Coloring book

Like a coloring book, life gives us an outline. Our circumstances and decisions build the outline of what our life looks like. We don’t choose where we are born. We don’t choose our family. We don’t choose our culture.

But it’s our perspectives, emotions and thoughts that determine the colors of what our drawing looks like. We choose what we say. We choose what we do with what we’ve got.

Anger and entitlement paints it red.
Bitterness and pain can paint it black.
Humility and learning to let things go, blue and yellow.

A poorly drawn outline can become beautiful with thoughtful colors. (Happy trees.)

Sometimes red is part of our story. Sometimes red leads us to blue. I don’t think it matters whether we want to color outside the lines or inside instead. What we need to look out for is when our drawing is all one color and out of balance.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #744

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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You Know More than You Think

It’s easy to forget how much you know about a skill or thing you love and do, until you talk to someone who isn’t in your industry and doesn’t do what you do.

Age tends to be a good example. Simple tasks on a computer like browsing the web or search for a file is an entire foreign language to my grandparents (my mom’s parents). They didn’t grow up around technology and never learned it, so the web is something they don’t know.

There are thing that we know, skills and passions we enjoy that others (who don’t) know nothing about.

Sometimes we feel as though we don’t know enough yet, or aren’t good enough at what we do yet, which leads us to being hard or negative on ourselves, or even passing on opportunities we want to say yes but don’t feel qualified… yet.

But in true, you know more than you think. The problem is we are so close to what we know, and experience it every day, that we don’t realize how different we are from what’s deemed ‘normal’. It’s normal for us, and normal for the circles we are in, but for everyone else they have no idea how to do the things you do. It’s not until we compare where we are to how far we’ve come, do we see the progress we’ve made.

There might be people better than us (where we are right now), but that doesn’t mean our work and efforts are hot garbage. Knowing that there are others better at typography, or product photography, or songwriting or whatever highlights that they are more levels to the game.

And if there are more levels, that means there’s room for us to progress and strive to get better at what we do.

Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and be better, and who you want to see succeed too. Remember the old phrase, a ‘rising tide raises all boats’.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #743

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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Don’t Stop with an Idea: Make it Real

Giving an idea a name is important, but not as important as making it. Ideas are powerful, yet only exist in our imaginations if we don’t put it in action.

There’s a lot that goes into making an idea reality. For starters, not all ideas are created equal. Some have better shots at making it than others. A good idea can be made great with grit and industry, but trying to make a bad idea great is like mistakingly using backing soda instead of baking powder — they sound the same but create a completely different outcome. It’s tricky because a bad idea can often look like a good one in the moment. You think you have a killer idea, but you’re timing is off, or you’re missing information that says otherwise.

Always think about the purpose behind an idea.

Would I use it myself? Do I want to create this because I need it in my life? Would you be regret not making it? That’s often how the best ideas — be it products, books, apps, you name it — come about.

Or is this just simply for the money for the sake of money? The desire to make money to improve the quality of our lives (and creativity) is one thing, but the desire to have money just because we want it won’t fly.

I think the biggest reason our ideas stay just ideas is because of fear. Fear of imperfection. Fear of looking like a fool or looking crazy. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding and still not being satisfied with ourselves. Fear isn’t the enemy. Wait what? Yes you read that correctly. Fear is only the enemy when we allow ourselves to give into the fear. Otherwise, fear is a motivator. It motivates us to push harder, and it motivates us to hold back and live to fight another day.

The question is, is your idea worth it? Is it worth the fear? Worth the time and chance of difficulty?

If you’ve got the purpose and drive, make it happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #742

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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Naming Ideas

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

When you think of the word ‘apple’, what comes to mind?

Perhaps you are picturing a red fuji or granny smith fruit we call an ‘apple’. Or, if you are tech nerd like me, maybe the first thing that pops in your head is a sleek glass and metal iPhone or MacBook pro made by the company called ‘Apple’, which makes you wonder when that new gadget that’s been rumored to come out soon will be launched.

