In Waves

Life comes in waves.

Days come and go. Moments of happiness come and go.

Pain — and It’s close friends Fear, Failure, and Struggle — strike our shore unannounced, and wash away the castles we build on our expectations and perspectives we want from life.

In hindsight, we could see them coming from miles out, but we didn’t know what we were looking at. But that also means we can train ourselves to spot opportunities and pitfalls beforehand, so we can be ready when they arrive.

Knowing that life moves in waves highlight an interesting question: Is the unexpected really unexpected?

The unexpected is not just probable, it’s inevitable. I don’t mean to say that negative outcomes are always inevitable, or positive outcomes are assured. The best answer I can come up with for the question “will this be good or bad for me?” is “yes”. Positive outcomes don’t always mean good, nor do negative outcomes mean bad. Which, is a confusing way to say that everything that happens to us can be a lesson we can use (if we can take a breath and see it that way) and that luck has a hand in our successes as much as we do.

It’s good to remember that brilliant people older than us were once teenagers like we were (are) and that everyone is figuring life out as we go, using the knowledge and tools (or lack thereof) we have to work with.

At any given moment, we are working with limited knowledge. It’s beneficial (downright vital) to know yourself, as well as surround yourself with wise advisors who have walked the walk and been where you’ve been. The more we know about ourselves and what we want in life, and the more we surround ourselves with friends, books (resources), advisors, and mentors who want to see us thrive, the better we will be able to handle the unexpected.

So when the happy waves come, we’ll be ready to take advantage of them.

And when the struggle waves hit, we’ll be ready to take advantage of them too.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1437 (draft 2)

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(limit)ations

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” — Bob Marley

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. — Lao Tzu

It’s so easy for me to get stuck on all things I don’t have, and ignore all the things that I do have. Perhaps you can relate.

If I’m honest with myself, ninety percent of my problems only happen in my mind.

And the real problems that I do have, are only amplified by my current mindset.

Everything that try to hold us back, actually pushes us forward.

Pain forces change.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1436 (draft 2)

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Learning and Relearning

“We have learned how to do a lot of things. We must try to relearn why.” — Flora Lewis

One important aspect of learning is relearning. Refreshing your skills, even going back and studying the fundamentals, is an important part in improving your skills and taking things to the next level.

When you started, you were a different person than you are now. But as you improve, you gain clarity and strength in your skills. Things might have seemed new, challenging and Perhaps even a little hard to fully grasp. You’ve changed. You’ve improved, however so slightly that may be. Relearning allows you to go deeper. Relearning the fundamentals allows you to solidify your foundational knowledge and go beyond your current level of skill.

By re-approaching the basics—or what you (think you) know—you can compare your more developed mind and skill to where you started with a different perspective.

Perspective is everything, and will improve your skills even more. Of course you don’t want to let your relearning distract you from taking action.

The goal is to remind yourself:

• where you started and how much you’ve learned.

• see what gaps you’ve been overlooking.

• why you decided to learn it in the first place.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1435 (draft 2)

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Growing Well

“Wisdom is the one thing that makes growing old worth it.” — Jiraiya, Naruto: Shippuden

I’m in that weird age of not being old, but not being young either. In my head, I imagine myself like I’m college young, but I’m definitely no longer in that demographic. In fact, my younger sister graduated from school with photo-media degree quite a while ago. And when I run into someone who’s in college I’m like—nah bro. I’m old.

Age is not something I really ever think about. Mentally, I’ve always felt like an old man. someone who can talk to anybody, no matter how old or young they are. And someone who would prefer a good book or deep conversation then a night out drinking or hitting the town.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having fun and playing. But my play looks differently than most muggles. I get kicks off creating things, learning and trying new things and exercise.

Each year of our lives brings something new. (Each second, really.) It’s up to each of us to make it mean something.

Do you know who you want to be when you grow old? Because the things we do now have a big impact on us later on. How we move, eat, what we watch, what we do for work, who we hang out with, what we do in our free time, etc.

There’s also the roads not taken and the mistakes and circumstances that define us along the way.

I’d like to be some who grows wiser each day, and learns to say no to what doesn’t matter to me, and say yes to what does. I’d like to be the kind of person who stands up for what we believes and apologizes for when he’s wrong.

Wanting it—that’s the first step towards being a better version of ourselves.

The next step is figuring it out to the best of our abilities as we go.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1434 (draft 2)

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Be What You Want to Be

What makes you YOU?

