Loose Threads

“It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves.”

Zelda Fitzgerald

There’s this concept of loose threads (or loose ends) in film (and muuurder?) where certain details are left unfinished or unresolved. Loose threads could happen in the film’s story (i.e. We have some loose ends we need to cut) or the film itself, where there are storylines that feel unbuttoned and left hanging.

These unresolved/unfinished happen in our own lives too—good and bad.

Let’s start with good threads.

Good threads:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Steve Jobs

A good thread is what I call anything you put out into the world that’s positive, good-natured, or could become an opportunity (for you andor for others). The classic example is good karma. Things like anonymously donating to a charity, leaving a tip for a podcaster you enjoy, helping an old lady change her flat tire, etc. Good threads can also be investments you put out into the world that could bloom. Content, monetary investments, relationships, optimism, ideas, etc.

You never know when something you do or something you create will have a massive impact on your life or the lives of others.

That’s why it’s good to try to always be on our A-game and give one hundred percent with whipped cream on top of everything we say and do.

But what about bad threads?

Bad threads:

“I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.”

Mary Oliver

Bad threads are unresolved sentiments live. Todos left undone. Things we said (sometimes even bragged about) but never did. Abandoned or sidetracked dreams. Projects unfinished. There are some bad threads that you can’t pick back up. Bridges burned, reputations tarnished.

Other bad threads are things we leave unfinished and yet still think about often. In Practice you’ve moved on to something else, in mind, you have unfinished business rummaging around in your head that pops up. These can be super harmful because they can zap our energy—in what we are currently doing AND from what we aren’t doing but wish we were. And they add up over the years. One thread unravels to two, then three…

I find it good to take some time to think and list out (if any) threads I’ve left open unresolved. After that, it’s a question of if it’s something I need to finish, something I really want to do or something I should let go of.

What are some projects or ideas left open that I need to resolve?

What are some asks/favors/tasks/opportunities I need to say no to?

What are some things I need to let go of?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #976

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Make It Shine

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

Charles R. Swindoll

I’ve been thinking a lot about finishing lately.

It’s likely because I’m wrapping up a website project, and the last few pieces always seem to take the most effort and attention.

With any project, the last 5 – 10% of work generally takes the most effort but it is the piece that makes something look polished and next level.

There are three main things that I’m aware of that brings any project (work or otherwise) to that next level—

Challenge, repetition, and detail.

Polish requires challenge

It’s difficult to do anything well if you find it incredibly boring or not your thing. Every project needs at least a sprinkle of challenge—something that gets you excited and expands your boundaries.

Polish requires repetition.

A song practiced one time sounds decent; A song practiced a hundred times songs polished. I could read every programming book in the world but that wouldn’t make me a great programmer unless I put my hands on the keyboard and practice and try things myself. If you love doing something, you’ve got to put in the reps—no matter how monotonous it may be.

Polish requires attention to detail.

Attention to detail gets you far in life. It’s part observation, part knowing your skills. It’s not only seeing what’s there but also see what’s not there.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #974

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Be Impeccable with Your Word

“Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.”

Benjamin Franklin

“The distance between saying you’ll help someone and actually helping them is a gap often created with the best intentions. But when we don’t bridge that gap, accountability suffers throughout the organization. Our desire to help might make it tempting to tell someone we’ll do something, but we should always be impeccable with our word .

Automattic Creed

Have you ever said you would do something, but for whatever reason you ended up not delivering?

Maybe you promised to finish a project but couldn’t keep the deadline or said yes to an event you really didn’t want to go to.

It’s a painful experience when you can’t deliver on something you agreed to. Even with the best intentions, if you can’t back up your words with your actions, then your word will lose all credibility.

It’s better to go with your gut and say no to an opportunity you know isn’t the right fit, rather than try to impress and be sorry you can’t deliver. Delivery is everything.

Don’t talk about what you are going to do, talk about what you are doing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #973

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Multidisciplinary Mindset

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A multidisciplinary mindset starts with a lot of questions. Questions like—

Q: What’s underneath this?

