A Recipe for Frustration

“Well done is better than well said.”

Benjamin Franklin

“I guess I’m just one of these people who, when I decide I’m going to do something, I just do it.”

Tom Ford

Here’s one surefire way to thrive in life: Let your words align with your actions. Don’t just talk — Act. There’s a countless number of factors that go into creating success (including pure chance), however, there’s likely a reason that one of the largest brands in the world has a slogan that says “just do it”.

This is easier said than do, of course. 😉

Talking about something you want to do makes the desire feel more real, and can potential suck the wind out of your sails. It also opens you potentially being criticized or shot down by people around you. Even when people have the best intentions for you and want to see you succeed, sometimes they can say negative or rational reasons why you shouldn’t do it. When this happens, it can be even harder to act when your dreams and ideas have been riddled with bullet holes of people trying to look out for you. We live and die by what we do. There’s a lot standing in the way of what we say and what we do. Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Ego. Expectations. Past assumptions and beliefs. Do we really want to limit ourselves more by throwing other people’s opinions in the mix too?

A excellent recipe for frustration in life is to never do anything you say. When your words don’t align with your actions, no one trusts you, no one believes you — including yourself.

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Morpheus, The Matrix

This is corrosive to the community around you, but even more corrosive to how you think about yourself. Your words become untrustworthy to yourself. You no longer believe you can do what you say, and without that believe in yourself you get stuck in life. Your dreams become wishes. Your words become fiction. You become an arm chair quarterback to your own life.

It’s far better to act before speaking or at the very least make sure that when you speak, you’re going to follow through.

Name anyone you admire and I’m sure their actions speak louder than their words. I find this the greatest form of authenticity. Not only being about to speak your truth and be vulnerable in front of others, but to be able to back up your currency with gold.

The great thing is all action takes is a small step forward, and the dedication to keep going. A small step turns “this is what I want to do” to “this is what I’m doing”.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #580

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Updated: 5/30/2019, 8:11PM: Added Morpheus quote 😉

In The Margins

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

John Lennon

When you go on vacation, are the kind of person who creates an itinerary for every second of the trip, or do you just go with the flow?

I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. I don’t want to waste time, but I also don’t want to have every second planned out, where even bathroom breaks are scheduled out. For example, I don’t just go to a restaurant willy nilly. I check yelp and look at the menu / food photos to check whether or not it’s right for me. (There’s nothing quite as disappointing as wasting time and money on a crap restaurant trip.) However, I do enjoy ‘nothing time’ where nothing is planned (literally planned) and there’s no obligations or todos to be done during that time. (I guess I’m an enigma wrapped in a juxtaposition.)

Why am I writing about this?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how Life’s* plans for you doesn’t always match your plans for Life.

(*replace ‘Life’ with ‘God’ deepening on what you believe.)

(It’s like we’re not the center of the universe or something. Weird.)

The frustratingly cool thing is that often it’s the plans that don’t go our way, that ultimately inform who we are and what we do.

Or put more eloquently, the things that go ‘wrong’ are usually things that go ‘right’. They just so happened to be wrapped in a ‘stress-filled, extra-frustrating, mud-covered’ package. We often expect to take the freeway, but ultimately end up taking the back roads, but come out better for it.

For me, an old neck injury hasn’t ruined my life (like I probably thought when it first happened) but has given me the opportunity to dive headfirst into health and wellness, and taught me the value of pursing health. Without my injury, I don’t know if I would be into health as much as I am today. Without my injury, who would I be?

Life happens in the margins. Expectations only cloud our judgements of the opportunities in the outcomes. Plan, but expect change.

Is everything fair and good that happens to us? No. Sometimes it’s the opposite of unfair. I can’t speak to the struggle and circumstances that happens to others. Sometimes hard things are just plain hard, and it takes a lot to overcome them. But from my own circumstances I’ve found value in there stupid existence. Even if that value is not a resolution, but just a story I have I can share and help others with who have gone through or experienced similar pain.

How we handle what happens to us going forward is likely more important than what happens to us.

