Playtivity

“The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.” — Bob Iger

“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” — Bryant H. McGill

Money. An agreed-upon collective idea of trust and value. Some use it as a measuring stick. And others see it as a means to an end. Like many things, it’s not something that’s good or bad, rather it’s how you use it that counts.

What I find interesting is that some of the greatest inventors and artists of humanity made things not for the money, but for the love of creativity, curiosity, and the joy of figuring things out.

Sure money was the periphery—you can’t have the Italian Renaissance without the Medici—but money was never the motivator.

Apple wouldn’t have been Apple without both Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. And Jobs was superb at marketing and selling, but he didn’t make things just to make a profit.

Creativity was the goal. Or play. Or solving. Or exploration. Or enjoyment. Or any number of meaningful reasons we do what we are driven to pursue.

Money is an amplifier. When you have enough (‘enough’ is a loaded word) to not worry about it, then you have greater flexibility to play. But even without it, we can still make time for more play and curiosity in our lives, we just have to fit it in where we can.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t make money the main reason you do something.
  • If you are doing something just for the money alone, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. (Unless it’s a means to an end.)
  • Money is an amplifier
  • Create because it feels like play to you.
  • Make room for play no matter how old you are or what’s going on in your life.
  • The best kind of play is about making and discovering—not just consuming.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1263

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Do Impractical Things

There is a subtle, not-so-subtle ROI from following your curiosity.

The problem is that the benefits aren’t typically immediate.

The joy of discovery and following rabbits (wherever they may go) doesn’t always lead to more impact or money in your wallet.

But chasing after things that lead to more money aren’t sure bets either.

A good product can flob as much as a bad one can, especially if the timing, message, or direction isn’t.

Show me one mega-successful brand in our lives today that was started by founders who weren’t passionate about what they were building. I can’t think of any.

Money, status, impact, mission—these are super important.

But first, we need to lead with curiosity for curiosity’s sake. We need to dive into what we love and get passionate about our craft. We need to get excited about things and do things because we want to, not because we want something else out of them.

Impractical leads to new ideas and expressions of practical.

Because often our passion and curious drive for more/better/faster leads us to bigger ideas with bigger impact.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1139

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Human Spirit

What drives us to create? To innovate?

Do we have a chip on our shoulder the size of that which we want to put a dent in the Universe?

Maybe some of us are driven by a singular massive goal, like curing cancer or colonizing Mars. Or maybe you’re driven by the massive personal goal of freedom—freedom from debt, freedom from pain.

My guess is human spirit comes down to a combination of hope and curiosity.

Hope for a better tomorrow—for ourselves, for our kids, for humanity.

Hope for a meaningful and joyful life.

Hope for great friends, good health, and a memorable experience.

Curiosity for simple desiring to tinker and figure out how things work.

Curiosity for being playful and letting your life grow out of play.

Curiosity to turn over rocks, shake presents, and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

These are my kind of people.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1106

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Serious, But Not Too Serious

They say the loss of innocence is when you become an adult.

I’ve also considered it as the moment when you realize you aren’t invincible. A few stitches or a broken bone will knock it out of ya real good, but most bounce back to their old enthusiastic, slightly more cautious, selves. (When pain doesn’t go away though, that will do it.)

Another possibility is you become an adult when you start to feel and understanding how quickly time passes.

But being an adult doesn’t mean you can’t be a child. Some of the great minds from history—Einstein, Walt Disney, Richard Feynman—were people you also had a sprinkle of childlike mischief about them.

Just like too little water dehydrates us, and too much water overloads us, being too serious has a detrimental impact on our lives.

It’s wonderful to take things seriously (most people don’t care at all) but if we take things too seriously, we start to lose our magic.

To others, we look stern and too intense. To ourselves, we start burning out. There’s a playful balance between being serious, but leaving room to laugh at ourselves and our experiences.

