Chase Your Interests

Here’s a surefire way to feel unfulfilled and miserable:

Do things you dislike/don’t want because other people tell you too.

I’m not talking about the little things—like taking out the trash or unloading the dishwasher. Little things like this keep us humble. No, I’m talking about the big things, like what school you want to go to, what you want to do for a living, or where you want to live.

Opinions can be helpful, but if they go against what you feel is right, then they’re actually hurtful instead. Making a decision because it’s “the right move”, “the smart thing to do”, “most economical” or “the safe choice” is a terrible thing to base a decision on. Anything we do, no matter how safe it may seem, has the chance to fail. The only thing certain is nothing is certain.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to make decisions out of fear and fear alone. When I’m scared, I’m rarely in a clear and rational headspace, am I’m usually ignoring what I feel as well.

Does this opportunity make me feel joy and excitement? Does this get me jazzed at the possibilities?

If it doesn’t, take some more time to think and journal it over. I’ve learned the hard way that making decisions that’s rational but ultimate against what’s right for me will ultimately come back to haunt me in weird emotional ways.

For example, taking a job for the shear money alone (even though you have no interest in taking it) might solve your immediate needs but strange problems and unlucky circumstances will start popping up. You’re listening to your mind, but you are ignoring your heart.

Emotional / Heart problems manifest in odd ways —

Your immune system won’t be as strong and you randomly start catching colds more often. Or you wake up feeling tired and don’t understand why. Or you wind up spending all of your free time too exhausted to do much of anything besides eat, watch tv and play video games. Nothing is inherently wrong with any of those things. I love watching new enthralling shows (like Dark on Netflix). However, what’s wrong is masking how your feeling—i.e. dissatisfaction with your career or current group of friends—by veggie tailing out and avoiding having to change.

But what happens if you don’t change?

Things won’t stay the same—things will get worse, meaning you’ll feel worse and not know why. You’ll keep digging yourself in a hole of dissatisfaction, listening and valuing everyone but yourself.

Enough is enough.

Chase your interests instead. Don’t compromise on your values. If you end up being wrong, then apologize and change. But better to be wrong than to dislike your life.

What do you enjoy doing more than anything?

What skills/hobbies have been tickling you in the periphery? What do you want to try?

Forget whatever one else wants for your life. Who do you want to be?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #960

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Choose Better

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Eleanor Roosevelt

I constantly feel pulled by the thousands of ways I should be and should do. The world tells you to be this kind of person, while at the same time telling you to be that kind of person. Oddly enough, both this and that exist simultaneously. 

There are a thousand ways you could create a company, or film, or song, or book. There are a thousand more ways you should dress, live, eat, talk, move, and travel. And 8 billion+ people are living some resemblance of a life out there in the world.

There’s an infinite number of ways you could succeed. Just as there are countless paths you can take in this life. But ultimately, you have to do what works for you.

A thousand ways doesn’t mean a thousand equally beneficial and rewarding options. Some will work better for others—some will work better for you.

That’s the great thing about life—we get to pick and choose what works better for us based on the results we get.

What is anger getting you? Where is creativity driving you? Who do you want to be?

That being said, some universal values tend to succeed no matter what path you take:

Be good (and mean it). Being a decent human being to other human beings, showing that you care about what you do and who you serve will work wonders in your life.

Take responsibility. Own up to your life—good and bad. Don’t ignore what you dislike about yourself. Learn to love yourself, despite your flaws, and challenge yourself to be better.

Lead when the moment arises and follow when the moment arises. Sometimes we just need you to stand up and show us what to do. Other times you’ll need to be humble and follow those who are wiser and more experienced than you.

Work hard. Change when things aren’t working.

And when in doubt—sleep well, eat clean or talk to a friend.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #957

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Get Active in Your Own Rescue

I love this quote from Marcus Aurelius:

“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue—if you care for yourself at all—and do it while you can.”

I read it recently in The Daily Stoic. I love it because it sums of own of my life principles so eloquently. Get active in your own rescue.

There have been quite a few quotes I’ve encountered on my journey that rings with a similar tone:

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”Bruce Lee

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”Amelia Earhart

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”Michael Jordan

My version pales in comparison, but it’s —

You are Your Own Renaissance.

Meaning, change starts with you. No one wants it more than you. Perhaps you’re dealing with problems, perhaps you dislike habits and things about yourself, perhaps you wish your life was different—well no one is going to make that happen for you.

Waiting for someone to change our lives for us won’t get us anywhere.

As much as I wish someone would do it for me, it’s not going to happen. I’m the one who has to get active and take steps to make the change happen. If with (generous) help, I still must be willing to change and stick to that aim.

It’s not about refusing help, or going it alone—it’s about owning up to your life and the kind of person you want to be.

If you care for yourself at all—then to hell with problems, fears, and circumstances—go out and create yourself and make it happen.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #950

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Repotting

“Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.” — Mitch Hedberg

I was never really a plant guy until I met Gabriella (now my fiancée). I thought indoor plants were pleasing, but I doubt even one thought crossed my mind about buying a plant for myself. That’s one of the subtle ways having a significant other can change you. You start picking up some of their interests and tastes, and vice versa. That’s why when you look at a couple who have been together for a long time look and wear almost identical clothing.

We pick up the habits, idiosyncrasies, style, speech, likes, and dislikes and characters of the people around us. This happens whether or not we are trying too.

If your older brother likes Led Zeppelin, you’ll (eventually) like Led Zeppelin too.

If your friends like to drink often, if you want to hang out with them, you’ll likely drink often too.

If your parents have anger problems, you’ll likely have problems too.

These aren’t 100% definitive statements. Just because you’re significant other likes Metal bands doesn’t *always* mean you will. We all have our own things that are uniquely ours. But when you are surrounded by something, the natural inclination is to be pulled by that something. Good or bad. Parents that worry about everything is a gravitational force that pulls on your own perspectives. Just as parents that are smart with money will subtly change how you handle your own money.

There will be times in your life when you find yourself in situations or habits and mannerisms you don’t like about yourself. For example, maybe you want to eat more healthy foods and exercise more frequently, but you’ve got in the bad habit of eating whatever garbage you have laying around the house or the bad habit of getting off work and vegging out in front of the TV until 1 AM.

When you find yourself in circumstances or bad habits you don’t like, it’s time to repot yourself.

Repot? No, I don’t mean buy more weed. (Hey-o!)

I mean repot like you do for plants.

There comes a time in a plant’s life where they’ve grown too big for their pot. Their root system becomes crowded and can start to degrade and eventually die because it doesn’t have the room to get to the nutrients it needs. Sometimes plants need to be repotted because their in the wrong pot too. Poor or old soil is another reason why a plant may need to be repotted, which can also lead to damaging the plant. (Welcome to my new plant-based blog, where I only write blog posts about plants.) So you need to dig up the plant, break up its root ball to give it more breathing room to grow, and plant it in a new, slightly larger pot.

We need the same thing.

If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’re gonna eventually get stuck.

There will be times you get in a rut or when your habits—which started out helpful—are now actually harmful and holding you back. It’s good to break the routine every so often and try new things. 

No, I’m not telling you to dye your hair pink, move across the country, or break up with your friends. (Do that if you want, but don’t say you got the idea from me!) Rather, I suggesting to try something you normally don’t do or even actively dislike doing.

Break things up. If you dislike reading (or think you are bad at it) then try reading every day for a week. If all you do is read, try having a conversation with friends over the phone. Try talking to one new person on social media a week. If all you do is lay around and watch YouTube or TicTok, try banning the apps for a week. You can also go back to them next week if you must. Disrupt your routine. Repot yourself. 

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #914

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Change at Any Moment

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Viktor E. Frankl

“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

Victor Hugo

Transformations occur all the time, everywhere. We can change in an instant, and also gradually. Usually, we’re experiencing both.

The question is: does transformation ever stop?

Where does a hurricane start? When we can see it from a satellite swirling below? Or when cold air molecules get blasted with warm evaporated water molecules?

What is money? is it a mule and three bushels of grain? Is it a Roman aureus coin? Is it SUPREME clothing? is it a collective human idea? is it 1’s and 0’s on a computer somewhere?

Who are we? Our likes? dislikes? Our personality? Our soul? Our job?

Things are continuously moving. We live in continuous cycles and forces, which mostly we aren’t aware of. History rhymes, as they say. For all we know, we’re experience things right now that have already happened in the past. Or maybe everything right now is completely new.

What ultimately matters is what are we doing to do? How do you want to change? If everything is constantly changing, so can we.

If you could change something about yourself (or your life) instant, what would you change? Do it. Why not? Maybe you don’t like where you are. It’s okay. I’ve been there many times too. The ending is just the beginning. Accept where you are, find a way forward. Change starts with you.

If you could change something gradually over the next year, what would it be?