All that being said, I’d rather learn from history (and the mistakes of others) rather than experience mistakes I could avoid with a little forethought and planning.

Which means planning more is in my present. (Maybe not on vacation though. I can go to the bathroom whenever I want!)

Plan for the worst, Hope for the best

As the old Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I’m going to start preparing for future outcomes, instead of just waiting for them.

Perhaps nothing is ultimately in our control, but I choose to believe that every decision we make has to count for something, no matter how small. Every decision we make right now has the opportunity to push the levers in our favor. I think it’s better to increase the probability of a good outcome than just assuming it will happen or negatively assuming it won’t. Either assumption, good or bad isn’t a great way to live.

Maybe this is what growing up and being ‘responsible’ means. Getting health and dental insurance, not because it’s worth it or helpful, but because in two years when you accidentally break your leg, you’re covered. Or when it’s time to buy a house, your past self has already planned for that inevitability and has saved for a down-payment already.

Either way, I want to focus on doing everything I can in the present to be have more freedom and flexibility in the future.

There’s a great entrepreneurial quote that says, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

I think we could expand this not only to our business, but to our lives as well.

What are the actions, thoughts, habits we can do NOW, that will benefit us later?
What can we plant today, so that in the future our fields will be full of fruit trees?
What are small things that we can do today that will have massive benefits over time?

We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change what happens going forward by moving the needle towards the positive instead of the negative.

Why do tomorrow what you can do today?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #579

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Rule It Out

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past couple of years, I’ve been dealing with a sleep problem. I’m great at falling asleep, and staying asleep. However, the quality of my sleep isn’t great. When I wake up, I’m just as tired as I was when I went to bed. You can see how this can be a real problem. The chronic, low-grade energy from lack of quality rest effects all aspects of my life. Luckily (or unluckily) as humans our bodies are incredibly resilient. We can push and punish our bodies and they will adapt to the new normal. Often this is beneficial. For example, exercising is fantastic for us and necessary for health. And 90% of the benefits of exercising outweigh the downsides of it’s stressors on our system. (An anti-example is overtraining. By training too much, you don’t give your system a chance to recover from the ‘good’ stress, so you reap less and less benefits, and the stress of constantly stressing yourself builds up and can reek havoc on you… eventually)

All that being said, when you don’t sleep well, you get used to the new normal. What else can you do but use the energy you have and continue moving forward? Tired becomes the new normal and you push through. From the outside looking in, nothing is different. You are just you. Which is a weird feeling, to say the least. Everything is normal, but not as effective as you know you could be, but you still have to be on your A game.

This experience has given me the opportunity to dive deep into the world of sleep and sleep optimization. (A few friends have asked me, so I might do a future post on the resources, tools and strategies I’ve discovered about sleep.)

This experience has also taught me the value of thinking and acting systematic when dealing with problems.

Here are five strategies you can use when facing an uncertain problem (in no particular order):

1. Question all assumptions

What are things that we do that are beneficial to us?
What are things that we do and think that are not beneficial to us?

It’s easy to assume that certain habits or actions are beneficial, but without testing those assumptions, we never actually know whether or not they are benefiting us or causing problems. Not everything thing is a net positive, and sometimes negative habits cancel out beneficial habits. Just like a wave can cancel out another wave, the downside of an action or way of thinking can negate the upside to another action or way of thinking. For example, taking a B-12 supplement isn’t really going to move the health needle in our favor if we are also eating ice cream and other delicious crap every day. Not all examples are as easy to spot what the problem is like this one, so it’s good to have a health dose of questioning all that you (think you) know and do, and test all assumptions and how much value they are each adding to your life.

2. Test Each Variables

What are the underlying factors causing the problem?

Donald Rumsfeld once said, “It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

It’s difficult to pinpoint what the problem is without considering all the variables that potentially contribute to the underlying problem.

