Shiny Object Syndrome

Having the ability to focus and stick with practice will make or break any skill or habit your trying to cultivate.

The last thing you want to do is follow the trends. As soon as you do, there will be another shiny object to take its place on the distraction gerbil wheel.

 
 

You’ll never go deep enough to master something if you’re jumping from one shiny object to the next, following whatever’s exciting in the moment.

When you love learning new skills, and want to pursue many things, shiny objects are easy to get distracted from, and every skill has it. Languages, coding, design, writing, athletics… there’s always something else you could be learning instead of what you are.

Why are we so drawn to these shiny derailing devils?

My guess is that everything looks easier to do from a far. While you’re knee deep in learning Japanese, yoga sure does look appealing too. And the practice in front of us is hard and feels like, well, work.

But once you recognize that, you realize it’s all work and that ultimate that work is worthwhile and what leads to mastery.

Avoid the shiny object syndrome. That’s a state that leads you to nowheresville fast.

Yoga will be just as difficult to master as the Japanese you’re learning. But that’s what makes each special and exciting to learn.

And hey, learn both if you want, just as long as they are not distracting you learning each and you have the time and energy to do so.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Gift Experiences

Stuff is great.

But how long does it really last?

Of course, this is hilarious coming from me. My wishlist is a mile long and half of the items are above the $500+ range.

I have nothing against things. I love opening presents, I also love giving presents. My favorite part about giving presents is thinking of exactly what the person would like, gifting to their personality.

But maybe things shouldn’t be in the top spot?

I mean, if I really think about it, how much of the things we want will still be relevant in a year?

Technology cycles out quickly. There’s always a new shiny hotness a month away. Why buy AirPods now when there’s some shiny new ones coming early 2019, for example.

Clothing gets old. Even cars and homes lose their freshly purchased smell after awhile.

Experiences, however, last.

Memories fade, but the feelings don’t.

Experiences stick with you always, even the bad ones become laughable or stories to tell given enough time. They become a part of who you are, in fact they help define who you are.

Think about how you can give the gift of experiences this year.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Top 5%

I sometimes the type of people who can dedicate themselves to JUST ONE THING. To give oneself to a single passion, and spend all effort in pursuit of it. 

I’m just not that guy. (At least not where I’m at in life right now.)

And thus I’ve chosen a multi-disciplined life. I don’t want to be just good at one thing, I want to be great at a handful of things. (still finite, still countable, just less… singular.)

Depending on who you’re talking to, I often get the response, ‘Ah! I see. A Jack of All Trades. Very cool.’

Ah jack. My old nemesis. A master of none. How I loath you.

I’ll typically nod and try to lead them into more of a Renaissance Mindset, they are after all, usually saying it with a complementitive tone (definitely a made-up word). 

No, I don’t want to be a jack of all trades, good sir. I’m probably overreacting, but there’s subtly in the language. I want to be a master of few, not a master of none. A Jack / Jill of All trades is someone who jumps from one interest to the next, bouncing around towards too many things — shiny objects — which ultimately highlights and leads to an indecisive life.

How about we compare a one thing life, with a multi-thing life.

Let’s start with the baseline: Going 1 to 0%. Let’s face it, a lot of us are just goofing off and just playing. As much as I’d like to help others go all in on what they love, there’s a lot of people out there who are living life going through the motions, giving only 0% on what they actually care about. There’s many reasons for this. There’s a lot of people hurting out there, without the empowerment and believe to overcome their pain. My heart goes out to them. Going just 1% puts you above the fold.


Going 100% doesn’t inevitably lead to your success. It can, but without the effort, consistency, dedication and luck involved, it might not. Go 100% AND put in the effort, and with a little luck you might be in the top 1% of your discipline. But do we really need to be in the top 1% to be a master of something?

Going 20% into 5 areas gets you further than the majority and leads to a level of mastery in your skills that can rival the top 1% er’s. I’d rather be in the top 5% in multiple areas, than in the top 1% of just one.

