Current Reads

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

Rene Descartes

If you like reading as much as I do, I’ve put together a page to highlight what I’m currently reading, what I recently read, and what’s up next. You can find it here, or up in the navigation. I’m also halfway through an ultimate Renaissance Life Bookshelf page to highlight all the books I would recommend if you are interested in being a Renaissance Human. I had something like this before, many moons ago, but it got lost in the digital couch cushions when I switched over to a new website, so I’m starting from scratch.

Book notes and book-related video reviews are something I’d like to experiment with. It takes an enormous amount of effort to suck out the marrow (gross) of a book and distill it down to its essence. I take a copious amount of notes anyway, now I just need to streamline my process. Time is always a big factor (particularly since I do this blog/podcast in my free time versus full time. (If you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1295

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Time-Block Planner Update

Well, even after only 5 days, I can already say that using  Cal Newport’s Time-Block Planner is a game-changer for me.

The first thing I noticed right off the bat was how little time I have, or—more precisely—how little time I’m giving to the important things that matter to me. For lack of a better word, I need to do so serious life redecorating.

But even with that, the planner also makes my time feel proactive versus reactive. Sure, things come up and I have to cross and rearrange things, but ultimately where I spend my time is a choice.

Choices that grow bad habits, distant friends, and unfinished business.

OrChoices that build good habits, good friends, and finished goals.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1294

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Committed, not Overcommitted.

Saying “yes” to everything only works when the opportunities are coming linearly or concurrently at a pace you can handle. But when you start saying yes to everything, all at once, then it’s only a matter of time before you break from stretching yourself too thin.

But what do you do if you are already overcommitted? How do you back down from the ledge?

There’s two options: little by little, or all at once.

The “all at once” option is the easiest, but potentially the most damaging. Because saying yes is a contract. It’s a firm handshake binding you to commit to what you agreed to. Backing out can bruise your reputation. But if you are burnt out and so overcommitted it’s starting to not only effect your happiness but your health, then dropping everything might be worth the damage. And if you are burnt out, you might not have a choice. Unless you want to stay a char broiled piece of leftover meat the rest of your life. Never say yes to something you don’t feel you should do. And if you have to back out then, back out, but do whatever is necessary to make amends and stick the landing.

The little by little is harder, because it requires you to followthrough with that you said yes to—even if you don’t want to. But in so doing, you show that you can be reliable and finish what you start. Day by day, you work your way towards a clear calendar. Of course, this only works if you stop saying yes to anything else. Continuously saying yes to more and more only keeps the overcommitted problem-train chugging along.

Committed gets you where you want to go; Overcommitted keeps you stuck in the mud.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1292

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Fed Up

Have you ever walked up a couple of flights of steps and felt completely winded? Where you think to yourself, “dang, I’m so out of shape”. Or how about you go to a local mixer and—once again—you stand awkwardly in the corner pretending to eat so you don’t have to talk to anyone. Or maybe you have a dream to learn how to cook, but for the life of you, you can’t freak’n get yourself to start.

There’s a lot that can hold us back. Bu being fed up isn’t one of them. Being “Fed up” with your life (or an aspect of your life) is a catalyst for change. It reminds me of the moment just before water boils. The water is starting to bubble and thrash. Something needs to give and then it does—water heats and turns to steam. (And is ready for the pasta noodles!)

In these moments Change isn’t inevitable. The other option is we can keep on doing what we are doing and complain eternally about it. But what does that get us? Not the change we seek. Instead, lean into the moment. Get mad. Mad enough to finally start exercising, or working the nerve to connect with new people or to learn how to cook.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1291

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What is a ‘Yes’?

“It is very important to know who you are. To make decisions. To show who you are.”

Malala Yousafzai, Activist

I’ve been learning some Solidity lately, which is a C++, Javascript type language for making smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Once you start dipping your toes into the cryptocurrency shallow pool, you quickly start getting into some deep philosophical questions, like “What is money really?” and “What is value?”

Money is a transaction of value. It’s a collective idea that drives economic systems. Why do we want colorful paper in our slim wallets or digits on a website held by an entity humanity calls “banks”. Food, clothing, shelter, nice things, sure. But really money is time. When you have enough to sustain the lifestyle you want, you have the freedom and flexibility to pursue what you find meaningful and fulfilling. That depends heavily on your environment and the kind of lifestyle you can (want) to afford.

If you think about it, decisions are a type of currency too.

Every ‘yes’ given to someone or some task is a value transaction. A ‘yes’ is a time commitment to something you or who you are saying yes to values. That could be saying yes to a job you love (or yes to a job you hate or are reluctant about). That could be saying yes to a new project or to a coffee date or business event. Each ‘yes’ takes time to do. The amount time varies, but there’s a cost to every yes.

Decisions are a type of currency.

Sometimes the cost is worth it because of what you get out of it. For example, putting in consistent time for exercising pays dividends on your health, happiness, and energy. But if you backtrack, or flake after saying yes, then you get slapped with a ‘ convenience fee’ on your reputation.

No’s are like savings or investment accounts for your time. Every ‘no’ leaves you more time down the road for ‘yes’. This could be saving for better yeses, or temptations of mediocre ‘yeses’.

This is why it’s vital to be intentional about our decisions. Making bad calls inevitably happens, but the more we are intentional about our time, the more valuable our time can be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1290

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Intentional Time

“You can go slow. Allow your dreams and goals to change, but live an intentional life.”

Kumail Nanjiani, Comedian, actor, screenwriter, co-writer of The Big Sick

My dad recently surprise gifted me Cal Newport’s Time-Block Planner. The book is a whole lot nicer than it appears on Amazon and features a soft cover with an embossed grid on a deep-blue background and nice thick paper (I shouldn’t be surprised by the quality—it’s printed by Penguin Business / Penguin Random House.)

The Time-Block system is built around ”managing time instead of tasks” and originates all the way back to Benjamin Franklin. The idea is to be more intentional about your time by assigning (and reassigning if things change) blocks of time each day. This helps us not only focus on the important things we want to focus on but also highlight what’s eating our time.

I’d like to get a better handle on where I spend my time—not just productively but meaningfully.

My daily habits system has been super impactful on my life, and in the long run, will pay off through compounded effort. But I’d like to get better at spending my time wisely and finishing larger goals.

This year has been a very reactionary year for me, with the company I was working for closing due to the pandemic, scrambling to get some freelance clients, cultivating new and relevant skills, and other personal problems going on in my life. Things feel busy and crammed and it’s no Bueno.

I’m hoping that this is a good start to a clean slate of living intentionally and crafting the kind of lifestyle I want to live.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress and what I think of the Time-Block Planner as I start using it consistently.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1289

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“Authentic”

How can a bootleg live song or something through together in a bedroom feel more high quality compared to a polished studio song?

Because it’s not really about quality or place, it’s about authenticity.

Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but it essentially means being true to yourself and letting who you are and your story speaks from a real place within.

Of course, we can be authentically terrible at our craft. Being an authentically bad artist doesn’t really bring home the turkey bacon.

And trying to capture authentic works for authenticity’s sake defeats the purpose of being authentic.

But when authentic work is paired with exceptional quality, magic happens.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1288

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What Works for You

One different aspect about any creative endeavor is there is no one way of doing things. What works for you might not work for me. That’s also one of the wonderful things about creativity—figuring things out is part of the process.

This is wonderful because we get to forge our own path. …But also terrifying because we get to forge our own path.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t “adapt what is useful” as Bruce Lee once said, and use the stories and playbooks of other creatives and graft them to your own creative ideas. Just because we are doing something new doesn’t mean we can use the tools and resources that already exist and have been successful for others.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1287

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Just Being

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” — Walter Winchell

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

Who we are comes from a wide range of variables. Your—upbringing, past, mistakes, likes, dislikes, desires, dreams and goals, how you act—just to name a few.

A true friend first desires to get to know you. They want to know you. They also want to be known. They might not completely know you (sometimes we barely know ourselves ). But they also see you from an outside perspective. And therefore they potentially know you in ways you don’t.

Next, a true friend accepts who you are… to a point. I give the caveat because acceptance is also an influence. If you are a bad influence, then people not persuaded by your charms will bounce off you quickly. Otherwise, acceptance and forgiveness is built into the DNA of friendship. We all make mistakes and do stupid things from time to time. A true friend looks last the failures and see’s the true character and intent.

A true friend also wants to see you succeed. They might feel envious or challenged by your success, but they are also genuine happy for you. They know that success often rubs shoulders with people close by and influences by proxy.

And a true friend wants to spend time with you. We could be doing something—like watching a movie or playing D & D. Or we could be doing nothing at all—just being.

Finding these types of relationships can be tough, especially as we get older. We get busy and more reluctant to try new things. But one of the best ways to cultivate true friends is to be one yourself and lead by action.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1286

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Talking About “Stuff”

I’ll just come out and say it—I’m pretty bad about talking about myself.

When people ask me questions, my default response seems to be deflecting or saying as little as possible. Not always, sometimes I can be vulnerable and open right away. And if you asked me directly about something about me or something I’m dealing with, I’ll open up right away. And smaller questions—like what music are you listening to (Lately mostly HONNE, Glass Animals, and SABA).

It’s less a lack of vulnerability and more the things in my life have been heavy the last few years+ and I don’t want to unload / burden people with all my problems.

But that’s the thing about friends and surrounding yourself with people—

We share each other’s stuff. The good days, bad days, burdens, successes.

Friends lighten the load and take the weight off our shoulders. It’s almost like the weight of the problems of people we care about weigh less than our own problems (and vice versa). You take some of mine, I take some of yours, and we both walk shoulder to shoulder through life. Kumbaya. Hakuna Matata. That’s how I think it should be anyway.

There’s also a difference between complaining and talking from the heart.

Complaining is perpetual. It’s a concern or dissatisfaction on repeat with—beyond catastrophe, awakening, or the jaws of life—no resolution.

Speaking from the heart is sharing. It’s sharing who you are. It’s showing your cards. Sometimes it’s asking for help, but usually, it’s just having someone that will listen to you.

Maybe unloading all your problems to someone you just met isn’t the best idea. 😜 But we should get comfortable sharing with friends. A good friend is someone you choose to share your life with (and they choose to share with you). Mutually assured love.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1285

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