What’s the Reason?

Dissatisfaction comes from something. Meaning, there is a reason behind it (or reasons.)

If we can uncover the reasons behind the negative emotion, or at the very least be aware of the reasons why, we can begin to resolve it.

For example, if making more money leaves you dissatisfied, especially if you are making more than 80% of the people on earth, then perhaps not having enough money isn’t the reason for your dissatisfaction. More of the same isn’t likely to fly.

Solving the problem by doing the same thing over and over again won’t work. You need a new approach, a different perspective.

Perhaps you are not sure what the reason is. It’s a little hard to resolve something if you don’t know why you are doing it, or are even unaware that you are doing it at all 🙂

This requires digging in. Digging in to what motivates you, and what you want out of life.

How do you see yourself?
Who do you want to be?
How do you come across to others?

Do you consider yourself an angry person or is something just making you angry?
Do you consider yourself unlucky or are you simple acting in ways that lead to unlucky outcomes?

Culture, circumstances, family, surroundings… shape us.
But so do we. We have the power to shape who we are too. Even more so than culture, because… well, it’s personal. It’s our life, not culture’s.

We can define who we are and create our own rules of life.
Through our actions, our thoughts and our beliefs.

A unsatisfied life is just one option. You can always choose another.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #537

IG@Renaissance.Life

Investing in the Right Things

We typically only think about investing as it applies to money, but it can applied to every aspect of our lives.

Let’s think about it in a personal way.

We all have desires for things we want, and avoidance of things we don’t want.
We all want to be happy. We want to be healthy, wealthy, respected, resilient to stress, successful and so on. Now, what the word ‘happy’ or ‘healthy’ can have different meanings to each of us, but we all want our version of it.

And we all want to avoid the antithesis of these things. I’ve never met anyone who actively wanted to be miserable, or sick, or broke, or a failure.

That being said, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of investing in the wrong things that lead us to these anti-lifestyles. Usually without us even knowing that we are doing it!

If we are not actively investing in the right things, we are potentially investing in the wrong things by default.

Are you investing in your own failure? Unhappiness? Your own poverty?

Are you investing in despair? You are if you’re doing things you don’t want to do, if you are compromising who you are, if you are overwhelmingly stressed, and if you treating yourself badly (For example, negative self talk, isolating yourself, or numbing problems with food or other things that provide quick relief and distraction.)

No. That’s not who I want to be.

We must invest in the right things.
Happiness. Health. Wealth. Belonging.
What takes priority in your life is up to you.

What’s amazing about investing in positive things, is it doesn’t take much. Just a little each day. A step towards wealth instead of poor, happiness instead of unhappiness.

And soon you won’t believe how positive the effects can be on your life.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #536

IG@Renaissance.Life

Inspiration
‘For the first time in my life, I’ve stopped caring about money. I ceded control and just let it ride. I’m working more than I ever have for relatively little but it doesn’t bother me. It will all work itself out in the end. I’m investing in my happiness instead of some arbitrary number.’Ryan Holiday, early blog in his career

What Gets Rushed Gets Redone

I think it’s healthy to consider why you are trying to get something done as quickly as possible in the first place. If you have to rush through it, is it really that important to you?

Rushing usually doesn’t create the desired effect.

Not to say we should throw away all deadlines and constraints. Constraints used well are guardrails that keep us on track and set us up to finish what we start. However, repeatedly setting unrealistic deadlines and constant rushing through things not only stresses everyone involved out, it completely diminishes our ability to do great work.

Rushing usually comes into play when your desire to do more outpaces your time and resources available. A classic example is traveling to Europe for a weeks vacation and trying to fit 30 countries in. Instead of enjoying one city, such as London, and all the wonders and excitements that the city holds, you spend 90% of your time hopping from one place to the next, taking a flyby trip to London, Paris, Rome, Hamburg…. on and on. You leave with a few great memories and one universal sentiment: “I wish I hadn’t planned so many destinations to visit”.

Rushing happens in all types of day to day life as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself quickly reading a book just to get it over with so I can go to the next one. (And barely able to recall what I just read.)

What’s the point of reading a book if you aren’t learning anything or enjoying it?

