Filler Content

Alright boys and girls, don’t forget, next week your 20-page writing assignment on your summer reading is due.

Does this bring back memories?

If you’ve ever forgotten about a school project (or procrastinated on a work project) you know the all-too-familiar filling of needing to bang out a large amount of work in a short period of time.

The go-to strategy is to fill it out with as much content as you can squeeze out. Back in the day, I’ve had some genius slacker friends have master the art of BSing their way through a school project.

As someone who enjoys writing now (where I previously didn’t like it), I find this kind of project humorous. I could easily write as many pages as requested if I was interested in the topic enough (that’s one of the problems, most students find what they are learning boring).

But I’m much more interested in distilling down than filling out. I thrive on functional work, not filler work.

How can I remove this down to the essence?

Imagine how captivating your project would be if you could distill 20 pages down to 1 incredible page that told you everything you needed to know.

Adding is easier than removing.

It’s much hard to pare something down to its essence than it is to fill it out.

Anyone who’s BS’d their way through a school paper, or watch a show that with lots of filler content between the main storyline will know what I mean.

There’s always more filler content, garbage, and extra stuffing available for us to use. It’s hard to make something bite-sized and relatable. It takes more time and more effort.

But that’s why these diamonds in the rough stand out so iconically.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1172

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A Tiny Glimmer of Hope

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” — Epicurus

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.”— Alexandre Dumas

“This too shall pass” is an old expression that Abraham Lincoln was fond of saying.

If that doesn’t sum up 2020 in nutshell, then I don’t know what could.

I think hope is a difficult moment is a very courageous thing to have.

The redeeming feature of Hope is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of it to be helpful. A little goes a long way. A simple spark—a step in the right direction, a small bit of encouraging, a forward-looking goal—can lead us out of despair. Hope is a sign of the feelings we’re going through as being finite.

But again, like many things in life, it’s better to seek out hope or to create it, than wait for it to show up at your door.

Maybe there are certain aspects about yourself or your life you dislike (or even despise). Well, then focus on who you’re becoming. Forget who you are, focus on who you want to be. Who you are matters, but if the current you is holding yourself back, focus on the future you, and what you need to do to convert her/him to the present.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1171

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Dum Dum

Sometimes ‘dumb’ ideas are really smart.

It’s a dumb idea to start your own business—until it’s not. Until it works.

Anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy.

It’s a dumb idea to change your career—but if your current trajectory is making you passionless and miserable, then maybe dumb is exactly what you need.

And there are always ways to reduce risk.

It comes down to motivation. Are you making decisions based on what makes you feel alive? Or are you making decisions based on what everyone else is telling you to do?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1170

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Big Shifts

How do you know when the exact moment one season changes into another, like when summer turns into fall?

Trick question! Nature is always changing. Over time, we’ve coined “fall” for when trees start to shed their leaves in a colorful blaze, “winter” for when it’s cold and life hibernates, “spring” for when the world blooms, and “summer” for the hot sunny days, but these are just delineations.

Change is always happening. It’s easy to see and think of the world in big shifts, such as war before and after nuclear weapons, or more recently, the world before and after 2020, but big things come from small things adding together.

The same is true for ourselves. You didn’t get where you are overnight. It happened gradually. Small decisions. Small changes. Small influences. All adding up to something more.

Personal change starts in the mind.

“Whether you think you can or you can’t your right”

If you want to change aspects of yourself or your life, then start by believing that you can.

I know, that’s very self-help of me to say, but it’s true. Why? Because if you think you can do it, how could you make it happen? Who else will?

*How much more time are you going to spend believing you can’t do something?*

After you take that first step by believing yourself, you’re already on your way. You’re facing reality and you might not know how to get where you want to go, but your direction is clear.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1169

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Late Night Ramblings

You don’t know what you don’t know.

That’s why we have to seek it out.

What fuels your actions?

Fame? Curiosity? Desperation?

Different fuels burn cleaner and burn longer.

A person pursuing a passion, say opera singing, will go much further faster if she is fueled by curiosity rather than acclaim.

The fuels that burn with smoke—anger, jealousy, or fear may get you where you want to go, but what remains of yourself (and your life) once you get there?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1168

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Markable

For over eighty percent of my life (I’m currently thirty) I wouldn’t dare think of writing or underlining in a book. I even loathed opening a book to wide, hating the idea of messing up its pristine structure. Folding a book halfway was blasphemous. I know, I was weird (aren’t we all).

I honestly don’t know where this quirk came from. I just really had the desire to take care of my stuff, and treat my books like they were brand new.

Now I’m the opposite. My younger self would feel whiplashed from the amount of underlining and writing I do in my books. The flip was a gradual process, but there were three defining moments shot me out of the canon.

One was a simple thought: there are thousands—sometimes even millions—of copies of books. My scribbling in a hardback now-and-again isn’t going to marginal have much of a difference.

The second defining moment was learning about the marginalia libraries of grand figures, such as Isaac Newton and Oscar Wilde.

And this leads us to the final defining thought: writing, highlighting, and underlining is like a time capsule of your mind and life at a particular time. And every time you revisit a book, you are layering in another version of who you are in a given moment. By writing out thoughts and underlining passages that stand out to you, you are leaving a lasting impression of who you are for your future self.

Does that mean I’m going to scribble in my signed copy of The Name of the Wind? No! Of course not. But I am going to use the books I own and get the most meaning out of them as I can.

Marking up your books is a small thing, but it highlights (pun intended) a big idea:

Making your mark doesn’t require permission.

Perhaps it used to, before the internet age. But now, anyone can pursue an idea or passion and share it with the world. Of course, being able to share doesn’t mean everything is high-quality. Put it does give us a direction to setting higher standards for ourselves and going after big ambitions.

If there’s something you dream about doing, what’s stopping you?

Are you stopping yourself?

What if you got out of the way?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1167

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How to Have High Standards (that don’t kill you)

There’s something fundamental about the desire to improve. Our desire to be more and live up to more is built into our DNA as creatives and entrepreneurs.

Having high standards is a powerful tool in the tool belt for pursuing your creativity and reaching success in your life.

But it can often come at a cost. Because high standards is a razor-sharp knife that can easily harm us as much as it can be of use.

There are a countless number of people who are super successful but absolutely hate themselves.

They’re never good enough for themselves. They seek improvement as a way to escape themselves. There’s also a countless number of people who don’t realize that their high standards are harming them.

I like to think of high standards like riding a strong and powerful Belgian horse. If we give it respect, it will take us where we want to go. But if we cling too tightly to the reigns and try to control everything (even the things that aren’t in our control), we’ll ultimately get thrown off.

Instead, we need to have a loose, but firm grip on the reigns.

What does this look like in practice?

Enjoy your accomplishments in the moment before moving on to the next thing.

It’s easy to go to the next thing than the next without actually taking the time to appreciate what you’ve done, let alone consider where you are going. Accomplishments should be enjoyed, even if they are just stepping stones to greater things. Every single step in the right direction counts.

Be open to more fun and spontaneity.

Fun is often the first thing we cut out from our lives when we are going through difficult times or working hard to make our dreams happen. How can I possibly have fun right now? I’ve got a million things to do. Yes—we all do. That’s no excuse to stop doing the things you love.

If we cut out the fun, we’ll turn into hard, crusty lemons who never enjoy anything and are too bitter to live.

See the bigger picture

The World is bigger than any one of us. Often we pour so much of ourselves into our work and accomplishments that we barely leave time for important things, like friends, family, curiosity, and rest.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1166

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Good Advice

Think of a friend or a family member you’d love to give advice to (if they would only listen).

What would you say? What would you recommend them to do with the problems and dreams they have? What would you do in their shoes?

On the face of things, solutions to problems become obvious with a detached and/or outside perspective.

It’s easy to desire to lose weight or gain muscle, but it’s a different experience to feel every that comes with being overweight or scrawny.

When we are dealing with our own things, we’re so caught up in the mud we don’t give ourselves the space to discover solutions. Instead of taking time to step out of our normal environment, we loop into a cycle of reacting.

Reacting to the next thing instead of addressing the underlying problem.

A funny thing happens when I start going down the list of habits and todos if I were putting myself in so-and-so shoes—

A lot of them are things I need (and wish I was doing) myself. But where I deem someone else as lazy, I give myself a hundred reasons and excuses why I’m not doing what I want/know/wish I was doing.

Convince and influence others with your actions, not your words.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1165

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Make It Work

Sometimes the best thing we can do is accept the reality of what we are dealing with, making it work while aiming for something better.

When you think of the word ‘acceptance’ does your mind automatically translate it to ‘defeat’. I think mine used to. But acceptance isn’t defeat. In fact not accepting our reality, we find ourselves in a place of denial, and without acceptance, there’s no room for change and improvement.

Make what you have work.

Denial tells us that all the problems we are dealing with are not our fault but everyone else. It tells us we’ll never be good enough. It leads us to numb ourselves out with anything but what we actually need.

But if we accept where we are, whenever that may be, then we make what we have work for us. And we can start building something better.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1164

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Calm in an Uncertain World

Being surrounded by uncertainty doesn’t mean you have to be uncertain.

Are you taking care of your body?

Are you honing your mind?

Are you working on your character through kindness, love, and generosity?

Are you surrounding yourself with things that nourish you or drain you?

Then what misfortune can touch you? Nothing can keep a certain steadfast spirit down for long.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1163

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