The added value of 20% & 5 is the interesting ways you can connect and combine the 5 areas your great at.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s value in each. Going after ONE pursuit gives you focus and clarity. You have a better idea what to yes and no to. You’re less likely to feel disorganized (compared to multi-lites like me).

The big idea I want to impart is that you can choose.

A life of one, or a life of many

If you want to pursue multiple things — do it! Don’t let others tell you that you can’t. We can’t do everything all at once, but we can do a few things well.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Mental Clutter

Everything we surround ourselves with has a gravitational pull on our minds.

A pile of dishes, a stack of unread books, instruments, equipment, toys…

They aren’t just objects in our home, they are subconscious todos.

And when it comes to our digital lives, nothing ends — everything is a scrollable bottomless pit of entertainment. Every app, every note, every email… more todos you could be doing right now.

Having too many todo’s is a great reason why to run away and join the circus.

I’m guilty of this as much as the next guy. I’m sitting here writing this with a guitar in front of me, a bag full of podcasting equipment, a stack of books and about 4000 tabs open on my browser.

On one hand, this is good. These are the things I want to spend my time doing. (well, not the 4000 tabs bit). I want to feel drawn to play my guitar. That’s why I have it out. The more in arms reach it is at all times, the more likely I’ll pick it up and play a tune.

But surround yourself with too many of these mental reminders and they stop becoming reminders, and more like energy-sucking clutter on your mind.

THere’s only so much time you can realistically give to things you want to do at once (a lesson that’s hard for me to hear). And battling time is not a fun way to live.

If you feel mentally cluttered, or creatively stuck, perhaps it’s time for a mental spring cleaning. See how removing things (todos) from your daily life feels. You don’t have to get rid of them, although that’s an effective way to refocus. What are your essentials'? What can you live without?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
The Benefits of Friction
 

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” — Marcus Aurelius


What if everything we experience is for our own benefit in the end? No, that’s too naive. 

What if everything we experience can be for our benefit?

Failure sucks, but it doesn’t have to ferment into regret. Failure can be a connection point, a story to tell for those you are trying to reach.

Pain, well, hurts. But it doesn’t have to consume our entire lives. It can, if you let it. But it doesn’t have to. Again, pain can connect you to others on similar life paths as you, and become your motivational fuel on the fire to reduce or even heal your pain (and the pain of others).

Fear suppress us or motivates us to change and stand for something.

Is everything to our benefit? No, but there is a silver lining from even the darkest experience. 

A sunrise: hope for a better day.

A sunset: hope for a better tomorrow.


I’ll admit, It’s a little cheese to say but —

In life, there is friction. And with friction comes fire. What you do with your fire is up to you. Will you let it burn you? Or will you shine it on something meaningful and worthwhile?


STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Limited Pursuit

There’s power in honing your focus. Which doesn’t mean to say you can’t do many things, more like you increase your effectiveness the deep you go. 

The more you do, the harder it is to keep all of it in mind, the less time you have for each and therefore the less importance each becomes.

Think about doing a mental or creative task like you would a physical object, like a piece of fruit.

Holding one apple,

Would you try to hold 10 apples at once? How about 20? You scoop them with your arms, and gather cling to them with your chest, doing your best not to drop them. You’re 20 apples stop becoming apples and starts becoming ’them’ too. 

Would you try to eat 20 oranges? no you would get sick.

Yet why do we try to eat 20 projects / goals at once?

Not only do you have less time on each, you have less intentional focus needed to accomplish them.

But somehow, in the act of narrowing your focus, you begin to see more of the big picture.

Go small to go big.

Focus on one to focus on many.

Win the day, win your life.

Do it for you (or have one person in mind), and you resonate with more people.

Limited pursuit is unlimited pursuit.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Flip It

The things we are most passionate about tend to be the things we spend the least time doing.

What kind of bs is that?

To end up doing everything except what you want to do, and to live a life without doing what makes you feel alive.

But How? you ask. How do we pursue our hearts while still making ends meat (or ‘ends veggies’ for all you vegans out there)?

