Criticizing Yourself

“To my younger self, I would say unless you’re literally in danger, ask forgiveness instead of asking permission.” — Jonathan Van Ness

You don’t know what you don’t know. That sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s true. Making mistakes from a place of ignorance sucks, but we shouldn’t harass ourselves about it.

There are only three things we can do:

  1. Learn from it and do better next time.
  2. Prioritize knowledge and wisdom so that we are more capable, going forward.
  3. Surround ourselves with wise and thoughtful people who have our backs.

Blaming our younger selves for their dump mistakes doesn’t help us now, nor gets us where we want to go.

Don’t be too critical to your younger self.

You didn’t know what you know now.

He/she didn’t know what he/she was getting into. Even if you’re still paying for it (in dividends) now, you can’t change what happened.

When you criticize yourself, you are just getting in your own way.

Forgiveness starts with forgiving yourself. Give your younger self a get out of jail free card and move forward.

Everyone thinks they are invincible until they fall. That’s when the real journey begins.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1081 ☕️

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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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Pressure is Necessary

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

Kobe Bryant

Unless you happen to be an Astronaut and you are reading this blog from space, you are experiencing the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. The Earth’s atmosphere is around 60 miles thick. It’s a relatively thin sheet of air, but it keeps us warm and alive. Atmospheric Pressure is due to gravity and the thickness and density of atmospheric gas. How much pressure depends on where you are standing. At sea-level, the standard amount of pressure is around 14.70 pounds (per square inch) which—for you lovely math nerds out there—is 101.325 kilopascals.

It’s interesting that we hardly notice the pressure we are under. Unless you traveled to higher altitudes like Denver or Nepal (or Mars—610 pascals give or take, less than 1% of the Earth’s value) or experience the pressurized cabin of an airplane, you’d likely never notice.

(Or maybe you keenly familiar with pressure because you are a super-nerd like me and remember those Gravity Chamber’s Goku and Vegeta trained in to get stronger in Dragon Ball Z 😉.)

Gravity isn’t the only type of pressure we face in life.

Finding a mate, figuring out what you want to do in life, doing your taxes, making money and the day to day stresses of pursuing creativity and living are all pressures we face.

Pressure is necessary for creativity and growth.

Not too much or you’ll be crushed under the weight.
Not too little or you might not feel the need to act or even fall complacent.
What we need is pasta “al dente”—not too soft; firm to bite.

The question is how to find a good balance of pressure and what to do when we feel too over-pressured?

Too much pressure for too long and we over-cook our broccoli.

When you are under a tremendous amount of stress, for example, financial stress, it’s difficult to think about anything other than that need/pressure. The problem is when we are under too much stress—and how much depends on your personal tolerance level— we focus too much on the problem instead of finding a clear solution. We’re like a person panicking in the water who can’t swim. Panic is what’s drowning us, not our lack of swimming skills. (I don’t mean to take this scenario lightly. In the moment it’s difficult to see how our panic is causing us harm and losing ourselves to fear can happen to any of us.) What we need is a way to kick us out of our stress so we can take a breath and think objectively.

We need a lifeboat. Something or someone that can save us from ourselves. Maybe for you, that’s your daily meditation or yoga practice. Or perhaps journaling in the morning clears your mind off any worries or fears that are bothering you. Whatever we choose, as long as we stick to it and double down whenever we are under lots of pressure, we can make it through.

Creatively we need to challenge ourselves to get better at what we do. Writing the same type of story or headline over and over again isn’t going to make you a better writer. Taking the same style of photos—the ones you are most comfortable with—isn’t going to make you a better photographer. Playing the same three chords—G…D…C— the same way isn’t going to make you a better guitarist.

But pushing your boundaries, seeking out knowledge, trying new things, experimenting with discomfort will make you better.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #888

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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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