There’s no there there.

“I’m probably wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it again. Every little thing that happens to you, good and bad, becomes a little piece of the puzzle of who you become. Every successful person you read about – Warren Buffett, Bill Gates – they all say pretty much the same thing. ‘Do what you love.’ I know I did.”

David Foster

Are you doing great work today?

Is that work something you love doing and would do it anyway, even if you never got a single dime or follow?

Are you trying to one-up the work you did yesterday?

Are you trying to help others and make an impact?

Are you genuine?

Are you prioritizing self-care, family and community?

Then you are exactly where you need to be. Keep doing it. Otherwise, make small adjustments to make sure you are aiming for the right things in life.

There will never be a moment that we ‘make it’, because there will always be questions (from ourselves and from other people) like so, ‘what’s next’?

‘What’s next’ is what this life is about.

It’s letting go of things you didn’t like in the past, be that work or pain or setbacks, and always living in the moment. The future is today, we just haven’t realized it yet. Everything we do today, adds up to what we do (or not d0) tomorrow.

There’s always another mountain to climb. The goal is less about climbing the mountain the quickest, farthest and highest anyone’s ever been, or being the first to do it. The goal is to enjoy the hike. Up, down and on to the next. There’s joy and meaning to be had at each step. Because even when it’s most difficult, and you’re hungry and parched and tired, it’s worth the effort to do what you love, and be who you love. Plus the water tastes that much sweeter. And the food even more satisfying.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #716


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Pivoting Unhappiness

“The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Moments of unhappiness are okay. Being unhappy isn’t a bad thing. Unhappiness isn’t something we needed to quickly swat away, like a fly landing on our arm. Rather, unhappiness is something to be observed. It’s trying to show us something. It’s a sign that something needs to change. It’s telling us when need to shift things around and take action.

As long as we don’t dwell on unhappiness, then unhappiness will eventually break away to happiness.

Otherwise, we’ll feel stuck. Otherwise we’ll continue to choose work, friends, habits or other things that aren’t helping us and making us better.

If happiness and unhappiness is a teeter toter, like you would see on a playground, then our inner and outer world are at its fulcrum, tilting you towards on way or another.

What are your habits tilting you towards?
What about your friends, coworkers and community?

Do you enjoy your work?
Do you give yourself plenty of time to rest and play?
Are you eating right? Are your thoughts optimistic?

If the mind is anywhere in this metaphor, its the kid sitting on our seesaw — the mind is either lifting us up or weighing us down.

We don’t have to do much to tilt our way towards happiness. All we have to do is notice what’s bothering us, the points that are causing us headaches, and taking little steps towards resolving them or removing them from our lives.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #715


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Stronger From Trying

“Success and failure are both part of life. Both are not permanent.”

Shah Rukh Khan

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We don’t always win, but we can grow stronger from trying. Put that on a bumper sticker and call it a day.

The most difficult part is not letting failure get to you, and failure is soooo great at doing just that and getting in our heads. Here’s a great example: looking for a job.

Have you ever had the soul crushing experience of trying to find a job and yet only getting rejection emails or no responses at all? The problem is we are comparing something personal — our lives and careers — with something that’s also personal but abstracted behind dozens or even hundreds of resume’s to read from mostly complete strangers in the companies inbox. (No wonder word of mouth usually is the method of choice for hiring.) It’s hard not to feel down and low self-worth when day after day you are met with rejection.

And yet failure is part of the process. Rejection is part of creativity. Put yourself and your work out there and eventually it will meet criticism, bad reviews, or worse — silence.

Some critiques are worth listening to. If it pushes us to do better and try harder, then it’s worth the immediate sting. And un-constructive critiques should be thrown out and set on fire.

Inaction from fear doesn’t change anything. Inaction just keeps us exactly where we are — usually somewhere we don’t want to be.

Trying something new each day does. ‘Okay, that photo didn’t work out so well, what can I try next?’.

As long as we keep getting up, we never actually fail. Even going through the worst failure doesn’t stop the world spinning. Another day always comes. Another chance to try again.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #714


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Nothing Endures but Change

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

William Arthur Ward

Unfortunately-fortunately, the change that endures isn’t always the change that we want. Sometimes change means ‘fewer clients’ and periods of financial angst and shower-crying sessions. Sometimes change means some fool not paying attention and slamming into the back of your car while you are running late.

And other times, changes looks like buying a dog, a new season of your favorite show, a new Drake album, dyeing our hair pink or moving to a new city.

Yet, when change enviable knocks on our door, we don’t always know if its good or bad. And as time goes on, change changes on us. (The nerve of it.)