And the biggest capital offender of rushing is work. We rush to get to work, we rush to meetings, we rush to eat, we rush projects, we rush leaving work, and we rush through conversations, answer a few quick emails and go to bed to start all over again.

Have you ever stopped to consider why we as a culture do it this way? Is this the most effect way to build a business or is this just the default?

What if we instead focused on quality versus quantity. What if we gave ourselves just enough time — not to little, and not to much — to create high quality projects and meaningful conversations and relationships.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #535

IG@Renaissance.Life

Compressing Time

Note: Go gentle on me, dear reader. Too many gin & tonics at a business afterparty. I’m not sure if this is the best idea that I’ve ever slapped together or the worst. 🙂

There’s a lot that can be accomplished in a short amount of time. That’s one big lesson I’ve learned while going through the TechStars program here in Austin.

You can compress improvement and rapid growth (personally and professionally) within the right environment.

When you surround yourself with people striving for similar goals as you are,
or when you surround yourself with nothing but the goal, the work, the mission,
there is no room for laziness or slack. You are immersing yourself towards success. At the end, that success may look completely different from what you original thought, but from compression you’ve discovered a new meaning of success.

There’s a quote somewhere* shared in a Tim Ferris’s book that says something* like, “What would it look like If I did this in 6 months instead? 3 months?”

It’s a mental forcing exercise that allows you to consider if you only had a limited amount of time to accomplish something, what would you do to make it happen? What steps would you take? What would you do differently because of the limited amount of time?

This is a great framework when you find yourself stuck in the same old same old route. Improvement, growth, change are part of what it means to be human. If you’re stuck in the same patterns and ways of thinking your entire life without growth you are the equivalent of a stale pond without new water. Compressing time is like a stream of running water that breaks you out of your patterns, and questions things we just default to do, because we’ve always done them.

All that being said, this is a very binge mindset. You can make a case for the opposite.
Why rush it? Why not enjoy each moment instead?

It’s not sustainable to compress time in the long term, things break or get neglected. Working constantly can take a toll on your health and relationships in a serious fashion, for example. But in the short term compression can be a powerful thing.

Naturally, there’s a balance to all of this. Too much of one thing can be a bad thing.

Slow and steady is just as powerful (if not more so) than compression. What you can accomplish little by little, day by day is also a tool you don’t want to overlook.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #534

IG@Renaissance.Life

Life Missions

I’m always on the lookout for things I can add (or remove) from my life to help create something meaningful and impactful out of my time here. I want to spend each day being the most ALIVE as I can be.

Sometimes I’ll catch a glimpse of what that means:

Laughter. Play. Friendships. Teaching.
Having a mission.

Having a mission is essential for being ALIVE.
We are at our most darkest, weakest moments in life when we have nothing to guide us and nothing to strive for.

We need something that grounds us to the present, yet at the same time, shows us a vision of the future.

Your mission can be whatever you dream up.
If you have an idea for a business and you don’t see any other way but to bring it into the world, then go for it. You can even adopt someone else’s mission for your own for a while.

Missions aren’t mutually exclusive.
My success doesn’t hinder your success and vice versa.

In fact, if you are open to it the opposite can occur.
Your success can inspire me to do more, to be better.

Whatever your mission is, make it something that lights you on fire with energy and joy. The name of the game is longevity. Because when you are pursuing the things you love, no setback can stop you, not really. Sadness, pain, anxiety, these are natural ebbs and flows of life. Pain happens but it doesn’t control you (unless you let it). Just like your mission shows me how to be better with my own mission, bad days show us where we need to improve and become better and change.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #533

IG@Renaissance.Life

Details Matter

Little things annoy me.

  • Walk a few miles to work and back every day — Nothing to it.
  • Get held up by a (probably fake) gun for my iPhone and wireless headphones — No problem. (This actually happened last year. I told them no… — and they drove off.)
  • Writing a daily blog — Where can I sign up?

But having to reset my Spotify family account and resend email invites after a debit card expired?

Sets my insides are on fire.

It’s not Spotify’s fault. It was just one of those little details I overlooked. I saw the messages but ‘was too busy’ and didn’t act in the moment.

