Informed vs. Ignored

Part of our circumstances is other people’s mistakes. This is particularly tough when they’re mistakes from people we admire and love. Intentional or not, you were hurt by someone else’s lack.

This too is part of our story. And out of our control.

Can you change what happened to you? No.

Can you do your best to make it better for yourself and others going forward? Absolutely.

Should you forgive them? Maybe. It depends on the situation. I’d like to be forgiven when I make stupid mistakes. We’re all human after all.

Better that than bottling everything up or ignoring what you don’t want to see. We can’t control everything that comes our way, but how we react is in our control, and that’s on us.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #853

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Negativity Attracts Negativity

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

I’ve had my fair share of negative moments. The last decade of my life has been buttered with various difficulties. Health, finances, friendships, betrayal. It’s easy to fall into a negative lull. But one thing you learn quickly (if you’re paying close attention) about being negative is it doesn’t get you anywhere. Feeling negative doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t solve your problems. In fact, it doesn’t help you at all. 

All negativity is good for is keeping you exactly where you don’t want to be.

What does negativity get you?

More opportunities?

More friends?

More success?

More like opportunities you don’t want. And negative friends that keep you in a negative bubble.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Let’s look at negativity’s counterpart: positivity. I think people bristle at the idea of positivity because they assume that being positive or optimistic means expecting everything to work out in your favor. But expecting everything to go your way is an unrealistic ego-driven way to live. Of course things won’t go our way. That’s where being positive comes in handy. The value of positivity is when things inevitably don’t work out the way we want. Positivity is a reliable tool for when life beats you up and steals your lunch money.

This bad thing happened. What’s something I can look forward to? What can I do better next time? What’s something good that can come from this.

Good things that come from struggles and unfortunate circumstances are the worst best lessons we can have. *Worst* because if we could change the past we’d likely go back and make sure they don’t happen. *Best* because they are life-altering. They change our life’s trajectory and story. In my case, a chronic injury helped me become interested in health, medicine, and wellness.

Positivity also attracts luck. And abundance. And don’t forget opportunities. There’s a lot of upside to living positivity, but I can’t say the same about being negative.


“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.”

David Lynch

“The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous.”

David Icke

“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Kobe Bryant

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #852

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Tectonic Ideas

Tectonic ideas are my name for any insight I’ve come across or observed that has completely changed the way I think and do things in life. Think of them as larger than life ideas that burrow into your mind and completely change your life. Here are some that I’ve been collecting over the years:

Everything around you was designed and made by people like you.

(paraphrasing Steve Jobs)

Food is medicine. Eating real food helps heal and prevents disease (or disease).

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”Hippocrates
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”Michael Pollan
One should eat to live, not live to eat.”Moliere
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Money is an amplifier

“A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.” — W. C. Fields
“Time is money.” — Benjamin Franklin

If people don’t love or hate your work, you just haven’t done that much.

(paraphrasing Tinker Hatfield)

“You are remembered for the rules you break.”Douglas MacArthur
“Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.”Michel de Montaigne

Questions lead to knowledge

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” — Bruce Lee
Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” —Voltaire
“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

Go First

“Let him that would move the world first move himself.” — Socrates
“Action expresses priorities.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

When in doubt, go for a walk

“Walking is man’s best medicine.”Hippocrates
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”Henry David Thoreau
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche

What are some tectonic ideas you’ve learned in life so far?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #851

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Mind Cleansers

We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room. Bella Abzug

Whenever I feel overwhelmed my goto strategy to center myself and get my mind in a better headspace is to organize my environment. As any organizer will tell you, better organization starts with more dis-organization. (Don’t worry, this blog post isn’t going to turn into a Marie Kondo lesson.) First I’ll clear my desk and the surrounding area. Then I’ll wipe down the surface, and while that’s drying I’ll take all the books and knickknacks and post it’s and paper that has been accumulating and put all the related things together. Anything that can get rid of, I do. And slowly, I’ll add things back to my desk, one item at a time. Making sure that what I need to work on is in front of me, and everything else is not.

Chores are great mental palette cleaners. When you think of the word “chore”, I’m guessing you’re having flashbacks of laundry and taking out the trash. A chore is any little pesky todo that you inevitably have to do otherwise you’ll end up standing naked in your dirty smell house with no hot water with nothing to wear for that social thing that’s happening in 30 minutes.

By itself, a chore is nothing special. (Insert your best dad joke here.) However, a chore can become amazingly special if you add one ingredient: you’re complete and undivided attention.

It’s the equivalent of a hot shower and making things with your hands combined. Chores can be meditative when you give 100% of your focus — no music, no tv, no conversation, no rushing, no multitasking — just you and what’s in front of you. The clothing that needs to be folded. Or the kitchen that needs a scrub. Or the desk that’s looking like a hoarder’s house. Or mowing the lawn. Or the dishes. You don’t have to like (or do) them all at once. You just need one.

The physical action and movement take your mind off the mental stress and worry that’s bothering you.

So what chore is your goto?

And, more importantly, what’s the cause of the stress that’s making you feel overwhelmed or frustrated in the first place?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #850

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Beginner’s Sandbox

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Shunryu Suzuki

You don’t have to be something great to start doing it. This took me a while to figure out. I wanted to write, but I wanted to be able to write well, so I ended up not doing it at all. If perfectionism is what keeps us from finishing, then Proficiency (and lack thereof) is what keeps us from starting.

Wanting to be great can push us forward towards being great, but it can also push us towards doing nothing.

It’s a matter of high expectations, and thinking (wishing) we were great immediately. We hear stories from iconic people from history and professionals making it look easy today and we think we should be able to pick up a basketball (a pen, a guitar, a [insert your thing here] ) and be amazing at using it. This misunderstanding leads us to quit before we even start, and feel disappointed when we aren’t exceptional on the first try.

Nothing is easy the first time. And if it is, it certainly won’t be easy the second time. Or the third.

It takes practice and smart consistency to become great at something. It takes a whole crater of effort and discomfort to become ‘so good they can’t ignore you’. 

But it only takes a little effort to start today. Being a beginner means you have room to try whatever you want. As a beginner, there is no pressure to conform to what’s trending or what our past success demands of us. We get to play in obscurity. We get to have cake and eat it too. 

You don’t have to be something great to start doing it. You just have to start doing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #849

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Newsletter: Considerations

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Faking It

“Every man should pull a boat over a mountain once in his life.”

Werner Herzog

Faking it until you make it is a mixed bag. On one hand, it gives you the confidence you need to go after something you want. On the other hand, it sets you up for potential failure. I think the people you hear about that became a success from faking it was just super lucky. It’s more likely to get caught being a fake than it is faking it successfully.

You see this across all areas of life and business, but I see it the most in creative or entrepreneurial settings.

Although it might sound great to put photography or product design on your portfolio, just because you can take a couple of good phone photos doesn’t make you a great photographer. I know this because I have a lot of friends who are photographers for a living and their work is incredible compared to an amateur photographer like me. I’ve read a book on photography and I know more than the average schmoseph, but even then I would be faking it if I put a photographer on my website or bios.

Professionals don’t fake it. Professionals don’t have to fake it. They develop the skillsets and learn the tools and then do it. And do it well.

You could argue that ‘faking it’ shows up the most in entrepreneurship.

Business has always been a little about magic. I trade you this paper thing (digital numbers nowadays) for your product or service thing. You use that paper thing to make your product thing better through hard work and then try to sell more of them to more and more people over time. Most products and services are works in progress. Ideally, it’s great now. And if the company continues to perform well, it will get even better.

Most startups are a mash of duck-taped products, shoe-string budget, ego, and underpaid workers, but they look amazing because they have a clean website and their social media is fire.

It takes a massive amount of confidence and faith to build a company. I think where faking it gets you in trouble in business is when you try to sell a product or service that isn’t good or isn’t as good as your selling it to be. That goes for customers, employees and investors alike. If your product isn’t good yet, people are going to notice, aka not buy it. And if they do buy it, but you don’t deliver, they sure as heck won’t buy from you again (and they’ll likely tell all their friends not to buy from you either). Instead, tt’s better to build your company on the foundation of a great product or service people need.

Faking it Pros:

  • Gives you the confidence to start.
  • Can develop your skills fasters.
  • Moves your career, or business forward.

…If it works.

Faking it Cons:

  • It can backfire instantly if your skills/products/services don’t match your confidence.
  • You’re essentially lying about what you can do.
  • Anyone who does the skill your faking will instantly be able to notice that you can’t.
  • Real social and career consequences if you get caught.

We all have to start somewhere, which means we have a vision and dream of who we want to be in our heads. The question is how to get there and make it a reality. Faking it could work, but it’s also inauthentic. In today’s instantly connected, open world, people can smell inauthenticity a world away. Leaning into faking it isn’t the answer. If you do, do it at your own peril.

Get good first.

It’s better to be a work in progress than being shot down in flames. Learn what you need. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things. Share what you are learning. Let your work build little by little. If you need to instantly be a professional you’ve already lost. Don’t just say it — do it. Cultivate your skills every day and let your work speak for itself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #848

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Is it Possible to be a Multidisciplinary in Today’s Age?

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”


Is it possible to reach Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin’s level breadth of skills and knowledge in today’s world?

Yes. But there’s a difference between today and as time goes forward (assuming there’s no apocalyptic zombie outbreak).

There’s a lot more choice today than in the past. For example, Leonardo, although an I legitimate son, had more access to paper than most growing up because his father was a notary and landlord. That’s like me growing up without a cellphone versus kids today growing up with phones, tablets TVs and other screens aplenty! For most, paper was not cheap. To think and draw and write was quite a luxury.

Think about how plentiful our access to paper is today. The same is true for everything in our modern world.

Even the poorest of us have more choices than in the past.

To be multidisciplinary, we must be extremely cautious with what we give our time too. Every skill and industry, be it woodcraft, design, dance, artificial intelligence, or medicine has multiple multiple sub-skills and paths we could take.

To reach a level of mastery of any trade is difficult. Most don’t get there. To reach mastery in multiple trades takes discipline, creativity, and dedication.

It’s possible, certainty. But it means we have to choose. We must prioritize our essential few over the plethora (and ever-expanding) options.

There’s room for trying new things and experimenting of course. But there’s not much room for idleness and complacency.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #847

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Expectations Met

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”

Stephen Hawking

Let’s say you and a friend decide to go to the movies. You both have similar tastes so it’s usually easy to choose what to see. The one difference (this time) is you have high expectations for what you’re seeing (you’ve watched the trailers, you’ve skimmed the behind the scenes…) but your friend is coming in with low expectations.

Hypothetically, let’s also say we (the observers) know that the movie is getting decent reviews from critics and moviegoers alike.

Can you guess what happens nine out of ten after the movie ends?

Your friend thought it was fun and had a great time. But you were honestly a little disappointed.

What gives? Expectations.

Like a third wheel on a date, we bring our expectations with us.

Good and bad things can become better or worse depending on what expectations we are bringing with us. We don’t just experience an event — we experience an event plus the weight of our hopes (or lack thereof) about it.

Expectations aren’t thoughts, per se. They are more like a type of thought. A thought attached to a potential emotion. When we think something isn’t going to work out for us, we contribute to that negative reality. And when we think something is going to work out for us, we also contribute to that positive reality. However, when we think something is going to work in our favor, and it doesn’t, we feel disappointed or even defeated.

So what can we do?

I don’t think low expectations are quite the answer. Taking on the habit of always dismissing outcomes or avoiding the benefits that come from imagination and dreaming up new possibilities can lead to us walking around with negative and cynical outlooks on life.

High expectations aren’t necessarily bad for us. Unless we let them control our reactions. Then, we’ll just go through life constantly disappointment by everything not meeting our imagined standards.

I think there’s a happy medium between low and high expectations. It’s all about trying and practicing seeing things with an open mind.

An open mind leads to more enjoyable experiences.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #846

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Convincing Others to Change

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

It’s easy to suggest or recommended change, but it’s massively harder to convince someone to do it. Just like it’s hard for us to make a change in our own life.

It takes work to change. Particularly if you’re going 80 mph in the wrong/opposite direction and are trying to turn around. It’s work and then some. A cherry on top, if you will.

Think about how hard it is to get yourself to do something. Be it going off gluten for a month, or exercising consistently every week, or getting up early. Remind yourself the feeling of difficulty it is to make change happen. Now apply it to people you’re suggesting a change to, or wishing they would break a bad habit or do what they say they want to do. It’s tough, right?

I think one of the best ways to enable change in other people’s lives is to live by example yourself. Let your enthusiasm and success influence and rub off on them. When a friend, loved one or colleague see’s your results, they’ll want it too.

Of course, don’t hide the hard parts either. Nothing turns people off of doing something then seeing others succeed in some form and thinking they are invincible or a machine.

Change is difficult, but it can look easy (emphasis on ‘look’) after a lot of intentional practice and routine.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #845

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Leaky Work (aka Self-Sabotage)

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”

Benjamin Franklin

Where are you getting in your own way? I came to this question in an epiphany of sorts a day or so ago. I was feeling under the weather and my muscles were inflamed (aka hurting) more than usual. (I have a muscle/nerve issue in my neck I’ve been dealing with for the last eight years or so. It’s been so long it’s a silent part of who I am now. It’s something I always striving to find a resource or person or bit of knowledge to find healing. But I digress. A tale for another day perhaps. So anyway, I was feeling more achy than usual…) Plus I’ve been feeling various stressor which has been feeding my midnight treat munchies 🍪.

When it hit me:

I’ve been getting in my way.

I’m spending time, money and effort to eat healthy, but I’m also spending money to eat sweets and comfort foods. Or, in essence, I’m putting in work and resources, but my boat — in this case my health — has leaks. All the effort and money to be healthier (for me that means to have more energy, focus and be less tense) is being thwarted or weighted down by other not-so-healthy things. 

At best, my bad habits are balancing out my good habits.

So I’m planning a sugar detox, obviously :). I still feel good, despite my bad habits. But what if I could feel better? I know that I could be and feel more radiant. When you feel better, you can create better. Your mind is on a whole other level. Your energy goes up so your confidence and charisma goes up. (If you want to see the least charismatic, grumpy, slow Josh, catch me when I’m sleep deprived.)

But that’s also got me thinking: where else am I getting in my own way?

Finances? Learning? Friendships? Community? Work?

What’s not working? What needs to be more optimized? Where am I defaulting to mediocre or just good enough?

I’m still journaling on this. Work in progress.

So, Where are you getting in your way?

email me.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #844

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