It’s easy to desire change we think benefits us, and hard to accept change we think harms us, but it’s not always so cut and dry.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to turn every negative into a positive. Some moments in our lives really do suck. Health issues that don’t go away… Someone taking advantage of us …
And yet, even when the nonsense stuff happens to us, we still need to find a way to resolve it and move past it.

We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can do the best we can do to seek the change that creates abundance in our lives, and learn to be steadfast when change pushes us around.

When I think back on my life so far, it’s often the short term, immediate pain, setbacks, failures and negative events that have blossomed into long term benefits and drivers. As painful as they may be in the moment, setbacks can change us for the better if we let them. It wasn’t long into my health and renaissance journey that I injured my neck in a bad way. It wasn’t the start of my health journey, but it was the catalyst that made me seek out health and wellness even more.

Change shows us what we have been neglecting. It shows us what’s important and what matters to us.

An injury that changes your trajectory in life.

A critique that drives you to get better.

A failure that forces you to start over.

I don’t wish ill of anyone, but I do hope you experience wonderful change in your life.

Life without change would become stagnant. Change, even the negative kind, can be a force we can use to create a positive impact on our lives.

“Nothing endures but change.”

Heraclitus

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #713


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Don’t Defeat Yourself

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.”

Peter Diamandis

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

How often do we lose in our minds before we even have tried? There’s many ways we can defeat ourselves, but the biggest one is our mind.

Our mind is the foundation to any challenge or problem we face. Face off any two equally skilled athletes yet opposing mindsets — one who believes they can win and one who doesn’t or who has uncertainty — and the stronger, more open mind will always win.

Mindset a squishy topic, to be sure. I wonder if its because we don’t necessarily have the vocabulary or cultural rituals or norms around talking about our conscious and subconscious? Or perhaps our thoughts and self-defeating chatter is not a usual dinner topic in our society because our mind and our thoughts are not something others can hear.

Whatever the case, unless you are blunt and tell it like it is (or have a therapist or really great friend), we keep 1/3rd of ourselves usually to ourselves. This isn’t always bad, per se. Telling everyone around you that they are fat or hot isn’t the best way to live. But if that’s true, then why do we allow our thoughts to bully ourselves around internally?

We are hostile to ourselves, especially when our outside world (be it work, family, finances, stress, etc) is baring down on us in times of failure and difficulty.

When we are feeling low, our negative self-defeating mind doesn’t pull any punches.

There’s a great Richard Feynman phrase worth remember that goes “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

We are the easiest person to defeat with our own mind if we are not careful. Replace ‘fool’ for ‘defeat: “You must not defeat yourself and you are the easiest person to defeat”.

One thing no one teaches us is that mindset is a skill to be practiced.

I think the problem is we aren’t taught how to hone our minds. Hanging up cute visualization posters of cats reminding us we can ‘do it’ doesn’t count. When we are growing up, we have to learn to crawl, then wobble, fall and then stand before we can walk. We have to learn how to talk by observe and listen to the word our parents and people around us use. We also have to learn our ABC’s and 123’s before we can write and read.

But no one teaches us how to think or visualize. Our minds are still crawling on the ground, lost to whatever squirrel peaks our interest. We can ride a bike, type 70 words per minute, drive, sing, dance, start a business, get married, have kids, without knowing a single thing about mindset.

It’s impressive we’ve made it this far…

So what can we do to cultivate our mind?

We can read. We can seek out clear and insightful thoughts written down by smarter people from today and throughout history.

We can listen and observe. It takes a lot of effort to give others your full and undivided attention. Work those listening muscles.

We can talk. We can find someone or a group of people willing to be honest with one another about what each person is struggling and going through and what each is doing to improve themselves.

We can mediate. Which really is just practicing breathing and observing. Mediation is a ritual we can cultivate to practice learning to notice our thoughts and not always be swept up by them.

We can visualize. We can practice mentally visualizing ourselves winning a game, owning a speech, doing the things we dream of doing.

Resolve yourself to hone your mind. Think better thoughts. Thoughts beget actions beget habits beget results.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

Buddha

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Henry Ford

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #712


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Simplicity in Character

“Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

🎶 And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand

Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied 🎶

Simple Man, Gary Rossington / Ron Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd

What do we truly need in this life? Air, water, nutrition, sleep, movement, and a functioning body, allow us the ability to live. Remove any one of these and we don’t survive for long.

Everything beyond this essential needs is extra. Sure, we can get less polluted air, cleaner water, better nutrition and sleep, optimal movement and body, but these are luxuries. We don’t get to choose where we are born, or what kind of circumstances we are born into. We tend to forget how lucky we’ve got it, in the midst of all the daily wants and desires we all face. (I use the word ‘face’ here intentionally. Not only do we face our own desires and ambitions, we also face the desires of others.)

It’s comforting to remember this on hard, stressful days. It’s particularly when you come home from a stressful work day, or get mentally hurt (on purpose or not) by someone —

You don’t need that job.You don’t have to be friends with people who hurt you or negatively influence you. At the end of the day, you’ll still survive if you decide to let go of something that’s not doing you any favors or lifting you up.

We all want more for our lives, but more is not worth diminishing our character.

Of course, living isn’t the same thing as being ALIVE.

I experience the world through my own eyes and shoes, but I’m certainly not the center of the universe. We are surrounded by other living beings like ourselves, who also want to thrive.

What do we truly need in this life to thrive?

+ A healthy body, mind and spirit.

+ A community of friends and family who mutually what each other to thrive in life.

+ Self-confidence and worth.

+ Humility for what we have (and don’t have).

+ Mind-full thoughts and intent.

+ Love and compassion.

+ Believe in something greater than just ourselves.

+ Purpose behind our steps and challenges to strive for.

+ Desire for wisdom and understanding.

+ Strong moral fiber and code.

+ Balance between satisfaction and pursuit.

+ Strength for the circumstances in front of us.

+ Work that excites our imagination and curiosity.

+ Wealth, time and energy to give to what we love

+ A chance to be bold and put a dent in what we can.

The details will look different for each of us, but our pictures looks similar.

Once we’ve got our bases covered, our goals is not only to cultivate our character to open up ourselves to pursuing a life of meaning. And helping and lift up others to do the same.

‘Thriving’ is a verb. Think of them each like a plant in a garden. To have these things, we must go after them and cultivate them.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #711


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It’s Complex

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Leonardo da Vinci

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs

Simple is hard. Trying to go from complex to simple is even harder. Simple is the reason why every time we hear of an amazing idea we think “Oh! why didn’t I think of that!!”

A good idea becomes an extraordinary one when you can hide complexity behind simple understanding. We don’t get rid of the complexity, we just add a layer above it that allows more people to quickly grasp its meaning and take advantage of its insights and use.

Simplicity should level the playing field while also spark curiosity into the hearts of those who crave a little more deeper understanding. It doesn’t take a genius to drive a car, but it does take someone smart to build one, a genius for the car to build itself and a group of geniuses for it to drive itself.

Simplicity is the frontline to imagination and insight. The best work (and teachers) in the world comes from the ability to take complexity and make it exciting and tangible.

You can see this everywhere. Flip to the back of any nonfiction book and see the massive chunk of pages taken up by references and notes used to simplify the central ideas and narrative of the book. Watch an athlete or olympian accomplish an amazing feat and make it look easy (except when you try it yourself and see how difficult it actually is).

Again, easier said than done. In order to create work that is easily understood, we have to go to great lengths to peel back layers and layers of complexity, while also not losing our beginner’s mind, meaning, our ability to take what we know and distill it down into something elegantly simple.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #710


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Expensive Tastes…

“Good taste is as tiring as good company.”

Francis Picabia

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair

It’s easier to require expenses tastes than to get rid of them.

Naturally, this is a first world problem. It’s usually the people in the world who have next to nothing who are the happiest. There’s likely many reasons why, but my guess is that their happiness is less about owning fewer things and more about not knowing that they are “missing out” on better things.

We naturally seek excitements and challenges. We crave new things and new experiences, while at the same time love habits and routines. And one thing lead to another and what was once exciting becomes our new normal.

Cars, for example. Your first car is usually a used piece of junk you were barely able to afford — but you loved it. It didn’t matter that it would barely start and had a scratchy speaker system. It gave you what you wanted — freedom.

It was only in comparison to your a friend’s nicer car, or a particularly great ad that made you want something shinier and better. Once we have enough of these moments and eventually we can rationalize our way up to becoming unable to own anything but new cars, or even sports cars.

This type of spectrum is happening in every area of our life we are interested in. Get used to certain ways of living and it’s difficult to go back.

Air Condition is another good example. My AC has been broken this past week and it’s been almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep because of the heat. I’ve had the privilege to live in AC the majority of my life. Even most cars have temperature control. But now I’m reliant on an external thing. One week in, and I’m a mess.

Reliance isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s usually not a bad thing at all. We like what we like. We lean on what we have to lean on. We find joy in quality. And the deeper we go into a hobby, interest, experience, the more quality we gain.

Start eating healthy with higher quality, unprocessed foods and you’ll gain more energy and health than you know what to do with. But try going back to a fast food life and you’ll feel terrible. You know too much now. You’re no longer a food muggle. Maybe you’ll crave a McFlurry from Mickey D’s every once in a while, but you’ll won’t want to give up the benefits you gain from eating healthy.

