A Million Ideas

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”

Steve Jobs

No matter how many good ideas we may have, we’re still limited by how much time we can give to each of them. Limited might be the wrong word. It’s more like deciding what not to do is an opportunity to choose what truly matters to us, so that we can focus our efforts on it, and temporarily shelf—or even let go of—the rest.

Making one idea become something special is hard at best. And trying to juggle multiple ideas can quickly become too much to handle.

We need to let some of our ideas go so that the more important ones have a better chance of succeeding.

Or in other words, we need to “kill our darlings” as the expression goes.

It’s a lot like planting trees. If trees are growing too close to one another, they will crowd each other out and won’t have as much nourishment they need to thrive. (Learned that little insightful nugget from Animal Crossing.)

Ideas need space to breathe. Try to grow too many ideas at once and you’ll split your time, energy, and attention to the point where none of them are getting what they need to succeed.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #997

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Lost in Translation

“What is lost in the good or excellent translation is precisely the best.”

Friedrich Schlegel

There’s an incredible amount of knowledge and information out there nowadays. (And it’s only increasing.)

Everything we know, everything we could learn has been built up over time. But not everything is easily understandable. Even if we were stuck in a time-loop and had all the time in the Universe, some things take repetition, multiple perspectives, and deep thought to really grok something.

Think about classic books for example. The language in books are of their own time.

Pick up a book from Shakespeare and it’s immediately apparent it’s from another era.

Same thing with The Odyssey, or Great Gatsby, or Pride and Prejudice or Walden, etc. Each book captures a different way of speaking and thinking about the world. This reflects the author, for sure, but also the culture and times they lived in.

The same is true for most mediums. Art, Movies, Music, Technology… Ideas are a reflection of their time. Some ideas are universal and translate well throughout history. Some ideas are evergreen, easily taught, and understood. But most ideas are lost in translation as time expands.

That’s where we come in. We can, if we choose, carry the torch by uncovering lost ideas (or overlooked or obscure) and bring them to a new generation.

Some ideas get old. Old ideas get lost to new generations.

Ideas are recycled. They are never the same the second and proceeding times around. As time passes perspectives change.

Each new generation—each individual—can rediscover and become inspired by ideas that we translate. By simply understanding them ourselves, we can make them unique by putting them in our own words and combining them with other ideas we have.

Who knows how many fabulous ideas exist out there in the world that exist in stuffy old books or forgot insights waiting to be remembered.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #992

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Attuned to ideas

“The good ideas will survive.”

Quentin Tarantino

Ideas float in the air like radio and cellular waves. They exist in the buzz of our times, where cultures, information, technologies, and voices swirl together like a nice broth waiting to be sipped. That’s why two people on two completely different continents can come to the same idea simultaneously.

Everything around us that has been built by others has accumulated to what we have and are dealing with now. I wouldn’t be surprised if you discover an idea that’s been floating around the air for centuries.

Not to say that your ideas aren’t original. By choosing an idea and putting in the time and effort to create it, you’ve naturally made it unique by the fact that you are uniquely you.

If you don’t choose it, someone else will. Like a tomato on a vine, you can pluck it and take it with you, or not. (You can also pick a tomato that’s not ripe or too ripe, but that’s an idea for another day.) But don’t worry, ideas are limitless. They are exponential. Just like how each answer creates a new question, each idea creates at least one more idea, usually a dozen more.

If you feel like you you don’t have any good ideas, then perhaps you aren’t listening to them.

You have to be open fork an idea to come at you from anywhere and anytime.

A great place to start is to recycle someone else’s idea. (The further back in obscurity you go, the more original it will seem.) By borrowing someone else’s idea, or borrowing multiple people’s ideas and combining them, you can then add your own originality and flavor and transform an old idea into a new one. (Don’t forget your sources.)

Ideas are basically a universal human right. Anyone can be attuned to them and come up with something great that benefits others and improves their lives.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #991

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Naming Ideas

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

When you think of the word ‘apple’, what comes to mind?

Perhaps you are picturing a red fuji or granny smith fruit we call an ‘apple’. Or, if you are tech nerd like me, maybe the first thing that pops in your head is a sleek glass and metal iPhone or MacBook pro made by the company called ‘Apple’, which makes you wonder when that new gadget that’s been rumored to come out soon will be launched.

Naming is likely the first thing humanity did with words. Is a thing really a thing without a name? Likely not, or at least collectively we call it ‘undiscovered’. (You can see this taking shape with our online persona’s we create today on social media and the web. Are you really a person or business if you don’t have an Instagram presence or a website or search results? Crazy. But I digress, that’s a topic for another day.)

