Creative Chores

Never let your creative work become a chore.

Do the laundry clean the floors, write a blog, practice music, run, take out the trash…

The moment your passion becomes just another thing you have to check off is the moment you stop being able to create original and impactful work.

If you’re not bleeding from all orifices and pushing your creativity every day, then how do you plan on making an impact and original work?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

S.O.S.

The best part about asking for advice from a trusted friend or mentor is the objectivity.

When you are facing down the barrel of a problem (or problemS with a fat capital Ssssss) you’re usually too close what’s going on to see the issue for what it is and find opportunities to solve it — without losing your shhhirt about it.

Asking for help can be terrifying, mostly because it shows you are vulnerable like everyone else. You spend all this time fortifying yourself for battle, handling problems by yourself, steeling your nerves. All the while, you’re on edge and crying on the inside, as your foundation crumble from all the battles.You wish you had help, but in order to get it you have to lower your defenses to let help through, leaving you open…

Objective advice allows you to see things for what they are, rather than what you think they are.

It’s an emotionless spark of insight on what’s going on. However emotionless doesn’t mean soulless. Trusted advice has care and concern behind it. It doesn’t come with expectations of what you should do or pity for what you can’t do, rather, it says ‘here’s something you might haven’t seen or thought about the problem.’

Advice gives you the chance to find different angles and perspectives to the problem and redefine what the your dealing with. 

A problem isn’t just a problem, it’s amplified by what we think and believe about it.

A negative hopeless problem is a lion roaring on your chest while you lay on the ground yelling, ‘why me?!’ An objective problem is recognizing that the lion is actually the size of an iPhone, and you can pick up the lion by its tiny tail and you can get up off the ground and show that baby iPhone-sized lion your teeth and strength.

When in doubt, ask a trusted confidant.

How do you know if you can trust someone? Ask yourself, ‘does this persons advice help me, or does it help them / does it make them feel better about themselves?’

Does this person’s advice help me, or just them?

And when you don’t feel like you have someone to trust, find an expert such as a therapist, or even better, someone who has been through what you’re going through.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Instagram: @RENAISSANCE.LIFE

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Related Insights

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” — Elon Musk

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” — Benjamin Franklin

What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”  ― Maya Angelou

Good Book Pairings

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Decrease

‘Yes’ can get you far and out of tight spots, but can also become the villain in your life if saying yes to too many things or too many people takes you away from what you love. 

As the great Bruce Lee once said,

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

Is digging a bigger hole, adding more projects and todos, having more jobs, hobbies, houses, shoes or money going to make you happy instead of miserable?

It might help to a degree, but nothing is a substitute (long term) for your happiness and wellbeing. Simplicity is the hardest part of creativity. The more you pare down, the hard it is to remove.

  • Overwhelmed is overcommitment
  • Anxiety is mental stress about future commitments (mental obligations)
  • Pain is your body asking you to stop
  • Worry is stressing about the un essentials 90% of the time while ignoring the essentials 100% of the time.

Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going through, break it down to the essentials:

What can you decrease in order to increase what you find essential?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Freedom*

*Some restrictions apply

In America, at the most foundational level, freedom was built into our DNA.

‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ 

Freedom is what we all want, but it’s something we want, not something we automatically have.

Do you feel free? If we all have a right to freedom, why do most of us feel the opposite?

At least in America, we all have rights to it, kind of. The problem is it’s (unintentionally) easy to give your freedom away in different ways:

Want a great education? Of course, you can, at the expense of decades worth of loans and financial debt.

Want to be a good ________ (Writer, journalist, doctor, lawyer etc)? No problem, just conform to exactly how and what we tell you to do and maybe you’ll catch a break in a few years.

More often than not, we have to box our freedom away because we are beholden to someone or something else.

There’s an aspect of freedom we often don’t think about, and that’s work.

During the inception of the new country, freedom wasn’t easy. The founding Americans gave everything to enable that freedom.

I think everyone and their crazy uncle has at some point wanted passive, make-money-while-you-sleep income, or at least enough wealth to be free from doing work. There are two twin problems I see with this mindset:

One: We hate work, or rather we want to escape work that we hate. 

And yet we don’t. We give up a little of our freedom for a piece of stability and peace of mind. We suppress the creativity we want and were born to do, in order to have more (mistaking the pursuit of happiness for the pursuit of things) or because we have too (because other pieces of our freedom, such as finances, are being boxed up) And so, we keep doing work we hate because that’s all we know, or because another circumstance in our lives convinces we could never leave the stability, even if that means being miserable.

Two: We desire freedom from work.

Which is actually the wrong way to look at it. What we should desire is to have the freedom to work.

Freedom to work.

On work that aligns with who we are and who we want to be. A universal truth says do work that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. You’ve heard this, I’ve heard this… This doesn’t mean that you’ll spend all your time sipping pina colada’s with Jimmy Buffett of a beach somewhere, rather, no amount of work that you do will actually feel like work because you’ll be loving every second of it. 

It’s not enough to be free from work. In fact, trying to escape work is almost like trying to escape meaning or happiness. 

The founders of America knew this. They created freedom through hard work. You can’t have one without the other.

Freedom is the equivalent of a prize inside of a cereal box. The free toy is yours, but first, you gotta earn it.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

 

Measuring success

The moment you’ve measured your success against someone else, you’ve lost. If they’re doing better than you, all you can think about is how good they are doing and how poorly you hold up to them. If they are doing worse off than you, then it’s easy to fall pray to your abilities and be overconfident or complacent.

The greatest measurement of success is comparing who you were to who you are, and to who you are to who you want to be. Hating who you were isn’t going to change who you are. And who you are doesn’t define you, it’s who you want to be, and whether or not you act on that desire.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

Overcommitted

In my experience, being overwhelmed goes hand in hand with saying yes to too many obligations at once. Even with the most enthusiastic, optimistic, positive attitude, there’s only so much time you have to spend on any given day. Overcommitting yourself and saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way leads to friction and anxiety in your life. No amount of effort can add more time to your day. Sure, you could pull some all-nighters, but that’s not a sustainable long term.

The trickiest part about finding yourself overcommitted is the feeling of overwhelm that takes over you and adds another layer of stress and resistance on top of your problem. You have so much to do in one day, that you end up doing nothing because you’re too overwhelmed by the weight of it all. It’s a cycle really. Somedays you feel like you can conquer the world, other days you want to drown in your own tears. And it’s unpredictable. Maybe you had a bad dinner last night or slept on the wrong side of the bed or a hundred other micro decisions that lead you to feel like staying in bed.

When you’re overcommitted, you’ve got three options I know of:

1.  Take things one at a time.

Forget everything that’s on your to-do list and focus on the one priority that’s in front of you, brick by brick.

2.  Burn everything down.

This is the, ‘light the bridge on fire and walk away slowly while an explosion panorama’s behind you. There’s no going back from this usually.

3.  Burn down the nonessentials.

Ask yourself, ‘what’s something I could burn down right now and I wouldn’t miss it?’. Or put less aggressively, ‘If I dropped everything I’m doing right now, what would I be relieved that’s gone?’ (If I dropped everything, what would I miss?’

If you dislike something you are doing, it’s doing to drill down into why you are doing it. Are you doing it out of sheer obligation or expectations of others, or are you doing it because the alternative is terrifying?

Losing a job is a terrible experience. Staying in a job you dislike for the rest of your life is a crime. There’s working towards a goal, and then there’s using work to mask or run away from uncertainty and fear.

Whatever you end up choosing, or not choosing, the one thing to know about handing overwhelm is that you always have a choice. Perhaps the choice is a bad choice, but it’s still a choice.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

If not now…

There’s always the next day, or the next….

But maybe not.

Maybe the next day you get a promotion at a job you dislike and you feel financially obligated to play it safe.

Maybe the door closes on your dreams, while you were waiting too long for the perfect moment or the gumption to do something scary.

What are you waiting for?

The fear to go away?

The opportunity to come to you?

The time to be right?

The lack of time, money, and energy you have to be better?

It won’t. Only in the movies. The time is never right (and if it is it’s too late). There will never be ‘enough’ to start.

That’s why you’ve got to take matters in your own hands and start regardless of your circumstances and fear.

Are you waiting for a Prince Charming idea to rain success and happiness on you?

A great friend of mine has a tattoo that reads: ‘If not now, when?’

It means, if you’re not going to do it now, when are you ever going to get another chance.

If not now, never.

The people who can turn their fears into acts of boldness, their lack of opportunity into opportunities and their lack of resources into creativity, are the ones who change the world. Or at least the ones that change their own world.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

Safe

My mission is to keep these daily blogs fresh and interesting, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

It could be that my writing and storytelling abilities still need more work (they do), or, taking a step back to look at the bigger picture, it’s more likely my writing is a reflection of my life. If I’m not trying new things, doing things that push my comfort zone and consuming work from insightful and inspiring creatives, then everything I create will more than likely be stale.

Boring, unoriginal work is doing the same thing over and over, sticking to what your good at because it’s safe.

Safe is the unsafest place you can be creativity. The moment you feel safe and secure in your work is the moment someone somewhere turns it on its and completely rewrites the rules.

 Ruts happen when you think more highly of your routine then you do about the habit you are routining.

Creativity is a balance between doing things safe and taking risks. Too safe and you’ll end up being 1 in a row of millions doing the same old thing. Too much risk and you’ll end up sleeping on the streets, eating thrown out bread from Panera Bread.

The more you can be unsafe without being stupid, the greater your work will be.

Stay Bold, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner

Armchair Advice

I have a personal rule to not follow any advice unless the person giving it has taken their own medicine and lived it themselves.

It’s not that they’re advice is bad per se, it could be fantastic advice, the problem is it’s not backed up by hard work and practice.

I can talk about political ideas all day, but when it comes down to it, I have no idea what it takes to be able to work for the government or the kind of pressures you’re put under. The same goes to anyone who has only read or heard about a skill or trade, but not actually have been there themselves.

I’ve learned the hard way, never take the advice of an armchair player. Studying the in’s and out’s of the game doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to play. That takes experience and lessons from the     ground floor. Life moves fast too. Just because you’ve experienced it back in the day doesn’t necessarily mean you know the tricks of the trade now. The game is constantly evolving and changing.

And you can’t get experience from a book. Ideas, insights, strategies and wisdom you can test yourself — but you still have to do it.

 Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

So what are you going to do about it?

Not making enough $.

No friends.

Lost your job.

Letting fear stop you from starting.

Sick all the time.

Injury. Pain. Loss. Famine. Negativity. On and on…

 

It doesn’t really matter what happens to you. When a problem strikes, what matters is what are your gonna do about it.

People around will empathize to your circumstances, but they aren’t going to fix your problems for you. That’s on you. A problem is a burden only if you see it as a problem. But if you see it as a challenge, even the worst outcomes and failures become opportunities of positive change and a chance to write a great story.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,

— Josh Waggoner