By doing both.

By providing for yourself and yours the essentials of living, while providing your soul and sanity the essentials for being ALIVE.

Learn, work, master, connect, market, share, contribute, pour until you flip the tables and no longer need both in order to live.

Will it be hard? Absolutely.

Possible? Of course.

Worth it? Every ounce.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Inefficient Headline

Inefficiencies have been ruling my life as of late.

I’d like to say that it comes with the territory of pursuing multiple disciplines, but that feels more like a cop out.

I need to overhaul how I write and blog, and my way of podcasting needs to be completely flipped on its head. How I’m balancing time with passions, critical paths, work / rest, side businesses, family and friends, all need to be rethought out.

The problem is, like the quote contributed to Albert Einstein, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”, it’s difficult to become efficient using the inefficiencies you’re used to.

Why do I feel inefficient? Am I really inefficient or do I just think I am? And if I am inefficient, does it really matter?

Trying to pinpoint it in a pinch, I’d say it stems from my character trait of wanting to help others and give to those around me. Which seems like great traits to have. Who doesn’t want to be helped and given to? A question that highlights the issue: if you say yes to everyone who needs help, you no longer have a life. You become the errand boy / girl on your day off. Picking up and dropping off things. Driving to the airport. You run around all day doing and helping everyone except yourself, and then wonder why you had a low grade sense of dread and anxiety.

Saying Yes to Everyone Means No Longer Having Your Own Life

The act of giving isn’t the problem here. What’s bad is you’re not balancing giving with getting what you need. And from not getting what I need, I’ve limited my capacity to do the things I want to do. (And this the inefficiencies).

Does it matter? Probably not if I just wanted to go about living the way I have been. But if I want to meet my potential and continue seeking the things that make me excited and free I need to learn how to build effective systems of action. And ultimately, learn to say no when I need to say no too.

All that being said, I am no more effective than I was at the beginning of this blog, but now at least I’ve highlighted the issue. From here it’s taking the time to research and ask myself the questions:

Who is efficient that I can look up to and model?

Who is efficient and shouldn’t be? What are they doing to do so?

Where can I start experimenting on adding small components of effectiveness? Where are small actions I can start taking immediately to practice being more inefficient?

Where do I need to balance myself more when it comes to helping others?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Related:

“The ultimate goal of a more effective and efficient life is to provide you with enough time to enjoy some of it.”Michael LeBoeuf

“The system is that there is no system. That doesn't mean we don't have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that's not what it's about. Process makes you more efficient.”Steve Jobs

“If I get stuck, I look at a book that tells me how someone else did it. I turn the pages, and then I say, 'Oh, I forgot that bit,' then close the book and carry on. Finally, after you've figured out how to do it, you read how they did it and find out how dumb your solution is and how much more clever and efficient theirs is!”Richard P. Feynman

Josh Waggoner
Default Option (and other Non-decision)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how certain decisions alter and converge our path in

The most important decision we often face don’t actually feel like decisions at all.

The biggest downfall for us all is not to say yes or no to a decision, it’s saying ‘sure’.

Sure is a yes without legs. It takes on mean versions, but essential it is any non-decision you default in to.

A situation where the only option in front of you, is the only option that exists.

How often do you default to option in front of you?

What’s do bad about going with the flow, you might ask.

Unfortunately, decisions are not as obvious as yes or no. When you make a decision you’re also dealing with the gravitational pull of everyone around you. Some people you know will want you to say yes, others will want you to say no. Even when that yes (or no) sounds good, and looks like a good idea, it might go completely against who you are (and the kind of person you want to be).

The call is always yours, no matter what others tell you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Excuse Myself

You know that feeling of dread you can sometimes get right before an event

you agreed to do?

A gig, a meeting, a class, a conference.

When you signed your future self up to do it, it seemed like a fun thing to do in the moment, but when the moment comes — UGH. Why did I agree to this?

