The Choice is Yours

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates

The more I know the less I know. That’s the excited (and occasionally overwhelming) thing about knowledge and skill. The deeper you go towards mastery, the more you unlock and the more secrets there are to uncover.

Mastery isn’t a finite state. It’s a continuous curve that never quite touches the sides. Discover is endless. Which keeps things interesting if you stay flexible and curious. There’s always another mountain to explore after you get to the top of the one you are on. There’s always another puzzle to solve.

Mastery is also a choice. We can’t learn everything, mostly because we don’t have the time.

Also, time changes what is possible to mastery. Computers, as we know them, are less than a hundred years old (two-hundred if you start with Babbage). Think of all of the wonderful things that you focus on and master from this invention.

Well, not all. But that makes what you do choose all the more special.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1208

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Connections

“Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” — Athenaeus

It’s interesting to think how we criss-cross and co-exists with other people in our lives. Small moments connect us—like a chance meeting a random event invite a friend of a friend forced us to attend. Defining moments connect us—same high school, same college.

Friends come and go. Or maybe it’s “we” who are the ones coming and going?

Surface level change is inevitable. New outfit. New haircut. New tattoo.

Deep change is a choice.

Deep choice that takes courage, faith and a sprinkle of boldness. Courage to admit when we are wrong or have messed up and commit to correct course. Faith to stick to our principles. Boldness to do what we fear and to challenge the status conformity around us.

We are still connected to who we were (through the stories we tell), but we aren’t the same.

But no matter how much we may change, there’s always room for an old friend.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1207

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Clutter

I need a studio. A place designed for maximum creativity.

Either that or I need to sell everything I own except a pillow, laptop, and underwear.

Like many, I’ve been working from home for the past year. It’s been good—there’s a lot of upsides with working remotely. There’s less time commuting. More schedule flexibility. Proximity to a full kitchen…

But my apartment doesn’t have room for an office. So I’ve crammed it all into a corner of my bedroom. Books. Music Gear. Notebooks—lots of notebooks. Art supplies.

Someone told me recently (I think it was Gabriella) that if you keep feeling the urge to re-organize a room, then the furniture and space you need. That’s definitely me right now. I think I’ve rearranged things at least twice this week so far.

Clutter is not conducive to creativity, especially when that clutter is weighing on your mind.

What is clutter? Sometimes it’s junk. Things we should have sold, donated, or thrown away years ago. But often clutter is the stuff that we like, but stuff that keeps getting in our way (physically and or mentally.) When there’s too much around us—too many choices—everything starts turning into a to-do list we haven’t gotten to yet, another shirt hanging in our overstuffed mind closet.

Are you holding on to things from your past that you no longer need and that no longer serve you?

Are you surrounding yourself with too many distractions (that are taking you away from what you are trying to focus on)?

Have your most valued things become so cluttered that you no longer see them as anything more than a hindrance?

Either get rid of it or give it the space it needs.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1206

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Live Deliberately

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”— Henri Matisse

“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.”
— Ruth E. Renkl

A lot can happen in a year. A lot can happen in a day too, depending on the day.

But are you doing what you want to be doing?

There’s always X Y Z reasons why you think you can’t. But are those reasons worth your time?

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Where are my decisions taking me?

Where is my lack of decisions taking me?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1205

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Principles are Steadfast

We are born in a transitional era. A transitional era that never stops transitioning. I wonder if people from past eras thought that about their time in the world too. Rockets to the moon. Computers. Electric guitars. Steam power. Gunpowder. The printing press.

That reminds me of the film, A Midnight in Paris, with Owen Wilson, where great artists and writers from the past pined for the better days of their past.

But just because these’s times they are a changin, doesn’t mean everything changes.

Some principles stay true:

• Be good to others.

• Always keep learning.

• Keep going after failure.

• Don’t neglect the basics—water, food, exercise, sleep, companionship.

• Be empathetic—put yourself in other people’s shoes.

• Let creativity, curiosity, wonder and joy drive you (not anger, negativity, bitterness, and hate.

• Act louder than you speak.

• Care.

These can guide you to a more meaningful life, no matter what age you are in (the past, present, or future.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1204

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Start Again

“Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.”

Malcolm Forbes

“You will fall. And when you fall, the winner always gets up, and the loser stays down.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Failure is temporary. What happens after we fail? Time continues forward. Change gives way to something new. Because it was necessary. Because what we were doing wasn’t working.

Of course there’s always the choice to give up and dwell in the past and things we can’t change.