Do that too. Use time as your ally. Spend five minutes a day on it. Go up to twenty minutes if you can make room for it. There’s no sense in waiting for change to come — it’s already here.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #789

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How to Dance in the Rain

“Some people come into your life as blessings. Other people come into your life as lessons.”

Mother Teresa

There’s an ancient Italian maxim that roughly translates to ‘he who is resistant to change is destined to perish’*. When things are good — work is — we hold on to that good thing like we’ve glued our hands to it. We keep doing the same thing over and over expecting things to always work the way it did the first time. And when things are bad, all we want is for things to change, but we cling to what we know like a life-preserver for dear life because everything is so unassured and unknown.

Which hits on the problem (if you want to call it a problem) with change:

We all want change that works for us, and we don’t want change that doesn’t work for us. We want to bend change to our will, and not the other way around.

However, Life likes spontaneity and flow. Change happens whether we want it to or not. Sometimes things happen we don’t want to happen to us. We lose money, we lose our job, we break our leg, we end up in circumstances we don’t want to be in.

Water that becomes still and doesn’t connect to other streams, rivers and movement quickly becomes stagnant — a breading ground for pesky mosquitoes and parasites. We too can become stagnant if we aren’t intentional. Our skills, bodies, friends, and wither away into man-boobs. Without change in our we can quickly become stale, complacent and stuck where we are. And too much spontaneity we can become unstable and reckless.

We automatically assume that things we don’t want to happen (or didn’t expect to happen to us is a bad thing, but what if misfortunes are a good thing? Maybe not now. Maybe not tomorrow, but someday. What if it makes you a better you? What if it changes your life for the better?

I’m not justifying or saying I want bad things to happen to us, but when they do, we’ve ultimately got a choice: thrash against them, make things worse and mentally negative, or let it go and turn it into an opportunity.

For every problem you are focusing on, there’s an opportunity you could focus on instead.

*inside joke 😉

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #669

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Break The Pattern

Patterns, Routines, Habits… Call it what you want, there are systems in our lives that we live out as we go about our day. Some patterns are good and lead us to where we want to go — happier, healthier, more financially free, more creative etc. Some patterns are bad and keep us stuck reliving our past or keep our car barreling towards a cliff.

These systems are ingrained in our mental makeup. It’s hard for people to quit smoking because they like it. They know its probably killing them (or at least ruining their teeth) but they do it anyway because it feels good, and that feeling outweighs the long-term side effects. It’s much easier to ignore problems when there’s an eventual-maybe-not-right-now major downside sometime in the near future. (My pithiness is on point tonight! :P) 

And smoking is just one, easy go-to example. There are a lot of other patterns that we may be doing that are holding us back and we don’t even know it yet.

The question is, how can we break the bad patterns?

Start with developing your self-awareness.
It’s hard to change things when you don’t know if you’re doing something detrimental to yourself and your goals. And if you don’t know what is bad vs. good for you, start with asking yourself who you want to be.

Who do you want to be in 6 months? What positive traits, habits, and lifestyles do you want to create?

For me, I want to increase my confidence, energy (or liveliness!), boldness, risk aversion, and ability to enjoy challenges (despite fear, failure or embarrassments that may occur). I want to work less and smarter while making more money to spend on learning and creating. I want to master finances and know where every penny goes. I want to prep food, while still eating as healthy as possible, and earn my way to zero debt.

Change Your Mental State

Positive mindsets and perspectives lead to positive outcomes. I’ve yet to meet anyone who was incredibly self-defeating and incredibly lucky at the same time. I don’t know if Luck with a capital L is a real thing, but I do know that the more you push positive thoughts towards yourself, the more capable you will become. And the more capable you are, the luckier you’ll be.

Affirmations is a fantastically silly way to start. Silly, because it sounds very woo-woo, born on a full moon kind of outlook. Fantastic because it works. A great primer on the positive benefits of affirmations is the book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Naval Ravikant. Think of a phrase you want to be more of and repeat it over and over in your head. Write it down in the morning and the evening. Embody the phrase. Feel it in your moon bones. 
“I am confident. I am confident…”
“I will enjoy challenges. I will enjoy challenges…”

Change Your Physical State

Are you hangry? When’s the last time you ate something good for you?
Are you thirsty? How much water have you had today?
Are you tired/anxious/achy? Move your body!

Change your physical state can dramatically increase your mood and mental state. Our physical state directly affects how you think. If your life and work are stressing you out, your not going to be in the best state to do positive habits, or work on your dreams. Sometimes, a few rounds of pushups and a nice walk outside is all we need to increase our happiness. Do some burpees, dance like no one is watching, splash some cold water in the face — do what you need to do to break the bad patterns.

