Too Much Input

There’s a certain amount of complacency I feel creeping in when I watch too much tv.

Don’t get me wrong—I love film. Great storytelling, cinematography, acting, the exploration of interesting ideas and new worlds. But too much in a row and I turn into a wet pool noodle.

Sometimes its great to follow the rabbit of your curiosity and see where it leads, but there’s a time and place for that.

Even if it’s something educational, like a documentary or online course, too much in, and I don’t have a lot of space left for out.

Too much input, not enough output.

That’s why I have an unspoken rule for myself to not watch anything purely entertaining before lunchtime (which is typically around 1 – 2 PM for me.)

Morning time is for coffee and contemplation, and prioritizing the most important tasks I need to do today.

Because if I don’t, complacency starts to set in.

Too much of anything becomes the opposite of intention.

  • Too much talking and you miss out on listening.
  • Too much learning and you don’t have enough time left to take action.
  • Too many todo’s and each todo suffers.

It’s not even about moderation, but aligning what I’m doing with who I want to be. Particularly, if who I want to be is currently not who I am.

It takes a lot of effort to create the life we dream of. And, of course, nothing is perfect, so it takes a lot of forgiveness and acceptance too.

Which starts with knowing how you feel (complacent), determining whether or not that’s who you want to be / what you want to represent, (no) and deciding what you can do about it if it’s in your control (avoid or reduce things that make me complacent.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1120

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Who will you be today?

It’s not who you should be or want to be.

It’s who you are.

Who you are takes practice. Practice that is continuous, but also always starting over.

If the past is holding you back and keeping you from moving forward, cut it off.

If the future is overwhelming you, then narrow your focus on today.

And if today is overwhelming you, make a list, prioritize, and focus on your immediate next steps.

Forget who you want to be.

Who will you be?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1119

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Squats

Books can give us the knowledge, but they can’t do our work for us.

That requires legwork. Anyone can pick up a book, but it takes an extra amount of effort and passion to implement what the author says and test things out in your own life. (“Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda)

Creativity is a process created through practice. Whatever expression/flavor of creativity it is, we need to put in the reps in order to see results.

On average, it takes a day or two of reading to read a book that took years to write.

When you find a good book, why not invest in it more and see what it can do for you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1118

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Waste of Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live a meaningful and intentional lifestyle. The details would look different for each of us (depending on what’s important to us) but there’s gotta be some overarching principles for a meaningful life.

Let’s look at the opposite of a meaningful life—wasted time.

If our life is made up of time (our most valuable resource) then wasting our time leads us down a path of regret and unhappiness.

But what does wasted time look like?

Again, not so easily answered universally. We all value certain things over others.

Here are some questions to reflect on whether or not you are using your time wisely:

Q: Am I spending my time or investing my time?

Entertainment is incredible. But it’s also about balance. Enjoy the things you love, but not let your love of short term pleasure and experience crowd out the long term benefits of investing your time more wisely. Ask yourself, “Am I enjoying this? Am I gaining some value from this experience?”

Q: Will I care about this a month from now? How about a year? 3 years?

If not, then it’s likely a waste of valuable resources. For example, if you’re angry about something critical or hateful someone said to you, are you really going to care about it a year from now? Not really—you likely won’t even remember the mean spirited comment. Then, it’s not worth the time to dwell on it! Easier said than done, of course. But even knowing that it’s a waste of time is a helpful way to reset yourself and give yourself the space to move on from it.

Q: Is this part of my current environment’s lifestyle? Or, put more generally, is this something in my immediate control or not?

If you live in New York, then taking the subway, walking long distances, paying for a taxi or a Lyft, and/or paying top dollar for parking is a way of life. In this case, commuting isn’t a waste of time, because it’s a necessity for living in the city. That’s not easily changeable. But the upsides of living in a thriving city might be worth it for you. Otherwise, why are you there?

If so, then I should either stop stressing or regretting the cost or change my environment that aligns better with what a meaningful life looks like for me.

Q: What can I learn from this experience?

There’s always going to be moments in our lives where we cave or unintentionally waste our time. We aren’t perfect. Mistakes will be made. But failure isn’t a waste of time unless we stubbornly refuse to learn from our mistakes and misfortunes.

Wasted time is only wasted time if we refuse to learn from it.

This requires our ego to take a knee and humble itself enough to be open to change, to moving forward, to emotion, to uncomfortable conversations and hope for a better version of ourselves going forward. But if we loop our wasted time over and over again in our heads, not only are we not learning from the past, we aren’t moving forward (aka we’re wasting even more precious time.)

Am I running on default or am I living intentionally?

Default is:

  • Doing things other people tell you without regard to why.
  • Not making decisions (allow other people to make them for you.

Living intentionally is having an active say in who you want to be and how you want to live.

A meaningful life is a well-invested life.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1117

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Willy Nilly

I have a bad tendency to expect too much of myself out of any given day.

The pressure of my own expectations is what does it. The desire to ”accomplish” many things and the stress of anything that blocks me from doing that. Traffic, chores, spontaneous addition to my schedule.

But if I let go of the outcomes and let go of what I should be doing, then the day turns out much better.

This is a great example of how easy it is to get in your own way.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow of what the day is bringing you.

Otherwise, we’re just stressing ourselves out over things that are ultimately not in our control.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1116

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TMI

I’m currently surrounded by over a dozen books and a dozen gadgets and gizmos I’m actively using andor could be using right now.

I’m guessing your environment looks similar to mine unless you’ve become a minimalist and sold or donated away your things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither humble-bragging nor complaining about the things surrounding me, I’m just observing how easy it is to overcrowd our spaces—physical and digital—with todos.

The disease (dis-ease) of our time is TMI—too much information.

News is an obvious one. I’ve read (somewhere) that the human mind wasn’t made to hold a worlds worth of bad news.

Another is the work-related todos (that we often put on ourselves) pile around us. Overcrowded schedules. Pulled in a million directions except for the one you want to be focusing on.

So what are we supposed to do about this?

For starters, we can live by the principle “out of sight out of mind.” If we remove the options around us, we can focus in on the priority in front of us. If you’re reading a book, don’t surround yourself with a hundred other books you want / should be reading.

But generally, if you have a task to do, limit your scope to that task and only that task. Everything else should be removed from your site or reach if possible. We’re not banning things, just simply taking away the option of use for the next 30 minutes or so.

If something is bothering you or weighing on you, remove it from your mind temporarily so you can focus on what’s important.

Another thing we can continuously do is ask ourselves, “Is this helpful or unhelpful?

Does having 100+ browser tabs open at one time helpful or unhelpful with what I’m trying to do right now?

Does checking Facebook every 5 minutes improving my life or making it harder. Moderation and minimal-ization are key.

The problem isn’t necessary TMI, but too much information all at once. If we’re trying to focus on a dozen things we end up focusing on nothing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1115

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The Path

You don’t choose the path, the path chooses you.

You decide which direction to take, but you don’t control what discoveries, wonders, monsters, and misfortunes you find along the way.

If there’s a trick to life, it’s our reactions. The better you are resting well to what life throws in front of you, the more meaningful and worthwhile your life will be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1114

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No Guarantees

There are no guarantees that your creative work will succeed.

But neither are there guarantees of success if you take a more traditional career path.

One thing you quickly learn after starting your own company or work at a startup is the fine line between success and failure.

When you are working as an employee at an established company, the need to make a profit is present, but abstracted away from you. You don’t need to know how to fix or make a car in order to drive it. As an employee, your paycheck is abstracted away from the need to sell your product or service. It’s there in the cultural atmosphere—especially if the company isn’t doing well—but it’s not your direct concern. Instead, it’s the founder(s) and leadership role to make sure everything runs smoothly and that you get paid on time.

Or in other words, there’s no assurance that you’ll always be at the level of success or a higher level of success working at a company (We’ll, the exception being incredible successful companies like Apple or Google. But even then it’s not inevitable. Apple was doing poorly until Steve Jobs came back after being ousted from Apple early on.)

Success isn’t inevitable.

That’s why loving the work you do matter even more.

If you don’t love the work you are doing, or you don’t align with the values of the company you are working for, you are neither doing yourself or the company a favor by continuing to work there.

Passion is longevity. We should always be striving to love what we do, and continuously tweaking and honing our skills to align with the type of work we want to do.

Even the best idea in the world could be poorly timed or be met with an apathetic market.

And having lots of money of investment doesn’t mean you’ve actually created something people find helpful and love.

So if nothing is guaranteed, then why wouldn’t we choose work that we love?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1113

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The Zen of Dogs

Some valuable lessons can be learned from dogs. I know that’s not the most original thought, but I can’t help but think it every time I’m playing catch or just being around my dog.

The immediate observation is how present and happy they generally are. But looking beyond that, it’s not just living in the moment that’s striking, but the lack of concern or stress from the past.

My dog can go from thing to the next without loss of enthusiasm. Her favorite thing to do is play, but she’s always ready for the next thing when the next thing comes.

Sure, they bark at everything, get anxious in the car, lick their privates, and poop in public.

But there’s something special about the way dogs go about living.

She’ll chase a squirrel and not catch it, but she won’t dwell on the ”failure”, and she’s immediate back into enjoying the walk, enjoying the moment.

It reminds of the quote from Churchill, Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Failure sucks, but dwelling on it is worse, and if we’re honest with ourselves, unhelpful. It’s better to learn from them, and then do what dogs do—move on and be enthusiastic about the next things.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1112

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Make It Count

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” Elbert Hubbard

I read a great quote recently by Alexis Ohanian, entrepreneur, investor, co-founder of Reddit—

“Lives Remaining: Zero”

On any given normal day, life feels infinite. It feels like we have all the time in the world to do and be who we want. And so we often push off the important things (things that usually require hard work and discomfort) in favor of entertainment and nothing burgers.

The significance of our time really only shows up in moments of difficult or life and death situations. If you’ve survived 2020, then you know the feeling of how quickly time passes. Getting older does it too. Time seems to speed up in our brains.

Have you ever heard given the response, “Just killing time until…such and such.”

But do we really have time to waste or kill time?

Whether or not you believe in live after this one—this is the only life you’ve got right now.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes by the poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This is it. Better make the most of it.

Better make it count.

“You’ve got zero lives remaining, don’t squander this one.”

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1111

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