Analysis Paralysis

It’s so easy to build something up in your mind.

You loop a possible negative scenario in your head so much that you start to believe it (before it happens.) You create an entire business empire around an idea before you even put pen to paper.

This ability to think long-term and dream up the future is one of the reasons why humans are so imaginative and innovative.

Aimed the wrong way, we can get stuck in our head, too overwhelmed to start.

But if we want to make something of ourselves, then we can’t get stuck on the starting line.

Remind yourself—

  • Everything big starts small. From a tiny sapling to an idea.
  • Over-preparing is only beneficial if you put your knowledge into practice.
  • A nothing-burger can’t be eaten—an idea can’t be useful unless it’s built. Most ideas start off as “good enough” or even “mediocre” ideas until they are honed and iterated on over time. Or put another way, it’s better to shoot your shot than to get caught holding the ball when the buzzer goes off.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1194

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The Path

You don’t choose the path, the path chooses you.

You decide which direction to take, but you don’t control what discoveries, wonders, monsters, and misfortunes you find along the way.

If there’s a trick to life, it’s our reactions. The better you are resting well to what life throws in front of you, the more meaningful and worthwhile your life will be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1114

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Simple First

“The more simple my life is, the happier I am.”

Peter Frampton

Until very recently, I had been staying up later and later.

Normally I enjoy getting a solid 8 hours of sleep and getting up early, but for a host of reasons, I’d slowly been staying up (waaaaaay) past my bedtime, slowly inching later into the evenings.

One reason was having more quality time to spend with my fiancée in the evenings. And another big reason was there’s so much that I want to do in the day, that naturally, you see this chunk of “available” time you could use to work longer instead of sleep. This isn’t exactly true, of course. Every hour you borrow from the night, you have to give back in the morning (or pay in the long term with extra sleepiness).

It wasn’t until this week when I got sick and my body forced my dumb-dumb self to go to bed early. No late-night reading. No extra work. Just rest.

Now my sleep is reset, and I feel much better and energized for it!

There are a few lessons from this experience.

Lesson #1: Simple First

It’s usually the smallest or simplest things that make all the difference. Don’t avoid picking low hanging fruit because it’s “too easy”. And don’t forget to look for simple possibilities first, before jumping to complex possibilities.

When in doubt:

  • Drink water
  • Sleep
  • Move
  • Eat well (try a new diet)
  • Talk to someone about it

If simple doesn’t work, then you have my permission to try something more complex.

Lesson #2: Create More Options

Continuing to do something you dislike because it’s the “only option” is not an option. You think it’s the only option because that’s the only option you are giving yourself.

Take a step back and look at the problem from another perspective. Get a birds-eye view. Look at it through the lens of a child, then a 20-year-old, and then a 70-year-old. What would they do differently?

Lesson #3: Always Ask Questions

Questions open the door to who we are. They help us take stock of ourselves and reflect on who we want to be and what we want to do. Don’t just ask yourself a question (like, “what matters most to me?”) sit with it. Ask it every morning for a month. Journal about it. Talk about it aloud to yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1102

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The Courage to Try

“What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

Vincent van Gogh

Most of our decisions (and the decisions of people around us) are made from a place of fear. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding (and losing everything to do it / or fear of succeeding and still not being satisfied.) Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of wasting our time / life / money / etc.

The problem is we often don’t realize we are making fearful decisions in the moment. No, we just avoid it. We avoid being uncomfortable. We avoid starting (because of x y or z reason) and never have the chance to potentially fail or succeed. We avoid wasting our time by doing nothing—aka wasting our time.

But if you replace the word fear with courage, the entire story changes—

We have the courage to fail—and let that failure become a stepping stone, a lesson, a story for our next act of courage.

We have the courage to succeed—because we put in the hard work, helped and improved others’ lives, and enjoyed the process.

We have the courage to look like an idiot—because embarrassing ourselves is a part of challenging yourself to be more, to be original, to stand out, and to do what others won’t.

Have the courage to look like an idiot.

We have the courage to spend our time/money wisely on the things we care about, and not dwell too harshly on our past selves decisions/time we can no longer get back.

We have the courage to say yes to what’s important to us and no to everything else.