Is it your likes and dislikes? Is it your culture or your heritage? Is it where you go to school or what you do for a living? What about your taste in podcasts or your ironic mug collection? Is it your fashion style (or lack there of)?

There’s a lot that goes into making a person. Sure, you’ve got your blood, muscles and bones, but there’s a lot that we naturally absorb as we live our lives. We absorb what’s around us and either accept, ignore or reject everything in millions of ways.

Music plays a large part of our foundational makeup. We identify who we are by the music we are interested in. Lack of music defines us too. Every so often I’ll run into someone who doesn’t like music, or at the very least doesn’t listen to it. To me, this is baffling (This emoji sums my reaction up nicely: 😧) — how can someone not like music?! But it’s true, and that’s a piece of what makes them who they are.

I wouldn’t say that I grew up in a musical household per sé. My first concert was likely a Christian pop or rock band like the Newsboys or Audio Adrenaline… I definitely got my taste in 60s, 70s music from my parents. Creedence, Thin Lizzy, The Bee Gees and AC/DC — from my dad. Prince, Tears for Fears, The Beatles, Michael… — from my mom.

Friends and other people I looked up are a huge influence on my taste in music. One key influence was from my friend Jake Lemons. (Hey Jake 👋) Being a killer guitarist, he’s the one who lit the spark for my interest in learning to play music (him and my grandfather). He’s also the one that helped me find Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Ozzy — the kind of people who take music to a whole new level. (Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar On Me — Jimi Hendrix: “Hold my beer”)

It’s funny how a single person, a small moment, or a passing conversation can have a massive impact on your trajectory in life.

A spark is the best analogy I can think of at the moment. Influences are like little threads that lead us down a path towards who we are. One second we are seeing in low resolution standard definition, and the next second we are seeing in 1080p. We’re not quite at 8k HDR yet, but if we keep searching we’ll get there before we know it.

And at the heart of it all— music tastes, personality, dreams, etc— is discovery. I discovered who I was by taking an interest in things.

Or put another way —

You are what you want to be.

Curiosity makes us who we are. Deciding to do, like or be a certain person makes us who we are. Allowing ourselves to be influenced by the people around us makes us who we are. Most of the time this isn’t a conscious decision we make. Rather, something we just do and notice (or not) afterward. Oh, wow. Looks like i just ate the weight of a triceratops in ice cream.

Invisible scripts run a lot of our lives. But not if we decide to do something about it. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, or how your life looks, you can change it. Depending on what it is, it might not be easy — but it’s possible. You have the power to own your life. And it starts with seeking it out.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1433

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Not More, Few.

A Renaissance Life it’s not about stuffing your life with skills and hobbies.

The goal is not to dabble, but to master.

Not more—few.

Having more skills doesn’t automatically equal more opportunities. Rather, how good are you at the skills you love? How original and creative are you?

A few skills mastered is a powerful thing. Because not only do you have variety at your beck and call, but the ability to combine your expertise in interesting and unique ways.

The combination of skills is a breeding ground for innovative ideas and creative ways to think and express ourselves.

Of course, it takes time to get to a professional level of quality in any one skill. This is the reason why we won’t reach for too many skills and stretch ourselves too thin, and therefore dilute our time. And dabbling has its place. Trying a whole lot of things and seeing what lights up your spirit is a great way to find the things you should master.

Our time is the most valuable thing we can give to anyone or anything.

There’s an occurrence in health where we crave food and reach for the chocolate and sweets, but what our body actually wants is water (but is masked by desires for Little Debbie’s and chips).

I think a similar thing happens to our habits. Out of want, we reach for something new and exciting—a new hobby or skill—but what we need is to focus and progress in our current skills, even if that means digging in and doing the hard work. (This is what I struggle with.)

It’s easier to add new things than to finish old ones. But finishing what we start is 5x more rewarding than the excitement of starting something new.

Remember this next time you are tempted to start yet another project or another hobby before you finish the ones in front of you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1432 (draft 2)

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Take the Pressure Off

When it comes to sticking to daily habits, I find it helpful to not set a strict deadline on what time in the day I should do them.

Ideally, I’d write in the morning when I’m feeling fresh and caffeinated, but the ideal isn’t always in the cards.

You would think that having a precise time in the day for a habit would be good (sometimes it is) but often it can derail and undermine our efforts.

Missing a deadline we give ourselves and easily feel like failure in our minds.

When 9 AM rolls around, and yet you still haven’t gone on your 8 AM run (because of X Y Z reasons) then you’ll stress out about it all day until you go for a run (or give up and get ice cream instead).

I find it helpful to have a loose schedule of when I want to do something, but only have the hard-set rule of practicing each day. If I can’t get to writing until 11:58 PM, then so be it.

I have a morning routine and evening routine, but if something comes up and I don’t chastise myself for not doing it when I expected too.

After all, good habits and supposed to be beneficial, not cause anxiety.

Once you build up enough days under your belt, you begin to trust yourself enough that you will check off your habits.

Because once you’re committed to something, you know you’ll get it done when you need to.

Stick to what matters to you consistently, but don’t let the messiness of day to day life derail you from something you love and want to do.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1431 (draft 2)

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Influence

My accent is very uncharacteristic neutral. American, yes, but different from where I’m from.

I grew up in the south, where the southern drawl is so thick you need a machete to cut your way through it. My parents have it. Their parents definitely had some twang going on. But for me, not so much. My best guess why I don’t is TV and film. Growing up with 90s cartoons, and a world slowly coming online gives you a broader perspective of what people sound like across the world.

I was also constantly mimicking voices, so unconsciously I noticed that how people speak is a skill and aesthetics that can be changed.

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of “influence”. Not influencers, per se, but how we pick up values, personality traits, interests, and lifestyles from people we surround ourselves with.

Do you really like punk rock? Or do you like it because a cool friend from middle school liked it? Does it matter?

Do you really dislike country music or are you just rebelling against your parents?

Does it matter where our influences come from?

It’s a big question to ask, with lots of nuances.

My answer right now is—

Mostly. Absolutely. Probably. Definitely.

I have an old friend who’s never like reading. Ever since I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him talk about a book he’s liked. In school, he would read a book from cover to cover—meaning the front cover and the back cover and nothing in between. I get it, he’s a people guy. He’d rather have a conversation or watch a show then read. And school reading assignments obviously left a bad taste in his mouth. But I love reading! Half of what I know is from books. I can’t imagine who I would be if I wasn’t voraciously passionate about books.

Small things can influence us in a big way. Little decisions that set us on a certain path. It doesn’t take much to push us down a path that leads us to places we don’t want to be. And on the other hand, a random whim or chance encounters can lead to open doors and wonderful opportunities. Friend of a kind of situation. Stumbling into someone at a coffee shop or bar that leads to your life calling. Or—just leads to your next oat milk latte.

There’s certainly a heavy sprinkle of chance when it comes to influencing.

However, that doesn’t me we are helpless to its power.

Instead of thinking of ourselves like a leaf on the wind, aimlessly spinning around, following wherever the wind takes us, think of it like you’re an origami paper airplane. You can cut, follow, and weave through the wind. You can change yourself, and therefore have a hand in where you’re going.

Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

It comes down to willingness.

Be open to change and possibility. Try things before you judge them or write them off. Curate your influences. Surround yourself with a higher quality of influences. And examine and question why you do what you do.

Are you making a decision out of curiosity or good admirations, or are you doing it everyone around you is?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1430 (draft 2)

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On Being Yourself

Sometimes you have to be cracked open to get to the good stuff.

We walk around in layers and masks to protect ourselves, but really we’re just keeping our gifts from the world.

It takes a certain amount of nerve to put yourself and/or your work out there. Nerve you might not even realize you have because of a healthy sense of naivete. But that’s what new experiences are—doing something with enthusiasm, but risking failure in the process.

Failure ispart of being alive. But the question is where does failure end and success begin? They often start at the same breaking point.

One day you’ve failed, the next day you choose to try again. To me, that’s what success is—no matter how many times you fall, you keep getting back up. Even if it hurts.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1429 (draft 2)

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Use What You’ve Got

According to a quick google search, the top two most sold ice cream flavors are vanilla and chocolate. Out of the thousands of favors and options out there in the world, the humble vanilla and chocolate are still the most popular.

You have everything you need to create what you want. Everything that you can and will eventually add to the mix (experiences, higher quality gear, knowledge, the latest gadgets, and gizmos, etc) are simply extra topping flavors for your toolkit.

For now, you have what you have—so make do. Think of it as a creative limitation, something that gives you the opportunity to think differently and come up with a clever solution.

Don’t Let What You Don’t Have, Stop You From Using What You Do Have.

There’s no sense in waiting for the right tools and gear.

Having better or more tools doesn’t equal more creativity or originality.

Be resourceful. Make do with what you have and make it shine.

Think of it as an opportunity to think differently (instead of doing the easy thing most of us do—aka buy something that fills a need or fixes our problems). What if you built it yourself? What’s the alternative solution here?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1428 (draft 2)

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