Genuine Relationships

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best relationships happen over time. They are cultivated through connection, camaraderie and shared experience. And they are grown day by day. It’s a wonderful feeling when someone can understand you for who you are, who you’re not and who you want to be.

New friends (especially friends who you feel an instant connection with) are worth every ounce of time and energy you put into cultivating a connection with them. But old friends are priceless.

Old friends keep coming back — no matter how much you change, improve, even regress and no matter how much time in-between has waned. At least the best ones do.

But like all good things in life, relationships have to be nurtured. No matter how long you’ve known somebody, you still have to care.

You have to care.

And so do they.

Care first. Care completely. But if after that they don’t care about what you do, what you dream about and. what you struggle with, then they aren’t worth your time anymore. Unless they decide to learn to care again. But that’s on them, not you. Relationships are a two way street. If you are the only one giving, then in the end, its something you should walk away from.

Life happens. I get it, likely more than most. You reach a certain age and some people you care about move away, other find love, get married and have kids. Other’s start their own company or become a doctor and work themselves into being a busybody. Or perhaps all the above. This makes it more challenging to stay connected. But if you give what you can, when you can, it’s worth it in the end.

When you care, the room lights up. When we all care, the world lights up.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #725


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Busybodies

All my friends are busybodies. I’m not sure when it happened. When our society tipped over into always being busy. When our jobs became jam packed. When our days become a rush and our responses go something like “I’m been so busy lately…” “Yeah, I’m good, this weeks been crazy…”. Or maybe this hustle and bustle has always been here and I’m getting old enough to see it. Dang. Or maybe it is being amplified by the internet and social media. Regardless, everyone is a busybody and I am too.

There’s a great quote by Mark Twain that goes, “don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” I think the same kind of mental framework can be applied to our relationships, work and life:

Don’t let the unimportant interfere with the important.

Easier said than lived, but the effort is worth its weight in gold.

There will always be more work to do. There will always be more email in our inboxes. There will always be new and exciting projects ready for our attention.

But there won’t always be more time. Each of us only have a finite amount of time to give and live. That’s why the important needs to come before the unimportant. That’s why love and friendship matter more than power and success.

Is this an either or situation? Do I have to choose between work and friends?
Slow down, family (w0)man. Not necessarily. Life and work is a balance and counterbalance. We shouldn’t spend all our time working and we probably shouldn’t spend all our time hanging out with friends either. (My friends would probably go crazy if they had to spend 100% of their time with me 🙂

Priority is essential, and is often overlooked or unregarded.

Cultivate strong friendships and become a friend of yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #724


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Habit Dregs

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.”

Jules Renard

One of the hardest moments of any daily habit — besides missing a day after a long streak of consecutive days in a row — is when you would rather do anything, anything, else than your habit.

You know what I’m talking about. When it’s time to put on your shoes and head to the gym or go for a run and then a wave of dread creeps in. ‘Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow to go…’. Or when you are on vacation and the last thing you want to do is go to bed early and wake early. Or perhaps its when you are feeling tired or under the weather and would rather eat a Amazon cardboard box than pick up your guitar and practice, or pick up a pen and write.

And yet, doing our practice is exactly what we must do in moments like these.

Practicing your habit when you don’t want too is essential to habit longevity.

Anyone can practice a skill on inspiring days where ideas are flowing out of you like lightning. But it takes true commitment to do it on days you don’t want too. Moments of reluctance, doubt and laziness can derail anyone unprepared and untrained. That’s why when we feel tempted to skip our practice we committed ourselves too, we must do it anyway, ideally right away.

Wake up tired? Practice your habit.
Wake up super late? Habit.
Have the worst day of your life? Do thy habit.
Realize you haven’t done your daily habit yet and it’s 11:58pm? Get to work.

The ability to handle situations like these takes practice. But every time we do we are honing our habit muscles.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #723


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More to Lose vs. Nothing to Lose

“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.”

Chuck Palahniuk

The thing about accumulating nice things and expensive tastes is that we have more to lose.