I think small, frustrating situations like this, can be 80% avoided if I focused on the details more. (And the remaining 20% can be a chance to practice being calm and cool under pressure. 🙂

Details often feel like unimportant in the moment, but they are actually vital to the big picture (And to our wellbeing). Neglect something important long enough and it will surely steamroll you later when you least expect it. A lot of examples come to mind, but one is an aspect of our lives we often overlook: sleep. (cue soapbox.)

I honestly dislike sleep. I’d choose not to sleep if I could. But if you look at the most up-to-date research on sleep, it quickly becomes apparent that sleep is vital to living well. Sleeping 1/3rd of our lives makes the 2/3rds remaining worth it. Our energy, creativity, immunity, critical thinking, productivity, resilience, mood, mindset… everything is dependent on getting a goodnights sleep. And yet, we cut our sleep in half just so we can get more stuff done. 1 hour less one day…. 2 hours less another. We avoid sleep little by little, building up sleep debt over time, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and other dreadful health issues.

All that to say, it’s usually the things we don’t notice, or neglect that do the most damage… eventually.

So much so it’s hard to even pinpoint the cause of the damage.

Details Matter. They accumulate.

Negativity, like sleep debt accumulates over time. And, luckily, positivity does too.

Health, wealth, friends, relationships, family, work, books, albums….. each build over time, detail by detail. It’s not the one great day you had with your best friend that matters, it’s all the days added up to a lifetime of friendship.

Focus on the details and doing a great job at them and the big picture takes care of itself. Sure, you want to know what ‘picture’ you are building, but the details are what are going to get you there.

Get the details right and they will accumulate into something incredible.

P.S. Any family members reading this, I’ve resent ya’ll an invite to Spotify. Check your email 😛

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #532

IG@Renaissance.Life

Sucking at a Skill is Temporary

When it comes to skill, sucking is temporary.
Especially with creative work.

Beginners usually suck.
… at least compared to masters.

When we are growing up, sucking at something doesn’t even register in our little kid brains. We draw, we play, we pretend, we try — like there are no barriers in the world that can stop us (except bedtime). I look back on my middle school drawings and cringe at the thought that I used to think that was ‘good’. But at the time, it didn’t matter. I loved drawing, so I drew.

Sucking at drawing when you are first getting started is natural. It’s part of the process. As you learn and continue doing it, you will move towards being good.

Problems tend to arise when someone else tells you that you suck.
Someone told you that your drawing of a lizard looked like a lamp instead, so you stopped. Or someone told you that you werent a fast enough runner, so you stopped running. (Insert your own mild trauma here.) And worse, we internalize ’not being enough’ and start criticizing our own work internally. Instead of ‘You’re not good…’, it’s ‘I’m not good …”

This mindset stops us from pursuing things we love.

The best place to get past this is to not give a da🙈n id you suck or not.

Sucking is temporary. Anyone that tells you that you suck without asking them should be ignored. They wish they good suck at vlogging as good as you. What matters is that you are going for it. Just because your work is in its early stages or needs refinement doesn’t mean you should stop. In fact, if you love it, double down. Do more. Don’t let the idea of sucking distract you from improving and mastering a skill.

Sucking at a skill is like the “weed-out class” equivalent to learning. If you drop out before you start getting good, it wasn’t something you actually wanted or loved.

The ones that get good are the ones that keep going.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #531

IG@Renaissance.Life

Advice Overload

Everyone is going to have an opinion about your creative work.Some genuinely want to help you improve and succeed; Others are critiquing just to tear a new hole into your face.

Let’s focus on the genuine advice.

Not all feedback is created equal.

It feels weird saying that too much advice can be a bad thing. The fact that people are giving us advice at all is awesome, but not all advice is created equal.

Advice comes from: experience, creativity, opinion, and or adoration.

And also comes from extreme places: jealousy, fear, caution, recklessness, and a bunch of other emotions they might not know they are pumping out.

An older, wiser person who has been through what you are experiencing or something similar should have more weight than an older person who has never been through it. Experience doesn’t always necessarily mean the advice is correct (advice stuck in the past, for example) but it does have weight and value.

Advice can be tricky to verify, because you don’t always know where the advisor is coming from (experience or opinion? both?).

I think experience and creativity have a higher level of quality than opinion or adoration.

The biggest place where advice loses its equality is in opinion.

A hundred people’s opinion on what you should do will be all over the place.

One person will tell you that you should do X. Another person will tell you that you should do the opposite of X.

The thing that can cut through most advice is making your own decisions.

Taking advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it.

We ultimately decide what’s best for us and for our work.

If a hundred opinionated people give you hundreds of things to try, you have no obligation to do it. Listen, then decide what you think is best.

And if someone experienced gives you advice, it’s always good to pause and take it honestly. then consider how and if it applies to your life.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #530

IG: @Renaissance.Life

Yes Man

I have this weird character trait of being spontaneous, but only when I have control of the spontaneity. If other people try to apply spontaneity to me, I’m super reluctant to want to. I think it boils down to me not liking last minute plans (forced on me), and my time that I trade for saying yes to those plans.

But even so, I’m prone to saying yes to things without thinking about it enough.

When you are in the moment, and the response needs to be instant (or at least feels like it needs to be), there’s not a lot of time to think about how:

  • Saying yes to one thing, means saying no to other things.
  • Saying yes is a time contract. Whether immediate, or delayed, you are trading your time and reputation for each ‘yes’ you agree to.
  • If you say yes to something haphazardly, and decide to not do it, or can’t actually commit to it because of other ‘yeses’ you’ve agreed to, you are lowering your reputation and reliability and replacing it with the dreadful state of being ‘flakey’.
  • Am I saying yes because I want to impress someone / make them like me, or because I actually want to do it?
  • All within the span of 1 second.

I don’t want to be automatic yes person, who goes through life saying yes to others plans and dreams for their life (and my own).

So what do we do?

How to Say Yes to what you actually want, and no to what you don’t.

  1. The more delay we can put in-between our answer to a commitment, the more we can think it through and determine whether or not we actually want to do it and that it aligns with who we want to be. The delay could be simply a pause, or even a response of something like, “give me X amount of time to think about it, and I’ll get back to you”.
  2. Ideally, we can plan ahead and have a list of the types of things we say yes to or not. If you’ve got it set in stone you are going to say no to sugary sweets or gluten ahead of time, then your no’s become automatic. “No thanks, I don’t eat gluten.” The same is true for not only food related yes’s but all times of time commitments as well.
  3. Set the expectation with the people who are in your life. Let them know what the types of things you will say yes or no too.

We need to guard our time like it’s your last bottle of water in the middle of a desert. Because in the grand scheme of the universe, our time here is like a bottle of water: gone before we even notice; valuable beyond imagination; a treasure to be protected.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #529

IG: @Renaissance.Life

To Be Honest

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. “

Richard P. Feynman

Stories are our life.

We are surrounded by stories, inundated with marketing stories of who we should be, what we should buy and how we should live.

We hear stories of and from our family and friends, and stories from our culture and news.

And most of all, we think and live out our own stories. Stories from our past, present and future.

However, thinking and living out stories are usually not the same thing.

How we perceive what’s happening changes the tint of the story of the present, and reflects a different hue on our past, and alters our future.

Not only do we remember the event, we remember how we felt about it. How we worried and stressed about it, or how elated and happy we felt, which in turn, warps the memory through that filter.

Stories are negative and positive feedback loops.

Feeling confident, creates confident situations, which can lead to confident outcomes.

Of course, we’re not really thinking stories in this way.

When we are thinking, we assume it’s us. Meaning, we are what we think. We are the thinker.

But that’s not true. We are not our thoughts. Otherwise, how would we be able to look upon our thoughts and observe them?

And the hardest (dumbest) part of all this is we trick ourselves and rationalize our realties towards our stories.

We listen to our negative chatter and and dishonestly fool ourselves into certain ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.

The fear: ’I’m fat’ ‘I’m not good enough’.

The ego: ‘I’m the greatest’ ‘I’m always right’.

Stories aren’t all bad of course.

The great thing about stories is we have a say in them.

We can write and rewrite our own story.

We can take an honest look at who we are and who we want to be and start living out the story that we want to tell that gets us there.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #528

IG: @Renaissance.Life