Practice Everyday

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day. If todays practice sucks, no problem. Tomorrow’s practice will be even better. If I can focus only on today’s work, the fear and uncertainty is small and the belief in myself grows and accumulates each day. There is no tomorrow, just today. There is no uncertainty, just the task in front of me. And the fear is smaller, because it’s down to a single action. I just need to do this one thing, that’s it and I’ll be better for it, even if I fail or look bad today.

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1837

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Creative Space

We need space to create.

Cramming your life full of activity and todos leaves yourself unavailable for creativity (or at least the creative potential you could generate).

My best work comes from a place of stillness, where there’s nothing required of me to do, except what is in front of me. Sometimes that nothing space needs to be scheduled and placed in the midst of a hectic day. But from adding in that space breathed new life to your creativity.

In order to create — whatever that means to you — we must be available and open for business. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, so we need to be tuned in to that channel and have the space available to express it.

Often, that means having time to just mess around and play.

How we express our ideas is based on what we want to do and who we are. For you, that might mean writing or dancing. For another, that might mean rapping or giving a speech. There’s no right way, of course. That would be too easy.

‘But I don’t have any good ideas’

Are you open to them?

Are you giving enough time and space to listen to them?

Take more breaks. Schedule create time. Consider the spaces with the spaces of your life.

Give your art what it needs to thrive, and it will give back in return.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1836

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Means to Mastery

Daily habits are a means to an end.

They help keep our skills sharp and stay sharp.

When you do something daily, you take away ‘I used to do X’ because there’s no ‘used to’ left, just ‘I do X’.

We all at some point wish we could get better now. We wait on doing what we love as if we are expecting a Will Smith genie to pop up out of our coffee mugs and grant us mastery.

10 Minutes is 100% better than 0 minutes. Would 30 minutes be better? Sure. Absolutely. But if you can only give 10 minutes because your time is limited, give 10. Even if you are only putting in 10 minutes on a particular skill, as long as its a focused and deliberate practice, 10 minutes will add up over time. That’s the power of daily habits.

Daily habits make the long term goals happen.

While we are ‘waiting’ for an opportunity to present itself, we are taking initiate and spending a little bit of time each day on what matters most to us.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1836

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Influencing our Reality

Negative thoughts lead to negative outcomes.

Fear, fearing failure, for example, leads to holding yourself back, which ultimately leads to being close-lined by your fear, aka failure. Success seems to allude to you at every turn for some reason, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to break through. We lock ourselves inside a (gerbil) maze of our making, unable to find the way out.

We stress about stress. Worry about worry. Every chance of us making mistakes leads us to being more and more indecisive.

Even expecting great things to happen can lead to ‘sudden’ disappointment, when they don’t happen, or when you get so close, but no cigar. It’s very rarely you can go into a movie with skyscraper size expectations of how perfect is and actually feel the same once the credits roll. The bigger the expectations, the harder they fall.

Like a gerbil wheel spinning around and around, bringing us back to exactly where we don’t want to be.

It’s not that pursuing greatness is bad. Going after great things is an amazing goal to have. The problem is latching on to anything other than the pursuit — the journey — at the same time. The moment we expect something to happen, we lose sight of the present and dwell on the prize at the end of the rainbow.

It sounds like a mind-bender, but thinking a goal is inevitable, will make the goal unattainable. While you’re focused on what should happen, the work needed to make it happen is gathering dust in the corner.

Let It Go

In order to make any great thing happen, we have to let go of our expectations, let go of the prize, and focus on the next action we need to do what’s in front of us. The goal is inevitable only when you focus less on the goal and more on the very next step you need to do to get closer to the goal. Each step is an impactful action.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1835

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Remember What Matters

If I were die tomorrow, would I be happy with what I’ve created and shared with the world?

Honestly No. I’ve got too many songs, books, art and ideas left unpublished.

That is fuel to the fire to me.

Because I love creating stuff. It lifts my day when I make something. And sharing goes hand in hand with creating.

And so I’ll do what I can to make the most of today. Not just with creativity, but in all aspects of life. Time is too short to argue over minor things and waste time on things that don’t ultimately matter.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1834

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What Are You Reliant On?

I’ve written before about how it’s easier to acquire tests than it is to get rid of them. Something normally that’s exotic or saved for special occasions can quickly become our new normals. Instead of saving that delicious Italian restaurant for your birthday, you start having it once a week.

For me, that’s amplified by a personal tendency to overdo it. A cheat “meal” turns into a cheat “weekend”. Or instead of one newsletter, I make three.

But do we really need our “needs”?

I don’t consider myself a minimalist. I related to some of the core values of minimalism, but I wouldn’t label myself as a minimalist. I’m more of a… “essentialist” “practical” “intentionalist” or something along those lines (semantics, to be sure, but still).

It’s helpful to put things in perspective. In five years, all of the technology you and I use will be obsolete. Five years is generous. There are a lot of new and exciting gadgets coming out right now. It’s more likely every piece of tech we own will be obsolete in a few months.

It’s good to test your dependencies regularly.

For example, taking a break from social media or swearing off coffee for a year.

Dependency isn’t evil. But they do make us reliant on them. Once you get used to having a certain quality of something, it’s hard to go back. I think that’s why people in third-world countries are so happy with very little. It’s not the stuff that they have or don’t have, it’s the knowledge that something “better” is out there.

This feeling is what I want to resist. I love luxury, but I don’t want to need it to be happy. I want to test my dependencies because you never know what fate may take of you. I’d rather be happy and healthy than rich. But if I can be happy, healthy, and rich that would be great too 😉. As long as that money isn’t controlling me.

What are other things we are reliant on? What are your crutches?