One bad house fire and everything we own turns into firewood. One unfortunately accurate tornado will take everything you own with it. A downturn of the market, or a new technology could make our jobs disappear. Of course, we shouldn’t spend our days worrying about natural disasters and others things that aren’t in our control. The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca once taught, “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” Worry sucks the energy out of our ability to do anything about it. Disasters may come, and all we can do is prepare for risks, prepare for the worst and put the worry away so we can go on with our lives.

Our stuff is so much more than just things too. It’s our memories, our expectations and ideals. It’s our desire to change and be better. Which is fantastic and beautiful, but can also hold us back if we aren’t paying attention.

And that’s the hardest part about losing nice things, we aren’t prepared to let them go.

Not letting things go is another form of worry. It holds us back from doing what we really want to do in life.

I recently read a short Zen Buddhist story about a guy named Badhiya (no idea how to pronounce his name. Bad-hi-ya?). He was a governor of a province wealth beyond imagine — soldiers at his command, money and power —but his friend persuaded him to leave it all behind and was ordained as a monk, with nothing but a mat, one bowl and three robes to his name.

One night Badhiya was meditating at the foot of a tree. Suddenly he uttered, the words, “Oh my happiness, oh my happiness.” It happened that another monk was sitting nearby. The other monk thought that Badhiya regretted having abandoned his position as governor.” The monk reported this to Buddha, thinking Badhiya has a problem, so the Buddha sent his attendant to invite Badhiya to come by. In front of a group of monks Buddha said, “Badhiya, is it true that last night during sitting meditation you pronounced two time the sentence, ‘Oh my happiness, oh my happiness’?” Badhiya said, “Yes, noble teacher, I did pronounce that sentence twice.”
“Could you explain to us why you have pronounced these three words during the night?” the Buddha asked. Badhiya said, “Dear teacher, when I was a governor my palace was guarded by hundreds of soldiers. But I was still very afraid. I was afraid robbers would come and kill me or at least take away all my valuables. So day and night I lived in fear. But last night I realized that now I have nothing to lose. I was sitting out in the forest at the foot of a tree, and never in my life have I felt so safe. Nobody wants to kill me anymore because I have no power, no wealth, and no jewels for anyone to take. I have nothing. Yet I finally have everything. I am touching such a great happiness and freedom. That is why I have pronounced the words, ‘Oh my happiness, oh my happiness.’ If I have disturbed someone, I am sorry.”

By having everything, he was afraid of losing it all. But by having nothing he was free.

Now, I’m not advocating for us to get rid of everything that we own and not enjoy the fruits of our luck and opportunity. I’m just suggesting that it’s unwise to be reliant and beholden to what we own and what tastes we build.

Here’s an example: Can you go even a day without coffee? I couldn’t. A few years ago, I even went on a trip to Thailand and brought mostly coffee supplies with me! I had the works: an electric kettle, a french press… you name it. I wasn’t always into coffee, but now all of a sudden I couldn’t live without it. Until last year. Last year I went off coffee for a full year.

I think it’s healthy to live without the unnecessary things we think we need to be normal and happy. What do you think you can’t live without? Nice clothes? Spotify and Netflix? Expensive wine or cocktails? None of these things are bad per se, but if they are controlling you, especially in negative ways, then they might be.

I still enjoy coffee and tea. I’m not going to forgo drinking it. I love the ritual of making it in the morning and sipping it slowly while reading. But I know now I can stop when I want to and I’ll keep testing what’s good and not good for me for the rest of my life. It reminds me of a quote from Fight Club: “The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”

Action Step: What nice but unessential things can you practice living without?

The reason we might have more to lose is because we can end up letting our things own us.

Can we have nice underwear and a new iPhone while also having a ‘nothing to lose ‘ mindset?