Our path in life is determined by the patterns we choose (or let happen to us). Anxious daily habits create an anxious life. We don’t get fat by eating one fry 🍟, we get fat by eating one fry mindlessly every day. Once you realize that you are on your way to a better you.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

Book: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Norman Vincent Peale

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Force of Nature

Change is a lot like a storm.

Sometimes, I­t­ can catch you off guard if you aren’t looking, we’re rain sweeps in and lightning strikes.  A little preparation and you could have probably seen I­t­ coming, but alas, preparing for a storm that’s already above you doesn’t do much good. You could equate this to the ‘sh*t happens’ category. The death of a loved one, broken bones, or sudden opportunity.

Other times, storms roll in from the distance. You can feel the drop in temperature, and see something is about to occur. These, in my opinion, are the most powerful storms. (At least, in this analogy to change in life anyway) Where you are faced with a decision, in fact, have made a decision in your heart, and are just waiting for your mind and body to catch up.

Storms like these are how you create massive growth in your life.

A storm is a storm. I­t­ could be seen as a force for evil or good, but that depends on the personification we give I­t­. Pain and setback can either lead to suffering or opportunity — it’s our choice. Possibilities and decisions can do the same, complacency or opportunity. Again our choice. 

The worst storms can wash clean our expectations and assumptions of what ouïr life should be. The storms we make ourselves can bring fresh water to the earth and ripple across our lives and the lives of others.

How many lives have been positively changed because of a small decision to create good in the world.

You can be a force of change too, if you choose to be.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Decide Who You Want to Be — Life Principle #24

Labels give us power.

We label ourselves with our work, our hobbies, our brands.

But what do you do when other people label things for you? What do you do when you find yourself in a place where your life is labeled by other peoples hopes and dreams?

You decide to change.

Life Principle #24: Decide and Commit to Who You Want to Be

Decisions are the foundations of making change happen. 

What areas in your life are you seeking change?

When you want to create a change, something new and exciting, you first have to make a decision. Decide on the change, commit to I­t­ 100%, will I­t­ into existence.

Life can either happen to you, or you can choose what you want your life to be. Again, a decision.

Choose Creativity.
Choose Freedom.
Choose Differences.

Decide who you want to be, then go make I­t­ happen.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Hello, World!

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Related Insights

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.”Emma Watson

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” — Amelia Earhart

See Change as Good — Life Principle #20

You don’t realize how quickly time moves until its already passed. 

When I was in high school (and middle school) I had a really tight-knit group of friends. We were into making music, movies, jokes, making funny short videos, and being your typical, well-rounded goofballs.

I’ll never forget a video that one of the guys (Jonathan) stitched together from us jamming out and having a helluva good time. He set it to the song, I’ve Got Friends by the Manchester Orchestra. It’s like he intuitively knew our time in high school as a group was about to close, and we would be moving on to college and would never see each other as much as we did, every day, waking up at 6 am and hanging out at and around school.

I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the feeling it gave me, (and gives me every time I play that song)

I miss those moments we had and think about fondly on them.

Life Principle #20: See Change As Good

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing your stuck in place.

Happiness and meaning are fluid — they happen on the journey, not the destination (put that on a poster and smoke it).

Change is good. Its the conduit that takes us from sad times to happy times (and sometimes vice versa). Change can lead to unknown adventures and wild places. It’s hard we were stepping away from something or people we love to follow a calling or jump into a new way of living, but you always have those collective memories. I always have those times with my friends goofing off in my room at my parent’s house (I’m tearing up thinking about it). No one can take that from you. (Another reason why health is vitally important too. A healthy mind is a more capable collector of memories)

I think we fear change for the same reason that we can love change: Because it breaks our status quo and leads to unknown, potentially exciting places.

The best part about change is we can make it. We have the power to change our minds, opinions, the direction in your life and more at ANY MOMENT. Usually, it takes a failure or painful experience to see that, but the power to change is always within our reach. Even small actions can lead to big change eventually.

Often times, you’ll face situations or setbacks you don’t want to be in. This is where change is not only good but can become your best friend. When you’re feeling stuck or have hit rock bottom, burnt yourself, or pulling your hair out because you’re at your wit’s end, it’s time to make some change. 

Change starts with you. Be the change you want to see in your life and in the world. Break the status quo.
And when change happens, be good with the new possibilities.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw

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

“There is nothing permanent except change.” — Heraclitus