases, the circumstance is right. We should be cautious. Crossing the street can be dangerous. Sometimes stranger-danger is no joke. And if you jump off enough things, you’re bound to injure yourself.  The problem is being cautious is a slippery slope towards being hesitant.

We are hesitant to make new friends because, ‘what if they don’t like me?’
We are hesitant to try new things because, ‘what if I suck at it?’
We are hesitant to go outside our comfort zones because, ‘what if I embarrass myself?’

And the inner child in all of us says ‘So What?’

Kids don’t think, ‘man I really suck at this’. 

No! They think they’re great at everything! And maybe their josh-awful at it, but at least they are trying. To master anything, you must start as a beginner, just like everyone else, and then you must give it your all.

So what if I embarrass myself? Own it. Go ahead embarrass yourself. What’s it to them? By stepping outside your comfort zone, you’re doing what 80% (just made up that number) of the population won’t do. Be proud of that.

As humans, we are not invincible. (Just vincible) But that doesn’t mean we play our life safe. Be cautiously optimistic. Feel invincible while being smarter too.
You might end up worse, or better off. Play it safe and you’ll only get the same.

Your challenge today is to do something you loved to do as a kid. (Something no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do… scratch that — especially what no average mainstream abiding adult would ever do)

It could be something as simple as an activity you haven’t done in years: 
Throw frisbee with a friend, play pretend and build an epic imaginary adventure across your city, join a pickup basketball game with strangers at the YMCA. Build a pillow fort with your kids. (Building a pillow fort is always a great idea)

Whatever you do, the sillier the better. There are no brownie points for half-assing things. (Sure you could play Mario, but so is everyone else in the world, 50 years old and down)

Challenge: Do something childish.

Call a friend and invite them to do it too.

Take a photo, tell me what you did! tag me @renaissance.life on Instagram or email me Josh@renaissancelife.com. Make it public for all to see. Make them jealous of your new childlike freedom.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children. ” ― Jim Henson

“I think you have to keep a childlike quality to play music or make a record.” — Beck

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” — Eleanor Roosevelt

#tinyReview: Resilience – Hard-Won Wisdom For Living A Better Life

VerdiCt:  🔥 🔥 🔥


I’m not going to lie, I loved this book. There is so much wisdom, and insight. I’ll be reading this one for years to come.

This book is essential. Read it if you’re after a Renaissance Life like I am.

Topics Include

  • Responsibility
  • Models
  • Philosophy
  • Pain
  • Leadership
  • Spirituality
  • What is Resilience and how do we master it?
  • Happiness
  • Identity
  • Vocation
  • Habits

Why be Brilliant?

When you’re brilliant —

Which I equate to Vision + Skill + Wisdom + Action

You’re able to have an idea, see what it could be,

design it, execute it, and refine it.

You understand whether the idea is sound or not, based on what you know, and feedback from early testing.

You know whether the idea is a good fit for you, knowing when to delegate.

And you understand there’s always another idea out there, so you’re not worried, or afraid to toss out a bad one.

Brilliance allows us to be capable of outputting our ideas, whatever the medium, because we have the knowledge to do so, and the mindset you to learn how if we don’t.

It’s having something in your head, and being able to make it real. Idea’s come to life.

I don’t know about you, but I want to make my ideas reality.

Why be Brilliant

Why NOT be? 

Related Wisdom:

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” — Thomas Edison


“All big things in this world are done by people who are naive and have an idea that is obviously impossible.” — Charles Hamilton



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?