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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Creativity is the Medicine for the Soul

“Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.”

Virginia Woolf

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

Rumi

Why do we create? To express ourselves, sure. To be somebody. To highlight something important to the world. And yet, creativity goes much deeper than that.

The act of creating doesn’t just work outwardly, it’s also an act that works within us.

Creativity is an outlet of inner work and outer work. By expressing ourselves through our art, we learn and nurture our own selves.

There are moments in our lives where everything feels like a struggle. Moment where we feel stuck in the same old same old we find ourselves in again. Broken bones, childhood trauma’s, disappointment, broken hearts, loneliness, pain, injury, fear, uncertainty, apathy, burnout, brokenness, bitterness, anger… Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Creating is a great way to work through our thoughts and emotions. Because

Creativity is the Medicine for the Soul.

Why else would some of the greatest songs, books, films, poems, dances, and works of art come from sadness and pain. It’s a form of self-therapy* that releases pent-up energy. Creating something — whatever it is for you — is like a pressure valve release on our minds, bodies and souls. The more we create, the more capable we become. Creativity comes from happy places too. Happy moments need creative expressions just as much as the difficult moments do.

Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going though. Creating something is an excellent tool in the toolkit.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #740

*that being said, always talk to a professional first if you need it.


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Worth it

Essential should take priority over immediate. And yet, we often allow ourselves and feel driven to do the opposite. There’s many reasons we could point to — we didn’t sleep well last night, we are distracted by pain or distracted by shiny things, etc.

What’s easier: answering a few emails and clearing out your inbox or working on your app?

What’s more appealing: watching Netflix or sweating at the gym?

What’s more exciting: going out for drinks or putting butt in seat and writing?

Essential over immediate.

The essential takes more time, energy and intention. No wonder we struggle to get anything important done! We trade short-term pleasures for long-term success and happiness. Not that we have to give up happiness in the present in order to have it in the future. Rather, happiness comes from the process of spending our time and energy in ways that we love and find meaningful. Even an ounce of effort spent on what we love creates massive returns on the rest of our effort (which we might have to give to our other responsibilities, such as working to afford food for our family).

There’s another big reason that the important things tend to get benched:

The important things become too important. Or in other words, the essential things we want to do are so important that we end up not doing them. We idealize and fantasize them into a undefeatable monster in our minds. We (consciously or subconsciously) delay, avoid, distract, procrastinate and psych ourselves out from doing them. And eventually we end up filling our time and energy with everything BUT the things we want to do.

I’m making it seem clear and cut-and-dry, but it’s usually anything but. In reality the tradeoffs are so subtle. We hardly even notice we are selling ourselves short and are feeding the wrong things. We trade what we really want to do, for second or third-best options because we think that’s all we desire or are capable of doing.

Because what if we fail?
What if we waste all this time and energy for nothing?
What if we succeed and are still unhappy?

Ultimately it comes down to giving yourself some space and asking yourself is it worth it or not.

Is this worth my finite amount of time and energy?
Is this going to add value to my life AND the lives around me?
Is this going to provide me meaning and happiness in the present, regardless if I fail or succeed in the end?

Failing at something you love is better than succeed at something you hate or find mediocre.

Because failure is recoverable. But we can’t get back wasted time on things that don’t matter.

The road to mediocrity is born from hesitation and feeding ‘what you are supposed to do’ instead of what you feel called to do.

What do you feel called to do in this life?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #734


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A Job to Love

“Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.”

Hustling can only get you so far. No matter how much blood, sweat and pixels you give to something, if your heart’s not in it, you’ll eventually burnout.

The ideal form of work is loving every second of it, even the parts that suck. How can you love something that’s difficult, painful, tedious and occasionally stressful — because it’s fun.

Sometimes we decided we want to separate our passion from money. I think that’s okay, as long as your day job isn’t getting in the way. But to make your passion your living is also a path you can pursue.

Work is play when it’s something you love, even the difficult parts. And it’s yours. It’s something to plant your flag on.

Sometimes we have to go through a lot of turmoil and crap to get to a place where we can make money playing, but when you do it makes the effort even more worth it. Perseverance and determination are key. To do the work we love, we have to give it our everything.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #679

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Directed Intent

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Steve Jobs

Work is how we make our dreams happen. But not all work is equal.

We can do a whole lotta work for the wrong reasons, and still end up where we started or worse. We can also do a lot of work for the right reason, but for the wrong people.

There’s nothing wrong with giving your time and energy to helping others and making their dreams happen, if they are willing to do the same thing for you.

Work can also be unequal when we are working in circles. the wheels are spinning but the car isn’t going anywhere. There’s effort, but no thought to the method. Work is like a tool, and tools require direction.