Yes, but it requires thoughtful ongoing work. If we can take care of the abundance of things we have around us, while not being afraid to lose them, we can not let the unimportant things hold us back and keep us from living the life and impact we dream of achieving.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #722


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Subtle Maneuvers

“Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers”

Franz Kafka, Novelist

Before I starting writing everyday, there were all types of reasons (excuses) I would tell — no, convince — myself why I couldn’t. I was essentially working two full jobs, spending my 9 to 5 working at a startup and working another business in the evening. I was too tired. I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have any good ideas. And yet it was still bothering me. I was troubled by the fact that I was doing everything I needed to do, but none the things I wanted to do.

The American novelist Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance. In his book, The War of Art, Resistance is described as the force that will stop us with any means necessary to keep things exactly the way they are. It’s the voice in our heads telling us our work isn’t good enough and that we should even bother with it in the first place. It’s the fear that keeps us from putting our work out there. And it’s the force we must overcome to pursue a creative life.

Everything that can get in the way of your creative work, will get in the way.

There will never be enough time we need. Nor space. Or perhaps you have all the time and space but no ideas.

It doesn’t matter.

No energy? No support? Are you surrounded by negativity and doubt? Is your job keeping you from your dreams? Are you friends and family? No inspiration?

Again, it doesn’t matter. Once you establish a daily habit, you know you’ll do it no matter what. Even if we have to subtle piece it together throughout the day. Or sit down and write while everyone in the house is still sleeping.

A daily habit detoxes us from excuses.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #721


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Resolve to Fight

“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.”

George S. Patton

“The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

There will be times in your life where you must fight.

Perhaps not with fists or weapons, but an exchange of blows just as real.

Sometimes, you may have to battle for your intuition and truth. Do you take this job because the money is good, or do you listen to your instincts and pass? Do you partner with this person because his / her idea is great, or do you decline because your gut is telling you?

Sometimes, you may have to battle for your beliefs and freedom. How likely are your convictions wrong? A lot of people believed that slavery was right, but the belief didn’t fly in the face of reality. The belief contradicted itself. Wanting something to be true, and something being true are completely different things. If you discover you are wrong about something, then change. Change for the better. Do like the wisest people from history did — follow virtue in every step. But if your convictions are right, then don’t back down. Stand for character and truth.

Sometimes the battle is negativity and despair. Sometimes the battle is in your mind. Defeat them with hope. Hope is the best weapon. The past may be the past, but that doesn’t make the future determined. Only we can do that with how we decide to think and act today. And, with a little luck, we can make a better future for ourselves and others.

There are so many important battles — keeping great friendships strong… pursuing your dreams… healing from an injury… accepting fate with honor… taking the higher road… choosing life over apathy… finishing what you started… and handling fear, lots of doubt and fear…

Not everything is worth fighting for, but the things that are we’ll be ready for.

At any moment, we have the opportunity to transform into better selves, and do the things we know we need to do.

Take heart.

The fights will be challenging, but that’s part of life too.

In the end, the best things in life worth the challenge.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #720


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Fruitful Pauses

The American composer, Steve Reich once said that when you are trying to solve a problem but you can’t figure it out, “The best thing to do is to just leave it and put your mind somewhere else, and not always but often the solution to the problem will bubble up spontaneously”.

I think the same is true for all types of creating too. There’s only so many hours we can work without taking a break (or not on Modafinil) and not feel like our minds have turned into mashed potatoes. Perhaps there’s some wiggle room between how long each of us can work effectively, but I find it incredibly useful and good for my health to take breaks between work.

Spending twelve hours a day staring at a screen is probably not doing me any favors. Sometimes I’ll read, go for a walk, or even work on something else. Whatever gives me a pause from the creative work or problem at hand.

Too much work in one thing, even work you love, can make any sane person go crazy after a while. We need variety and pockets of play peppered throughout our day.

The same is true for working 24/7. There’s likely a good reason why our society takes Saturday and Sunday off. And yet, nowadays, work so easily can creep into Saturday and Sunday too. Emails. Last minute changes. Projects that need work before Monday. But that kind of overwork catches up with us after awhile.

We need time for ourselves. We need time to chat with friends. We need time to rest and refuel the creative tanks.

I don’t know about you, but I’m at my worst creatively (and otherwise) when I’m tired, hangry, overworked and over-focused.

How can you add more fruitful pauses to your day, week, year and life?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #719


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Daily Choices

“We grow fearless when we do the things we fear.”

Robin Sharma

The choices you make today, will determine the choice you have tomorrow.

Which means taking even a tiny step today towards living your dreams will give you more possibilities tomorrow. Small steps, especially when you don’t feel like doing them, create movement and inertia in our lives.

For you, that might mean spending a hour working a project that’s been weighing on your mind. Maybe it means sprucing up your resumé and finding a new job. Or maybe it means reaching out to a friend you’ve been reluctant to call because of how long it has been since you spoke.

The only thing out of reach is our past. We can dwell on it, and allow it to take over our day with negativity and hopelessness from. past mistakes and setbacks. We can long for it days with nostalgia for ‘better’ days.

Or we can learn from our experiences, good and bad, and use it as a way forward to our future. The past may be done, the but future isn’t. The future is written in the choices we make today.

Choose the path that aims you towards the life that you want, and the person you want to be. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Focus only on the decision in front of you. What’s the next step you want to take?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #719


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Giving and Taking Advice

“The best advice comes from people who don’t give advice.”

Matthew McConaughey

Unsolicited advice always shoots through one ear and out the other without the slightest remorse.

The best advice given is the advice asked for.

The problem is we are too stubborn and obvious to ask for it. We’d rather go down with the ship then tell others our ship is leaking.

Some days I feel like half my problems would dissipate if I asked the right person for some advice. (The right person being the one who has experience a similar problem or knows someone who has)

So how do we give advice to someone too stubborn to take it? and how do we ask for advice when we really need it instead of holding our breath trying to solve our problems ourselves?

We do it subtly and from a place of honesty and trust.

When it comes to giving advice, we have to meet people where they are. Sometimes, that means being there for them when they need help and they are struggling. We have to wait for them to be ready for help. This starts by simply saying that you are there them if they need any help or guidance. Open up the kimono first — show them what you are struggling with. Vulnerability is relatability. And don’t forget to lead by example.

How do we ask advice when we need it ourselves?

First, find someone who has been through something similar to what you are going through. And if you can’t find that, then the next best thing is to seek advice from someone you know that you admire.

There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, being vulnerable and seeking council will make the person like you and want to help you even more. Again, vulnerability is relatability.

If you feel like you’ve got no one around you that can help, hit the books. Seek the wisdom and insights from people of today and from history who’ve experienced life in its fullest spectrum. Books, videos, courses, podcast… half the battle is being aware of that fact that you could use some advice, from there, finding the advice will come much more easily. If that doesn’t work, maybe you’re the one who will find an answer and help others from your insights.

And when in doubt, seek a professional. (Verses some random person like me, with a blog.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #718


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“Do What I Don’t”

“You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.”

John Steinbeck

Advice is a tricky business. Unless you can back up your advice with personal experience, hardly anyone will listen to you.

It sucks because their advice might be sound but because it’s not backed by anything, we won’t take it. Because what if it’s bad advice?

Armchair quarterbacking doesn’t inspire anyone. Well, not with positivity anyway. It might inspire you to do the opposite of what the person is saying.

Even if you are older, or in a position of higher authority, if you’re talk doesn’t match your walk, people will notice and won’t do it.

“The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

If I were to pin it down to one reason why, I’d say it’s because advice that’s given without experience to back it up feels hollow and judgmental.

Humans have been giving each other unwanted advice to each other for millennia. The hunter-gather takes one look at his buddies fire and says ‘you should build a fire over here instead of there, bro’.

The bible has some similar insights on this: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. … Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Sometimes, we’re the ones doing the armchair life coaching. We’re giving all this great advice but not taking it ourselves. Crap. (…you hypocrite!) The only way to resolve this is to heed our own advice. Giving advice means taking advice yourself.

Unless you can back up your advice with personal experience, no one is going to listen.

To be in a position to help others, you have to align your worlds with your actions. Back your advice with gold.

In essence, to change others, you have to be will and able to change yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #717


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