Because at the end of the day, doing nothing gets us nothing, fear gets us more fear, negativity attracts more negativity. It is only through trying can we hope to achieve.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1101

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Stress-Blinders

Too much stress can blind us from possibilities. It makes us falsely believe that we have no options but the crappy one in front of us.

Stress tells us we don’t have a choice.

But that’s not true. There are always options, another way of getting past, through, around something. The problem is you aren’t giving yourself any other options.

What you need to do is break the loop and get out of your normal environment. Go for a walk alone. Go sit on a park bench. Journal. Think things through slowly. Ask a friend for advice. Do something out of the ordinary.

The goal is to put yourself in a different environment so that you can take a step back from stress and see it more clearly.

Another good strategy is to imagine what you’re going through as if it wasn’t you but a family member or friend. What advice would you give to a friend if they were dealing with what you are facing?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1089

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Make Your Own Mistakes

“Often any decision, even the wrong decision, is better than no decision.”

Ben Horowitz

The worst decisions you can make are from a place of non-decision. A non-decision is a self-thoughtlessness one. Meaning, without consideration of why you are saying yes (or no) to something.

This comes from a place of not knowing what you want, and/or not taking the time to ask yourself what you want.

By not knowing what you want, big life decisions are made for you by the people in your environment.

In some regard, this can be a good thing. If you are surrounded by wise and thoughtful people, then they’ll want the best for you, and their influence will reflect that.

But what someone else thinks is the best for you and what you think is the best for you isn’t always the same thing.

Plenty of people have gone down the path of being a doctor or lawyer, not out of passion, but because that’s what their parents told them to do and that doing so would make them successful and happy.

But success and happiness aren’t always the same thing.

Sometimes what others deem as successful actually creates unhappiness.

Take the opinions of people whom you admire and respect into advisement, but make your own decision based on your own dreams and passions.

Even if you’re not sure what you want yet, it’s better to make a mistake by your own hands, than regret a choice by defaulting to someone else’s decision.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1084 ☕️

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Decisions of Fear

“Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.”

Sophocles

What emotion are your decisions coming from?

Are you making decisions from joy or fear?

We mean well when we are making decisions out of emotions like desire or fear. We naturally (usually) want the best for ourselves. But if we listen to the wrong emotions we can end up making dumb mistakes. Buying something you can’t afford, for example.

If my finances suck, buying a Tesla would bring me great joy, but this is a “desire” decision, not a “joy” decision. That joy would quickly turn into dread once the bill comes due.

Decisions of fear come from the place of feeling like you “have to do something.” We pin ourselves against a wall, thinking its the only way.

“I have to stay up late and study otherwise, I’ll fail the test.” But what if you don’t? What if there was a way to prioritize sleep AND study enough to get could grades?

“I have to get an MBA before I start my own company / I have to learn X Y Z before I start my own company.” But what if you just started instead and surrounded yourself with people smarter than you?

“I’m old, I have to retire.” Do you?

It doesn’t help that may people are actively pushing us to make decisions out of fear (some people we know, others we don’t). Whenever you hear yourself say “I have to because X” pay attention. There’s always another option out there.

Our decisions make our life.

Before making any decision, make sure you’re coming from the right emotional headspace. Whenever you find yourself in a headspace of fear, failure, negativity, stress, etc., then don’t make a call right away, get into a better mindset first or even sleep on it if can.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1077

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Today’s the Day

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa

Freedom is one of those invisible things you can easily take for granted until you experience the opposite. Seeing the persecution of others who live outside of a free society, for example. Or personally feeling the restrictions of debt or the anxiety of saying yes to too many things,

I don’t normally consider decisions as freedom, but they are. We are free to choose what we say yes or no to. Responsibilities, obligations, desires, dreams, persuasion, and incentive sway us one way or another. But at the end of the day, our decisions are our own.

The frightening thing about decisions is we can’t take them back—good or bad.

Most of the time, anyway.

A few years ago I was helping a friend decide between taking a job opportunity in town or taking a job in a different city. Both options were equally solid. Both were something worth doing. And my friend wasn’t sure what to do.

While we were discussing the options with the other people around us, a thought occurred to me that ultimately helped him make a decision:

Which decision was less permanent? What’s a way you choose option B if you decide not to enjoy option A?

In my friend’s case, the job out of town was actually an open invitation. Meaning, he could test out the job in town and if he found it not a good fit, he could call up the other one instead. So he took the job in town.