Naming is likely the first thing humanity did with words. Is a thing really a thing without a name? Likely not, or at least collectively we call it ‘undiscovered’. (You can see this taking shape with our online persona’s we create today on social media and the web. Are you really a person or business if you don’t have an Instagram presence or a website or search results? Crazy. But I digress, that’s a topic for another day.)

When learning a language, we associate a word with a picture of what that word represents. It’s crazy to me that a few simple shapes on a paper or device screen can instantly become an associate of an imaginative idea or idea that exists in reality. This is something you learn early on when studying design, specifically brand design. An brand identity isn’t just a name or logo of a brand, like Nike, Moleskine or Topo Chico, its a feeling, a mission, traits — the whole caboodle.

Think about the brand name ‘Disney’. Before Walt started his dream of an animated studio, ‘Disney’ was just a last name: ‘Hi, I’m Walt Disney’ (albeit a great last name). It’s difficult for me to even grasp what Disney meant before Disney was Disney. It’s like us having the name Jane Chimbee (made that up) and calling our company Chimbee. It means something to us (aka what our PE teacher would call us) but it doesn’t mean anything to the world yet. Disney has a vastly different identity, emotion and motivation than just a last name now.

Give your idea a name.

An name starts as a singular idea, morphs into the passion and purpose and characteristics behind the name and becomes a collective identify in the minds of people everywhere, sometimes even around the globe.

Giving an idea a name is a powerful way to make it more real in our minds.

In the beginning, an idea is just a silly thing that lives inside our imagination / head. It’s potentially quite a long path towards taking an idea and making it something real and tangible, but that starts with giving it a name.

Names aren’t permanent, they are constantly evolving (in words and in meaning), so don’t feel stuck if you aren’t sure if the name you come up with is the right name for your idea. You can always change it later as the idea is honed.

Names give us direction.

Giving ideas names is one of my favorite things to do. (…wow, get a life josh). At the very least, naming infuses a little magic into your idea and makes it a step closer towards something real. Of course, we still have to make the idea real (we aren’t done yet with just a name alone) but its a step in the direction we want. Naming our ideas also helps us define what an idea is, and likely more importantly, what an idea isn’t. For example, I knew that I had a passion for learning many things, but it wasn’t until I learned that a person that is a master of multiple things is called a ‘Renaissance Man’ (Renaissance Human) or ‘Polymath’ that I finally had the ability to express what I wanted and find insights on how to achieve it. By naming an idea, we being to discover what the idea is and means.

Names are one of the first steps towards giving your idea an identity.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #741

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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Creativity is the Medicine for the Soul

“Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.”

Virginia Woolf

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

Rumi

Why do we create? To express ourselves, sure. To be somebody. To highlight something important to the world. And yet, creativity goes much deeper than that.

The act of creating doesn’t just work outwardly, it’s also an act that works within us.

Creativity is an outlet of inner work and outer work. By expressing ourselves through our art, we learn and nurture our own selves.

There are moments in our lives where everything feels like a struggle. Moment where we feel stuck in the same old same old we find ourselves in again. Broken bones, childhood trauma’s, disappointment, broken hearts, loneliness, pain, injury, fear, uncertainty, apathy, burnout, brokenness, bitterness, anger… Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Creating is a great way to work through our thoughts and emotions. Because

Creativity is the Medicine for the Soul.

Why else would some of the greatest songs, books, films, poems, dances, and works of art come from sadness and pain. It’s a form of self-therapy* that releases pent-up energy. Creating something — whatever it is for you — is like a pressure valve release on our minds, bodies and souls. The more we create, the more capable we become. Creativity comes from happy places too. Happy moments need creative expressions just as much as the difficult moments do.

Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going though. Creating something is an excellent tool in the toolkit.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #740

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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Limitless Creativity

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

What would you do if you had unlimited access to time, money and energy? If this was Family Feud, then travel, would likely the first choice.