From my own UGH experiences (and I’ve had a lot of them being an ambivert) I would put these into two types of categories and maybe one caveat:

1. You’ve signed up for something that doesn’t align with who you are and what you’re about.

Another reason it’s vital to get to know yourself and create principles for how you want to live. These are the types of things we need to learn to say no to. We’ve only have so much time and energy to give in this life, why waste it on an event that isn’t compatible with you at all? Besides what are we contributing towards something we don’t want to be at? Mostly just bummers and negative moods for the people who actually want to be there.*

*The caveat is, of course, unless you are being there to support a friend or family member. Showing up to something that a loved one cares about is one of the greatest things you can do to show them your appreciation of them.

2. You’ve signed up for something you actually want to do, but fear is trying to get you to back away and play it safe (aka play it same).

The key component here is this is actually what you want. You know you’ll enjoy it and be happy you went, but for whatever reason, a wall of excuses hit you right before you go.

I label this fear, but it doesn’t really feel like fear in the moment does it? It just feels like we’re talking ourselves out of it, and since we’re talking ourselves out of it maybe we shouldn’t go.

I’m tired, maybe I’ll pass... I suddenly don’t feel great... ah man, I’m late, I guess I won’t go... on and on our minds go.

When you fall into this category the correct response is to just go.

Do it. Push past the hesitation. Resign to going, despite what your mind and body is telling you. Imagine yourself how you feel afterwards, after you’ve already been. Picture the smile on your face.

Don’t let fear stop you from living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Creative Debt

The quality of your inputs determine the quality of your outputs.

Great books spark a mountain of ideas.

From laughter to tears, great film, plays and tv sweep you off your feet and spring up a spectrum of emotions.

Athletes, actors, SEALS, entrepreneurs, artists, youtubers — masters of their craft — make it look so easy you feel like you can do it too (and will probably go home and try).

There are so many things that can lift our spirits, and set afire our creative spirit. But not all inputs are created equal. And all inputs are absorbed, one way or another.

Everyone is vying for our attention (and usually our money) therefore everyone is shouting for us to consume their work. Like most things, attention, marketing, advertisement… are valuable tools and not bad, unless they are used for bad intentions.

If someone is only trying to get you to click on their headline so they can generate ad revenue with the ad’s on their site you are ignoring, then they’re not actually trying to help you find what you are looking for.

The same is true for things we choose to enjoy too.

Some entertainment is just there to fill up time (the void). Some Things were created to numb us out from our lives. No lessons, no sparks of insight or fire. Just noise. Just emptiness.

Sometimes I get bored and visit the same tech sites over and over again, hoping for something to peak my interest. The sites themselves aren’t nefarious, in fact they are mostly fantastic, I’m just abusing them to avoid my life in that moment.

Moments like these, remind me of the calories you get from eating artificial, processed food. They taste amazing in the moment, they even make you full, but they starve you nutritionally. bad inputs contribute to us feeling empty. And somewhere in the midst of all this lies our ability to create.

Creativity is a combination of our inner world and our outer world. Our imagination and our experience. Imagination comes from ourselves, but is inspired by other imagination. Both good and bad experiences resonate with who we are, and depending on the types of outlets we enjoy, can result in songs, books, paintings and all types of art. But without quality input, we starve our creative output.

Do you feel creatively in debt? Are you just going through the motions? Writing half-*ssed posts, pushing pixels, copying others or squeezing out work because you have to?

I think you need some new inputs.

Creativity inspires creativity.

Stealing isn’t stealing when you are using someone else’s creative expression to create something new.

Never stop seeking seeking great works of knowledge and art, and you’ll never stop producing great creativity. Will all of it be a knock out of the park? No, what is? But that doesn’t mean you didn’t create something special, something worth creating.

Go make stuff.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Join the Renaissance

Josh Waggoner
Dreaming Today

Dreams are built from the accumulation of small actions in the moment.

If your dream is massive, it’s hard to grasp ahold of what it looks like in your actual life. 

Meaning, how do you get from here, where you are, to there, where you see yourself being?Through small daily contributions. One day you look up and you’re there.