But it’s a trade off, because in order to rely on great food, or a new hobby like learning to play the guitar or experiences like travel, you have to use up some of your limited resources (time, money and energy).

What’s the lifetime cost of this habit? What’s the lifetime benefit of this habit?

Does the benefits outweigh the cost?

It’s always good to way the benefits and the long term costs of anything we decide to do or own.

And it’s also good to regularly test what you think you need and must have to live a good and happy life. Sometimes setbacks and circumstances prevent us from having or living life like we were used to. It happens. The goal is to not let setbacks get in the way of our joy in life.

At the end of the day, a place to rest, clean air and water, good food and good company is all we really need.

…And maybe a book or ten. (Or maybe that’s one of my expensive tastes 🙂

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #709


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Related:

Schitt’$ Creek

Questions for Important Decisions:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Important decisions usually don’t come with a whole lot of time to think about them. Going with our gut is always the better move, but knowing what your gut is saying is not always easy. The mind gets in the way.

It takes true courage to say no to a great opportunity. Every opportunity we have the chance to take is always a mix of hard work, timing and chance. Take two opportunities, but in an equal amount of hard work, and one will fail because of chance and the other will success because of chance. That’s why it’s important to follow our instincts. We might fail, but at least we followed who we are. Failure hones instinct just as sharp (if not more so) than success does.

Here are some questions we can ask to prompt an gosh darn honest response from ourselves:

Would I want to do this if it started tomorrow?


Does this align with my values and dreams?


Does this benefit everyone, or is this one sided?


If money needs were met, would I say yes to this?


If I say yes, what other things do I have to say no now? (Or what am I giving up by saying yes and is it worth it?)


Would my childhood self be proud if I did this?


Does this give me what I need, while also tickle my curiosity?


Take one or two you find useful. Or let these spark your own questions.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #708


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A Good Companion

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

They say a dog is a humans best friend. Being an owner of a dog, I completely agree. It’s hard to get a more loyal and happy companion than a your little furry friend 🐶.

However, I find it a little sad though. Because you would think, of all the people who would we our best friend, it would be ourselves. Shouldn’t we be our own best friend. Who is in better alignment with our dreams, thoughts, feelings, and emotions than ourselves? Shouldn’t we have the most sympathy and loyalty to ourselves?

And yet, we are usually our own worst critic. We don’t believe in our abilities. We think we can change, but never actually do. We hate who we are. We wear ourselves out with negativity, worry, regret, indecision and fear. And we even tend to go behind our own back without knowing!

How can we resolve this?

How do we become our own best friend?

First, we must learn who we are. It’s difficult to like someone who you don’t know anything about.

To do that, we have to be alone with ourselves.

Nature helps. Go be on the water or out in the woods. Rent a kayak, go for a hike or take a walk in the park. Motion helps too. A silent car ride on your way to work, or a road trip to the next town over. A morning bike ride or run. Do what you have to do to get yourself alone without technology or others.

Breathe. Be weird for a moment. Ask yourself questions. Listen for answers. Care about who you are. How would a friend treat you? What would a dog do? (W.W.D.D.?)

Second, we must learn to keep our past in the past. The past can cut us up daily. Maybe you’re not proud of a decision or moment in your past. Maybe a regret haunts you to this day. And, most of all, maybe you’re mad or resentful or envious about decisions someone else made to you or for you. How often do you let the past – something out of our control – rule over your day? One bad egg shouldn’t ruin the bunch. A head in the past has no bite in the present and no ambition for the future. Let. It. Go. Light a prayer lantern. Do a seance. Dance naked under the moon (please don’t do this). But serious, seek advice, seek council, find help. Let go of who you were, so you can be who are are.

Seek out ways to let go of your ghosts. They’ve gotten you this far, but you don’t need them any longer.

List out all the benefits you can think of for a difficult moment in your past has helped you. List all the downsides of it not happening.

Third, we also must learn who we want to be, and let go of any shortcomings or flaws we have and struggle with on our way towards our ideal self.

The goal is to be okay with who we are and what we’ve got to work with, while at the same time continuously pursuing a better version of our selfs.

I know, It’s a weird balance. There’s a lot of pitfalls that can get us stuck. The key is understanding that the ideal self is the goal, but never the end goal. The point isn’t to make our best self the end all be all. The point is to try with all of our might. The value is in the act of pursuit, not reaching a moment. The top of the mountain is fleeting. The top of the second mountain isn’t any more satisfying. The joy comes from the climb up. The pursuit of meaning is what matters.

If we can master these three things, AND have a dog — we’ll practically be unstoppable*.

(* until we die anyway)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #707


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