Most of us go our entire lives living in the same corner pocket of the world. Which makes since. Our family, friends and familiars grounds are there. Our lives are there. And (romanticized) travel can get expensive. We know it’s good for us, but (unless you’ve caught the travel bug) we prioritize our resources elsewhere. That’s likely why if we suddenly had access to enough financial space and opportunity, we would all jump at the chance to spend a few months in France, or take a beach month in Hawaii.

Books can take us to world away, to galaxies unknown. They can change us, open us up to new ideas and realities. The internet can do that too. But it’s not until we use our own two feet to experience the variety and spices from different cultures and ways of living from around the globe that we can ground ourselves into who we are and what we stand for. Of course, after experiencing the world, we find ourselves coming back home or finding a new place to call our home.

The next choice could be spending time with the people we love. (But with unlimited resources you know we would be taking our friends on globetrotting adventures too)

But I think the second thing we would choice to do with unlimited resources is get back to work on our ideas. Or at least, if you are like me, that’s what gets me jazzed in the morning.

If you are reading this, then there’s likely a creative expression, a passion, an art, a creative pursuit burning inside you. It’s a business idea that popped into your head one day. Or a thing you did when you were a kid but stop doing while experiencing the growing pains of life. It’s something that you gravitate towards in your free time, or talk about (with way too much) enthusiasm to your friends. This is your art. This is a piece of who you are.

Unlimited resources would be nice… I sometimes fantasize about getting stuck in a time loop like Phil (Bill Murray) on Groundhog Day. Imagine having unlimited resource to master the piano or read every book in the universe. (Although, in Groundhog day everything resets each day, so notes, artwork, businesses would likely poof back to nothing each day, and we’d be stuck in Punxsutawney.) But having limited resources doesn’t mean we should give up on our creative pursuits. Let go of the things you can’t have, focus on what you’ve got to give. Theodore Roosevelt once spoke “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” All that matters is that we give it our all with what we’ve got.

The goal, for any pursuit, is to not let the unimportant things in life crowd out the important things (whatever that is for you). When we do the best that we can with what we have now, as we keep pursuing and preserving, over time our resources grow. The longer we keep going, the more time, money and energy we can give to what we love, and the more quality we can squeeze out of efforts.

Limitless creativity doesn’t come from unlimited resources. Limited resources comes from working with what we’ve got, and find clever ways to use our ‘limitations’ or constraints to our advantage.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #739


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Lonely Ideas

“Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”

Jim Rohn

Does an idea really exist if you keep it to yourself? Or better question: is the idea really ours to own?

Creativity isn’t worth much if we keep it to ourselves. Financially, sure. It’s hard to make money off an idea we never make. However, creativity goes beyond the dollar signs. Creating is an essence of who we are as human beings. By reaching inside ourselves and pulling out a unique and personal idea that people can relate to, we can make an impact on someone’s life. And, if we are lucky, put a dent in the universe. But a secret idea is a lonely one.

Sure, ideas need time to get right.
Yes, someone could steal your idea if you share it.
And maybe your idea isn’t a good one.

But too much time and the idea will fizzle. And if we keep it to ourselves, who’s to say someone won’t come up with it and steal it anyway? Luckily, if the worst scenario happens, another bakers dozen of ideas will come by the end of the week.

Here’s the thing: Ideas are the easy part.
We will always have more ideas than we have time to make them happen.

The hard part is making our ideas real.

  • Getting it out of your head and on paper helps.
  • Talking about it to friends gives you feedback is a step in the right direction.
  • Giving it an identity — a name, logo, a personality — make it feel more real.
  • Setting up a website and social media gives you a little validation.

But in order to have the mind-space and impact we are looking for, we’ve got to starting building our idea and building it well.

Just like us, a good idea might have some talent, but in order for it to shine, it needs some work and rework.

The fact that any one of us can take something from our imagination and turn it into reality is amazing to me. We are all capable of making great things if we put our heart and sweat into it.

What are you going to make?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #738


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Today

“Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.”

Arthur Schopenhauer

Whenever I’m in doubt, or stuck in my head (likely looping the mistakes in my past), I eventually come to one conclusion on how to make forward progress and momentum:

Just shut up and do something about it. It’s easy to given to hopeless thoughts, thinking that you’ll always be stuck where you are right now. But that’s not true. Where you are is just one option, in a sea of many. We have the power to make small changes in the present and change it if we decide too. If you don’t like it — a bad habit, a poor track record, a bruised reputation, a broken body, a mediocre job, etc — decide to change it, and then go do it.

Today is the day. Our chance to start over. To try again. To completely get it our all. Tomorrow doesn’t matter. Yesterday is not worth dwelling on.

By focusing all our efforts and enthusiasm in this moment, we can put a dent in the change we want to see in ourselves, our lives and the world.

Not everyone will make the effort. But you can.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #737


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Do What You Want to Be

“Well done is better than well said.”

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack

Ambition is one of the key components of creating lasting change in our lives. In order to achieve something — learning a new skill, making a goal happen — we have to create a high level of drive and dedication.

But ambition is a double edged sword. In the act of pursuing a different life — work that we love, being surrounded by meaningful and welcoming friends, deep love and affection, freedom, etc— we realize that our your current reality isn’t were we want to be. Who we are doesn’t match who we want to be. Think of this as our current state versus our ideal state.

This here vs. there friction can look like (and hide itself as) a lot of things. It’s staying up late watching tv and getting up late, even though we’d really like to get up early. It’s saying yes to events and work that we don’t really want to do. It’s putting all of our energy towards everything BUT what we want to do.

How do we become who we want to be, despite all these things that keep getting in our way?

Luckily, like a book title that tells you everything you need to know about the book, the answer is hidden in the question: To become who we want to be, we must be who we want to be.

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, wrote it best “Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

Or, as Terry Crews once said on The Tim Ferriss Show (one of my favorite interviews):

In order to “have” you must “do,” and in order to “do” you must “be”.

We can’t expect our ideal life to fall from the sky into our laps. We have to create it. We have to love where we are, while doing what we can every day to be the kind of person we want to be.

Action generates being.

It’s as if our conscious actions are absorbed into who we are subconsciously.

By staying up late watching tv, we become the type of person that wants to stay up late and watch tv (to the point where it’s hard to go to sleep unless we do). By working at a job we hate or find mediocre, we become the person who becomes okay with having a job mediocre for us. But the opposite is also true: by doing the thing we want to be, we begin to be the person we want to be.

And that starts with how we do the little things and being kind and generous to others.

The thing about generosity and be nice to others is that it has equal if not more effects on us. Generosity radiate onto the person or people receiving it, but as a side effect it keeps radiating within us too.

Hold the door for others. Take the grocery cart back into the store instead of just leaving it on the curb near your car. Fix the broken things around the house when you notice they are broken. Smile and say hello to your neighbors. Help a friend when he / she is feeling low.

By holding the door for others, you are telling yourself that you are the kind of person that holds the doors for others.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #736


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Permission to Sleep

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

Ernest Hemingway

“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.”

Matthew Walker, New York Times bestselling author of Why We Sleep

Its difficult to be creative when you are exhausted and overworked. My work is always at its most mediocre when I’m sleep deprived. The same goes for decision-making. It’s far easier to make careless choices when your mind and body are on the back-burner

All-nighters and weekend warrior sprints might get the work done, but the question is, is the work any good? Could the work have been better if we were well-rested?

I wonder if sleep exists merely because otherwise we would either overwork or indulge ourselves into an early grave. Instead, sleep gives us a required break, a hard reboot that has clear (and some unclear) ramifications if we ignore it.

Sleep is a great way to reset our mindset and emotions too. Sleep washes away feels of frustration and anger. We talk of time healing all wounds but I think perhaps sleep is the one doing the healing work, or at least gets the party started.

When in doubt, go to sleep.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #735


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