This childlike playfulness detaches us from difficultly and also gives us room to come up with clever ideas and perspectives. It gives us the humility to see that life is much bigger than ourselves and grounds us to be more capable of handling uphill battles.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1094

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Passion Comes Second

Finding your passion(s) isn’t about knowing, it’s about trying.

Curiosity comes first. Passion comes second.

It’s giving a bunch of things a go and see what brings you joy and challenges you.

I think the big problem people struggle with is the put too much pressure on themselves to find something they love but also allows them to make a living. Or finding something they love that they are good at.

It’s like betting the farm in a game of poker when you don’t even know how to play.

How can you be passionate about something you haven’t tried or know nothing about?

It’s better to always be trying new things for the sheer fun of it, with little or no expectations of money or reward.

Approaching something with no expectations usually makes the experience more enjoyable. Think about the last time you went to the movie theaters (remember those?). Maybe you had low expectations for the movie because an online review said it wasn’t great, and they were right, but after watching it you ended up having a great time. What gives? Was the movie bad or good? The movie was bad, but what changed was your expectations. On the other hand, if you had gone in with massive expectations and it ended up being bad, you’d be disappointed.

Piling the fate of the universe on finding your passion will just overwhelm you from ever finding or choosing it. Better to approach things with wonder and playfulness than come from a place of pressure and worry.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1079 ☕️

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The More I Learn, The Less I Know

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

Confucius

The more I get older, the more I read and listen and watch and experience, the more I hone my skills, the more I realize how little I know.

I say that not discouraging, but enthusiastically.

There’s always a deeper level. There’s always a few questions trailing any answer.

Curiosity begets learning begets questions begets more learning — ad infinite.

Don’t let this notion make you feel overwhelmed or behind. Behind who? It doesn’t matter. You know what you know, and with a sound mind, you’ll always be learning more—whether you’re 7 or 80 years old.

But don’t let age make your curiosity ridged and stale like an old loaf of bread forgot in the pantry. Open your mind to new ideas and experiences. Just because someone won’t make you yacht-loads of money doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy pursuit. Be inquisitive. Get weird. Expand wide. Ask a million questions as a child would. Be annoying.

The only thing that should stop us from learning new things is death—everything else is undebatable.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #964

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Applying Your Curiosity

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

Oprah Winfrey

What I wrote about ambition also applies to passion, curiosity, and skill. Passion expands to more passions.

Questions lead to partial answers, and partial answers lead to more questions.

And the more I learn about something, the deeper I desire to go. And not only that, learning a skill usually leads to discovering other interesting skills. If you are driven by genuine curiosity, your interests will go deep and wide.

There’s a catch though—our time is limited. Our interests might be abundant but our time isn’t. Which means we have to choose what’s most important to us.

If you could do anything in the universe, what would you do?

Think bigger than a vacation at the beach—which is my immediate response. 🙂 If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?

Would you start your own business?

Would you spend more time with your family?

Would you (finally) learn piano like you’ve been wanting to for the past forever?

That’s where you should apply your passion, skill, and curiosity. Even if you have to do it on the side, or only on weekends. Life is too short for us to ignore and postpone what we really want to do.

Maybe going full-time on your own tech company isn’t possible right now. Okay, so what’s the next best thing? You could work on your hard and soft skills, like web apps and leadership to cultivate yourself into the person that could run a successful company. You could work on your network of creatives and entrepreneurs. You could take 10-15% of your paycheck that you would normally spend on whatever-whatever’s and save it for when the time is right to leap.

Now is the time to take a step.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #948

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Creativity & Uncertainty

“There is no science in creativity. If you don’t give yourself room to fail, you won’t innovate.”

Bob Iger

It’s okay if you have no idea what you are doing —

No one truly does. We’re all making decisions based on the best guesses we can give based on our experiences, knowledge, and information we have to go on. Even the people who have ‘made it’ aren’t immune to uncertainty.

