I Think You Can

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Buddha

I think the typical reaction when we hear the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right” is something along the lines of—

“Ooh that’s a good quote”—and then shortly after cut to us immediately doubt ourselves and our abilities. At least that’s how it goes for me.

My definition of a cliche is something you hear so much that it loses all meaning and value in your mind. We know that the majority of the time we need to “Just do it.” Instead, we worry, fear, run away, stress, anguish, complain, blame, and do all manner of loitering—anything but just doing what we know we need to do.

“You think you can’t” is the part that truly holds us back.

I’ll catch myself doing everything I can to convince myself that something’s not possible or that I’m limited in some way. I can’t start a company because of X Y Z A Q B reasons. I can’t write a novel yet because of blah blah blah.

The only thing that’s limiting is my current mindset. Everything else that’s pushing against me, “limiting” me is an opportunity for me to be more creative, more humble, more impactful.

Of course, in order for that to be true, we need to stop holding ourselves back with unhelpful thoughts. The mind is a muscle. Having strong, healthy thoughts takes training just like any other muscle.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1051

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Creativity and Chaos

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”Carl Jung

“Chaos is a friend of mine.”Bob Dylan

I wonder how many songs or other forms of art will be created from the strange times of staying at home because of the 2020 Pandemic? Leon Bridges and John Mayer’s Inside Friend. Jaden’s Cabin Fever. Little Things. Exile.

I feel oddly peaceful today, despite the chaos happening in the world and the personal anxieties surrounding me. Perhaps God is shining a little ray of hope on me. Perhaps its because I’m not letting my thoughts control me today.

Looping negative or discouraging thoughts in my head is far from helpful, and adds more weight to my troubles. Despite knowing this intellectually, it’s still difficult to keep my mind running away from itself.

Presence helps. I’m walking underneath an extremely large and old tree, watching the lights sparkle through the shadows of its leaves. I wish I knew what type of tree it was. By focusing on what’s around me, I can lose all sense of my self-centered problems.

Creating helps. I feel ten times better when I push past resistance and prioritize creativity first and put in the work on my passions. Depending on the day, I might only get a chance to write in the last thirty minutes to an hour before bed. But when I actively take the time to write early in the day, lifts my mood and energy. “Actively” being the keyword here. It is almost tragic how much effort it takes to get around to working on the things you truly wish to work on. Secret dreams. Side projects. But when you finally do it’s like a weight has lifted. Why am I not doing more of this? It still takes energy, there’s still a sense of fatigue at the end of the day, but its a calming fatigue. A daily well-lived.

Taking breaks helps. It’s easy to forget that we aren’t robots. It’s not smart trying to compete with a computer. Computers never sleep, never get hangry, and never get bored. But they do crash every so often 😉 We, on the other hand, have human needs, but we also have a greater advantage of being more creative and thinking.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1002

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Negativity Attracts Negativity

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

I’ve had my fair share of negative moments. The last decade of my life has been buttered with various difficulties. Health, finances, friendships, betrayal. It’s easy to fall into a negative lull. But one thing you learn quickly (if you’re paying close attention) about being negative is it doesn’t get you anywhere. Feeling negative doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t solve your problems. In fact, it doesn’t help you at all. 

All negativity is good for is keeping you exactly where you don’t want to be.

What does negativity get you?

More opportunities?

More friends?

More success?

More like opportunities you don’t want. And negative friends that keep you in a negative bubble.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Let’s look at negativity’s counterpart: positivity. I think people bristle at the idea of positivity because they assume that being positive or optimistic means expecting everything to work out in your favor. But expecting everything to go your way is an unrealistic ego-driven way to live. Of course things won’t go our way. That’s where being positive comes in handy. The value of positivity is when things inevitably don’t work out the way we want. Positivity is a reliable tool for when life beats you up and steals your lunch money.

This bad thing happened. What’s something I can look forward to? What can I do better next time? What’s something good that can come from this.

Good things that come from struggles and unfortunate circumstances are the worst best lessons we can have. *Worst* because if we could change the past we’d likely go back and make sure they don’t happen. *Best* because they are life-altering. They change our life’s trajectory and story. In my case, a chronic injury helped me become interested in health, medicine, and wellness.

Positivity also attracts luck. And abundance. And don’t forget opportunities. There’s a lot of upside to living positivity, but I can’t say the same about being negative.

Related:

“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.”

David Lynch

“The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous.”

David Icke

“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Kobe Bryant

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #852

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Mr. Brightside

What good will being pessimistic do for you?

When has being negative ever helped you succeed?

When things suck, look for the good in your situation. There is always a sliver of hope in a sea of despair that when clutched shines out the darkest moments. 

I know it’s hard to be positive when you’re in the middle of things and everything is crumbling around you like a smushed cake donut, but positive is the way out.

Those insufferable optimistic people are usually the happiest and most fulfilled out there afterall.

Like anything else, optimism is a habit. It takes practice. It’s looking at reality and facing it head-on. It’s a genuine smile in the face of your fear. It’s words of encouragement to a friend or colleague when things are dreary. It’s believing in yourself that you can do this, that you can make a difference.

Positivity is a habit we cultivate and grow, not something we are born with.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursing,
— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” — Joseph Campbell

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” — Zig Ziglar

Let it Go

Negative thoughts lead to negative outcomes and actions.

fearing failure leads us to fail, because

the fear itself is holding us back from

what we need to do (and are to scared to do) to succeed.

In other words, 

We fail because we fear.

(I fear the fear of failure because the fear of fear of failure makes me fail)

Same with stress, worry, anxiety.. we tend to stress about stress, and worry about worry (which is a spiraling cycle) and we get in our own way of where we want to go.

It’s like we are in a car, with a destination in mind, yet we have one foot on the gas and the other on the brakes. We may be moving but there’s friction. Friction that we cause.

We are unable to succeed because we’ve locked ourselves in a cage that we’ve built.

A cage of assumptions, falsehoods and in-action.

The great relief is 

we have the key to unlock our cages. We can take our foot off the brakes.

We have to let it go.

And open ourselves up to the unknown.

And believe in the idea that

our thoughts direct our actions.

We are going to fail, and get lost, and

experience all the bumps on the road to achievement and brilliance. And that’s okay, because we’ve let it go. We know what’s important, and we’re moving forward.

related:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living — Dale Carnegie

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“Letting go give us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

How to Deal with Failure with James Altucher

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

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