Sometimes you can’t know all of the variables that go into play, but making a list of the factors you do know can help you uncover what’s good and what’s not. By making a list, and, essentially checking it twice — isolating the variable and seeing how much pull it has on the problem — we can uncover what’s going wrong. Or at the very least, what’ NOT going wrong. (Checking off things that aren’t causing the problem can be just important as the ones that are.)

For sleep, variables such as:

  • Number of hours in bed (How many hours of sleep are you getting?)
  • Staying asleep (How restful are you during sleep?)
  • Going to sleep (How easy is it to fall asleep?)
  • Bed Time (What time are you in bed?)
  • Dinner Time (How many hours between dinner and bedtime?)
  • Stress (Work stress?
  • Screens (Are you looking at screens before bed? If so what time / how long?)
  • Reading (Are you reading before bed?)
  • Blue Lights (Are you exposing yourself to blue light too late from fluorescents etc?)
  • Shower (Do you take a shower / bath before bed?)
  • Cold Thermogenesis? (What does an ice bath or cold shower do before bed?)
  • Mattress (How new is your mattress? High quality?)
  • Pillow (How nice / optimal is your pillow? Especially with an injury)
  • Sheets (How nice are your sheets?)
  • Room Temperature (How cold or hot is your room)
  • Room Darkness (How dark is your room?)
  • Air Quality (Is your air allergy / mold / toxin free?
  • Sound Environment (How quite / noise-free is your sleep environment?)
  • Food (How healthy did you eat today?)
  • Exercise (How much did you move today?)

As you can see, even something as ‘simple’ as sleep can mask a large about of variables that come into play.

When you are tackling a problem, list all the variables you can think of and test each one at a time. You could do the kitchen sink method and try everything at once, which is a much faster (and yet more expensive) approach. But you won’t know what precisely worked for you. By ruling out each variable, your scientifically testing each possibility and determining which factors have the most effect.

3. Think it through.

What’s one thing you can do that solves 90% of the problem?

Not every variable has equal weight. Often, if we tackle on thing, like dominoes the rest will follow. This is a trail and errors game, but we can be smart about how we prioritize and what order we handle problems. What’s an easy win? What’s something you can do right now that will help immediately? (What would Steve Jobs do? 😝) Who’s had this problem before and what did they do to solve it? What’ are the small thing that could possible create a massive outcome? What does your instinct say? Be intentional, think it through.

4. Seek Wisdom from People Smarter than You.

There’s nothing wrong in asking for advice. In fact, if you are not constantly seeking insights from people smarter than you, then you are doing yourself a disservice and holding yourself back from overcoming problems quickly and with the least amount of resistance.

Whenever in doubt: Ask.

Even if it makes you look stupid. Being stupid now is better than always being stupid because you never ask, especially if you are in a position to ask someone you have access to directly.

And when you don’t have direct access to someone who might have an answer for you directly, then read, watch, learn EVERYTHING they’ve put out. A book or podcast by them can be just as powerful as talking to them IRL.

5. Go Easy on Yourself.

This one I had to learn from a friend. Problems can take time to overcome. We’ve got too mentally prepare ourselves for that scenario and play the long game instead of giving up because the circumstance feels hopeless in the present. Keep going, but go easy on yourself. In the end, we’re all just human, struggling and figuring life out as we go. Every obstacle we face is a chance to be better. Every failure is an opportunity for us to learn and be better. Treating ourselves badly only lets the problem win and control us. But focusing on the opportunities and taking things one step at a time puts the ball back in our court.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #578

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‘Use it or Lose it’

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

Dwayne Johnson

Have you ever had the bizarre experience (that could only contribute to the fact that we are all getting older) where you’ve basically completely forget something you’ve learned in the past? Sometimes in the very recent past.

For me that’s music theory. I’ve taken a college class on music theory, but the class was focused more on the ‘theory’ portion versus applying what we learn and how it transfers into playing on a piano (or guitar). Certain things have stuck (Every Good Boy Does Fine, etc), but for the most part I’ve lost a lot of it, even though I love the subject.