Of course, big breaks can happen. Right time, right place kind of life events. But we shouldn’t count on them for our own happiness and success. 

We are the ones who decide to be happy and define what success is.

Focus on what is in front of you.

Set the plate. Eat the meal. Don’t think about all the other meals you’re going to eat or want to eat.

It’s impossible to enjoy what you have if you’re focused too much on the future. The future is important, but the present is vital.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.


Related:

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." — James Dean

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." — J. K. Rowling

“Don't let your dreams be dreams." — Jack Johnson

Josh Waggoner
400: Lessons from 400 Blog Posts in a Row

Today is my 400th blog post in a row.

It was hard for me to grasp until I visualized it with star emojis:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Pretty cool. Will this be my last daily post? H-to-the-ell no. Daddy can’t ruin his streak.

Not that having a streak is important, mind you. If all I wanted was to have a daily streak of something under my belt I would put 99% less time and effort into each post. No, the value is to create an outlet to practice writing and improve my ability to think, observe, write and tell a great story. That being said, there is power and motivation in having a daily practice. I don’t care if I’m sick, if it’s 3AM, if my house is blown away by a tornado, if I accidentally watch the entire series of chef’s table in one sitting — I’m still going to sit down and write and ship a blog. (If my house blows away, at the very least I have a story to tell and relate to others with.) That’s the power of a daily practice.

On blog 300, I wrote 3 lessons I’ve learned since starting writing everyday.

Here are 10 more Lessons I’ve learned from 400 blog posts (in no particular order):

1. Consistency is what matters the most. That and telling the truth.

As long as you are being consistent and giving as much time and energy you have to give, it doesn’t matter if every day is perfect or not. Consistently creates confidence and creativity. My best writing ideas just flow now. Because I’ve built up a track record for myself, I know I can come up with ideas when I need to.

2. Small actions lead to big change.

The smallest change can compound into monumental change, in your life and in others. Think of how many countless times someone performed a small act of kindness or help to someone in need and that completely altered that persons trajectory in life. And for habits and skills, small actions build momentum and get-up-and-go power to pursue the person you want to be.

3. People only remember the hits.

Drake has 10 albums, hundreds of released songs, but we only remember the best ones. (I listened to Drake today, can you tell?) Same goes for everything else. (Unless it’s so bad we enjoy it) Some days, you’re just going to create crappy work. Crappy work is part of the process. For every 3 crappy days of ideas, you might have 1 amazing idea day. That amazing, and hopefully impactful idea is worth going through 100’s of crappy ideas.

4. Daily habits are anchors to the person you want to be.

Life is always going to worm its way into taking priority over your dreams. Setbacks happen, shiny objects and opportunities distract us from our goals.

But a daily habit is an anchor. It’s a rock in the storm. It’s the foundation of what we are trying to build. Solid. Secure. Ever present.

Plus there’s only so many daily habits we can have, because there’s only so much time you we have to give. Too many habits and you end up with no habits, just lots of running around and being late to everything. Daily habits forces us to really sit with ourselves and figure out what’s most important to us, and highlights how important our time is.

5. No excuse is good enough to stop you from pursuing your dreams.

Excuses highlight one of two things:

Either fear or your mind is holding you back from doing something you love.

Or you don’t really want to do it.

If you’re making excuses because you don’t want to do it, its good to take sometime with yourself and figure out why. Are the reasons why I don’t want to do this sound? Meaning, do they actually makes since and align with my values and beliefs in who I am and who I want to be? Or are they misguided or misappropriated reasons? Often it’s the case that the reason I’m making excuse is because I’m making unrealistic expectations or assumptions about how I want something to go. But sometimes an excuse just highlights the fact that actually doing the thing you’re making excuses for isn’t for you. Which is perfectly fine. That just means you have to let it go and rediscover something else you are interested in doing.

Instead, If fear is holding you back from doing something you love, then that’s exactly what you need to do. Do whatever you need to do to convince, cajole or bribe your way into starting. Once you begin, the fear (or at least the looming monsters within the fear) fade away from the light of personal experience.

