Who you are

It’s tough to know what you want if you don’t know who you are.

Our values and principles guide us.

What’s important to us changes as we grow older.

One way to find who you are is to try 10,000 things until you find one (or a few) that make you feel alive.

Of course, who you are is bigger than what you do, but what you do does help define what kind of live you will lead and what you spend your time on.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1222

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Is it Worth Your Time?

I’ve been rearranging/organizing my office/bedroom…again. As someone who likes to organize and stay organized, you notice that things usually get messier before they can get clean and organized.

When something stays the same too long we stop seeing it, truly seeing it.

We have to get out in the open—out of its normal environment—to be able to see it clearly.

Then we can assess whether or not it matters to us or not, and if it’s worth our time and attention.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1214

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Recent Personal Insights

“Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.” — Virgil

“It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air – there’s the rub, the task.” — Virgil

It’s one thing to read about something, it’s another to experience it.

Half the battle of overcoming failure is accepting you are human and can make mistakes (intentionally and unintentionally.)

Self-sabotage is often wrapped in silk and laced with artificial sweeteners.

Being overwhelmed is a sign of too many inputs—too many todos, too many desires, too many things at once, and/or too many emails.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1209

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Books on Friendship Worth Reading

Friends are a massive part of life. I’ve been diving deep into how to create and cultivate meaningful friendships in your life. “The Art of Friends” so to speak. It’s one category I’d like to write about more (and also improve in my life).

Here are some books on friendships worth checking out:

  1. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  2. How to Be a Friend: An Ancient Guide to True Friendship (Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers): Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Philip Freeman
  3. Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
  4. Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success—and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi
  5. Friend of a Friend . . .: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career: David Burkus
  6. Your Network Is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age: Porter Gale, Guy Kawasaki

And then a couple of friend related ones…

There’s also quite a few I haven’t read yet but I’ve heard good things:

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1191

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Who Influences the Influencer?

My accent is very uncharacteristic neutral. American, yes, but different from where I’m from.

I grew up in the south, where the southern drawl is so thick you need a machete to cut your way through it. My parents have it. Their parents definitely had some twang going on. But for me, not so much. My best guess why I don’t is TV and film. Growing up with 90s cartoons, and a world slowly coming online gives you a broader perspective of what people sound like across the world.

I was also constantly mimicking voices, so unconsciously I noticed that how people speak is a skill and aesthetics that can be changed.

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of “influence”. Not influencers, per se, but how we pick up values, personality traits, interests, and lifestyles from people we surround ourselves with.

Do you really like punk rock? Or do you like it because a cool friend from middle school liked it? Does it matter?

Do you really dislike country music or are you just rebelling against your parents?

Does it matter where our influences come from?

It’s a big question to ask, with lots of nuances.

My answer right now is—

Mostly. Absolutely. Probably. Definitely.

I have an old friend who’s never like reading. Ever since I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him talk about a book he’s liked. In school, he would read a book from cover to cover—meaning the front cover and the back cover and nothing in between. I get it, he’s a people guy. He’d rather have a conversation or watch a show then read. And school reading assignments obviously left a bad taste in his mouth. But I love reading! Half of what I know is from books. I can’t imagine who I would be if I wasn’t voraciously passionate about books.

Small things can influence us in a big way. Little decisions that set us on a certain path. It doesn’t take much to push us down a path that leads us to places we don’t want to be. And on the other hand, a random whim or chance encounters can lead to open doors and wonderful opportunities. Friend of a kind of situation. Stumbling into someone at a coffee shop or bar that leads to your life calling. Or—just leads to your next oat milk latte.

There’s certainly a heavy sprinkle of chance when it comes to influencing.

However, that doesn’t me we are helpless to its power.

Instead of thinking of ourselves like a leaf on the wind, aimlessly spinning around, following wherever the wind takes us, think of it like you’re an origami paper airplane. You can cut, follow, and weave through the wind. You can change yourself, and therefore have a hand in where you’re going.

Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

It comes down to willingness.

Be open to change and possibility. Try things before you judge them or write them off. Curate your influences. Surround yourself with a higher quality of influences. And examine and question why you do what you do.

Are you making a decision out of curiosity or good admirations, or are you doing it everyone around you is?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1145

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Being Smart is Not Enough

We also need accountability.

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”George Bernard Shaw

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” — Scott Adams

When I think of the bigger, tentpole mistakes I’ve made over the last ten years, 100% of them come from a lack of forethought and accountability. I don’t give much weight to regret,(because regret doesn’t help us move forward, only keeps us stuck looping our past) but I can’t help but feel that if I had only had another “me,” (someone who sees the world objectively and desires to live intentionally) then the major dum-dum decisions I’ve made would have never happened.

One of my mistakes a few years ago was staying too long at a company that wasn’t the right fit for me. I joined for the wrong reasons and there was miscommunication from the get-go. But I was strung along, and convinced to stay, despite the problems and frustrations it was causing me. But I didn’t see them. I was making the “right” decisions for the wrong reasons. (Which is as unhelpful as making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons.)

Mistakes are thoughtless errors in judgment. By “thoughtless” I don’t mean hurtful or cruel, I mean thought-less —mistakes are decisions we make without stepping back and thinking things through. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury to step back, particularly when decisions get heated and we snap back with anger like a hungry Rottweiler. But that doesn’t mean we can’t train ourselves to make clear decisions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to blame others for my mistakes either. Of course, the mistakes of my past are not something I can change. But, I can use them to better inform and improve my future decisions.

“If only I had another ‘me’ around to help” immediately prompts two questions:

  1. Why do I assume I have to rely on someone else to think objectively? Why not create structures around decisions that help prevent dumb mistakes from happening?
  2. And additionally, who can I surround myself with that I can go to for advice to avoid unforeseen preventable misfortunes?