Unless you have perfect recall, not everything we store in memory is memorable. (And if we are cramming for a test on a subject we don’t really care about, obviously it will likely go through one ear and out the other. Whooosh) Memory fades quickly. What you were great at one year ago can easily be forgotten and feel fuzzy if you stop using it.

There are ways we can train ourselves to be better at memorization. Certain systems and strategies for short term and long term memory. Memory Palaces and Mnemonics and such. But one simple thing we can do is use the power of daily habits.

One of the more interesting insights about doing something every single day is that you never really have an opportunity to ‘lose it’, because, well, you’re always ‘using it’.

If you never stop, your skills never dull.

By prioritizing what you care about most by doing it every day, rain or shine, you’re always on the top of your game.

The skills you do every day become ingrained in your system. The habit become just a normal part of your life.

If you want to be great at something, never stop. If you keep actively pursuing it, your skills stay sharp and agile. There is no ‘used to’, there’s only now. And by staying consistent and mentally consider this as a lifelong goal, you’ll reach a peak that the majority gave up somewhere along the path.

Prioritize what you love into your every day routine.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #577

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Notes: Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake

Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake

tiny review: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (10/10)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

I really enjoyed JT’s book, Hindsight. If you are a musician, someone wanting to be a musician, or pursuing a creative pursuit, definitely buy this book. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. The book has a fantastic style and full of great imagery, so if reading any of the notes below gets you jazzed, grab the book and read them there instead. (And, if you can swing it, the hardback is gorgeous.)

Note: bolded sentence, (thoughts in parentheses) and headers by me (Josh Waggoner).

“Ten years ago, I couldn’t have written this book. Ten years ago, everything was about forward movement. About taking risks. About trying new things. I didn’t look behind me. I didn’t care about what was behind me. I care only about what lay ahead.”

“What I understand now is that there isn’t just one thing that I am. There isn’t just one thing that I will become.”

“Every time I make an album, I always want it to sound at least slightly different from the last.”

“The mystery of loving is God’s sweetest secret.”

Jalal al-Din Rumi, from “Desire and the Importance of Failing”, thirteenth century

“Connections are all around us, and they are inside of us. They inspire and they illuminate. They show us who we are and who we want to be. That’s why we make art and that’s why we go see it. When we watch, when we listen, we’re not getting away from the world. We’re actually digging in.”

That feeling of being different really what makes us the same.

“You don’t have to be related to relate.”

“The older I get the more I understand that so many people live in circumstances they can’t control, or in places that just don’t feel right to them. That feeling of being different is really what makes us the same. We have our own struggles, yet we want the same things. We want human connection, a place to feel at home, and pizza.
Even if people seem guarded or bashful, more than anything, they want to relate.”

Continue reading “Notes: Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake”

A Master of Some

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”

Robert Green, Mastery

I know myself well enough to know I could never just do one thing in life. And if you’re anything like me, I don’t think we should try boxing ourselves into that type of person.

‘You’re either a specialist or a generalist’

In a meta sense, there really isn’t a ‘type’ of person. We just label ourselves (and everything else) to try to grasp complexity and understand it by simplifying it down to a word or two. And just like solar rays from the sun, it’s all on a spectrum. Who we are is somewhere on the spectrum, and knowing what type we are close-ish too helps us define how we think and act on a day to day basis (but I digress).

Being a specialist or being a generalist are both great. There’s nothing more ’right’ or ‘wrong’ about either of them, they are just a type of preferred way of working and living. A special-ist has special skill in one thing. A general-ist has general knowledge in many things. Some people love to dive deep into a subject and all its nuances, and that’s what they feel called to and dedicate their life to. Whereas others love knowing about a lot of different things and be good at them. Will they reach the level of a specialist? Will a person who loves typography and fashion design and woodworking and metalwork and community ever be as great as someone who specializes in just typography? Possibly, but probably not. However the generalist has the power to combine all of their skills into an interesting mixture filled with other opportunities and creative insights.

I don’t fit neatly into either of these two categories. I want to push the boundaries of opportunity costs and go breadth and deep in a handful of areas. I would personally be bored out of my gourd if I only did one thing but I also want to go beyond the surface of knowledge and skill like a generalist, and instead reach mastery.