Q: How can I connect this with other things?

Q: Why does this work? How does this work?

Q: What if I learned both skills?

A multidisciplinary mindset also requires a lot of self-knowledge and inner work. Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to be? What values and principles do I want to live by? What values am I living by right now? Do they align with my ideal version of myself? Where I can improve? How can I turn my problems into opportunities? Who can I look to for wisdom?

It also takes a little boldness and rebellion to work. Choosing to follow the path least traveled. Choosing mastery over easy living. Choosing to be better every day and showcasing it with your actions.

And, of course, a multidisciplinary mindset is cultivated on a willingness to try. Our thoughts may inform our actions, but the reverse is also true—how we act impacts how we think. If you don’t like the way you think, then change the way you acting.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #971

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Clarity

“Music is powered by ideas. If you don’t have clarity of ideas, you’re just communicating sheer sound.”

Yo-Yo Ma

I often find myself needing to create even though I’m not feeling optimal. Whenever you aren’t feeling your best, there’s a wave reluctance to do, well, anything, and rather fall into the endless abyss of Reddit comments, tv seasons andor personally eat your entire pantry clean. In my experience, this is a mental block caused by physical needs. A good night’s sleep, a couple of more glasses of water, a healthy meal, and a nice long walk and I’m good to go!

But sometimes we need to make use of what we got.

We are rarely as prepared, well-rested, focused, creative, and clear as we wish we were. Yes, we need to learn to take care of ourselves more. But also I think it’s beneficial to learn to train yourself to create at a moment’s notice—despite how you feel. This can only be trained through practice—when reluctance comes over you, do it anyway. This is a very Jocko-esque mindset. Discipline equals freedom.

One insight I’ve discovered (and probably unintentional stole from someone) on my journey so far is—

Practice when the stakes are low so that when the stakes are high, you’ll be more than ready.

And when you are feeling great and full of clarity—use it while you got it! You never know when you’ll have the opportunity again. When an idea strikes you, act on it. When a song, work of art, brilliant idea, or moment of clarity comes bubbling out of you—act on it now! Don’t let it slip from your mind. When inspiration strikes—use it!

To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, Use what you got when you got it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #970

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Getting Our Way

“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.”

Douglas Adams

I’ve also wanted a Jeep Wrangler. Growing up, my dad always had one type of jeep or another. (He had trucks too, but that was before my time.) We would ride around with the top off, with the wind whipping us around. I had a beat-up old blue Cherokee jeep in high school. It wasn’t bad, but my speakers and the sound system was messed up, so I never quite enjoyed it. About five years ago and got a new black two-door Jeep Wrangler. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles—but it does have a good set of speakers and Bluetooth 🙌.

But…

But I have a neck / pinched nerve injury that makes me hate driving it. Every bump or raise in the road might as well be a mountain or a stick of dynamite. My fiancée calls it a bouncy castle 🤣. I love it, but it’s not compatible with my current self and eventually, I’ll likely sell it.

Getting our way doesn’t always work out in our favor. Sometimes the thing you want isn’t actually what you need. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need, but then things change and your needs change too. Anyone who owns a sports car and has kids will tell you that — goodbye 0 to 60 mph, hello mini-van.

Not everything we want is what we need.

Take sweets, as a small example. I could pound a whole cheesecake right now if there was one in front of me (luckily there isn’t), but if I did that I would feel sick, bloated, and achy from the inflammation.

This post is really about getting to know yourself deeply. When you know yourself you have a better chance of ignoring or looking past the immediate wants and needs and seeing the deeper needs and desires.

Things like —
What motivates you?
What gets you up in the morning?
What dreams you have?
What would you do if money wasn’t a factor?
Who do you want to be?

When you look past the surface of who you are, you’ll see a much bigger picture of what you are and your potential.