I have no idea what I’m doing either. But that doesn’t matter. As long as I’m doing my best and not compromising on who I am and what I want, then defeat can’t touch me. Sure, I’ll fail—likely I’ll have some epic failures—but failure is just one moment.

  • Your business sets on fire so then you start another one.
  • You realize your art is not as good as you think it is, so then you get better.
  • Your friends disappear when you need them the most, so then you find more caring friends.

Uncertainty isn’t the enemy.

As Richard P. Feynman once said, “I think that when we know that we actually do live in uncertainty, then we ought to admit it; it is of great value to realize that we do not know the answers to different questions. This attitude of mind – this attitude of uncertainty – is vital to the scientist, and it is this attitude of mind which the student must first acquire.”

We fear uncertainty because it might go against our plans (…Or kill us. That happens sometimes too). But again, our plans are just guesses about the lives we think we should have. In actuality, the things we didn’t see coming could show us a better way to live, if we take the opportunity to do so.

Uncertainty generates curiosity. It gives us the opportunity to look at a blank page, screen, canvas or out into the stars and ponder, “What If…?” And that leads to creativity.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #891

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Creative Soul

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”

Walt Disney

I honestly haven’t figured out yet why I enjoy creating so much. There’s a sense of wonder and joy I get every time I create something. There’s a great quote by John Lennon (from the Beatles duh) in a Rolling Stones interview that goes, “I’m an artist, man. Give me a tuba, and I’ll get you something out of it.” Perhaps creativity is built into our DNA. Does everyone have it? Probably. But it needs to be nourished.

Creativity comes in many shapes and colors, but at the heart of all true creative work is the joy of making stuff. It’s taking an idea and making it a reality. It’s following your curiosity, where it may lead.

To be creative is to be someone who lives to make stuff. Forget money, forget fame—those are only tools (and sometimes hinders) to live a life where you can create more.

I have a full-time job. I don’t have to write and work on this blog. I don’t have to play music. But then again, I have to do it. I would feel stale and less happy if I stopped. Creating isn’t all of who I am, but it’s a part of me. Some people ask why I do so many things. Why not stick to one thing and focus all your effort on that? It’s true. That does work for some. It’s not a bad idea. But that’s not me. I would be giving pieces of myself away. Pursuing multiple things takes much more effort. But the rewards outpace the effort. Idea’s cross-pollinate between the different crafts you are learning. You start to see and think differently. You start to see how things are all connected. Ideas create more ideas. Which gives you more opportunities to learn and make stuff.

You having a creative soul when you:

  • Live to makes stuff.
  • Can’t not create.
  • Find meaning and joy in creativity.
  • Always experimenting and challenging yourself.
  • Are relentlessly curious.

Curiosity is what feeds the creative soul.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #877

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Beginner’s Sandbox

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Shunryu Suzuki

You don’t have to be something great to start doing it. This took me a while to figure out. I wanted to write, but I wanted to be able to write well, so I ended up not doing it at all. If perfectionism is what keeps us from finishing, then Proficiency (and lack thereof) is what keeps us from starting.

Wanting to be great can push us forward towards being great, but it can also push us towards doing nothing.

It’s a matter of high expectations, and thinking (wishing) we were great immediately. We hear stories from iconic people from history and professionals making it look easy today and we think we should be able to pick up a basketball (a pen, a guitar, a [insert your thing here] ) and be amazing at using it. This misunderstanding leads us to quit before we even start, and feel disappointed when we aren’t exceptional on the first try.

Nothing is easy the first time. And if it is, it certainly won’t be easy the second time. Or the third.

It takes practice and smart consistency to become great at something. It takes a whole crater of effort and discomfort to become ‘so good they can’t ignore you’. 

But it only takes a little effort to start today. Being a beginner means you have room to try whatever you want. As a beginner, there is no pressure to conform to what’s trending or what our past success demands of us. We get to play in obscurity. We get to have cake and eat it too. 

You don’t have to be something great to start doing it. You just have to start doing it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #849

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