Fun to Be Around

I am a silly person. If there’s an opportunity, I’m always going for a laugh. I’ve asked some friends about me and they told me they like hanging with me because I’m charismatic and interested in who they are and what they do.

I’d agree with that, I am usually the guy in the group asking a lot of questions. I think curiosity needs to be genuine though. I’m curious about others because I want to be, not because I’m forcing myself to listen to other people’s ideas.

I’m not much for small talk. If you’re telling me about a project you’re working on or something you’re learning, I give you my full attention. Your ideas are important to me. I want to see you succeed.

A lot of people see the world through a scarcity lens of “me vs. you vs. them.” If your idea succeeds then my idea fails. But this isn’t true. Everyone can be successful, just not in the same way. Originality is hard, but it pays dividends.

There is a limit of course. I can give someone enthusiasm, but I can’t do their work for them. Your goals in life are that—yours. I can help point you in the right direction, I can help motivate you and encourage you, but it’s still up to each of us to take these dreams and ideas we have in our head and make them a reality. It’s not my job to do your job. Nor is it your job to do mine. We can share, but we still need to individually contribute.

Our reality is a reflection of our mind.

This sounds like a line from a Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercial, but it’s true. I’m not talking about magic. Wishing for a banana to magically appear in your hands or a briefcase full of money to appear under your bed isn’t what I mean. What we think reflects what we do and how we perceive the world around us and by extension our reality changes. Thinking about eating a banana in pets you want a real banana. Does the banana in your mind exist? Not yet. But it correlates.

This kind of thinking can get woo-woo fast. There are just too many variables to predict all the details of what life will throw at you. But whatever comes our way gives us choices that are in our control.

Failure is an opportunity to do better in the next round. Or not.

Setbacks are an opportunity to grow into a better person. Or not.

Negativity, obstacles, toxic environments, unhelpful thoughts, criticism—these are all things that can help us or hold us back. It just depends on how you look at things. This is a very Jocko mindset.

I’m not telling you to enjoy your toxic work environment, for example. I’m saying see it as an opportunity to stand up for yourself and find something better.

Experiencing failure doesn’t mean you are a failure.

Being negative doesn’t mean you have to stay negative.

We may think about our past and envision our future, but we live life moment to moment. Each moment can change for the better if you own it.

A big part of building a thriving life is letting go of what you can’t control (i.e. your past mistake) and aiming for a better future while staying flexible in the present.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1054

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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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Loneliness and Solitude

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop. Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.”

William Wordsworth

We often know what we need, before we think we need it. Let me put that another way. We often know what decision we need to make, way before we decide to take the steps to make it. It’s like our heart (soul/spirit / inner-self ) knows exactly what we need to do instantly, while our outer, overly critical overly thinking self needs to warm up to it.

Sometimes we need space. Sometimes we need connection. Life is a mixture of both.

I have this tendency to check out whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious or under the weather. All I want to do is crawl away from all the noise and find somewhere quiet to be with myself. Vegging out is a tempting mistress (and I find myself marathoning random shows more than I care to admit) but what I’m really seeking is a silent place to be alone with myself. I’m not checking out of myself, I’m checking out of the world. I’m checking out of the external and checking into the internal.

So, I’ll avoid responding to texts. I’ll be more reluctant to answer email, and more reclusive to going to events or friendly invitations. Even if it’s something I’d normally love doing, I’ll avoid it. Because what I know I really need is space and breathing room to be alone with myself. (Note: better to let your friends know you need some solitude, versus ignore them for days.)

Ask yourself, when was the last time you were alone with yourself? No phone. No tv. No distractions. Just you and you. (And maybe a notebook and pen.)

Whether we know it or not. We all need solitude. Our best ideas come from giving ourselves space. That’s why all great ideas happen when you are driving alone in your car, going on an early walk, or standing in the shower as the sound of water drowns out the outer world.

There are other occasions, usually, when things are tough or sour, where all we want to avoid people (particularly the prying people closest to us), and yet we know (and try to ignore) we need help and the only way we are gonna get that help is to be around people (again, particularly the prying people closest to us). We don’t want to show that we are hurting. We don’t want to show our weakness. And yet we all know that’s exactly what we need to do.

Better to rip the bandage and reveal our wounds early, otherwise, they might fester and become worse. Sharing our weaknesses and scars is a part of what being a human being is about. I think it’s a component of storytelling that’s built into our DNA. Your story connects to my story and vice versa.

You might not always get the reaction you were hoping, but you at least likely won’t get the reaction you are expecting.

The difference between needing space and needing people is subtle. It takes some time (and a lot of patience) to be able to listen to yourself and figure out which you need. I think what we are seeking is similar — a level of clearheadedness or balance — but what drives each comes from different things. Whatever you think you need, it’s usually the opposite. Unless you are extremely in tune with your emotional wellbeing. If you are like the rest of us emotionally unintelligent work’s in progress(es), there are road signs you can watch out for —

Loneliness. Isolation. Feeling like you need to do and take care of everything yourself. These are signs that you need to be around people. Ideally, people that are smarter than you, care about you, and what to help and see you succeed.

Overwhelm. Overstimulated. Grumpy and feeling like everyone in the world is an idiot or out to get you. These are signs that you need to be alone with yourself. Ideally in nature. Or in a quiet place, you won’t be interrupted.

Ignore these signs at your own peril.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #841

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Chasing Squirrels

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Buddha

A dog can teach you a lotta about living well. Okay, okay. Maybe not chasing squirrels or barking at everything that moves. But on second thought, maybe there’s a lesson or two there as well.

Dogs wear their emotions I’m on their sleeves. A dog may bark at a mailman (mail…person?) They may immediately stop what they are doing when you hold up a bright yellow tennis ball. And they may become hyper-focused if they hear the meow of a cat or rustle of something nearby. They feel, but they don’t bottle it inside. They react and release. We could yell at them for barking (at nothing), and they might be sad or down because we were stern to them, but only for a moment before they are ready to play. The only person that’s still flustered and angry is us. They forgive instantly. We hold offenses or even resentfulness in for years.

There’s something powerful about the instantaneous release of emotion. Not that being angry or barking out is good for us (it’s not). But letting it go is. Not letting the fear and anxiety and emotion own us. It’s part of who we are, but it doesn’t control us.

A dog can also go its entire life eating, sleeping pooping, playing and walking and be perfectly happy. I can go barely a day before I do something, read, learning something, create something. I guess creativity is my squirrel. I can easily pull myself in a million directions on any given day. I viscerally know how limited my time is today, but I still feel driven to try to learn, do and experience everything.

I think creativity is a fundamental component of what being human is. (And the people — maybe you — who don’t think they are creative just haven’t found a way or safe space to explore their creative side yet.) We are driven to explore, connect and create.

But as humans, we have a good and bad habit of never being satisfied with what we have. Good because it makes us better at what we do. Bad if it takes over and leaves us dissatisfied with what opportunity and joy we do have in front of us (if only we’d stop to see and appreciate it).

Yet a dog is rarely NOT satisfied. Even if they are not getting what they want out of the day, they don’t stay sad for long. They open themselves up to the opportunity of the day. Where everything can be seen from a new smell and perspective. Happiness is there, waiting for us to accept it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #835

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