A Moment of Reflection

“It's very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”Marcel Proust

Josh Waggoner
Whenever in doubt,

Surround yourself with who you want to be.

Surround yourself with things that make you feel alive.

Our environment, be that things, people, inputs, food, help define not only who we are, but who we can be (our capacity)

Anything that doesn’t lift you up and lift others up too, is only an anchor weighing on your soul.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
An Intentional Day

Imagine for a moment, waking up feeling alive.

Instead of reluctantly rolling out of bed, fighting sleepiness, scrolling through your phone, you woke up feeling good, like really good.

You feel rested because you respected sleep, and from a relaxing night routine.

You feel ready and willing to take on the day.

This reality can be ours by living Intentionally.

You might hear that word thrown around a lot nowadays. Essentially it means putting purpose behind every decision and action you do. To be intent is to bring care behind every move. Living Intentionally gives you a hyper focus on what matters to you, and an uncanny ability to observe and connect with others around you.

And, like most things in life, is easy to talk about, hard to master.

Like meditation can strengthen your mind, Intentionality can strengthen your life and ability to make things happen smoothly.

Intentional living is stoic philosophy in action.

Problems come, but they don’t overwhelm you. They are seen only as they are, nothing more / worse.

Fear comes, but it doesn’t run your life.

Failure happens, but resilience comes easily.

Basically living intentionally gives you control over your life, instead of it and the circumstances that happen controlling you.

And it begins with practice.

Find moments in each day - any chance you can remember- to be as present and aware of all things going on around you and with you.

The best way I can describe it is like the feeling you get when you’re watching a great movie. You fall into the story. You don’t notice what others are doing around you or even what you’re doing. In the 2+ hours, the only thing that exists is the movie and characters in front of you.

If you’re exercising, relate to how you legs feel as they carry you forward. Notice how your breathing, Notice the word around you.

If you’re eating, enjoy every bite. Feel, touch, taste, listen...

We must enjoy the present moment, to find joy in every moment. (Even the sucky ones.)

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
How to Live Intentionally

Most problems are not whiplash moment and happen over one night.  They build gradually, like rust to metal and water. Even now, how many life-altering moments are accumulating and brewing as I write and as you read these words, that we are completely unaware to.

An acorn is much easier to tame, than a tree grown and rooted into the ground.

Compared to actual whiplash moments — injuries, accidents, natural disasters— gradual problems sting even worse, partially because we could and should have seen them coming if we were paying more attention to ourselves and our lives.


We put immediacy over what’s important, and feed impulse over long-term care.


We die for our work, while our health and wellbeing takes a back sit in the bus.

We let stress and anxiety reign, while freedom feels further and further out of our reach.

We isolate ourselves from others to keep us safe from failure and pain, which only inflames our sense of failure and pain even more.


The cure is living intentionally, but the question is how?

How do we control our lives without others or things controlling us instead?

Living Intentionally

Living with intentionally is part boldness, and part carelessness. It’s part focus /desire and part letting go.

It’a giving a damn about who you are, where you want to go, and how you want to live, while also not caring too much and being attached to the outcome.

Being detached yet attached sounds completely mental, unless you think about it in the right perspective. The best example I can must this evening is a Chinese finger trap toy you might remember these as a kid. An intricate weaved hollow cylinder, big enough to fit to fingers into from either side (usually your two index fingers). Try to get your fingers out with too much force or pressure and the contraption tightens its grip on you. Pull too hard and the fragile system breaks. But by letting go, and calmly removing your fingers and the pressure suddenly disappears, and the trap is released.

Hold too tightly to your life or to a vision of your life, and you actually lose your ability to make true change in your life. Try to force it to your will or let others force your life to their own will and you’ll end up broken, tired, unhealthy and all the other traits you were actively seeking to avoid. But by letting go off the outcome, and boldly following your own path, you open yourself up to an incredible ability to change and make what does change (the things you weren’t expecting) a part of your greater story as well.

It’s a life of caring and pursuing the right things, the things that nurture and give meaning, while also balancing a life of not caring and letting go of what doesn’t ultimately matter when the dust settles, and it’s all said and done.

All the details of an intentional life are up to you and the circumstances life brings. These are the mysteries and unexpected events that spice up life and make things interesting.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Execute

How often do you find yourself telling people around you about what you are going to do, instead of doing it?

If you keep falling into this category, it would be worthwhile to take some time to reflect on what you like more: looking good with a witty idea or imaginative dream, or going out and making it reality.