We have to point our work towards the reality we want to create. That’s direction. That’s movement. That’s how dreams are made.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #676

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Hurry Up and Wait

Yesterday I️ talked about the idea of self-inflicted stress. Stress that we carry around like an orangutan on our back, jonesing for a banana. (…what?) This could be internal stressors we bottle up, such as anger and frustration towards our work or relationships, and this could be external stressors like

comparison (why can’t I️ have what she has?), 

stuff (I️ have too much stuff / I️ don’t have even stuff / I️ don’t have the right stuff), 

Or pursuits (money, happiness, connections, skills).

But usually its all the above, internal stressors, external stressors, twisting around like earbuds in your pocket, eventually forming into one giant life crisis that floors you and feels impossible to untangle.

I️ mentioned that a big self-inflicted stress that I️ carry is being late / hating rushing. I️ HATE rushing. It’s one of my least favorite feeling. (Did I️ say that already?) I️ want to be on time, but I️ fit so much in my day that I️ don’t have a lot of margin in between doing things. (which is an entirely separate topic I️ need to explore…)

I also live on island time 🏝 This is definitely something I️ picked up from my mom. Her parents (my grandparents) were the complete opposite. They would leave a movie before I­t­ was over just to beat the traffic. I️ think she rebelled into the opposite direction, taking her time, not beholden to it, not afraid of showing up late. My dad, on the other hand, is completely opposite from her (Which makes for regularly hilarious entertainment 🍿). He wants to be on time for everything, but when he can’t — usually because of mom — he goes through the 10 stages of grief.

In the army, they have a phrase for this: Hurry up and wait. You’re either 15 minutes early or your late. I️ learned this from gabriella, who, centuries before we met, was in the army. To them, I️ imagine it’s all about being prepared. You want to be where you need to be, at the right time, the right place, with the right structure and gear to be able handle anything.

Which sounds fantastic. I️ want to be in the right time, right place and have everything I️ need to handle anything. That sounds amazing!

Putting that mindset into practice starts with the level of commitment you have on your goal. You can’t be 15 minutes early if you keep hitting snooze. If you are 10 minutes away, you need at least 25 minutes to get there early.

The same is true for entrepreneurship and creativity.

Deadlines are not restriction, they are margins of time that give you (ideally) flexibility and space to be your most creative and effective self. Of course unrealistic deadlines are restriction. They are the equivalent of rushing or cramming. Without structure, work doesn’t get done. Without margin, creativity isn’t at its best. There’s a tight balancing act between island time and chronic panic.

It’s impossible to be creative if you’re not actually in the habit of creating. And it’s hard to be creative with a banana crazy orangutan for a backpack.

How to find this balance all depends on how you want to live. What you do for work, Who you work for, spend time with and surround yourself with, What types of content you consume and what principles and values you hold all add up in a big, and unique way. There is no one way, because there is only one you. I️ can show you how I️ live my life and you can be inspired and challenge by that or not. But trying to be me doesn’t mean that will work for you. Making I­t­ (dreams, passions, experiences etc) work comes from making I­t­ work for you.

The thing to be watchful of is the question: do you feel good about how you act?. When you’re actions don’t align with who you are and your aspirations / intentions / values, then you’re adding stress to the ‘I hate myself’ bucket.

Do you feel good about how you act?

If you do then you’re on the right track. If you don’t it’s time to change how you feel or change how you do things.

Being on time is great, and being late is fine — unless your stressing yourself all the time by carrying around two opposing beliefs: 

I️ should be early, 
I️ am never on time.

Should being the key word here. Our ‘should’s’ are the very core of what our self-inflected stresses are. We should be doing something, but we are not.
we want to be doing something, but we haven’t.  We wish we could, but we are not trying. 

I️ try my best to live my life by the things that I️ do, versus the things that I️ should do.

I️ hardly succeed at it, and easily fall pray to comparing myself to others, but as long as I️ reaching for the goal, I️’m better off than I was.

The more ‘should’s’ you can remove from your life, the greater life you will have.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂
Josh Waggoner

Feedback: What did you think about today’s blog post? Did it spark any insights for you? Thoughts? Outrage? Email me: josh@renaissancelife.com. Join the Renaissance Email List below for more content on creativity, mastery and life.

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Related Insights

“Your best ideas, those eureka moments that turn the world upside down, seldom come when you’re juggling emails, rushing to meet the 5 P.M. deadline or straining to make your voice heard in a high-stress meeting. They come when you’re walking the dog, soaking in the bath or swinging in a hammock.” — Carl Honore

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

“A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man’s life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars.” — Henry David Thoreau

Book Pairings

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety by Charlie Hoehn

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

 

Show Not Tell

Sometimes I find myself talk talk talking about all these ideas I have but never actually pulling out the running shoes and going for it.

Ideas are great and all, but if you don’t do them (or give them to someone else who might want to do them), what good are they??

In life, those who make their dreams happen are the ones who say F it, I’m just gonna to do it, despite the fear, despite everything telling them “you can’t”, despite the circumstances and environment.

I love ideas. I love coming up with ideas for other people’s businesses and pursuits. But when it comes to sharing my ideas, nobody cares.

Nobody cares about your ideas, they only care about your results.

(And whether or not the results are worth it to them to try it for themselves.)

The only way to change someone’s mind is to show not tell.

Live by your actions instead of your thoughtful wishes.

The classic example is a doctor who tells you how to be healthy, but smokes cigarettes and looks like they had one too many chicken sandwiches. 

100 great ideas is worth nothing compared to a good idea that’s be executed.

Remember, always show not tell.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

Non-stop Effort

When you find something you love to do, go after I­t­ with everything you’ve got. It’s not about what you don’t have — money, time, energy, connections — it’s about what you do have — effort. Opportunities and resources are directly related to how much effort you put in. Sure, in everything we do, there is a sprinkle of luck that is involved. The right time, right place and resonance with others, but waiting for the right time is a waste of effort. Unless you are a highly accurate futurist, the “right time” only exists in hindsight. Everything else is educated guesses. 

Even if you’re down on your luck, trapped in a hole you dug yourself, lost in the desert known as “what do I️ do with my life?” or roughly translated from Spanish as “how did I️ get here??!”, you still have effort.

Effort is how we can overcome any setback or obstacles we will face in life.

Doing instead of wishing.
Trying instead of dreaming.
Leaping instead of fearing.

Wishing for change is like wishing for bagels — nothing changes and there are no bagels.

If you want a bagel, you have to go out there and get one yourself.

The more non-stop your effort is, the quicker feedback you’ll have on what’s working and what’s not working.

Non-stop effort gives you the experience and practice you need to reach mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂
— Josh Waggoner

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Blog post inspired by: Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” — Winston Churchill

“You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset.” — Tom Hopkins

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Don’t Have Time for Fun & Happiness

I caught myself saying this the other day to a friend: 

“Yeah I love to paint but I just don’t have time for it…”

BS

Time is relative to the decisions you say yes (or no ) to. 

Not making time for the things you care about is stupid. And your body and mind knows I­t­ too. Our bodies remember how we felt when we were doing things we love. We all have a time in our lives where we remember being the happiest and alive we’ve ever been. “If only I️ could go back to that…”

Have you had the experience of loving something, like dance or tennis, but for some reason or another you stop doing I­t­? Maybe you get sick, something comes up at work and you derail into only doing things you like and never doing things you love. 

I️ understand you have responsibilities, and things to take care of. But if you forget to do things you love in your daily life, you’ll wake up one day a little duller, a little unhappier and chronically stressed from going all in on “What you have to do”.

You’ve got to make time for work and play. (I’ve learned this the hard way)

Time, like most things in life, is a decision. I­t­ reminds me of breathing. How you spend your time can happen unconsciously or consciously. Defaulting to whatever comes your way (indecision) or deliberately choosing to align what you love to what you do every day.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” — Bruce Lee

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” — Barbara Bush

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi

It’s the Little Things

Have you ever noticed on an iOS device, when you turn off airplane mode the little plane on the left upper corner shoooooots off to the right?

Or the fact the clock app’s icon subtlety ticks?

That’s why Apple wins.
They are far from infallible, but when they slow down and refine every little detail of their work, it adds up in a big way.

In our own lives, when you lose sight of the details, because of neglect, hardship or flat out doing too much, we tend to scramble and not do well. 

Your health tanks. You work too much. You forget to rest and play. You lose sight of the big picture. You think, ‘why does everything suck?’.

Maybe it’s because you forgot about the little details your body needs. Are you drinking enough water or another round of coffees?  Are you eating nutritional foods or getting pasta for a third night this week? Are you moving or just going from your work to your kitchen to your bed, rinse repeat?

Personally, this suck-mode comes when I say yes to too many things at once.

SAYING YES TO EVERYTHING IS THE DARK SIDE OF ASPIRING TO BE A RENAISSANCE MAN / WOMAN.

You can’t do everything for all people. You do not have enough time, money or energy for that. Choose what you love, stick with those until you reached a level of mastery you can maintain and try new things. 

How many songs, YouTube channels, podcasts, designs, movies, business, and adventures have been lost because someone (you) got distracted by a shiny thing? The stupidest stupid thing about shiny things is there usually gone in a month. Shiny new things tend to lose their shine quickly because even the shiniest shiny thing is still work. Everything you want takes work. That’s why choosing to pursue things you love is so important. Doing things you hate because you thought I­t­ looked fun at the moment only makes you miserable.

Focus on what you love, and work hard to put yourself in a position mental, financially, spiritually, physically and emotionally where you can give your all to those few things.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
And wherever you are, keep smiling 🙂

— Josh Waggoner

IG: @Renaissance.Life

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Related Insights

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” — William Morris

“An exceptional company is the one that gets all the little details right. And the people out on the front line, they know when things are not going right, and they know when things need to be improved. And if you listen to them, you can soon improve all those niggly things which turns an average company into an exceptional company.” — Richard Branson

“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” Swami Sivananda