6. Therapy — be that with a professional, as a vlog or blog, a band, therapy in movement (like dance or yoga) — is always a good idea.

Self-care is essentially to anything you do. Without it, you’re about as useful as a one wooden shoe, or a shake-weight. An outlet to speak your ideas and soothe yourself from what’s going on in your life and in the world.

7. Success must be defined by you.

Left to its own devices, success is an bottomless pit of things you could and should be doing. If I defined success as making a million dollars writing, I would see my past 400 posts as a failure. Fortunately, that wasn’t my expectations. Success for writing everyday is to improve a little each day. Sure, I have lofty dreams in mind beyond that, but if I at least write and post a blog every day, I know I’ve succeeded.

8. No one cares more about you — your health, happiness, skills, etc — and what you do than YOU.

I think we all secretly wish someone would do the annoying stuff for us. If only we could clone ourselves and make our clone do all the hard stuff so we can spend the day reading and baking on the beach. (of course, our clone is US, so he or she will also want to spend the day reading on the beach, so they’ll want to have a clone of themselves. Clone of a clone of a clone etc)

I’m not the biggest fan of the phrase, ‘If you want something done, you better do it yourself’. It’s usually in response of someone not meeting their (unrealistic) expectations. But there is an alternative that’s true: If you want something done in your life, you better care enough to do it yourself. (It’s a bit more of a mouthful. I’ll work on it :). In other words, no is going to care more about yourself than you. Others can help or have sympathy, but you are ultimately the person who has to execute on your vision, or start taking steps towards overcoming your setbacks. You’ve got to care. You’ve got to care until the cows come home. You’ve got to care so much you bleed.

9. The more you learn, the more you have to learn.

A little naivety gives you the courage to start. Momentum gives you drive and confidence to keep going. And going deeper shows you how little you know and how much you need to learn and master. Curiosity and love pushes you past that realization and allows you to keep learning and trying new things anyway.

Mastery is a lifelong pursuit and once you being that path, you’ll begin to learn how much a privilege and honor it is to have that relentless and lifelong pursuit.

10. Sometimes the only way to start is to not think.

Sometimes we need to let our actions move faster than our thoughts.

No fear, no uncertainty, no excuses. Just pure movement and momentum. Most of the time we know what we want, we’re just not doing them. Acting without thinking gives you a starting off point to do that.

Here are some of the things I’m still learning:

Lead with personal stories and experience.

Authentic stories relate more than any headline or social media strategy. The greater the story, the more people listen and resonate to its frequency. Trying to teach without story is a lot like trying to give health advice to a family member — unless your a certified MD, they’re probably not going to listen to you. (And even then they are still probably not going to listen, they know to much about you before you studied medicine :)

If you’re trying to help others, writing by itself is not enough.

Nobody wants to read your sh*t. Not only do you have to have to tell a interesting and compelling story, you have to go and communicate where the people you are trying to help are.

Not everyone likes to read, and that’s okay.

Some people experience the world visually, others audibly. To reach different people, you have to practice and hone a variety of mediums.

Priority. Time invested. Organization. Scheduling.

I’m not writing full time right now. As much as I wanted to put out a blog post the same time every day, it didn’t always happen. Often I would write at the end of the day. Depending on how stuffed the day was, some blog ideas only got 20, maybe 30 minutes. I’m sure there are a few posts that were great ideas but poorly executed, and some that were terrible ideas but were all I had to give in the moment. I want to put more time into each post so I can up the quality.

I should probably actually learn grammar and stuff soon too 😅

Perhaps one day I’ll catch up to Seth Godin’s 7000+ daily blogs :) Not that it matters if I do.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Josh Waggoner
I’m convinced

Doing something right for the wrong reason is the same equivalent as doing something wrong for the right reason.

In both cases, we are justifying our actions and trying to convince ourselves to go against our values.

And because we’ve convinced ourselves otherwise, we don’t know what’s good or bad for us.

