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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Just Start Already

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.

Thomas A. Edison

Creating something and putting your work out into the world is one of the scariest things you can do. (It’s up there routine dental checkups, or having kids.)

That is, until you do it. Once you start, the fear subsides. Every time you act, the fear diminishes a little more. It’s always there, but it doesn’t have the same sting it once did before you started.

You write and then you hit publish.
You draw and then you share your work online.
You record, edit and then upload.

Create. Edit. Share. Repeat. (Or some days just create and share.)

At the beginning, nobody cares. (Well, your mom cares. Hi mom!) Your work either falls flat, does okay or hits a cultural thread that lifts it to unbelievable heights.

Most of the time our work does okay.

And at any point of the creative process, we have the temptation to give up.

The weather is gloomy or hot, we get sick, we didn’t sleep well, a Marvel movie comes out, something better is happening, and so many other distractions can very easily derail us from creating anything today. And not creating today is a slippery slope. (You take one day off, and suddenly three years slips by and you haven’t made anything.)

This is why I’m so committed to daily habits. When you decide to do a daily habit, there are no days off. (Sticky Weather or sick days be damned. No excuses.) Good or bad, at the end of the day, I make myself sit down, write and hit publish. Otherwise, I’d miss a day. (And there’s nothing worse than missing a day when you have a daily habit.)

On bad days, It might sound awful to you to put out work and ideas that sucks and your not proud to put your name behind, bit it’s actually a secret to a lot of creative’s success.

Creativity is less about what you did on any particular day, and more about your whole spectrum of work.

Waiting for the inspiration to create or for a great idea to show up doesn’t work.
great work to shop.

Consistency and practicing your ability to create-on-demand does.

One secret to creative success is creating more and creating often — you cultivate a lot of okay work, but you’ll also make more great work than you would otherwise have.

Some of your work will shine above the others and that’s the point. (Side-note: if we stopped after shipping one great piece, we’d likely turn into one of those one-hit wonder creatives.) The process of continuous flow of creativity gives us moments of brilliant ideas (and some decent ideas.) Arbitrarily, for every great creative work you shop, you might go through nine crappy or just-okay ideas.

I would argue that one great idea is worth as many mediocre ideas it takes. Because one great idea can change your world (and quite possibly, change The World).

But nothing happens if you don’t start.

When it comes to creativity, starting is everything, because without starting, there’s nothing — just a bunch of ideas in our head.

Once you realize that, and how quick life goes by, the fear of inaction outweighs the fear of doing something new, potentially embarrassing, and likely to fail. Because if we don’t try — if we don’t even test out the waters — we automatically fail before we even get going.

When in doubt —
When hesitant, or fearful —
When others tell you that you shouldn’t or can’t —
When you tell yourself that you shouldn’t or can’t because of X Y and Z —

Just start already.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #634

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