Daily Decrease

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

Bruce Lee

I talk a big game about the power of daily habits. Investing a small amount of your time and effort each day towards a habit compounds into 10x, 100x or even 1000x the benefits later on. Usually without you even noticing the benefits occurring.

But there’s one thing I’d like to highlight:

The why and the action behind the habit is what ultimately matters. The ‘daily’ part just so happens to provide you with the momentum to improve faster (… and actually improve at all).

If you look at my daily habits (and the things I haven’t started doing daily yet) you’ll notice 3 patterns:

  1. Health
  2. Friendship / Community / Connection
  3. Creativity (and the freedom to create)

These are my essentials. In some form or fashion, each habit I have on my daily list is helping me become better in these 3 areas.

What’s your destination?
Who are you? Who do you want to be?
What daily actions can you take to align your destination to your reality?

Adding a habit to your life just because someone tells you its good for you, or because I do doesn’t mean you should too. Adding multiple daily habits is not the point either. Our days can only get so full.

My most anxiety-filled days are when I’m running around like a crazy person, attempting (and failing) to fit 4 lifetimes into one day.

Scheduling a hundred meetings. Reading forty books. Jumping from project to project to project. Burning through my most precious resources. For what? More stress? Thanks bye.

We need to remove the unessential to make breathing room for the essential.

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #547


The Shape of Your Life

Time is weird.

We live our lives in fixed moments in time, yet also see our lives stretched into the past and potential future, almost as if we were observers looking in on ourselves. (Very woo woo)

And over time, our life has a shape. Just like how we as a society point lens to the sky and can observe galaxies in the universe, we can also take a look at our own lives and see all the decisions, lucky encounters, changes and freckles that add up to who we are right now.

I am the sum of all my past moments and all my future hopes lived out in daily experiences.

Yesterday: This is who I was on that day.
Today: This is who I am today.
Tomorrow: this is who I could be.

Or in other words:

I can’t change who I was.
But I can change who I am.
Therefore, I can change who I will be.

And at any moment today, there’s a chance of change. We can choose to act differently. Or even life can choose things for us. That’s right folks, a lot of who we are was decided by outside influences — parents, culture, environment, God (insert your own beliefs here). But it’s not worth dwelling on.

Focus on the inputs you can change — how you react, how you think, how you live, where you live, who and what you surround yourself with. (And set yourself up to be lucky.)

What’s the shape of your life going to be?

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #546


Big Ideas From TechStars

Last week was my final week in the TechStars Austin 2019 program.

Austin is an incredible city.
The people and mentors I’ve had the chance to meet are exceptional. (My favorite part, by far)

And I won’t lie, the pace of work was intense. But there was also something refreshing about only having a very finite amount of things to focus on.

Here are the lessons I learned along the way:

(Note: These are my observations, not official endorsements of TechStars)

1. The people you surround yourself is a massive factor towards your success.

The people you surround yourself matter.

When it comes to business and all creative endeavors, there will be ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people.

Bad people will tell you every reason why your idea won’t work, but won’t have an alternative solution. Surrounding yourself with these types of people can create doubt in what you are doing and stifle your progress. They may even want to see you succeed, but the way they can talk to you drains you of wanting to try.

Good people will challenge your assumptions and push you forwards forward. They can rip your idea apart, by giving you alternative solutions to try and different perspectives to think about, all in the name of making your ideas better. They believe in you, despite the potential negatives.

Communities enable individuals to succeed. When you surround yourselves with likeminded individuals fighting for their own dreams, you naturally want to help each other become better.

2. You need people to talk to openly

Starting a business is hard on the easiest days. Without help to open up to about problems you are facing and pressures you are feeling, you’ll eventually implode. Or at the very least you’ll feel isolate. ‘I feel so alone’ ‘I feel like no one is helping me’ ‘I’m so stress out’. Take a break. Find someone to talk to, be it a therapist or someone else in your community who is trying to build their own dreams. Hard work makes a difference, but shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental wellbeing. No one gets anything accomplished if you stress yourself into oblivion.

