The ‘Right’ Answer

When you lack an answer to your problem you’re dealing with, you don’t have to find the ‘right’ answer, you just need to create an answer.

Even if you had all the knowledge, and the best advisors, and all the resources, you still might not get it right.

When you lack answers, it’s time to make some up. An answer doesn’t have to start out ‘right’ or perfect. It just needs to be right enough to move you to action.

An answer is a call to action.

Sure, listen to your gut, seek advice from those smarter and more experienced than you, be smart as possible and use what you have to produce the best answer you can, then immediately take action on it.

Wrong answers are just unfinished equations.

Nobody has life figured out. The ones who do are either really lucky (a matter of self-belief) or really good at turning wrong answer after wrong answer into a right one.


STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Self-defeating Loops

Self-defeating loops are no joke.

How we think about ourselves affects how we act and how we act affects how we think.

Our inner and outer worlds are in a symbiotic relationship with one another. 

Focus too much on the negatives of your life, that becomes your reality. It’s not law of attraction, it’s law of action. If you think worthless, you’re going make decisions like you are worthless, which will reinforced your negative thinking.

The more you act defeated, unconfident, unlucky, the more you become those things.

But the reverse is also true. Think success, confident, luckily, and more opportunities will stand out to you and the more you’ll make actions of success, confidence and luckiness.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing, 

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Step out of the Waterfall

Water is a great analogy for overwhelm.

When you're overwhelmed by your life / problems, it's like you are standing under a raging waterfall.

Every problem is flowing over you at once. The pressure is suffocating. Your senses are overloaded. It's difficult to focus and act on a problem individually because each problem supersedes one another. Mentally, you're not looking at a few problems, you're looking a giant looming monster.

But once you understand you are under a waterfall, you become aware and give yourself the power to step out from underneath it.

Step out.

The biggest issue is that your spending all of your energy focused on all that’s wrong.

Problems are easier when you’re honed in on one and giving all of your strength to solve that one.

I find it’s always better to break it down to the smallest components and focus on taking action on one issue you’re facing first and succeeding, versus trying to handle them all at once and floundering.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Genuine

Every smile matters.

Every wave, every door held open,  every random strangers coffee, or dinner paid.

I’ll never forget the night that our entire dinner table was paid in full by a couple in the restaurant. I never caught their names. I don’t remember their faces, but I remember that feeling.

Small gestures of genuine add up.

In fact, It adds up to what you’re looking for.

More adventure? More creativity? More meaning?

Genuine acts lead to genuine opportunities.

For you, sure. But more important for everyone you help.


STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Not enough magic

 “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because

you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.” — Unknown

 

This really rings true to what my life looks like right now. I’m going to need to really sit with this one.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,  

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
One More Time

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

— Thomas Edison

Sometimes you need to push through, other times you need to reset.

If you’re beating your head against a problem, do you really think beating your head against one more time is going to be any different.

You need to change your approach. Think of a different problem, or do something else entirely.

I find sleep to be a great palette cleanser for fresh ideas.

Let go of finding an answer, relax, gets some zzz’s and go at it one more time tomorrow.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Or...

You can learn as many things at once that you have time for and can afford at once, so that you can cross-pollinate ideas across skills.

The best ideas come from outside sources and domains.

Look at any skill deep enough and you’ll learn the language of that skill — how to listen and speak it. And learn more than one skill deeply and you’ll notice an underlying language — a thread — running through all skills. Music looks a lot like math, Math underlines the electricity, Electricity is a deep component of our bodies, and on and on...

By learning multiple things at once, you open yourself up to unique idea combination and insights people stuck in one vertical (and the history of how that vertical is and always has been done) don’t see.

Learn your heart out, as long as:

  • You’re not doing to much to be inconsistent.
  • You’re following your curiosity
  • And you’re open to how the world and each skill interconnects.


STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Stacking Skills

I know you want to do multiple things, but have you stopped and considered that maybe it’s not possible to do them all at the same time?

Don’t get me wrong, doing multiple disciplines at once is possible, I’m not arguing that, but is it the most effective way to live?

I struggle with this so much. I envy the souls who are content to only going ankle deep into one area and leave it at that. They’ve got it easier in a way, but they’ve also set the ceiling on how much they can grow and improve.

Every hour you spend writing is an hour you must take away from designing. You’re limited with the amount you can learn from each at once.

But if you go deep into one topic, and then move to another, you can stack your knowledge on top of one another.

The more you can stack, the more unique you are.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Inside Game

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”Marcus Aurelius

 

Our mind is an environment we live in.

What we think about affects what we do.

Just as much — if not more — as our external environments affects how we think.


If you mind is not in the right headspace, meaning if you’re dwelling on the past, things out of your control or negative events, you’ve set yourself up to lose before you even start*. No bueno.

(* And losing is the opposite of a good time.)


We can’t control all aspects of what goes on in our lives, but we can structure them for our benefit (sanity).

We can chose where we work, live, and spend our free time. We can chose who we spend time with, what we do for fun, what we decorate our homes with. We can structure our lives to remind us of our purpose and what brings us the most joy.

But say we can’t do those things. Say everything in our lives is completely out of control. Well, at the very least we can control our mindset. How we think, react, and view the world. Whether we react in the way we want to or not is practice and training.

I can’t silence my mind, but I can turn down the volume of what bring me trouble and anxiety by training my mind through my actions, my breathing and the way I treat myself on the instead (and on the out).


STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Trouble Finding an Audience?

Maybe it’s not your work, but how you are marketing yourself.

Maybe your art, your writing, your music, your product, your message is actually really good, and the issue is you are not standing out from the crowd.

What if your product is good, but how you are selling it isn’t.

How many people out there even know it exists?

How many of your friends even know you are selling it?!

The difference between a person whispering a song in a crowd and someone standing on stage performing to millions of fans is they have a microphone.

What’s your microphone?

And it’s not about how loud you are, or how the sound, it’s about how clear you are.

What’s your story?

Why should I care?

How does it relate to what I’m going through?

Where’s the magic in what you are saying?

It doesn’t matter how big the crowd is either. If you have even just one person listening — truly listening — then you are on the right path.

We want millions of fans, followers, customers but it starts with one.

And everyone that likes or buys your art is an individual that you’re story has inspired.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Always Find a Way

“Oh I would LOVE to do that but I just don’t have the resources”

“It’s a good idea, but we don’t have enough money to do it”

“I would, but I don’t have enough investors in my company to afford it”

...

How many incredible ideas have been cut short by lack of resources like money? how about even good ideas?

How many times has not having money stopped us from doing what we really wanted to do?

Do you want to be on the list of failed examples of people who didn’t pursue their dreams or give their idea a go because of a little lack of green paper and 1s and 0s??

Money is a creative lubricant, but it’s not everything.


I don’t have all the answers. I don’t how you find the resources you need to start your idea.

I don’t know how to give you or I the resources we need to actually live the way we want to and to take action on our ideas, but I do know one thing:

We should be doing everything in our power, giving all that we got to figure it out.

Lack of resources isn’t a good enough reason.

Lack of money is just a lack of creativity and a whole lot of hidden fear.

Find a way.

Save every penny. Cut every expense.

If it’s really that important to you, do what it takes to make your vision of the future reality.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”Andy Warhol

“Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.“Nelson Mandela

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”Henry David Thoreau

Josh Waggoner
How to bring your A(wareness)-Game*

*No dad jokes were harmed in the making of this post.

Awareness is just a loaded-potato of a word nowadays.

Every mommy blogger, travel couple, entrepreneurial podcast and everything in between talks about awareness in some form or function. Because of it’s popularity it’s easy to dismiss and roll your eyes over towards something else, with a ‘yeah yeah yeah’ type of attitude. But doing so means you’re missing out on the benefits of what awareness can bring to your life.

I define awareness as the ability to understand what’s going on around you. And if you can understand something, you can act upon it.

Awareness is a tool to help us see, feel and live a life true to our purpose.

It’s also a tough nut to crack.

Why is it so difficult to carpe the diem?

Is living in the present moment only for yogi’s or goat monks**?

(**Monks with goats, not goats who also happen to be very in-the-moment monks)

One thing to consider is that awareness It’s something we all have, yet don’t always have it turned ‘on’. This is natural. Doing 100% of anything is a sure-fire way to overwhelm your senses and cause your brain to melt. As you look around where you are, your brain is hard at work. Your subconscious is picking up every little sense going on around you, but is locked into passive mode. Something colorful, weird, or threatening might turn up your awareness or even put you on high alert, like the bygone days of seeking fruit and food in the wild or avoid predators. But typically your brain is just filtering out most of your input. Too much input is a great way to paralyze yourself from working on your goals or handling problems.

If we think of awareness — or seeing, noticing, feeling, understanding — as a state we can dip in and out of, we can practice using it as a way to tap into natural-born wisdom and understand more about what’s going on around us and within us.

Think of awareness like a pair of glasses we can put on to see better. It’s always within reach, but not always on. Not wearing your glasses makes things murky and less clear, but not necessarily bad. Wearing your glass makes everything look like it’s in 4k OLED HD Super Retina.

By setting periods of time to practice or focus on what’s around you and what your feeling, the more you can heighten your ability to understand and see. Awareness gives you the ability to slow things down and break them down into their components of information quickly.

Awareness gives you solidity — people can feel the calming weightiness of your presence.

Awareness grounds you — it gives you a foundation to stand on, even when everything is not going well in your life

Awareness gives you wisdom — it grants you pause and clear headed thinking and heart before doing.

It’s not an absence of the future or ignorance of the past but a way to channel and focus on what’s important right now.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
How to feel good about each day

I was struggling to find answers to life questions that have been bothering me.

How do I make money without directly giving my time (paid in hours) to do so?

How do I balance my Purpose and projects with my daily life of work and responsibility?

Where do I need to be courageous?

xxx

I have a lot of things going for me.

And so many people have it worse than I do. I know that.

I’m not even going to think about complaining about the problems I’m faced with.

But I don’t feel good about my days, or at least not as good as I want to feel about them.

I jump from anxiety, to overwhelm to frustration to worry, and worst of all to dullness. The dullness is the worst. It’s like an empty pit, or a heavy curtain over my mind.

I want to make things.

I want to live a life of meaning and worth.

To be unencumbered by money, health and stress.

I don’t just want to survive each day — I want to thrive.

The question is how?

I’m no I’m not the only one going through these things. How do we get from A to Z? And enjoy the B to Y in-between?

Then an idea hit me. 🥊

It’s impossible to know how until I’m already there, looking back.

‘How’ doesn’t happen until after the fact.

How can be given or imparted to you by someone else who has been where you want to be, and is grateful enough to give you insights into that world, but even so, How must be earned.

And how is earned in the day to day.

How is learned through living and challenging yourself on what’s possible.

How is found with fresh eyes each day (Whereas opportunities usually pass lazy eyes by)

How is a continuously moving beast, and will be different for all of us.

How doesn’t matter tomorrow or the next day or the next.

We learn how to get where we want to go, and be who we want to be in every singular day.

Forget about tomorrow, focus on today. Focus on what’s in front of you. Focus on the next task at hand. Focus on the very next moment and live it like it is your last moment to breathe.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
You Are Here

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” — Dan Millman

How much mental energy are you giving to things you can’t change or control?

Focusing all your energy on past mistakes is only draining you from the energy you need to build the new. Find something that can slap yourself out of mental and emotional states that are making you feel helpless and stuck.

No amount of worrying is going to make it better and less worry-ful. We could worry ourselves into oblivion and there would still be room for more. Same with anxiety, or self-doubt, or anger or emotionlessness.

Don’t focus on who you should be, who you wish you would be, who you can’t seem to be, rather focus on the next action that will creating a little bit of sunshine and meaning within the person you ARE right now.

The nice thing about the past is that we are building it this very moment, as each second ticks behind us. This gives us the opportunity to put our past-self and mistakes behind us — no matter how close to the present they were — and work on becoming a little better and a little more like the person we want to be today.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Memento Mori

 

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” — Seneca

Mac Miller (1992 – 2018)

He was 26.

 

Live life to the fullest every day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related:

More on Memento Mori

NPR Music Mac Miller

Josh Waggoner
Start With You

Why is it easier to help others than ourselves?

Because we are too close to our problems. We *feel* them, unlike others do.

I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, emotionally, spiritually, physically, therefore I have an outside, objective perspective on things. I can give advice because I’m not feeling your (literal) pain.

But all advice isn’t created equal. It’s difficult to listen to advice (especially unwanted advice) from someone who doesn’t take their own medicine. You could be the wisest person in the world, but no one is going to listen to you if you don’t back up your words with your actions.

If you want to help others, you must first help yourself. This isn’t a selfish act. The more you invest in yourself, your own wellbeing and happiness, the more you can inspire and pass around that spirit. Investing in yourself is investing in others.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
New Level of Understanding

What are you going to do if your problem doesn’t go away?

What if this is your new normal, your new baseline?

I’m not saying that this is true or that you can’t heal or overcome your current batch of setbacks, but what would you do if no amount of trying could make your problem go away?

I’ve found new meaning with my own setbacks with this kind of thinking exercise.
What if my nerve damage from my neck injury never heals?

What if my fatigue and related sleep quality problem doesn’t go away?

What fi all these things that I feel are holding me back couldn’t be changed?

Then at least I can finally let go of them.

I can stop my problems from consuming my every day and my fear of them getting in the way of my actions and desires. I have experienced pain but I don’t identify myself with that pain.

If this is the new normal, then so be it.

I’m still alive, I’m still breathing.
I can still believe and strive for solutions and positive change.

I can do what I can, with what I have, instead of doing nothing with what I want but can’t have.

By letting go of my expectations and outcomes of what should happen, I can finally rid myself of the baggage of fears and personal limitations I’ve given myself or adopted over the years that’s holding me back.

And actually start living.
Instead of comparing my current ‘broken’ self to my past in-his-prime self, I can see the value in where I am and what I have and begin to focus on what’s possible in the future.

It’s not: this is my new normal, woe is me; it’s

**This is my new normal, now how can I make it better?**

This isn’t giving up, it’s giving in to what comes and fighting tooth and nail to make sure that its filled with freedom, truth, connection, love, and happiness.

What if the problems don’t go away.
Good. Then I can finally  — finally — see them for the opportunities that they are, and understand how strong and capable I really am.

STAY BOLD,
Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Ordinary Habits

You might not think about it, but anything can be a habit, not only good, or bad habits, but also mundane habits.

If you feel stuck in life, habits are getting you there. One or more of your decisions are leading you right back to where you started (in this case where you don’t want to be).

Identify the habits that are holding you back, then replace them with extraordinary habits.

It sounds so simple. Step 1, do this. Step 2, blah blah blah. Step 3, success.

But it’s hard to change your habits. That’s why it’s better to start with what you can handle. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s probably not the best idea to jump into the deep end right away.

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
When you miss a deadline...

Or a workout because a cold, or a night out drinking, or because... because.

When you miss a day — a habit, a practice, a goal, a coffee meeting.

When you end up doing something you don’t want to do — like it a bucket of cheesecake and ruin your diet, or fall into old bad habits — there’s one only thing you need to do to get back in the saddle:

Keep going. Pick up right where you left off.

Missing is normal. Deadlines, opportunities, expectations, promises to yourself are inevitable broken by mistake or a moment of laziness or weakness. It’s okay, we are all only human.

But this is a critical moment. One moment that defines whether you practice extraordinary lifestyle habits, or just ordinary ones.

 

The real test is what you do next.

On the next day, are you going to give up or dig deeper?

Will you stay down, or dust yourself off and get back up?

Digging deeper will probably be one the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s worth every drop of sweat.

Why?

First let’s look at the opposite.

Giving up because of failure or mistakes is where dreams and skills go to die.

Did your parents ever sign you up for piano lessons or sports (something skill based) when you were younger? I didn’t, but my sister did.

80% of kids don’t continue their lessons after two years (according to the internet. Believe at your own risk. Anecdotally, it seems like most kids drop their lessons for one reason or another.)

The reasons are many, but it comes down to the simple fact that learning by sucking and failing over and over again on top of not knowing why you are doing something in the first place or how it might help you in the future.

If we are good at something, we think we are good at it and desire to do more of it. Same thing if we are bad at something. Unless we train yourself past failure, anything that we suck at we tend to avoid.

The moment of failure can be a moment of triumph and redemption if we decide to keep going. Digging deeper show you what you are made of and ingrains with you that you can get through anything that and are the type of person who gets back up and doesn’t let a little failure or missed deadline stop you.

Digging deeper show you what you are made of and reinforce what you do when faced with a challenge or setback. 

Miss a day?

Start again the next.

Heck, start now.

Show yourself whose boss and in control of what comes your way.


STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner
Your Mindset is your Ceiling on your capacity to change

With a beginner’s mindset, everything is possible. There are no mental barriers holding you back from trying something out of the ordinary, because you don’t know what’s ordinary. Everything is a playground. Any project is double.

With a realistic mindset, everything is well thought out. Risks are mitigated. Actions are oriented through process and systems thinking. A project’s success is formulaic and lives or dies by its model. A does of realistic thinking is good and can prevent lost time, money and keep you away from restless nights and headaches. But realism doesn’t always equal originality. Creativity is certainly possible, but the goals reached for in this mindset are much more grounded in what’s probable now, versus the weird imaginative ideas of the beginner’s mindset.

With a negative mindset, everything is impossible. Anything you could do, someone has already thought of it or has done it better. In fact, any idea you dream up has already been made, so why even bother? And project is improbable and likely to fail. (If the negative mind even lets you start.) There is no originality, because originality is too risky. And if a person living in a negative mindset is forced to work on a project, they will complain the entire way through, and self-attack themselves for doing such a bad job, and produce only ordinary.

With an expert’s mindset, everything is within your domain. Tools, methodology, skills are instinctual and lightning fast. You make it look easy for us mortals watching from afar. An expert’s mind has originality on demand, but knowledge is a gift and a curse. The more you know, the less you can forget about what you know. Too much knowing can paralyze you from trying new things or stop you from making wacky moves because you are aware that they are ‘wacky’ in the first place. Wackiness is only wacky because you know better. (...for better or worse).


All types of mindsets, these and more, have good and bad traits:

A beginner’s mind will get you started and thinking differently, but opens you up to failure (failure that you may not be ready for and unable to handle).

A realistic mind will create a plan and validate the probability of success through decisions, but will sometimes dilute the vision and the why behind the metrics.

A expert’s mind gives you creativity on demand, but you’re susceptible to losing the wonder and magic that a beginner has.


Each has it’s risks but the mindset that seems the safest, yet is actually the riskiest (wrapped in a blanket of supposed safety) is a negative mind, which leads you nowhere.

A negative mind can prevent you from failing in the short term, but by not taking risks, only getting your feet wet, or not even trying, you fail in the long term (leaving the successful avoidance of failure in the short term uselessly moot)

(uselessly moot is a great band name)

STAY BOLD,

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Josh Waggoner