Your life is bigger than you think. Life tends to grow as time goes on (—or maybe we are the ones growing). Try not to be so rigid while you are going full-steam ahead towards your dreams. Leave space for spontaneous possibilities.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #967

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Just For The Hell of It

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Leonardo da Vinci

I think it’s natural to be interested in many different things, or fall in love with a particular skill and become obsessed.

Look closely at any entrepreneur, creative or deep thinker from history (Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, Da Vinci, Descartes, etc) and you’ll see a wide variety of interests and pursuits.

Artist, mathematician, writer, philosopher, poet, composer… the list goes on and on.

You could argue that the world was simpler and slower then, before the age of the internet and the constant change expanding around us. But I’m sure people have always felt the world-changing too quickly around them.

Leonardo da Vinci lived in the dawn of the printing press, for example.

Churchill was always on the move—experiencing both WW1, WW2, and all of the technological advances that came about in that era—and yet still managed to write at least 43 books and paint over 500 paintings.

All that to say, curiosity drives creativity.

Don’t feel like you have to only learn one field and one field alone because everyone says so. Specialization is a relatively new idea. It has its upsides, of course. And information and knowledge are only expanding. But don’t let that stop you from letting your curiosity drive you. If you have the urge to learn to paint—learn to paint! If you want to learn music production—do it!

The only boundaries that exist are the ones we put on ourselves. Sometimes you need to learn something new and exciting just for the hell of it. Forget ROIs. Forget money. Do it to have fun and to be inquiring.

Who knows what great ideas you will come up with and connect by expanding your interests wide.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #966

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Fatherhood

“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.”

Regina Brett

Father’s Day, like many holidays, is a day of celebration. A celebration of the father we may have had, and or a celebration of the father we may become.

The truth is not everyone has a father. Or they have one but not a good one. I can’t speak to that—because I do have a father—but I do know this:

There are many incredible people out there in the world (and from history) that can be the mentor and figure you seek—If not directly, then indirectly from the books they’ve written or the lives they’ve led.

Father’s day (again, like most holidays) is also a day of reflection and an opportunity to give yourself construction feedback.

What kind of dad am I? What kind of father have I been living this past year?

What kind of person? A loving one? A distracted one? A supportive one?

Don’t overlook the negative traits and actions, If you can think of some, but try not to dwell too deeply on any past mistakes—forgot who you were, who do you want to be now?

Of course, I’m not a dad—so take all my advice with a heavy grain of Himalayan sea salt.

But I think the best thing you can do as a dad — no, as a human being— is show up.

Show up when you are needed, yes. But also show up when you aren’t needed.

Even if you feel like you have don’t have anything to contribute. Even if no one asks. Even if you’re the one you have to lean in and initiate. Being there is enough.

Happy Father’s Day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #965

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The More I Learn, The Less I Know

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

Confucius

The more I get older, the more I read and listen and watch and experience, the more I hone my skills, the more I realize how little I know.

I say that not discouraging, but enthusiastically.

There’s always a deeper level. There’s always a few questions trailing any answer.

Curiosity begets learning begets questions begets more learning — ad infinite.

Don’t let this notion make you feel overwhelmed or behind. Behind who? It doesn’t matter. You know what you know, and with a sound mind, you’ll always be learning more—whether you’re 7 or 80 years old.

But don’t let age make your curiosity ridged and stale like an old loaf of bread forgot in the pantry. Open your mind to new ideas and experiences. Just because someone won’t make you yacht-loads of money doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy pursuit. Be inquisitive. Get weird. Expand wide. Ask a million questions as a child would. Be annoying.

The only thing that should stop us from learning new things is death—everything else is undebatable.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #964

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Use What You’ve Got

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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 need. Everything you can and will eventually add to the mix (experiences, higher quality gear, knowledge, the latest gadgets, and gizmos, etc) are extra flavor to your toolkit.

But 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.

More tools doesn’t equal more creativity or originality.

There’s no sense in waiting for the right tools and gear. Nor for right time for that matter.

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

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #963

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