Clothes? New technology? Habits?

Make a list of things you need and use every day. If you forced yourself to give them up for a month, or six, or a year, could you?-

To live an unconforming we must do unconforming things.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1833

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Open On Stressful Days

Stress and anxiety are partners in crime. They are like the Joker and Harley Quinn. (Which one’s which depends on the day.)

I typically experience anxiety when I haven’t slept well. When it’s allergy season my sleep tends to suffer more than usual. I’ll try a lot of different things, but more rest is the biggest hammer for this kind of anxiety. I’ll add a short nap early in the afternoon when I can, and (do my best to) go to bed earlier. I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my word for it.

Prioritizing sleep is essential when I’m feeling anxious.

I’ll also feel anxious when I’ve got too much on my to-do list. I know it. My lists know it. The day knows it. Your mother knows it. Everyone knows it but I still can mentally get in my way by trying too much at one time. The key is simplifying.

It’s helpful to think of everything around us as variables or small influences that we can manipulate toward a certain outcome.

Anxiety can come from many things, but there are also things in our lives—environment, habits, etc—that are either enabling or reducing our anxiety. By turning certain levers we can lean ourselves towards a less stressful and anxiety-ridden environment.

Our two main methods of action for combating anxiety are adding and removing.

Examples of things we can add:

• Support from doctors, therapists, and nutritionists.

• Meditation

• Sleep

• Exercise

• Play

• Healthy food

I also find it helpful to take Onnit’s New Mood Supplements and Calm / Magnesium to relax my muscles.

Things we can remove:

• Less or no caffeine

• No smoking

• Less or no alcohol

• “Stress”

The last bullet “Stress” is in quotations because I can’t tell you how many countless useless articles I’ve read about anxiety that tell you to “avoid stressful situations and environments.” Yeah! No kidding! That’s why I find it easier to add things to my day than remove them (which explains my to-do list.) “Stress” is so vague and idealistic.

We’re usually stressed for a reason and that stress isn’t going to go away magically until we resolve that reason. But that doesn’t mean we can’t shift our perspective and change things by adding helpful habits and removing unhelpful ones.

For example, it’s easier to start meditation for 10 minutes every day than it is to find a new job. And it’s easier to swear off coffee after 3 PM than to completely overhaul your life. But that’s okay because there’s magic in these small habits.

It’s all about finding a way to tip the scales in the direction you want to go, instead of the direction you don’t.

But I’m not a Doctor, so don’t listen to me.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1832

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Filtering the Noise

We are living in a golden age of information. If there’s something you want to learn, someone somewhere is sharing (or selling) how to do it.

A great place to start learning is to figure out what options you have at your fingertips.

Not all resources are of the same quality and impact. You could spend hours and hours watching YouTube videos on anything (like fly fishing 🎣) or spend days reading about entrepreneurship on a billion blogs or social accounts. But just because the content exists, doesn’t mean it’s worth your time.

There are countless people teaching things they don’t actually do or know how to do. Experimenting is great. I eat that stuff up. But it’s good to filter out anyone/content that talks big but doesn’t actually practice what they speak.

That being said, there’s an incredible amount of free knowledge out there (and an insane amount of paid content as well). This is a perfect time to invest in your practice or the skills you want to become great at.

The more immersive, the more effective. Meaning, don’t just watch a cooking video, or a tutorial on programming in python—go out there and get some hands-on experience.

Armchair knowledge is great for parties (zoom parties?), but not so much for becoming a master in something.

Who’s good at this I can look to for tips and insight? Who is knee-deep in their craft I can emulate?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1831

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Opportunities to Practice

Everything is a practice, from the right angle.

Every selfish act done to you, intentional or not, is a chance to practice inner calm. And every self-centered act you catch yourself doing is a chance to pause and react differently.

In physics, ’Every action there’s an opposite reaction.

In life, every reaction is an opportunity to react with heart and character.

From the right angle, even bad traits—the ones that keep us up at night, or boil our blood to the point of medication—can be good lessons for growth.

Bad is only surface deep. Underneath, every bad trait is a chance to practice an opposite, good trait. Anger to peace. Worry and Anxiety to calm. Despair to hope.

Ignore this at your peril (I’m talking to you too, me), because anger, resentment, anxiety… these emotional reactions hurt you more than they hurt the recipient.

And just like mindfulness practices, the practice isn’t about changing the reaction.

The practice is about noticing that you are doing it. It’s noticing that your blood is boiling with rage and knowing why.

The practice of noticing automatically leads to a chance of reaction.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1830

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Just Commit

“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.”

— Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

“Map out your future – but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip.”

— Jon Bon Jovi

I always feel much better about my day when I wake up early. An early morning really grounds my day and sets me up for success.

And on days when I stay up way too late and inevitably sleep away my morning (and somehow not hear my alarm) I can’t help but feel stressed and see the day as a wash.

But that’s not true. I may have missed a few hours in the morning, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the day is a waste. It would be a waste, however, if I myself fall into that poor mindset and give up the day.

Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, each new day is a fresh start.

A new day to prove myself.

Scratch that. Every second is a chance to prove ourselves.

Not to prove my worth—who I am means more than just what I do—rather, to prove to myself that I can create.

Every blog I write is proof that I’m a writer. Someone who is working on his craft and challenging himself every day.

Every time I pick up the guitar, I’m proving to myself that I’m a musician.

Every day is a chance to show yourself and people around you that you are committed. Committed to your craft(s). Committed to your dream(s). And each new day is also a chance to recommit when you falter, or experience a dip.

Do I want this? Yes.

Am I half-assing it? Yes—then recommit. No—then keep proving it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1829

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