Plenty of smart people make stupid mistakes. Having a brain doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Mistakes are a part of life—particularly if you are trying to help others and create valuable things. But still. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to avoid any stupid mistake that’s preventable.

Here are 3 Tips for avoiding careless mistakes:

1. Use Preventative Societal Barriers

Sometimes doing what we want isn’t always best for us (We don’t always have our own safety in mind.).
For example, if you’re credit isn’t good enough to get a credit card or buy a new car, then that’s a good thing. Having bad credit sucks, but it’s also a barrier that can prevent you from making a potentially bad financial move. Sure it’s limiting that so-and-so didn’t approve of your application, but what if it’s a good thing?

Some societal barriers need to be broken, others are guardrails that keep us from harming our future selves. Which is which comes back to thinking objectively and having friends you can go to for advice.

2. Give Every Big Decision at least One Night of Sleep.

If you have to make a big decision and you can’t tell which way to go, then sleep on it. Give each important decision a little breathing from so you can listen to your mind and intuition. If someone is forcing you to make a decision in the moment, then say no. Unless it’s life and death, nothing is worth an immediate “yes” or “no”, especially if you are unsure.

3. Cultivate a Thriving Accountability Group

Build a group of life advisers you can goto for when you need the make an important decision. When in doubt, get advice. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help or a second opinion.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1056

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Seeking Challenge

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”

Joseph Campbell

Whenever I’m feeling nervous about something, I know it’s a good sign that I need to be doing it. Singing, for example. It’s something I’ve been learning for the past couple of years. It feels natural singing and playing guitar by myself, or with friends. But I know I’m still in the beginning stages, so I always feel a little discomfort in the pit of my stomach and my heart starts fluttering when I sing for others.

If something is easy, it means we aren’t challenging ourselves enough.

It’s not difficult we want, rather challenge. Hard, not for hard sake. Hard because we want to feel uncomfortable. Well, we don’t want to bu uncomfortable, but that’s where improvement and growth build from.

Discomfort is how we grow. When we step out of our cozy slippers and step into a new and unfamiliar place, we push ourselves to grow.

There are many ways we can challenge ourselves. We can challenge ourselves by doing more. By doing less. By doing something different. By doing something that scares us. By doing something that is unfamiliar. By mimicking others.

We push ourselves to fail. Again, not intentionally, but because dancing on the edge between failure and success is where the magic is.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1015

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Low Hanging Vegetables

When I was younger, I remember the first time I heard the expression “low-hanging fruits” I mistakenly thought of it as a bad thing. Why would you want to go after all these droopy fruits when all those good ones are up higher in the tree?

But, of course, the insight the expression is telling us to focus on the easiest and simplest tasks first before taking on the hard ones.

It’s easy to get lost in the romance of a new idea or creative project and become unaware of the fact that you haven’t actually started it yet. Ideas take work. Focus too much on the ideal way work “should” look and you might find yourself stuck right at the beginning. Or focus too much on the end goal and you’ll flub the opportunity before it even begins.

Do the hundred dollar tasks first, don’t worry about the pennies. Focus on the things that matter first then get the details right seconds. Don’t give me wrong, the pennies matter and add up after a while, but when you’re just starting a project the pennies aren’t going to matter if they keeping you from launching.

There are a process and procedure for any work. I think we can often get stuck when we are focusing too much on the nitty-gritty and instead of narrowing our effort towards what’s going to give us the most momentum.

Not everything is worth the same amount of priority.

For example,

When writing a story, we don’t concern ourselves with the grammar first. Grammar is important, and obvious when we miss it, but first, we must write and put words on the page before we can start editing and thinking about grammar.

The key with any idea is to work your way up to it and focus on the things in front of you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #979

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Shortcuts

“There are no shortcuts to true excellence.”

Angela Duckworth

Shortcuts rarely work out in our favor and usually lead to the opposite of what we were looking for.

Even if you succeed and the shortcut works out, there’s a dissatisfied aftertaste. It’s a “got what I want, but not what I need” feeling.

The easiest way to any succeed is the hard way. Hard because it takes work to make your dreams happen. Hard doesn’t equal misery though. Unlike shortcuts, there’s a rewarding satisfaction creating with your own hands.

It takes time and practice to master a skill.

It takes dedication to build a company or work up your career.

And it takes a lot of heart and sweat to build a impactful life.

So why not learn to enjoy it? Enjoy the work. Enjoy the rise. Find the good in the difficult days. Be the type of person who doesn’t take the easy way out.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #978

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Regression

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

William Pollard

It’s late—11:15 PM. It’s been a stressful week (I know it’s only just started!) but I just got back from practicing music with some good friends. I’ve got a little bit of a happy buzz—not from alcohol, rather, the feeling you get when you do something you love. I’m also incredibly tired and feel a little loopy so if a FISH random word pops in this blog post you’ll understand why.

My blogs have been regressing in quality the last week. There are good ideas there, but the execution needs some reworking and improvement. I’ve been writing later and later too (big fat correlation).

I’ve been working overtime on a project at work. Plus working on music. Plus working on an odd assortment of side projects. Plus a million other things that are going on.

But I’m not here to make excuses.

I don’t want to make excuses. I just want to keep improving.

Whenever regression occurs, it’s time to reassess what you are doing, why you are doing it, what what you are going to change going forward.

Regression is inevitable. Our enthusiasm for a skill or for work we love—no matter how much we love it—will ebb and flow as time goes on. You could be super into cooking right now, but in a year from now, not feel so charmed by it as you once were. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you should stop—especially if it’s something you love and want to continue doing.

Regression is a sign that something needs to be changed. It’s time to spice things up. It’s time to challenge yourself with something big and new. Everything has its seasons, including creativity.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #975

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