When learning a language, we associate a word with a picture of what that word represents. It’s crazy to me that a few simple shapes on a paper or device screen can instantly become an associate of an imaginative idea or idea that exists in reality. This is something you learn early on when studying design, specifically brand design. An brand identity isn’t just a name or logo of a brand, like Nike, Moleskine or Topo Chico, its a feeling, a mission, traits — the whole caboodle.

Think about the brand name ‘Disney’. Before Walt started his dream of an animated studio, ‘Disney’ was just a last name: ‘Hi, I’m Walt Disney’ (albeit a great last name). It’s difficult for me to even grasp what Disney meant before Disney was Disney. It’s like us having the name Jane Chimbee (made that up) and calling our company Chimbee. It means something to us (aka what our PE teacher would call us) but it doesn’t mean anything to the world yet. Disney has a vastly different identity, emotion and motivation than just a last name now.

Give your idea a name.

An name starts as a singular idea, morphs into the passion and purpose and characteristics behind the name and becomes a collective identify in the minds of people everywhere, sometimes even around the globe.

Giving an idea a name is a powerful way to make it more real in our minds.

In the beginning, an idea is just a silly thing that lives inside our imagination / head. It’s potentially quite a long path towards taking an idea and making it something real and tangible, but that starts with giving it a name.

Names aren’t permanent, they are constantly evolving (in words and in meaning), so don’t feel stuck if you aren’t sure if the name you come up with is the right name for your idea. You can always change it later as the idea is honed.

Names give us direction.

Giving ideas names is one of my favorite things to do. (…wow, get a life josh). At the very least, naming infuses a little magic into your idea and makes it a step closer towards something real. Of course, we still have to make the idea real (we aren’t done yet with just a name alone) but its a step in the direction we want. Naming our ideas also helps us define what an idea is, and likely more importantly, what an idea isn’t. For example, I knew that I had a passion for learning many things, but it wasn’t until I learned that a person that is a master of multiple things is called a ‘Renaissance Man’ (Renaissance Human) or ‘Polymath’ that I finally had the ability to express what I wanted and find insights on how to achieve it. By naming an idea, we being to discover what the idea is and means.

Names are one of the first steps towards giving your idea an identity.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #741


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Ideas are Currency

Not that currency is the ultimate goal of an idea. Money tends to be a byproduct of great ideas. The more impactful the idea, the more people are drawn to it.

However, great ideas don’t always have to create billion dollar companies. (So I guess the title of this blog doesn’t quite work.) Ideas are change-makers. Even a small idea that personally changes your life for the better is a powerful thing. Idea’s are also force-multipliers — ideas inspire other ideas. One idea that changes your life has the potential to influence my life too.

Of course, the big difference between money and ideas is you can save and invest your money and money compounds, but you can’t save your ideas. We can give them, use them or lose them.

The longer we sit on an idea, the harder it is to do it.

So, go do it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #675

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Game Over. Press Start to Continue

What do you do when you have to start over?

What do you do when you need a fresh start?

Dear Creative Like Me,

Whenever I purchase a new notebook, everything feels so fresh and clean. Each blank page has the potential to be my next great idea (such a bragger). A song, business idea, design, personal insight, or blog post (much like this one I hope). But then my jumbled thoughts and multi-disciplined life grabs its messy hands on it. I jump from one thing to the next. Sometimes I’ll leave a great thought on a nearly blank page unfinished. (dun tun dahhhh)

The mess itself doesn’t bother me (… too much 🙂

It’s the fear that my ideas will never leave the notebook. Ideas trapped in another book of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe somedays’ on a shelf gathering dust.

Your ideas are the path to your best-self, but if they only exist in your notebook or head, do they even exist at all?

  • Ideas are meant to be shared.
  • Ideas are meant to be made.
  • Ideas are meant to be challenged.
  • And ideas have an expiration date.

It’s okay if you have to start over. Sometimes you must step back before you can step forward.

We all need a fresh start sometimes.

A fresh starts can be exciting if you look at them the right way. Instead of a past mistake or failed attempt, you have a clean page, a new today.

A fresh start begins by pausing — 

Seeing what’s working and what’s not, what needs improvement and what whale fails that need to be avoid in the future.

After all, life is a series of fresh starts, big and small, don’t you think?

Growing up, endless summers, high school, college, first apartment, falling in love, finding fulling work.. everything is a new beginning. Every day is a new chance to be someone better than the last.

Fresh starts are what The Renaissance Life is about.

I personally don’t want to be old and grey before I live a live of creativity and boldness.

No, I must start today. I must make each day a fresh start. I must push through any fear I face.

And when I am old and grey, I hope to remember that fresh starts never end, and are ultimately what life is about. If future me is reading this, I hope you look at my struggles and pursuits fondly and see a life well-lived. And remember old man, it’s never to late to turn the page.

Grab a fresh page and take action on your new life today.

Then do it again the next today.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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related wisdom

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

— Seneca

Every day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful.

— Prince

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