Somewhere in the middle between being a generalist and a specialist there exists an exceptionalist (aka renaissance man / woman). Someone who is a master of a few things. This gives you the best of both worlds: you have the know how close or equivalent to a specialist, but the power of a generalist who is able to combine their knowledge and skill into interesting ways. And nowadays, as technology and society moves at break-neck speed, being an exceptionalist helps you to generate ideas unlike most and gives you an advantage over the crowd.

There are downsides of course. Mastering one things is incredible hard. The degree of nuance in any give skill is infinite. (Which I find exciting, and it’s likely you do too if you think of yourself as an exceptionalist or specialist.) That’s why you often here people in there 60’s and on who have been working at their craft for decades saying they still have a lot to learn.

Mastering more than one thing is crazy. It requires double, triple, quadruple the time and effort to do so. Luckily, time can be on our side if we take advantage of compound interest through daily habits. Deciding to master multiple things means you have to discover and become very clear on what it is you want to master and what you don’t. Even with putting effort towards masters each day, there’s only so much energy and time we have to give.

Think about it in a physical sense. There’s only so many rooms in a house, and you can only fit so many things in each room. You don’t want to try and cram your entire house full of things there’s no room for. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to get around and enjoy it. You wouldn’t be able to find your bed. How would you navigate to the shower if you have all this crap piling up everywhere? There’s only so many hours in a day. We can push our effort to the limit, but anything past our limit has the opposite result that we want and only makes us miserable. When you rush from one skill to the next to the next to the next to the next… are you really learning each well? And more importantly, are you even enjoying each?

Choosing which skills you want to master is a big consideration. You don’t have to do it all right now. You can discover them over time. And you don’t have to keep doing it if you hate it.

Choose the few things you love and want to be better at and keep doing them.

Mastery is a life pursuit.

It’s often the folks who can stick with something they love (despite the frustrations and pain they sometimes face) that reach a level of success and mastery that most only dream about.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that YOU are the one who chooses where you fall on the spectrum and what your journey points towards — not someone else. Life and circumstances will help you narrow and guide you on your path, but ultimately you are the one who gets to choose who you want to be.

Where on the spectrum do you put yourself?

What do you want to master?

How can you incorporate them into your daily life?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #576

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A Little Tenacity

“If you hang around long enough, they think you’re good. It’s either my tenacity or stupidity – I’m not sure which.”

Adam West

We can get a little too close to our business or creative endeavors sometimes. It’s understandable of course. After all, we are the ones spending, day in and day out, trying to make something happen and real. But when all you can see is weeds and none of the flowers and herbs, your garden starts to look like an uncontrollable slop. You know you are working hard and the small, daily improvements are adding up to something… eventually, but right now it looks like nothing is working, nothing is effective. ‘Why am I even doing this anyway?’

It’s tempting to give up on the spot under the duress of thoughts such as this, or to give up subtly by putting less effort and less attention into your work, until eventually you stop all together.

I experienced this early on in my freelance career.

One of the hardest parts about freelancing is learning to balance the need to find new clients with the need to finish the work of your current clients. Current clients give you work now and have already paid (or partially paid) and sustained you up until this point and the near future. New clients enable you to keep your business going past the near future. Both needs demand all of your time and both can stress you out if your not careful.

When you are working for a company, you typically only have one thing on your plate: the current work. You might have an idea what you will do next after you finish what you are working on, but the demands of finding new clients is delegated by someone else and abstracted into a paycheck you get each month. The abstraction of a paycheck gives you peace of mind and a drip of money beyond the immediate needs. (Whether or not a paycheck is actually a safety net, or just an illusion of one as long as the company or sales people getting new clients continues is up for debate.)

Of course, early on in my freelance career, I didn’t know any of this. I was stressed out to the max, because I was not only dealing with this, I was also facing health issues and my expenses felt overwhelming. Which led me to the number one killer of freelancing: worry.