And we’re good at it too. We think our way into so many things that go against who we want to be.

Maybe you’re miserable at your job but convince yourself into staying because of all the great benefits you’re getting. You live in a constant state of low stress and dis-ease because of it, but you ignore it because of a great paycheck. Perhaps in truth it’s not the benefits that lock you in, but the fear of what’s next if you left?

Maybe you self-sabotage yourself each day, but choosing easy and bad habits instead of doing what you actually want to do, because you fear failure or eating crow. And so our health sucks because we try to eat our way to happiness (hello fat pants my old friend), we binge around round of tv while our passions gather dust, and we do everything, anything except the stuff we wish we were doing.

And so we feel stuck but don’t know why.

We feel unhappy while surrounded by abundance and wealth.

And we feel further away from ourselves, suppressed and apathetic, sometimes angry.

Is this the only reason why we get stuck? No. But it happens to all of us. We’re too close to our own lives in the moment. It is only when we have the opportunity to look back into our past do we see the bigger picture and where we wish we did things differently.

What can we do about it?

Begin to do right things for the right reasons. It might take a couple of tries, but if we listen to our spirits enough - what we want out of life, who we want to be - then we’ll know when the right things are the right things.

It’s also worth noting that the right things don’t always work out, at least not how we expect them to (another type of convincing ourselves how things should go). But that’s okay. Who cares if you fail? At least you lived true to your core values and beliefs.

From there, it just takes the courage to follow that path, one action at a time, and see what wonderful possibilities await.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Confidence Game

In the end, it’s really boils down to confidence, which comes from within but is influenced by our external world.

Try, for a moment, to smile internally without moving your lips. Smile using your mind. How do you feel now?

(I learned this from the Waking Up Meditation App)

Do you all of a sudden feel happy or cheerful and all the other things you might feel when something makes you smile?

Confidence gives us the ability to look past fears holding us back, setbacks holding us down, even uncertainties and give you the power to speak and to act.

Confidence relies on ability — if you’re not very good at what you do, then you feel less confident in your skills and therefore ARE less confident and will act (or not act) within an unconfident state of mind.

But if you’re confident and can back it up (either with skill or progress towards skill) things come more easy. Things can be just as hard, but you’re confidence diminishes the hard edges (which can bite you when you are too confident).

That’s why a little naivety is great in the beginning when you’re doing or learning something new — you don’t know what you don’t know and your lack of knowing gives you the freedom to act without too much fear, because, well, you don’t know any better.

The hardest part is to get more confidence, you have to have confidence, and to have a little confidence you have to be a little confident. Easy, right?

Start with something new, or something you are good at. Use that external confidence in ability or growth as a momentum booster to try new things and transfer your confidence to other areas.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner
Comeback Kid

"There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time." — Anne Lamott


I’ve been feeling better recently. (Knock on wood.)

I’m still just as susceptible to being tired as I was before and have to be careful what I give my energy and focus to.

I’m still working on healing my neck pain. I’m still stressed about money and passions and time… But at the same time I'm different. There’s a pep in my step. I feel more like myself than I have been. Happy, free, clear, focused… (mostly focused lol)

A month ago, I was so tired of the way I was living day to day. When your life feels like a grind, you know your priorities are out of whack.

When things get hard, it’s easy to get stuck in a recursive loop, where you’re thoughts are always surpassing your voice by pumping out negative thought after negative thought, and where you go through the motions in your day, but don’t actually end up doing anything you really wanted to get to. You lose track of yourself and what you want.

But just because your stuck doesn’t mean you’ve lost. ‘Negative thoughts are not you.’ Going through the motions isn’t you.

Sometimes to get ourselves out of this loop, we need to act quickly without thinking.

No I don’t mean doing something dumb:

Sometimes we need to let our actions move faster than our thoughts.

No fear, no uncertainty, no excuses. Just pure movement and momentum.

Most of the time we know what we want, we’re just not doing them. Acting without thinking gives you a starting off point to do that.

