Make Your Art

“True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.”

Albert Einstein

Everyone has their own way of creating their art. The key is to find what works for you best and stick to it.

Perhaps you’ve only got a couple of minute’s in the day between classes to jot down a few sentences for your book, or maybe you’ve only have a hour or two after your job to work on your business, or maybe your lucky and you get paid to do what you love. Whatever the life circumstances, making time for what you love is essential for happiness and meaning.

Take what you’ve got and work around it to make time for your art.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #768


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Creative Reps

“There are really three parts to the creative process. First there is inspiration, then there is the execution, and finally there is the release.”

Eddie Van Halen

A creative life is all about repetition. First, repetition gives you a routine, then makes you better faster, and finally, it builds you into the creative person you wish to be.

Repetition creates routine (habit / ritual / space)

In order to build a life around a creative pursuit, we must make it apart of your normal routine. To be an X, we must do X. To be a painter, you must paint. Writer’s write. Designer’s design. Musician’s play. Being someone who wishes they could draw doesn’t cut it either. A creative life requires work.

But what about the things we used to enjoy? It’s perfectly natural to retire/archive what you once were, and quit what you don’t enjoy. But if your desire is purse a craft and create, then you must create on a consistent basis.

Repetition makes you better faster.

Being a creative — aka being an X who does an X thing — doesn’t make you great at your creative pursuit. We all start at a different level of playing field with the talent and resources we bring to our craft, but talent and resources quickly lose out when it comes to practicing consistently and deliberately. The more we practice, the more talent doesn’t matter. Gene’s matter to an extent. Does inconvenient Gene’s stop you from doing what you love? No! If you want to play for the NBA but are too short to ride any rides at Disneyland, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. In fact, being short and having to find clever and unique ways to stand out might be to your advantage.

Repetition builds creative muscle.

The more you create and explore your art, the more ideas will flow out of you (…eew ). We could have a string of bad creative ideas for seven days but on the eighth day have an amazing idea. Would we have had the great idea if we haven’t gone through the crappy ones? Who’s to say. I think ideas sometimes hit us at the right moment, and other times need some time to stew. I find myself writing about similar ideas, but approaching them at different angles with fresh eyes.

Have you gotten your reps in today?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #767


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Wind in the Sail

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

December always puts me in a reflective mood. Blame it on the cozy weather, nostalgic music or the New Year’s hustle and bustle, I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about the ups and downs of this past year.

Honestly, this year been one of the hardest I’ve been through. I’ve worked a ton this year, but don’t have much to show for it. I spent a lot of time co-running at a start-up, working long hours, underpaid, undervalued and thinking I was an owner but in reality, was anything but. The founder said I had equity, but unfortunately, He was omitting the truth and never actually (intended to) give me ownership. Amor Fati. His loss.

I’ve had good opportunities, but I’ve also been coming into December with financial flubs (mostly from short term problems and emergencies I wasn’t able to resolve immediately) and feelings of bitterness I’m trying to shake off like a bad taste.

There are some great things happening in my life right now, but (why is there a but) honestly I feel a little like the wind has been let out of my sails. Meaning, I don’t feel as confident in myself and my dreams lately. Perhaps I just need to rest more and recover.

Perhaps we all need to rest a little more than we do.

I’m stressed, but I don’t feel stuck. Change meets us right away and adds up each day that passes. Life is to short to get stuck feeling stuck.

New work opportunities. New friends and deep connections with old friends. New confidence.

Here are a few ways we can add more wind to our sails:

Get out of your element:

  • Go to different spaces
  • Try new activities and hobbies
  • Grab a friend and go dancing

Play like a kid:

  • Do something you loved to do as a kid
  • Go outside and make up an imaginary game to play
  • Go do something nourishing for the hell of it.

Sleep and Move MF:

I don’t think we were made to sit and look at a screen all day.

  • Make time for making things with your hands
  • Make time for nature
  • Make time for conversations with friends

Eat as well as you can:

  • Eat something more than just pizza and pasta for Josh’s sakes.
  • Cook a healthy meal, salmon or lots of veggies
  • Try fasting in between all the feasting

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #766


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Stale Bread

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Maya Angelou

We all need time to rejuvenate ourselves and find ways to care and have a little ‘me time’.

Take time for yourself. You’re not very useful if you’re massively stressed out. Do you really want to keep trying to push yourself and create when you’re energy tanks are at 60%?

Give your body and mind what it needs. If you get energy from being around other people, then call up some close friends and plan a get-together. Or if you get energized by being alone with yourself, then be alone. Schedule it if you have too.

If you find this selfishly indulgent, or difficult because there’s way too much to do for you to take a break, then consider that you’re priorities are out of alignment.

It’s like oxygen masks on a plane. We must first put our own oxygen on before we can begin to really help others.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #765


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Less Learning; More Doing

I read a lot. Like a lot a lot.

But I might be reading too much lately. Or perhaps another way to put it is I’m not applying enough of what I’m reading.

Jumping from one book to the next without actually taking the time to access it, test its ideas in your own life and internalize the good stuff isn’t doing you any favors. Creativity, entrepreneurship, dreams… these things are made from actionable steps towards something.

It’s easy to get stuck in practice mode: where it looks like your learning and honing your skills, but in reality, you’re not really doing much.

Learning and doing are completely different things. Learning is massively important. Learning enables doing, but it doesn’t equate to doing. We could go our entire lives reading, taking online courses, attending workshops, without really accomplishing anything.

Are you just learning or are you applying what you learn?

Are you avoiding acting on your dreams by learning and ‘waiting until you know more’?

Sometimes (usually all the time) the best lessons are lessons we figure out on the move and acquire through doing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #764


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Slipping

When we commit to a new habit (whether that’s adding a good habit or replacing a bad one) we need to intentional figure out the motivation behind it.

Habits are rarely easy. What starts as enthusiasm can quickly fade to reluctance from the day-to-day responsibilities and whims.

Plus, our habits don’t exist in isolation. Not only do our habits intermingle with each other, but they also exist within the ebb and flow of our lives.

Motivation creates longevity. If we can see the long term game behind the day to day activities, we can learn to push through the harder days and feelings of reluctance to keep going.

The value of a habit is in the consistency of action over a long period of time. Painting only once and never again isn’t going to fulfill your dreams of hosting a gallery or selling art for a living. Painting every day will make you better over time.

If you love doing something, and you want to get better at it, then keep pursuing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #763


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Technicolor Life

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Søren Kierkegaard

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Mother Teresa

When I hear stories of near-death moments or sudden health scares, I try to stop and absorb the incredibly difficult lessons learned from their experiences. But it’s hard to not let the day-to-day busyness of life steamroll over what’s most important

Near-death, injury, loss, betrayal… bad outcomes can give us technicolor vision and drive (but can also make us bitter and resentful too if we are taking in the wrong lessons).

For me, that’s my chronic neck pain, which shows me what matters (health, rest, nutrition, proper exercise and mental and emotional wellbeing).

It’s also showed me not to let what doesn’t matter (the busyness of life) control my time and energy.

At any moment, this could be it. Knock on keyboard, but what if this was the last post I was capable of writing? What if that last goodbye was it? What if today was all we had?

Would you be satisfied with the life you’ve had up until this moment? Would you be happy with how you ended things?

I wouldn’t.

Will X decision matter in 12 months? Will Y still be important in 5 years from now?

That’s why it’s vital for us to live our truth and do the things we wish we would do or be better at. If we can learn to live in the moment, while also pursuing a better future, we’ll be in a good place.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #762


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Thanks Given

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

One habit I’ve picked up recently is daily gratitude. The practice is simple: write down three things you’re grateful for. (Original idea, I know.)

It’s such a small thing, but it really does wonders on your mindset for the day. The biggest benefit is it forces you to pause and think about the good things going on in your life and appreciate them no matter how tiny they may look on paper.

It’s far to easy to dwell only on the negative and things that are “going wrong” in our lives and completely sprint past the good things happening in-between the bad. Even little things, normally unnoticed, like the way sky looks today, or a particular bird you heard chirping this morning, or the ritual of making coffee or tea in the morning.

Good things can come in all sizes (insert crude joke here). And bad things tend to look smaller

If you haven’t started your own daily gratitude practice, I can’t think of any better day than today (Thanksgiving in the states).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #761


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Appreciate This

“Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

Appreciation might be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done to date. It’s easy to appreciate the good experiences in life, but more challenging to appreciate the difficult ones. In fact, we usually only appreciate the difficult experience after much time and space away from them.

But what about in the moment of difficulty?

Is it possible to appreciate the challenge in the midst of it?

I believe so, but it requires us to look at our experiences from alternative angles and think slowly about what’s underneath the hardships we face.

Not that we have to enjoy it to appreciate it. I don’t love the pain, injuries, and suffering I’ve personally been through, but I’m (reluctantly) grateful for the lessons and opportunities it’s given me.

Without injuring my neck, I don’t know if I would be adamant and interested in health as I am.

Feeling broken down highlights what wholeness feels like. It gives you an appreciation for how fragile life is, while at the same time how resilient it is too.

Pain highlights healing.
Weakness highlights strengths.
Ignorance highlights wisdom.

Yin and yang.
Peanut butter and jelly.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #760


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Thinking thoughts about thinking

“If you run into an *sshole in the morning, you ran into an *sshole. If you run into *ssholes all day, you’re the *sshole.”

Raylan Givens, Justified

‘Bad things happen for a reason’

Says the hopeful person going through a rough time.

‘Good things happen to those who work for it’ —

Says the fortunate person who got a lucky break.

‘Says the fortunate person who got a lucky break’

Says the guy envious of the other person’s lucky break.


These people are like us, experiencing life and attaching ourselves to the picture, fortune and misfortune, negative and optimism. ‘It’s neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.’

Our mindset is ultimately the only thing we have true control over. (And there are some who unfortunately don’t even have that.)

It’s the first move. The second being our action and decision we make around our thoughts and what we let into our minds.

If I were Dr. Seuss, I’d say something like:

You are what you’re thinking thunk.

Sometimes, our current reality can get in the way of our minds, and our minds can limit our reality. Of course, our opinions matter. Our ideas matter. Our beliefs matter. Our values matter. But if you feel stuck, or less than who you want to be, then perhaps it’s time to rewrite your thoughts and ideas about things, so you can create a slightly better version of yourself and find joy when you experience the ups and downs in life.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #759


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