Worrying about where the next check will come from. Worrying about lack of time. Worry worry worry. And if you let the worry continue and consume you, it becomes a second full time job. By exhausting yourself with worrying over where your next client will come from, you push away the work you have in front of you and begin to feel incapable of doing it. You hit a wall, no energy left to find clients OR do the work in front of you. Which alienates yourself from what you need to do and also alienates you from your current clients.

To skip over the bloody details, early on, I dropped the ball. It was a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson that’s helped me later on. In hindsight, by letting worrying become my second job, I clouded my judgement and mindset on what I need to do and how to move forward.

What matters most is the work that’s in front of you — that’s #1. Go above and beyond with the work you have, and the next gig will follow. Everything else will handle itself. Research new clients, set up new meetings. But don’t let those distract you or suck away all your time from what truly matters: the work.

This lesson highlights two important questions:

What can I learn from the mistakes of others, and plan ahead / mitigate the risk of falling into the same traps?

Personal mistakes sting the most, and are hard-won lessons. But it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others if you can recognize the value and heaviness of the lessons someone else has learned through trial and error, without actually having to feel the weight yourself.

Hard lessons are inevitable, eventually. But avoiding as many as we possible can is the smartest move we can do to avoid derailment and roadblocks on our journey. Obstacles don’t prevent us from freedom, unless we allow them too. Ultimately, they give us stories to tell (like this one) and give us the opportunity to help others on their own journey.

How do we keep going after failure?

Dropping the ball sucks. But it’s not the end of the world. There’s always a way forward. But if you hold onto failure to tightly, there’s no wiggle room to move forward. And if you hold onto a certain outcome to tightly as well, everything feels like failure, like weeds blocking your garden, unless that single outcome occurs, (an outcome blinded by lack of clear certainty and knowledge) versus the potential outcomes and opportunities that exist that we can’t see clearly yet.

We all need a goal, something to reach for, something to drive our actions. But the goal is the aim, not what gets us there. The aim is important, because it gives a ballpark direction. What gets us their is meeting each day by giving it the work and energy it requires.

The best way to holding drum sticks is to have a firm but soft grip between your index finger and thumb in the lower middle of the sticks, while the rest of your fingers lightly rest on the space underneath. This allows you to keep hold of the sticks without they flying out of your hands, but also give you moment and control in creating the sounds you want to create.

We must firmly grip the life we want to create, while not grasping to firmly to prevent our movement and ability to change when we need to change.

In many ways, life is fluid, not fixed.

Acting as though it is fixed only makes us brittle and resentful when we break or when things don’t go our way.

We must also adopt fluidity to create a life of meaning and worth.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #575

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Live It Out

We all have people in our lives that talk more than the walk.
They know everything about a subject, but don’t actually live it out themselves. Or their list of things they want to do runs laps around their list of things they actually do. In short, they are really good at doing everything BUT what they say.

Did I say people?
I really meant us. We do this too, more that we would care to admit. In fact, we do it so much we don’t even notice it anymore that we are doing it. Instead, we just see what everyone else is saying and not doing, versus what we are saying and not doing ourselves. (Harsh josh, but true…)

I can see three fundamental reasons behind this:

  1. Fear — We want to do it, but we are terrified of trying, failing, succeeding and / or looking bad.
  2. Belief — We don’t think we can because we don’t have enough time, resources, abilities, motivation, trust in ourselves etc.
  3. Uncertainty — We want to do everything, so we end up doing nothing because we aren’t sure what’s best and what will give us the most bang for our buck.

Luckily daily habits addresses all three of these reasons.

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day. If todays practice sucks, no problem. Tomorrow’s practice will be even better. If I can focus only on today’s work, the fear and uncertainty is small and the belief in myself grows and accumulates each day. There is no tomorrow, just today. There is no uncertainty, just the task in front of me. And the fear is smaller, because it’s down to a single action. I just need to do this one thing, that’s it and I’ll be better for it, even if I fail or look bad today.

Daily habits give you a practice, something to work at and improve each day.