For me, putting self-care first — over work, and busyness — has made the most significance in my life recently. It didn’t start with 100 habits that I wanted to do, it started with a one act without thought towards something I wanted. (Aka To work on my body / neck and get up early by going to the 6AM Ashtanga class in town at Yoga Landing)

There will always be setback, moments of feeling stuck.

Which also means there can always be comebacks if we allow them.

We all must stand up when we are down sometime or another. Find a positive excuse to stand up, and do it without giving your negative chatter time to keep you down.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W. 


Related:

The Comeback Kid by The Midnight

Josh Waggoner
The Thing About Pursuing Multiple Things...

Is that you can’t, not exactly anyway. It’s false to believe we can do everything we want at once. You wouldn’t think that about food for example. Eating pizza, fries, salad, turkey, a smoothie, ice cream and pie all at once isn’t doable, and if it was you wouldn’t enjoy each as much as you would like.

To pursue multiple things, we much give our full focus and attention to one thing completely and then give our full focus to another thing.

It’s more like, multiple one things.

Many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to do to much at once on the same day. Usually, after thinking through all the things I want to do I’ve already burned threw all of my energy just thinking about it all.

We are all time and energy bound.

I believe we can go after multiple dreams at once, but not every dream at once. mEverything, all at once is just stress and burnout waiting to happen.

To pursue multiple things, to master them, we must hone our habits, and be real with ourselves about how much we — our minds, bodies and spirits — can take one at once.

Being real is the first step towards mastery and a meaningful life.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.


Josh Waggoner
Just Another Blog Post About Gratitude

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”William Arthur Ward

The more you own, the less you have.

But family, friends, experiences never fade. And if they do, they fade into smiles, versus poor impulses.

I’m just as susceptible to Black Friday and wanting things as much as anyone else. There’s a hundred + number of clothes I want, and dozens of gadgets and tech over a grand, but none of that is what made me happy today.

Cooking for family made me happy.

Spending time with Gabriella, watching How to Train Your Dragon made me happy.

Laughing with friends and family.

Playing music, writing a new song.

Writing this…

If there’s one thing I want to be more intentional about (who are we kidding, there’s a lot of things I’d like to be better at and more intentional about) it would be to only buy the essential things that maximize my joy and enables me to live a meaningful life. Everything else is for the birds. (There’s a turkey joke in there somewhere, I’ll think of a good one later.)

Just like William Arthur Ward said above, every day can be a blessing if you let it. Even crappy days have diamonds, or at least make you appraise the great days more.

Merry Thanksgiving everyone. :)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Josh Waggoner
Prioritize what matters

‘I need to’…

‘I want to’…

‘I should do’…

doesn’t really get you anywhere in the end. To do what you want to do, to be who you want to be, you’ve got to pursue it boldly enough to push past any needs, wants or shoulds.

Shoulds and wants come and go, but achieving something you love gives you the experience and confidence of what you are capable of forever.

Passions can easily become “I need to’s” which can quickly become faded memories of what you used to love. If you find yourself deprioritizing the things you love the most, you might want to rethink how you live your day to day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W

Josh Waggoner
Creative Vocabulary

For the longest time, I mistakenly thought that if I learned music through notation and lessons instead of by ear, I would lose my grip on my ability to think differently.

I was wrong of course.

Learning the rules doesn’t hinder your unique creativity, it expands your vocabulary.

When you learn the fundamentals, you have a greater understanding of how the game is played. You can be just as unique and think out of the box as before, but now with more tools in your tool-belt, and the knowledge to know what each tool does well.

I think it’s good to start out learning something new through the medium of play. Forgot the rules, tinker around and have fun making things. Use play as a way to spark love and true interest in a craft. Then go back to the basics. All work and no fun makes a lot of people who have taken piano lessons but don’t know one thing about pianos.

And when you have that curiosity, that spark and desire to master a craft, focus on the fundamentals and learning the vocabulary to create anything you want, with the skill to back it up too.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh W.

Josh Waggoner