Life isn’t about success or failure, i’s about the attempt. To be fearless is to be willing to keep going after failure. Reframe failure as an opportunity. It sucks at the moment, but it won’t suck forever.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1203

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There is No Try

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”Mark Van Doren

Part of our jobs as creatives is figuring things out. Discovery and uncertainty are two sides of the same pancake. There’s rarely comfort in uncertainty, but there is excitement. The excitement from learning something new. The thrill of being resourceful or doing something yourself.

It’s one thing to be taught the idea of something, it’s another thing to come to it with your own eyes, ears and hands.

True understanding comes from hands-on experience. There’s a level of wisdom you can’t gain unless you tinker, play, explore and experiment yourself.

That’s true with design and business and coding and well—everything. Of course, it’s not about doing it all yourself, rather using DIY as an approach to learn a skill at a deeper level of compression.

It’s hard to completely get that from a book or tutorial. Teaching is a guide. It opens the door for us, but we are the ones that have to take the extra step and make the connections.

A course might save us time and shortcut our path to understanding and success, but until we get our hands dirty, so to speak, we won’t be at the level of mastery we seek yet.

Ask big questions. Observe the world.

Throw things at the wall. And try things out yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1202

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What’s are you willing to lose sleep over?

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou

Lately, I’ve been staying up later than I’d like. For good reason (even though I’d prefer to go to bed at a healthier hour.) I’ve been diving into Ableton Live and learning music production.

I mostly don’t have a clue what I’m doing (you know nothing, John Snow) but experimenting and figuring things out is half the fun.

What’s something you are willing to lose sleep over?

Not out of obligation to study for an exam or falling down a Graham Norton rabbit hole on YouTube.

Think of something that you love doing so much that hours tick by and suddenly you realize you’ve spent the last four hours completely inflow.

What is something you enjoy so much that time loses all sense of meaning Something you willing to stay up all night for?

That’s what you should be doing. That’s what you should be saying yes to.

Or at the very least you should be doing more of it.

Not neglecting sleep, rather, focusing as much energy and attention on what you love doing. Maybe for work or maybe just for the sheer love of the craft.

You can also use the negative of the question:

What are you not willing to lose sleep over? What are the things that you want to stop as soon as 5 PM rolls around, or as soon as it’s your bedtime?

That’s what you should be saying no to.

Or at the very least uou should probably be doing less of it.

Every unimportant no leaves more room for an important yes.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1201

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Ideas Need Breathing Room

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”Robert Frost

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” Thich Nhat Hanh

What is the purpose behind desire? (A question for the ages.)

Take money or fame, for example. Do you really want money? Or do you want what it can buy you? Do you want fame? Or do you want to feel known and special? What’s the desire behind the desire?

I love new gadgets and gear. I’ve got a to-buy book list as long as the Nile River. I’ve got many ideas’s I’d love to see come alive and many places and experience I’d like to be a part of.

But which desires will bring me the most joy?

“Less” is one good answer. Less is an open sky that leaves room for more. It’s a glass of water in a sea of desert. It’s funny “more” like’s to disguise itself as “less.” If only I had more x and I would be happy. If only I had y and I could do/be what I feel called to do/be.

But more only creates more. This is both good and bad—it’s a tool, and it just depends on where you point it. Opportunity creates more opportunity.

It’s scary how more tries to replace our dreams with pleasure. Entertainment. Filler. Upgrades. Newest and Greatest. Distractions. Things only become bad when they take us away from our mission and purpose.

Even more good ideas can distract us from our current good ideas we are working on.

The key is recognizing where a desire is coming from. Is it coming from boredom? Fear? Low self-esteem? Or is it coming from curiosity? Creativity? Abundance?

If you want an idea to succeed, you need to give it breathing room. Ideas don’t thrive well when they are stacked on top of another dozen ideas in the works.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1200

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Staying in Tune

Tuning is a necessary part of the practice. When it’s done right, it makes an instrument sound good. And when something is out of tune, you (or someone) will notice.

Our lives also consistently need a tune up. You’re Life is in tune when your—

  • work aligns with your passions and desires.
  • expectations match reality.
  • are giving quality time to your needs (sleep, healthy foods, exercise, friends, stillness.)

Stress, too many todos, complacency, negativity and laziness are all things that get easily knock us out of tune.

But luckily, just like any other instrument, being out of tune is just part of the process. We just need to control what we can control and retune our lives accordingly.

It takes some finessing, but once we are there, we are hitting new levels of harmony.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1199

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