Was it the right call?

Impossible to say.

Even when we strategize and lessen the risk, we can still end up making the wrong call sometime.

“Wrong” applies to our failures, but failures often become turning points and opportunities to be better. Unless we let our mistakes drown us and keep us living in the past.

Failure is only a moment. And even when dealing with the fallout of failure, we still can find a way forward. But first, we have to start looking forward. Otherwise, we are enslaved to our past.

What are you willing to give up in order to be free?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1073

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Regret-free Decisions

Plenty of folks would look at my plate (interests/projects/dreams) and say that I say yes to too many things.

I’ve always been someone who has been interested in many subjects. Art, music, sports, exercise, technology, learning, etc. I also occasionally feel slightly envious of the people who can stick in one lane for most of their lives (for example, just graphic design). But I enjoy too many things to be that kind of person.

But you can’t do everything (at least not all at once 😜). So there’s always a matter of which pursuits to spend your time on.

I try to say yes to as much as I can tolerate without sacrificing health or quality. And if I walk outside of that tolerance range I rebalance.

Right now I’m less concerned about quantity and more about quality. Meaning, how can I say yes more to the right things (and no to the wrong things) instead of saying yes to things that don’t matter?

Ultimately what we decide is worth our time comes down to each of us. A question I ask myself is what I’ve found helpful is “would I regret not doing this in a year (or five years) from now?” Or said the opposite way, “would I regret saying yes to this after a year has passed?”

Pay attention to where you’re answers are coming from. Make sure they are coming from the heart and not from your wallet or from someone else’s mouth. Not that there is anything wrong with making money or following the path of another great leader—quite the contrary. And yet still. When it comes to making important decisions, make sure you know why or why not you’re saying yes.

Think of a decision like it’s not yours but a close friend making them. What would you advise them? Would you give them the same advice that you are giving yourself?

Consider all sides. And at the end of the day, if it turned out to be a bad call, then learn from it. Mistakes are scars earned. They can be something we try to hide and ignore, or something we learn from and wear like a badge that tells a story for others.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1050

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Doing What’s Necessary

“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”

Bruce Lee

Like many of us today, I’ve been having to make a lot of decisions out of necessity. Health, work, community, institutions, goals… everything is changing quickly.

In some ways, this can make you feel small like you’re compromising and giving up a little of who you are because of the realities you face. No, that isn’t precisely true. When we make decisions out of necessity, we aren’t giving ourselves away, we are holding on tightly to expectations and wants. Our expectations take hold of the reins and say “why me?”

We feel compromised because we refuse to give up our expectations of how our lives should look.

But when we let all of that go, we free ourselves up to move forward.

We aren’t suffering, we’re doing what’s necessary. We may not like it, but at least we are making moves that can lead us to better decisions.

There are three main types of decisions available to us. We can make decisions out of

  • Joy
  • Necessity
  • Or Pain

Joyful decisions are always the happiest because we’re doing them because we want to and we find them fulfilling. Accepting our dream college or dream job. Finding your partner. Building a successful business. Working on your health. Spending your money wisely. Anything that brings Joy into the world.

Necessary Decisions can be tough, but they are usually the most rewarding. This is where we take punches but get grow from the experience. They are sometimes even more rewarding that Joyful decisions because they can make us strong and capable when we lean into them and learn to be uncomfortable. Doing what’s necessary feels like a hard day’s work that fun enough feels good and gives you quality nights of sleep. Whereas Joyful decisions are not always appreciated until much later and can be easily taken for granted if we are paying close enough.

Painful decisions are the worst and should be avoided when possible. This is where hard and painful lessons live. This is where we are so stressed we aren’t pausing to think things through. So we end up making a bad decision or a decision that doesn’t align with us. It’s when we are given the choice between A and B, and forget that we don’t have to choose either because we can do C instead. Or D.

The best thing to do about a painful decision is to step away from the immediacy and intensity and find a calm(er) place to figure out how to rework the problem until it becomes a necessary decision instead.

When left with two bad decisions, come up with a better option. And if that doesn’t work choose neither. Especially if both options are trying to coerce you into something you aren’t. And if nothing works then do what’s necessary and keep an eye out for a better opportunity comes along.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1039

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