3. It doesn’t take much money to start

Don’t get me wrong, money can help. A lot. Especially when it comes to peace of mind and wellbeing. But it doesn’t take much to validate your ideas. Anyone with the will and a couple hundred bucks can set up a website and get making.

Money isn’t a barrier, it’s an amplifier. There are exceptions, of course, but exceptions aren’t great excuses to not try. You can be flat broke and still be creative and innovative. In fact, you’ll probably be more innovative because you’ll have to think differently and come up with interesting solutions to your problems, beyond just throwing piles of money at it.

The question to ask yourself is, “Is money what’s really holding me back or is it fear?”
Sometimes it might be in fact money, but often it’s the latter.

4. Your idea doesn’t have to stay the same

Or in other words, you can change your mind about it.
Actually, you need to be open to changing your idea.

Because ideas aren’t fixed. They morph and grow based around the market, the information you have, and who you are. All good things.

But if our idea need to grow, yet our mind is fixed and made up about it, then we’ll likely get nowhere. Everything changes, eventually. So must we and our ideas.

And last but not least,

5. Give First

The biggest lesson of them all.

givefirst is even on the walls of the TechStars office.

Give first means to help others without expectations of anything in return. Helping shouldn’t be about what you get out of it. You might naturally benefit from helping others, but that shouldn’t be the reason why you do it. It’s the same as donating to charity. You should just be giving to charity just so you can get a tax right off. If you do your missing the entire point (and benefit) of giving.

Giving first is the reward. To see others succeed and to be grateful that you made a small invisible contribution to make it happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #545


Creative Doubt

We all have ideas of things we want to build. When the idea hits you, you feel a jot of energy and enthusiasm for its potential. Unfortunately, our ideas quickly become assaulted by realistic expectations.

Everyone is going to tell you why it won’t work.
And there will be many self-doubts and reasons why you shouldn’t or can’t.
There’s always some negativity or fear swirling around creativity (from those around us, those against us, or even from ourselves), but that’s not what your idea needs right now.

Does your creative idea solve your problem or someone else’s problem?
Do you want to see it exist in the world?
Would you regret not doing it?

Then ignore everybody and give it all you’ve got.
Show them that your idea is possible.

Not everything we do will succeed. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
At the end of failure lies lessons to enable the next creative idea, and at the end of success lies lessons to enable the next creative idea AND hopefully a few more resources to make it happen (as well as a few more doubts and reasons why you shouldn’t).

What all ideas need in the beginning is a bit of optimism to see what’s possible, a bit of naivety to ignore how impossible it will be, and a bit of boldness to do it, despite all doubts.

Because, why not?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #544


Energy o’ clock

Why do we schedule our days around hours instead of hours AND energy?
Obviously, I get why. We need to keep track for when events occur and when we are running late to the morning meeting. Nothing like trying to schedule two or more people to meet at the same time and place to show you that we need schedules in our lives. But imagine a world where we only worked within the window of energy we had to give. Didn’t get a greats night sleep? No problem. Work as effectively as you can, for as long as you think the quality is sound. Spend the rest of the day resting up. Feeling amazing today? Let’s go to some great work.

I know, I know… of course, this is massively subjective, easily abused, and hard to determine how much ‘energy’ we have at any given moment in our over-caffeinated, over-stimulated world. But is it such a crazy idea to give your mind, body, and spirit the nourishment it needs at the moment? Are another 4 hours of pounding energy drinks and clacking away at our computers really going to be as effective and worthwhile as we think it’s going to be? Will it matter in a week from now? Probably not.

Imagine what we could do if we were well rested, well fed, and mentally, emotionally and physically ready to take on the day.

This can only be fully realized on the individual level. I don’t see how our ‘move fast and break things’ culture could adopt a ‘work when you feel like it’ pace.

The fundamental concept comes down to a question:
What matters more — the quality of the work, or the hours we put in?

In an always on work environment, something’s going to break… eventually.

To me quality matters. Sometimes that means putting the hours in. Quality hours. Not all hours are created equal.

I want to have the health and energy to do my best work each day, and still feel alive by the end of it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #543


Why Daily Habits

I started blogging daily out of desperation. You see, I wanted to be a writer, and improve my writing abilities, but if I’m honest, I just wasn’t doing it. I would have a burst of ideas coming out of my ears one day and then nothing for the rest of the month (or the next month).

I would always have reasons why — my full-time job… my relationships taking up the rest of my time outside of work… lack of motivation… Netflix — but those reasons **cough** excuses **cough** were getting me no closer to my goals.

Around the same time, I came across a quote, attributed to George Bernard Shaw, that read:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”.

This insightful summed up what I was feeling but hadn’t formed the words yet. It also hit me at just the right time and angle for me to be open and let it into my life and inform how I think and act.

I am the one that will care most about my life.

Or put in another way, who else will care more about my life than me?

God, if you believe in a higher power. But not my family, not my friends or coworkers. They might care, and care a lot, but not more than me. Because my life is personal.

So, If I’m not going to go out a create the life that I actually want, who will?

No one. They are too busy dealing with their own (as they should be). Sure others can help, and that help can be life-changing, but I’m still the one who has to decide to initiate it and act on it.

If I want to be something, I need to create it.

We can’t wait for something to happen for us. We need to go out and make it happen.

So I committed to writing everyday. It didn’t have to be long. It didn’t even have to be great (ideally it would, but that wasn’t a prerequisite).

All that I require of myself is to sit down and do it. To put in the work, each day.

To create myself one day at a time.

Why Daily?

Habits don’t have to be daily. Weekly could work. Monthly could work too. In fact, sometimes too much of one thing, no matter how positive, can create a negative effect or at the very least diminishing returns. (Working out too much, for example.)

But there’s something magic about daily habits.

Daily habits have a compounding effect.

We normally think of compounding as it relates to money with compound interest. Investing a little bit of money into a retirement fund (such as a ROTH IRA) consistently over time grows that small amount of input into massive output. The earlier, the better.

The same thing works with habits.

(And pretty much everything else that’s time bound…. so everything. 🙂

Investing a small amount of your time and effort each day towards a habit compounds into 10x, 100x or even 1000x the benefits later on. Usually without you even noticing the benefits occurring.

Small actions lead to big change

Each day is about improving as much as you can that day, with what you have to give.

As Theodore Roosevelt has said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

And whatever your day looks like, do it.

On vacation? Do it. Living the longest day of your life? Do it. Sick? Do it. Away from your tools or what you need to do it? Do it in advance. Do it in your mind. Lug your tools with you.

1 day, leads to 2 days, which leads to 10, which leads to 500. One day, you’ll look up and realize how far you come and wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

I’ll be posting more about daily habits. If you want to see all the daily habits I’m tracking and other challenges I’m taking on, I’ve created a dedicated daily habits page.

I’d love to hear about your habits and any daily habits you are starting after reading this. Email me at josh (at) renaissancelife.com

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #542

Dead on Arrival

My blogs have been a little weak the last few days.
Good ideas, short execution.

I just got back to Chattanooga TN after several months being in Austin for work.
It’s been nice being back but also super weird at the same time.

The pollen is killing me here right now. I felt its effects almost immediately after leaving the airport. The last two days I’ve been floored. I’m a total zombie right now.
I’m not quite sure what to do yet.

What do you do when you are allergic to the city you live in?

I hope to find the energy to see my friends soon.
I hope this bone-tired fatigue goes away.
I hope this feeling isn’t my new normal.

Tomorrow is another day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #540


Flip the Tables

Sometimes its good to get away from it all, to not only appreciate, but also understand what you have.

To take a step back and get a fresh air of perspective through travel, nature or anything out of the ordinary.

Sometimes you just need to completely upend your life in order to find out what life’s really about.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #539


And Another Thing

There’s always another thing.

Another thing we want to buy.
Another thing to do.
Another thing we could be doing.
Another thing to distract us.
Another thing we strive for.

The question to ask yourself is, “where is this thing taking me?”
Somewhere I want to be?

If not, find a better thing.

Better as in something with greater resonance. Something that makes you more you, and enables you postively forward.

I think the better things in life are backed by meaning.
Will this add value? Will this create an impact? Looking back, will this have been worth it?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #538