Happy Failures

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

Failures, big and small, only have power over us when we throw in the towel and don’t head to their lessons.

Of course, in the moment, failure feels awful.

Or does it?

What if we were trained to consider failure a bad thing? Culturally, people laugh and make fun of you after a mistake or misstep. It’s ingrained in us to feel embarrassed, anxious, sad, lonely, and or defeated when we fail.

But what if we could train ourselves to do the opposite?

What if we celebrated certain failures?

So that when our business doesn’t work out, we learn, build back, and try again.

In the face of failure, we can get up and do better next time.

No one wants to fail, but it’s built into the DNA of success.

There are always little failures (sometimes even catastrophic failures) on our path towards success. As long as we don’t get stuck on them, and go beyond them, then each failure becomes a mere step up the mountain.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1511

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Finishing Requires Full Attention

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.”

Glenn Clark

There’s so much mental weight we tend to carry with us from each creative endeavor to the next. Every idea unfinished can easily weigh on us, especially when we don’t let them go.

I’m dealing with this now. There are so many ideas and interesting projects I want to work on. But there’s only so much time to give my attention. And if I think about them too much, what I’m currently working on can suffer.

In order to successfully finish a project, we need to give our full attention to it.

Does that mean we have to choose one thing to work on? Not unless we want to. But when we are in the moment, our focus must be single-minded.

Our interests may be multifaceted, but our attention isn’t.

Trying to multitask takes energy away from the thing in front of you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1510

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Now is Better

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” Dan Millman

How much mental energy are we giving to things we can’t change or control?

Focusing all our energy on past mistakes is only draining us from the energy we need to build the new. The same goes for focusing too much on all the things we could do, instead of the things we are doing.

Find something that can slap yourself out of mental and emotional states that are making you feel helpless and stuck.

No amount of worrying is going to make it better and less worry-full. We could worry ourselves into oblivion and there would still be room for more. Same with anxiety, or self-doubt, or anger, or emotionlessness.

Don’t focus on who you should be, who you wish you would be, who you can’t seem to be, rather focus on the next action that will create a little bit of sunshine and meaning within the person you ARE right now.

The nice thing about the past is that we are building it this very moment, as each second ticks behind us.

This allows us to put our past self and mistakes behind us — no matter how close to the present they were — and work on becoming a little better and a little more like the person we want to be today.

Be here now.

Start now.

It may be “too late”. But more than likely not. Better now than never.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1509

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Options Overload (Part 2)

Cleaning is my go-to activity when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Perhaps taking back a little bit of control by cleaning my house grounds my life enough for me to take a breath and handle stressful situations better.

Removing options is the best method I’ve found to reduce feelings of overwhelm. Decluttering your physical and digital environments.

The digital can be like a firehouse of endless information and options. This isn’t inherently a bad thing but should be taken in moderation.

Moderation is one cure for feeling overwhelmed. When you give yourself fewer options for your attention, the more space you have for your priorities.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1508

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Options Overload

Having many options is no longer only for the rich.

(You could argue that the wealthy pay a premium for a curated and minimal amount of options.)

Across the spectrum of wealth, we have an infinite amount of things we can spend our time and energy on. That goes for every industry too—whether it’s education, entertainment, or creation. YouTube, Netflix, Podcasts, Games, Books. For as little as 15 dollars a month, you can subscribe to something interesting. Maybe you love reading so you subscribe to Audible or Kindle Unlimited. Or maybe you want to learn how to design or illustrate, so you’re a subscriber to Skillshare. There are even local options, like yoga, HIIT, bike riding, and dance.

I wouldn’t call myself wealthy (perhaps that’s laughable since I live in America), but I do have a good job, so I can afford to pay for things I’m interested in.

There are plenty of things I can’t afford, and yet—

I find myself completely overwhelmed by the options in front of me.

I think the quality of our decision-making is inversely proportional to the number of options we have. When we have few options, we can quickly and principally make good decisions. But when we have an infinite amount of options, we are more likely to throw up our hands and make no-decision.

When our options are infinite we have a great chance of avoiding or deferring decisions.

Whenever I feel like this I know I’ve taken on too many things I know I need to wipe the slate clean and reset my priorities. That also goes for mental things too—things I want to do.

Priority isn’t a priority if everything is a priority.

Prioritizing requires us to choose certain options over others. And that choice means putting away the unchosen many for the chosen few.

We can optimize and maybe choose a few more. But at the end of the day, there are only so many things we can do each day. There are only so many ways we can slice 24 hours (and slice 80+ years of life).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1507

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Go to the Source

Who has been through what you are going through or something similar?

You are not alone. Of the billions of people in this world, you are not the only one who has experienced this problem, pain, or frustration.

Who do you know who can help?

Who can you follow online and absorb their strategy and wisdom?

Problems don’t live in isolation.

All you have to do is ask.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1506

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Quiet Excellence

“Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” — Ralph Marston

“Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man.” — Iain Duncan Smith

I used to have a great t-shirt of an eagle holding a banner that read, ‘Made With Quiet Excellence’. Quiet excellence is the epitome of how to make dreams happen and how to make positive change happen in our lives.

Talk is fun.

Talking to friends and family about dreams and what we want to do even feels good, but talking only get’s you so far. Talking doesn’t take what’s in your head and make it reality. In fact it does the opposite. When we start telling people what we want to do, we give away that ideas power. It’s like taking wind from its sails. Telling others makes us feel like we’ve already done the work even though we haven’t. It also open us up to criticism and misunderstandings that can lead us to leave our dreams behind.

The other side of the coin are those that brag about what they’ve done. ‘I’ve done this, I’ve done that. I’ve succeed at this, I’ve succeed at that. Look at me, look at me.’ And although they may have done some amazing things, their inability to stay humble and see the bigger picture leaves them far from the success they could have.

Masters don’t need to brag, they’re seemingly effortless actions already speak loudly.

No, it’s better to take quiet actions.

Only discuss what you are doing or have done, not what you want to do.

Leave the criticisms and distractions behind and make slow, quiet actions that lead to excellence.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1505

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Prioritize Rest

One thing I’ve learned this past year is that too much stress ages us faster and drains us of the energy we need to thrive.

The thing about stress is that we (usually) know when we are stressed. But we often accept it as our normal state.

But being over-stressed is no way to live.

So if you are stressed out, resolve to do something about it this year—starting today.

If you are stressed out, there’s likely an obvious reason.

Start with the essentials. Rest more. Learn to meditate. Go for daily walks. Prioritize exercise, nutrition, and taking days off.

A creative mind thrives in a restful body.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1504

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Daily Thanks

There’s no downside to having a daily gratitude practice. It takes less than five minutes but it sets a positive tone over your entire day.

The practice is simple: write down three things you’re grateful for. I personally use the five-minute journal, but any notebook or piece of paper will do.

It’s such a small thing, but it really does wonders on your mindset for the day. The biggest benefit is it forces you to pause and think about the good things going on in your life and appreciate them (no matter how tiny they may look on paper).

It’s far too easy to dwell only on the negative and things that are “going wrong” in our lives and completely sprint past the good things happening in-between the bad.

And even when life is great or we’ve achieved great things recently, we rarely stop to consider them and give thanks for having experienced them.

Day-to-day gratitudes are just as life-giving as big (lucky) things.

Little things, normally unnoticed, like the way sky looks today, or a particular bird you heard chirping this morning, or the ritual of making coffee or tea in the morning.

Good things can come in all sizes (insert crude joke here). And bad things tend to look smaller the further out you look at them.

If you haven’t started your own daily gratitude practice, I can’t think of any better day than today.

Stick with it for a month and notice how much more optimistic you feel. And how obstacles start to look more like challenges and opportunities to solve.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1503

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Failure is Inevitable

Years ago, the first time I took a bath as an adult, I hilariously failed. As someone who never understood the delightful benefits of soaking in a hot tub, I hadn’t a clue how to properly do it. But my back was hurting so I was aching to do something helpful. So I poured in some bath salt and turned the H faucet all the way, to really hot. Wait. Maybe too hot. How am I supposed to get in now? …

So there I was, naked as the day I was born, sitting next to a completely filled bath, unable to get in because the water was scalding hot. I probably waited 30 minutes before I could actually jump in.

There’s a lot of thing in life that we aren’t taught. Perhaps you were taught how to take a bath (most people are) but there’s another area in your life you haven’t a clue about, so you avoid it (or where that gap in knowledge like a badge of honor).

Failure is embarrassing. It’s not fun to be bad at something, yet we all are bad at one thing or another. If it’s not swimming or math then it’s billiards.

Failure and the fear of failure hold us back likely more than anything else.

But failure is inevitable.

If we want to learn something well or do something great, we must be willing to put ourselves out there and open ourselves up to failing.

Our culture looks at failure wrong. We should praise failure rather than shy away from it. Does failing suck? Yes.

Being bad at something is temporary. As long as we are continuously pushing ourselves to learn and practice, we will get better.

Great artists and entrepreneurs fail all the time.

But while some people fail and quit, great artists keep going.

What if we praised failure instead of hiding or being afraid of it?

Think of failure as training. The goal isn’t to fail for failure’s sake, but every time we do we are training ourselves to fail forward with grace. Every time you do something incorrectly, use it as feedback to do better next time. Failure is a learning point. The faster we learn from failure, the sooner we can find success.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1502

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