Tell them what you are doing, not what you are going to do. Everything, keep to yourself until you’re doing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Respecting Limits

To know your limits, you must push your limits.

But to push your limits, there’s always the risk of going too far over the edge.

For me, I have a hard time knowing when I’ve gone over the edge until it’s too late. Injury, burnout, pain… unnecessary problems that could be avoided. But then again maybe not. It’s hard to know what’s your limit until you go over the edge. (A lesson most of us need to learn ourselves.)

Some limits are meant to be broken and trained to be improved.

Some, however, need to be respected.

Sleep, exercise, diet, purpose, time. all needed to be respected with mindfulness and care, otherwise you end up in situations you don’t want to be in (or where actually trying to avoid).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Stuffed

My life is overstuffed.

I have the beginning of the solution to unstuff it, from someone smarter than I: Paring Down Your Life.

The hard part is actually doing it.

It’s sitting down in silence, making sure my life aligns with the vision of my life, and that my days work towards meaningful, instead of wishing for meaning.

But again, easy to say, hard to do.

It’s often not the question or lack of insight that stumps us — we usually know what we need long before (if even) we do it — but rather taking that fundamental truth and thoroughly applying it to our life.

The questions we need to ask ourselves is what’s stopping us and why is stopping us? - breaking it down to its essence- and deciding whether we’re gonna let it stop us from living a meaningful life.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner 

Josh Waggoner
In case of emergency…

‘In case of emergency, a mask will drop from a container in the airplane ceiling. Put on your mask before helping anyone sitting with you. This may fly in the face of your instincts if you are caring for others around you. However, supply yourself with good air and you'll be in better condition to deal with those around you.’

To piggyback on yesterday’s short observations, we tend to focus on everything around us other than what actually will make a difference.

I don’t blame me or you from doing this. When we are in pain, dealing with problems, or building something we care about, it’s hard NOT to focus on anything but that. We’re often consumed by the problem of the splinter, while we’re slowly drowning in quicksand.

It’s the classic short-term, versus long-term juxtaposition.

We ignore the long-term greater benefits, to focus on our immediate battles. And at the same time, ignore the short-term things that ACTUALLY add up to meaningful outcomes in the long-term, and rather focus on the problems that are consuming us.

Supply yourself first, to be in a better condition to deal

If you’re not 100 percent on your foundations— clean food, well rested, exercised, mentally, emotionally and spiritually stress-free,— you’re not going to be as capable as you could be. In fact, treating yourself anything other than top priority puts you at a disadvantage.

A disadvantage to help yourself, let alone help others.

So what do you do when you are already at a disadvantage?

Do what you can, let go of the rest. Treat your mind, body and spirit as well as you can. Supply yourself FIRST, as much as you can.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Finding Joy

When the going gets tough, everyone typically bends on the most important things.

When you’re low on money, you go cheap on food...

When you’re working like mad, you don’t exercise...

When you’re a lonely, sad, miserable, hot mess, you avoid your friends and hermit from your community.

But really we’re skipping over / abusing our defenses that are helping us overcome our problems.

Will cheap fast food make you feel better and enable you to fix your money problem?

Will avoiding everyone make your sadness go away?

I would argue no.

We avoid what brings us joy and strength, precisely where we need it most.

Embrace the problems your dealing with. Feed you mind body and spirit the joy it needs to fuel you through difficult times. Find your joy not by cutting corners, rather, find your joy through the capability of your creativity and health.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Pause and Reflect

You’ve probably heard of the Mark Twain quote, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

I think an eighth day should be added to the calendar for a weekly ’pause and reflect’ day.

Pausing and reflecting isn’t hesitation.

Hesitating is pausing out of the various types of fear and uncertainty that can overwhelm us.

Pausing and reflecting is the art of understanding. By practicing reflection, we give ourselves the allowance to look back on things we’ve been doing, problems we’ve been facing, ways we’ve been living with a fresh perspective. This lets us check in and make sure what we are doing is matching who we are.

Reflecting on where we are and where we were — without judgement, only seeking understanding and lessons learned — helps us navigate the uncertainty and decisions that life naturally brings.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Live It

If you want to be it, you have to do it.

The question is, do you really want to BE it, or do you just enjoy the fantasy of the benefits you get from being it?

Or in other words, if you don’t love doing it, do you really want to be it?

Nevertheless, to put a Shakespearean twang on it, To Be, You Must Do.

Wanting it isn’t enough. You have to learn to live it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
What’s Your Bliss?

Setbacks are easier to deal with when you take your mind off of the sting of them with things you love.

I’m not talking about pounding some weed.

Create, Explore, Learn.

Dance, yoga, paint, sketch, read, hike, kayak.

Do something that is good for your mind to get you out of your mind.

In a counterintuitive way, by not focusing on our problems, we can begin to think and open up space for opportunities to solve them.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Start and Stick

The people who win are the ones who get started.

Get up and take a small action towards winning.

You don’t need more information.

You don’t need more resources.

You don’t need more expertise.

You just need to start and stick.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Downstream Effect

The question should not be, ‘how do I change my life?’ nor ‘how do I make my dreams happen?’

Those are well intentioned questions to be sure, but they’re also broad, fuzzy and hard to grasp ahold of.

Instead, ask yourself,

What are the key upstream decisions I can do today (and each day forward) that will result in a downstream positive way.

Every little shift you make today adds up in… someway, especially when you’re focused on improving yourself, your habits, skills, and community.

The key decisions depends on your dream, or the kind of life you want to live.

Of course, there’s a lot in play here. One day of eating healthy is not going to amount to much if the rest of your life is filled with pizza cake and beer. There are other forces at work. The goal is to gain mastery over the ones you can control — consistency, persistence, habit, saying yes, saying no, etc, and learning to be more resilient every time you face something you can’t control.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
What it Means to Live a Renaissance Life

The world is going to tell you that you can’t be a multi-disciplinary — someone pursuing mastery in multiple crafts — nor have a ‘Renaissance Life’. To the world, the age of polymath’s like Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin or Bertrand Russell are dead.

And in a way, they are right: You can’t learn everything. You can’t be everyone. Unless you stumbled upon the fountain of youth, or have the unfortunate (or fortunate depending on the kind of person you are) life of being an immortal vampire, there is only so much time you can give to learning new pursuits.

But then you look around at your peers or psudeo-mentors online and ALL YOU SEE are multi-disciplinaries. Doctors who are also great at Podcasting. Business owners who are also YOGA masters, and fluent in the art of Aryuvedic Medicine and social media. N of 1 types who experiment and test thousands of hacks across multiple industries. Founders with multiple businesses.

And then if you look even closer, you’ll notice that a multi-disciplinary is exactly what everyone wants you to be. Your boss doesn’t want you just to be a designer. They want you to be great at design, and communication, and animation and a million other related skills. Your freelance clients don’t want you to just be a web developer. They want you to help them with SEO, social media, email marketing (getting more eyeballs on their work),  and create copy that sells. Your spouse doesn’t want you just to be good being a spouse. They also want you to be a good parent, confidant, lover, communicator and more.

We’re all multi-disciplinaries. We’re just not doing it well. Some of us have more tools and insights on how to master multiple pursuits than others.

Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something.

You can.

But also don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do everything you want, especially everything at the same time. Decision is a part of what makes you you. Deciding what to say no to is some of the most important decisions you’ll  make. What you say no to defines who you are, and also refines what you say yes to. And refinement is what pursuing multiple disciplines is about —

Having the consistency, will, and energy to become a master at something like you want to, and doing it without unnecessary stresses in your life, or having to sacrifice the more important things like your friends and family in the process.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
You are not a negative

It does take much to point your life towards the direction you want to go.

A small nudge here,

A little shift there...

Maybe this thing that’s causing you so much pain and friction is exactly what you need to get you started?

I sometimes wish I could just start over from zero, wipe the slate clean and begin anew.

But that opens up the question: who’s counting? And why do I feel like I’m a negative (or in the negative)?

Is it about the money I have or don’t have?

Is it about the following / awareness / community I have or do have?

Or is it me? Maybe if we stop seeing ourselves as a negative, dwelling on the fact that we feel like a negative, then we could finally see that we’ve been a positive the entire time.

The only person who can take your charge ⚡️is yourself.

The only way to keep your charge is to use it. Use it or lose it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Readers Digest

I have a lot of books.

(Which might be the understate of the year.)

I’d say I have about a 50/50 split of fiction and nonfiction.

When it comes to what matters most, quantity of books you’ve read, or how fast you read or how many books you have on yourself are far less important (minuscule) compared to absorption and application.

In the past I’ve been guilty of reading great book — one that feels impactful — and immediately jump to the next book after I finish it, applying nothing to my life. If you’re reading a book for story or for escapism, that’s one thing. But if your reading a book for information or insights you can use to change your life, why read at all if you’re not going to test out what the author is suggesting?

Meaning, when you read a business book, how much do you actually apply to your own business? What lessons are you testing? What actions are you taking?

The most illuminating example is a cookbook. A book filled with literal instructions on what to do and how. But if all you do is buy it and look at the pretty food pictures (and then go order a pizza), what do you have left?

Decoration.

Having hundreds of books on your shelf is impressive. Yet, its more impressive to watch you in action, and see you’re cooking skills from experience.

Someone with a business and a great business book is better than someone with just a business and no desire to read. However, someone with both the insights from other great leaders and entrepreneurs, AND the boldness to apply them to their own ventures blows the other two fools out of the water.

We need to read and let a book sit with us. Like a hearty meal, or rich dessert, we need to digest it, and take time to question and ponder how we can use it to our own advantage.

Digesting books does come with a problem though.

How will you possible keep up with the hundreds of new shiny books coming out, waiting to inspire you??

And the honest answer is you can’t. You have to choose.

You have to vet, and refine what it is exactly what you need to learn in this moment, this phase of growth that you’re in. (Just in time learning, as they call it in computer science.)

Are you digesting your books? Or are your just zipping through them like they are a reality tv show? Are you testing what they are saying and seeing if they work for your own life? Or are you just living vicariously through them?

The best books are the ones that challenge you and push you to change your life.

The best books are the ones that are used. 

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Burning with Frustration

On days like today — overstuffed, hectic kinda days — I feel the farthest from my dreams as possible.

Did I put in the time to improve in my pursuits? Did I give my energy to the right things?

Not really.

It was lots of stress, worry and business around work, money and problems.

Days like today are why the majority of us give up the goal. We put away the guitar, the idea, the dancing shoes, the ball, the pen... etc, step away and never return. I don’t blame anyone who does. Nor do I judge or scoff or feel anything other thansympathy for someone who has walked away from their dream.

But I can’t walk away.

I burn with frustration. Frustrations and desire to prove to myself that I can my my dreams come alive. Even in your worst moments, there’s always another chance for growth and change the next day. Cry. Sleep. Crawl out of bed, ready to fight another day.

Give as much time, energy and soul you can to your pursuits without losing your sanity (or your health).

It’s never to late to make your dream happen, and it’s never to late to find another dream to take its place if you gave up on it long ago.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
‘Out With The Old, In With The New’

Or put less eloquently, new things don’t happen until you remove the old things.


Old ways of thinking.

Old habits, ingrained patterns.

Old memories holding you back.

Old coping mechanism.


If you’re seeking change, you have to do something new.

It sounds obvious, I know, but I find myself going back to the same old Josh’s ways of acting expecting things to happen or get better.


Act out. Make waves. Kick up the dirt.


But we don’t because, well, what if something goes wrong?


We are terrified of change, yet desire it so strongly. I suppose the distinction is that we only want things to change like we want them to change, instead of change we don’t see coming. This is like trying to say the earth is flat by believing. that it is, or trying to make a wall disappear by closing your eyes.


Change is a force outside of us.


Change is like grabbing hold of a bolt of lightning, we can direct it, but we cannot control it.


If you want to bring some new into your life, start by bucking the old and making a change towards the direction in life you would love to go.


STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Non-Decisions

“The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.”Rumi

We seek answers and advice from outside ourselves. Friends, family, those more experienced in what we are going through. But more often than not,

You already know what you need to do.

Making hard calls is one of the most toughest things we have to face. Do you go with what’s safe, or what’s true to you? Do you take a leap of faith and put yourself out there, or do you suppress yourself and suffer in silence?

Not making the hard calls is the easiest way to delay them in the short term, but non-decisions ruminate. They fester and consume your every thought. Consider indecision. By paralyzing yourself from making a decision, or by postponing it again and again, not only do you create unnecessary stress in your life, you end up making the worst decision you can make: doing nothing.

When has sitting on your hands done anything for you? When has not speaking up actually turned out in your favor?

Every time you make a non-decision, you suffer.

Holding in your emotions.

Doing nothing, Not speaking up for yourself or others, even though your gut and every fiber of your being is telling you to.

Reluctantly choosing the ‘have to’ path of life, instead of the ‘dream’ path of life.

The gut is mightier.

Give yourself a moment and listen to what your body and soul already knows.

You already have the decisions you want and need to make. Not it’s time to do the work and take it to heart with sound footing and action.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner