The Right Things

How do you know if you are spending your time wisely or not?

Is it better to spend your time working on your side hustle or playing board games with friends? Or is it better to study for your next exam (or dream job) or spend time at the gym?

All the above? There are no easy answers here.

First, we can separate entertainment and purpose-driven work. There’s nothing wrong with loving movies or tv. But if these things take priority over our lives (meaning priority over what matters to us, or priority over changing our life for the better) then we are probably not spending our time well. A movie watched with friends creates different feelings and experiences than a movie watched alone.

For example, if all I do is play video games and nothing else, what does that ultimately get me in life? Or on the flip side— if all I do is work and think about money, what does that ultimately get me in life? There’s a balance to everything. Most of us live in the middle, spending half our day working and spend the rest of our day hanging out with friends and family, taking time off, usually entertaining ourselves, and doing what’s necessary (eating, sleeping, etc.) Actually, scratch that—most of us are living ten lives at once and try to do it all. But is that really bringing us joy?

I do know that seeking out wisdom is great advice. And seeking out friends and connections with people who mutually want to see each other thrive and be happy. If we keep working on those two, then we’ll gain more insights and clarity on what decisions we should make, based on our interests, goals, and skills.

I also know that if you know what you’re calling is, but you don’t work on it every day, then you are likely wasting your time on things that don’t matter.

Ultimately, we all have 24 hours in a day and so many years to spend. And that means we decide to choose what to do with it.

Where we spend our time tells ourselves (and the world) what we deem valuable.

What makes you feel alive?
What makes you feel accomplished?
What makes you feel like you’ve had an impact?
What would you do if you never had to work another day in your life?
Who is worth sharing your time with (where sharing is mutual)?
What thoughts/emotions/actions are worth your precious time?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1399 (draft #2)

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

Priority is

Time-based. Things that take more of your time naturally take greater priority. The more time you give something, the more you “feed” its priority. (The reverse is true as well—the less time you give something, the less priority it holds.)

If you want to prioritize something in your life, give it more of your time on a consistent (ideally daily) basis.

Priority is also quality-based. Brainpower is staying power. The more attention and intention you give something, the greater priority it will have in your life. Naturally, attention and intention also require time, so time-based and quality-based priorities go hand in hand.

Priority requires action.
Priority requires initiation.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1398

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

Priority Requires participation

In order to prioritize things that matter most to you, you have to want it more than the alternatives.

Desiring change is the first step towards prioritizing the right things.

But it goes beyond simply wanting or wishing for an outcome.

Wanting to get fit doesn’t mean that you will. Wanting to start a company doesn’t ensure its inevitability.

We need to want it more than anything. Our desire and dream need to our match our alternatives. So that when alternative options arise—and they also do—it won’t sway us, because our goal and desire are stronger.

Choose it.

Choosing comes after wanting. It’s a commitment to something (and therefore must be a non-commitment to alternatives) that goes beyond thinking and crosses over to action.

Do it First

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus.

There’s only so much time in the day. I know that more than most. As someone who is passionate about multiple disciplines and subscribes to a ‘Renaissance Life’, there’s only so much time to throw around.

The best way to prioritize the right things is by doing it first. By doing it first, I mean philosophically and literally.

If you’re hoping to find the time to give to your dreams, it will never appear. That’s like hoping a cream cheese bagel will magically appear in your hands. It won’t. If it did you are one in a trillion. The only way for us to prioritize what matters is to go out and get the bagel.

Put it on your calendar. Carve out an thirty minutes. Create as much time as you possibly can. Give yourself permission to prioritize first.

Keep it Simple and Straightforward

One of the most challenging things about pursuing, well, anything, is the unnecessary desire to make it more complicated for ourselves. Our goals should be clear, not muddy. If it’s hard to explain to someone else, then it’s likely too convoluted. Practically complex is fine, but if your goal is so large you can’t grasp onto it, or see the edges, then it’s time to simplify. Break it into tangible pieces. Start small. Remove the inessentials.

Make it Instinct

Practice so much it becomes the default. Plan and work it so much that there’s no other option but to prioritize it first.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1397

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast| Renaissance Life on Spotify

Invest in Your Friends

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
— Walter Winchell

Every great friendship takes effort. What highlights this fact the most to me is long-distance friendships. It’s easy to rely on always being around someone to fill in the gaps with a b- effort on a friendship. Naturally, always being around, makes it easier to get to know someone. But being there for a long-distance friend takes active engagement and intentionality.

But maybe that’s how it should be for all of the friends we want to be close and connected with?

Shouldn’t we invest as much time into the quality of our friendships as we do with anything else we spend our time and resources on?

Who’s going to be there when you are going through a breakup or layoff or project success or health issue? Who are you going to lean on when you need someone to lean on?

Invest in your friends.

Spend time with them. Make dumb videos. Share hopes and struggles. Go deep. Care.

But not just any old friends. Make sure they are willing to invest in you too. Or at least care about you and want you to be happy and successful.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1396

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

‘Simple’ isn’t easy.

“Simple” is not the same thing as “easy”.

And “challenging” is different from “complicated”.

It’s semantics, really. But the words we use have weight.

A meaningful life is one in which we always seek to challenge ourselves in the areas that matter to us and simplify the things that feel unnecessarily complicated to us.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1395

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast| Renaissance Life on Spotify

Attempting

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Fear is the ultimate creativity killer. It’s hard to focus on your art if you are worried about paying for rent. But even if you’ve got your Maslow’s bases covered, fear has a tendency to direct our decision—what we think we can or can’t do.

The exciting and terrifying thing about creativity is there is no one path. There are patterns and tools you can use to guide your journey and set you up for success, but it’s still up to us to use them and do it.

One problem you may face is focusing too much on success or a particular outcome. It’s easy to build an idea up in your mind until it’s this massive overwhelming thing that feels impossible to do. A speck of sand feels like a mountain on the tongue. This is my guess why most of us don’t follow through with ideas we have (even those among us who have followed through in the past!).

Sometimes Attempting is all we need. Forget about success. Forget about perfection. Forget about turning it into a business. Just try. Just making something.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1394

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

To Fail or Not to Fail

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” This is one of FDR’s first lines from his first inauguration speech. This was written on the heels of The Great Depression, where for some Americans, going to bed hungry was a high likelihood. Imagine the fear in the air when so many people’s livelihoods were uncertain.

FDR knew that lack of work wasn’t going to be the main issue. Rather, it was going to be the group fear around work and uncertainty for the future.

Fear is funny that way. Give it an inch and it takes a mile.

Fear runs wild in our minds and completely usurps the problem—fear itself becomes the true problem.

The thing I’ve noticed about my own fears so far in my life is that fear likes to keep you immobile and stuck where you are. Fear also likes to take you on a “safe” path, one completely different from the one you wish you were on.

Passion and purpose are scary. Fear protects us from that—at least in the short term.

But the only way forward is to advance. Motion is the cure for fear.

If something is good for you, but it’s scary, do it anyway.

If there’s a purpose you are avoiding—because of fear of failure or uncertainty—go for it anyway.

What’s worse— failing or not trying?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1393

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

Refreshers

You can be a professional and still have a beginner’s mind.

In fact, a beginner’s mind is a big part of achieving mastery.

By approaching everything you learn with fresh eyes, you are able to see and absorb things more quickly and fundamentally.

A beginner’s mind is not necessarily about being a beginner, it’s about approaching a skill without assumptions or baggage learned previously—like the belief you can or can’t do something.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1392

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

Subscribe: Renaissance Life on Apple Podcast| Renaissance Life on Spotify

Failure is a Learning Strategy

If you Google the definition of failure, the first thing that it says is that failure is a “lack of success.” Nice. The second definition is a little more interesting, “the omission of expected or required action.” Meaning, we (or someone) failed to do something expected or necessary to see successful results.

Creativity is the art of controlled failure. It’s doing something new—ideally to the best of our abilities—and hoping for a successful outcome, but also understanding that there’s a chance we can fail too.

Failure sucks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of it.

Failure leads to better ideas and better strategies (as long as we are learning from our failures versus constantly repeating them).

Failure is a learning strategy.

One person’s failure is our chance to learn, sure. But our own failures can be stepping stones to future successes.

Experiment wildly.

Do your best.

Aim for success.

Remove the variables that lead to failure.

But learn to accept failure when it happens.

And when it happens—because it inevitably will—use it to the best of your ability.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1391

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify

Finding Joy

It’s a lot easier to do something when you actually enjoy doing it. Work becomes play. Day-to-day life things become happy little moments. And struggles become more tolerable (aka our enjoyment makes us more resilient to the bad things).

Not everything chore-like has to be dreadful.

We just have to find the fun. Whether that’s making a game out of it, giving ourselves a reward from following through with it, or simply reminding ourselves of the benefits we gain (or the lack of downsides from not doing it).

  • A cleaned room keeps our minds and moods bright and clear.
  • Doing the laundry can be a breeze when mixes with your favorite music.
  • Even taxes can be more about the money we get to keep (versus the money taken from us).

There’s joy if you look for it. And if you can’t find it start making it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1390

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple PodcastRenaissance Life on Spotify