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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On Being Better

Better is the tension between being okay with accepting where you are and yet driven to live up to a higher calling and ideal code.

But live up to what, exactly?

That depends on what you value and gravitate towards.

For example, perhaps let’s say you value simplicity and clean design.

Then it’s looking at breaking down every single little piece of thing into it’s smallest components and removing the inessential pieces. In this case, Better, in this case, is creating something simple, but not over-simple, clean, but not devoid of it’s intent.

Let’s say you value communication and want to be better at community and connecting with others. Then learning storytelling, emotional intelligence, social skills, humor, and (last but not least) listening are important skills to hone to be a better communicator.

Pretty much Everything is a skill that can be improved. The first step to becoming better at anything is believing that you can. After that, it’s putting in the work, turning over every rock and discovering what works, what doesn’t, and doing it because you love it.

The hardest part of pursuing better is accepting where you are. Acceptance isn’t defeat, it’s humility. And humility gives us room to grow.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1162

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DIY Creative

Limitations allow us to think outside of the box.

Money. Time. Health. Resources.

It would be great to have everything we need. But then we’d have everything we need and would miss out on the opportunity to innovate and think creatively.

And of course, there’s the problem with more. Once you have everything you think you need to start (or do) something, there’s always another thing you could need beyond that.

Being creative is about taking your limits, problems, and setbacks and figuring out a way to make them into advantages.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1161

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Overwatering Your Plants

It’s pretty easy to neglect your plants. All you have to do is never water them, never prune them, put them in the wrong sunlight, and then patiently wait for them to die.

Very hands-off

But the most common killer of house plants 🪴 is not neglect but generosity. We overwater them to death. We give them so much water that their roots start to rot from our kindness.

What in your life are you overwatering?

Your business? Your kids? A million ideas?

Everything from design to health to child-rearing does better with a little space and breathing room.

When I try to pack too much into my schedule, not only do my stress-levels elevate, but the quality of what I’m doing diminishes across the board.

Too much of one thing ends up being the opposite of what we were wanting. Too much exercise or long hours at the office and we burnout. Too many hobbies, friends, todos, ideas and we no longer have room for intentionality.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1160

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Stacking Pennies

There will be some days when you feel like you haven’t made any progress on your creative practice and habits.

You put in the hours, but where are the results to show it?

A few pages for your novel.

One sketch.

50 push-ups.

A few scribbles of lyrics.

A few lines of code.

These are not much, in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time, they are everything we need. Because a little begins to add up after a while. And a book is nothing more than a well thought out, planned, and curated collection of individual pages. Same with a comic, or song or app, or a better physique.

All big things are made of tiny things brought together in harmony.

A song is a combination of lyrics, melody, tempo, key, and rhythm.

A film is the combination of multiple roles brought together for a unified purpose.

So don’t your seeming lack of progress lower your spirits. Keep steady. Work hard today. Make progress on the right (small) things.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1159

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Reaching for Nostalgia

Whenever I am feeling low or unmotivated, I like many, will reach for nostalgia.

I’ll listen to my favorite songs, or full albums from the past that hit me in just the right time and place, such as Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue album, Logic’s Under Pressure, or Back Breaker by The Showdown (I have very eclectic tastes ;).

I’ll rewatch my favorite shows and films (like Bleach, the anime series. I find Ichigo’s “never give up” resolve quite uplifting).

I’ll reread some of my favorite books, like The Kingkiller Series and The War of Art.

But I have to be watchful. Because as great as nostalgia is, it can also be a crunch for escape.

Finding relief, motivation, energy, and inspiration in our past is wonderful, but escaping to our past to avoid our future only traps us in the past and keeps us from improving our reality.

It’s like eating dessert—there’s nothing wrong with a little cheesecake now and then. But having (needing) sugar to get through the day is a sign that something is out of balance.

Are you eating some cheesecake to enjoy it or are you pounding the cake to avoid/ignore/release your pain?

Create the strength you need to get up and make a change. Be that having a heart to heart, going to therapy, reaching for things that make you help energized and inspired. But don’t lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing.

Focus on the small changes, little ice picks to the ice burg in your path. Even just a few good strikes can break a way forward.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1158

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The First Line of Defense

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
Henry Ford

What’s the one thing that touches everything we say, do and experience?

Our thoughts.

Thoughts flavor everything.

But you are not your thoughts. I learned this from Mo Gawdat’s Solve for Happy book. Mo explains that if you were your thoughts, then how are you able to hear your thoughts?

Reality is reality, but we bend our reality with how we think. If you are continuously looping negativity in your head (or aloud), imagine how that’s affecting your experiences and view of the world.

A glass-half-full and a glass-half-empty is the same thing—a half-glass of water. It just is. But one mindset gives us hope and the other makes us jaded. The question is, which one do you want to cultivate?

“Every moment of your life is neither all good nor all bad. When you clear your thoughts and see beyond the Illusion of Knowledge, you will realize that what Shakespeare wisely said is true: “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
― **Mo Gawdat

A question I like to ask myself is,

How is this thought helping me? (Or plural— how are these thoughts helping me?)

If they aren’t, they are just getting in the way of my happiness and wellbeing—so I let them go. It’s not an easy practice because it’s something that I constantly need to stay vigilant in (especially after this last year) but it’s worth it if it improves the quality of my life (and the lives of those around me) even if it’s only a 5% increase.

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STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1157

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Failure to Launch

Isn’t it funny (ironic, tragic, silly) that often the very thing we need is the thing we won’t give ourselves permission to do. And because we won’t do it, we end up stuck in a place we don’t want to be.

We want it, but don’t think we can have it (or aren’t willing to go after it) because X, Y, Z reason.

We want to (finally) eat healthily and lose weight (or fix a health issue that’s constantly bothering us) but we never actually do it (or quit as soon as we glance at a piece of cake).

Or we have the desire to be an entrepreneur, but we sideline ourselves by convincing ourselves that we don’t know enough yet or we don’t have a good idea yet.

And because we don’t do it, we are dissatisfied and judgment to ourselves, stuck in a loop of wanting something we won’t give ourselves!

Why?

Because trying something new or going after a dream is scary and it might not work.

Because it’s easier to play it safe and not get what we want than to do something hard or that might fail.

But honestly, all we are doing is failing and mentally blocking ourselves before we even try.

Ask yourself—what am I convincing myself of that is “impossible” or that I “can’t do”?

If we’re already failures for not trying, then why not try anyway and keep trying?

What do we have to lose?

Failure is a part of learning. It’s painful and messy and uncomfortable, but it can also make us better if we allow ourselves to learn and grow from the experience.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1156

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Go Easy on Yourself

That fresh, clean feeling of the start of a New Year always makes me want to resolve to do a hundred things. Exercise more. Be a better friend. Write better stories. Stop eating sugar. Go to bed early… you get the idea.

Whether you are as intoxicated by New Year’s Resolutions like me, or just intoxicated (hey-o!!) remind yourself that you are only human.

It does us no good to self-judge ourselves when we make mistakes or miss the mark.

Go easy on yourself—

Learn to be more self-compassionate.

Good habits aren’t built in a day, they are built every day.

So if you mess up and eat a cookie, don’t quit. Start back up immediately with enthusiasm and desire to be better next time. Don’t let bad habits win.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1155

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