My impetus [driving force] for writing at RenaissanceLife every day (and ultimately discovering the power of daily habits,) was that I was fed up.

I was fed up with wanting to write but not have the time. I was fed up with wanting to be more, but not being more. I was sick of just saying what I wanted to be, rather than actually being it.

Instead of having to say ‘I want to be a writer’, I am able to say ‘I am a writer’.

And it wasn’t just writing. It was music and exercising and art, and all the other little things that have been found to elevate our lives in little ways, such as making our bed, flossing, walking every day, solitude and community. All the things we never have time for.

Or at least, all the things we never think we have time for.

Like magic, once you start your daily habit, time for it appears.

You could also equate it to money. Say you decide to invest one hundred dollars a month in a retirement fund. At first you might think that’s impossible, because you need every dime to live on and can’t afford to lose the hundred dollars. But if you did it anyway, you’re spending adjusts. You still pay for everything you need (gas, bills, food, etc) but you subtly don’t spend the extra hundred dollars on things you want. It’s so subtle you don’t even notice you didn’t buy an extra shirt the other day, or you watched Netflix instead of buying a movie on iTunes. You’re finances adjust to the new reality.

It’s the same with doing something daily. You adjust your day to fit your practice. Whether that means getting up early, staying up late, doing it during lunch time, or just not spending time elsewhere, your life adjusts. Just like how deadlines are a good idea for projects because they give us a window of time to work in or otherwise we would work or procrastinate ad infinite, so too does our day give us time to work on our practice. It might mean that we are doing it at 11 pm at night on a hectic day, but we still find a space to fit it in somehow.

Life adjusts to change

Combine that with the power of streaks and accountability, and there always seems to be time for our practice.

Every day I ask:

How can I challenge myself today?
How can I get uncomfortable today?
How can I improve today?

Have I written a book yet? Have I recorded an album yet?
Nope. But I’m working on it every day. I’m working towards those goals.

And that’s the real secret of daily habits.

Daily habits give you a reason to wake up early and pursue something meaningful

It gives you something meaningful to work towards and wake up for. Even if your life is crap, you have your practice, you have a vision of your life you are working towards every single (josh d*mn) day. And you become the kind of person who doesn’t just talk.

How many can say that?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #574

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“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Malcolm X

Daily habits allows us to focus on the now, versus the someday.

There is no such thing as ‘someday’. Someday is a myth. Someday turns into years, which turns into never. And unfortunately, someday usually turns into regrets.

Don’t take me wrong. We can’t do it all now. I’m not giving you (or me) the thumbs to do everything all at once now. And we don’t want our ‘somedays’ clouding us up in the moment. We still need to prioritize what’s more important in our lives, which requires opportunity costs. But if we really want something to happen, or we really want to get be great at something, what better way than to work towards it each and every day?

We may not be doing as much as we would like each day, but at least we are doing something. Something meaningful that adds up. Something meaningful today.

We can’t control whether or not a misfortune or random accident happens. We could randomly get hit by a metro bus tomorrow (knock on wood) and there goes our ‘someday’.

Hone your skills today.
Work on your business today.
Work on your dreams today.
Start eating healthy today.
Start taking care of yourself today.

Give meaning to your life today.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #573



Daily habits are a means to an end.

They help keep our skills sharp and stay sharp.

When you do something daily, you take away ‘I used to do X’ because there’s no ‘used to’ left, just ‘I do X’.

We all at some point wish we could get better now. We wait on doing what we love as if we are expecting a Will Smith genie to pop up out of our coffee mugs and grant us mastery.

10 Minutes is 100% better than 0 minutes. Would 30 minutes be better? Sure. Absolutely. But if you can only give 10 minutes because your time is limited, give 10. Even if you are only putting in 10 minutes on a particular skill, as long as its a focused and deliberate practice, 10 minutes will add up over time. That’s the power of daily habits.

Daily habits make the long term goals happen.

While we are ‘waiting’ for an opportunity to present itself, we are taking initiate and spending a little bit of time each day on what matters most to us.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #572