Plantin’ Seeds

Big Redwood Trees
Photo by Josh Carter

If you want to grow a giant redwood, you need to make sure the seeds are ok, nurture the sapling, and work out what might potentially stop it from growing all the way along. Anything that breaks it at any point stops that growth.

Elon Musk

One observation I’ve been appreciating recently is the nuanced, yet powerful force of planting seeds. Our future is built on our past decisions, specifically, all the big and tiny things we agree (or not) during each day.

Everything we do, from how we sit, how we communicate to ourselves, how we eat, to what we read, has a butterflying effect into our future. We are who we are today because of echos from our past, and the echoes from our parents past and beyond.

On the surface, there’s rarely immediacy to planting seeds. They take time, attention, water and sunlight that we could be using elsewhere. And we can’t eat them right away. If we tried, they would be as nutritiously effect to what we are trying to grow.

A conversation here, a habit there… A week goes by and there’s not much to show for it. Progress was made, but it’s often too subtle for us to notice. This is one of the big reasons why most people don’t plant seeds. Growing is slow work. ‘I can’t invest or focus on my future problems, because all of my immediate problems are right now’ — this is something I’ve said others and told myself before.

But immediacy doesn’t equate to priority.

What separates those that do, versus those that don’t is prioritize the future today. A creator creates every day — even if it sucks, because eventually they know their investment will pay off.

Invest in the right things, and the ‘immediate’ things will fade away.

Today is always the best day to do something for tomorrow. Why do tomorrow what you can do today?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #650

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Dealing with Overwhelm

Whenever I feel overwhelmed (like today) I do my best to throw everything out— deadlines, todos, wishes, hopes, expectations, etc — and focus on one thing: the task in front of me.

When there’s nothing but one priority in front of you, then you can disappear in the work and the overwhelm fades away.

First, I clear out my physical space. I tend to believe that ‘a cluttered space is a cluttered mind’ for me personally. When I’m surrounded by distraction and desires of my own making, everything becomes a todo: something I could / should be doing. A stack of books on the desk. A guitar that needs to be restrung. An app that needs to be built. But when I stop and clear my physical space, I begin to feel much better and I can focus on what’s in front of me.

Second, I pick either the simplest task or the highest priority task to focus on. If you’re really feeling overwhelmed, start with the simplest task. Check something off your list. (Even if that todo is ‘make a list’. It counts.) Starting simple allows you to get the cogs turning and wheels moving in the right direction. If you are feeling perky, go for the highest priority task. Ask yourself, “If there was only one thing I could work on today, what todo would make me feel the most accomplished?”

When everything becomes priority, nothing is a priority.

In his book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown talks about the history of the word priority and how ‘priority’, meaning, singular, has come to mean ‘priorities’ plural:

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.
Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple “first” things.
People and companies routinely try to do just that. One leader told me of this experience in a company that talked of “Pri-1, Pri-2, Pri-3, Pri-4, and Pri-5.” This gave the impression of many things being the priority but actually meant nothing was.”

Lastly, if you finish one thing today, congratulations. You are facing overwhelm head on. Now, pick another task. Focus all of your efforts on this one now. Don’t add two new priorities — just one.

One and done — repeat.

This works really well within the task you’re focusing on too. Break your work into the smallest pieces possible and focus on getting each piece done separately, one at a time. If email is making you go bald, focus on one email at a time, not the 10,000+ emails in your inbox. If writing is overwhelming you, write one word. Now write two. Now ten. Work, errands, art — one and done.

And if none of that works, I call it and give myself a break. Walk away for a while. Go move your body. Exercise. Get some sun. Go meet a friend. Don’t let overwhelm win and paint you into a cage for the entire day. If you can’t get anything done today, fine. There’s always tomorrow. At least go have some fun. You are in control here. Go prove it to yourself.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #626

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Attention Span of a Dog

Today, while Gabriella and I were recording a podcast, our dog Ren was playing in the kitchen. She had literally all of her toys out. The half-eaten toys were scattered around her like a war-torn battlefield (cotton guts everywhere).

She was having a ball (literally and figuratively … 🌈 dad joke #1 🌈 ) and I couldn’t help but relate to her to my own life. She would jump from one toy to the next, without being able to decide to play with just one. 

“She’s doing what I do with ideas.” 

I have so many things I want to do and accomplish, and so many ideas I want to actualize that I tend to choose too much at once, overwhelm myself and make no progress on anything.

When it comes to working and reaching for goals and building a better life for yourself, it’s easy to never get anything done because you never prioritize what’s important to you. 

You pick up one squeaker toy after another without realizing it nor making in progress on anything.

But to make true progress happen in life, to turn your dream into reality,  you have to learn when to say yes and when to say no.

The greatest figures in our history achieved greatness by focusing on one thing until proficient before moving on to something else.

What gets prioritized gets accomplished.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

On The Rise: A Mantra for a Meaningful Life

Pssst. Here’s a Link to the Audio Version

On The Rise

Up before the morning rays,

coffee in hand,

salutations and praise,

gratitude for another day — 

On The Rise.

 

Mind right,

path is straight —›

Action this day says

small steps lead to big change —

On The Rise.

 

Shoulders of giants, 

the less you’ll mistake

failure is bad

when it stops you in place —

On The Rise.

 

Better together,

words, wit and stone

cherish your tribe

you get what you sow —

On The Rise.

 

Mastery in momentum,

habit is a verb

how you do the small

defines it all —

On The Rise.

 

Focus in to begin

Think sideways to win,

Rome was built one moment at a time

Thoughts are your direction —

On The Rise.

 

Master of all,

jack nothin’ agrees.

Master of few,

one, two, then three.

Priority of mind is a renaissance life — 

On The Rise.

 

Reflect on the good,

learn from the rest

checkin daily, monthly at best 

what gets measured is put to the test —

On The Rise.

 

Rest is equally important,

but the easiest to neglect.

Investment in health

is a long-young road of success —

On The Rise.

 

Are you living or just doing?

Are you challenging and pursing?

Are you asking? Are you improving?

Questions are lightning rods to achievement —

On The Rise. On The Rise.

 

Etch this in heart, mind and soul,

sing, share and wear it,

make it better, make it your own

Life is about creating — 

On The Rise, On The Rise, On The Rise.

 

#KeepPursuing — Josh Waggoner, Feb 7th 2017

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Priority of Mind Leads to Mastery

You gotta commit

In everything you do and love, make sure you commit.

From all facets of your life. Friends, Family, Love, Community, Mind, Body, Spirit..

From the few outlets you have decided to pursue,  out of the many you could have done.

Commit.

You are not your job, but you are the priorities you uphold.

And most importantly,

commit to being you +

To who you are and what you stand for.

We master time by mastering priority, And through priority we begin to master life +

But if committing to your current life seems overwhelming —

Then commit to this dayDo what you can to make it a well lived one, and deal with tomorrow tomorrow.

Tomorrow is tomorrow. Today is today. Make it a good one. 

Put some Elbow Grease’ on it — Josh Waggoner

related wisdom

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” — Vince Lombardi

 

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” — Napoleon Hill

 

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” — Winston Churchill

 

 

Focus In

Focus means giving our attention to something.

Whether that attention is undivided determine how well we’ll do.

We all have many things we must / want to do, but trying to do them all at once doesn’t lead to progress.

We must give our full attention to the task at hand.

Dedicate 100% of your focus to what you’re doing, within the time you have given

focus in. 

Success is a string of tasks and trials we’ve given our full attention to. We succeed because we focus.

 

By focusing in,

we narrow our perspective

and give time and energy to cultivate each priority.

 

Picture yourself as a master juggler.

You can juggle many things, but each must pass within your hands, one at a time.

People create the illusion of doing many things, but in actuality they’re giving all of their focus on one thing at a time. 

Focus in towards a better you. You’ll find your brilliance.

related

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

Priority

Focus on getting the right stuff done, rather than just getting things done.

Getting things done doesn’t mean we’re making progress on our dreams.

‘Things’ can be anything and everything, and can take us in every direction except the direction we want.

Priority starts with deciding what your right stuff is. It’s a choice you make, and is something you have to put above everything else you do.

 

Brilliance and achievement require priority, and everything we do (and want to do) is not on the same level of importance — it can’t be.

If we want brilliance, we have to prioritize our life towards creating it.

related

“Action expresses priorities” — Gandhi

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

Conquer Your Dreams

Let’s face it —

most of us can’t give 100% of our time and energy

towards our dreams — We have obligations (be that financially and/or socially).

Fine then

We’ll just have to be smarter if we want to conquer our dreams.

(aka we’ll have to be brilliant)

To succeed, We’ll need —

Priority  — We need to make time to make our dreams happen.

Intention — We must know what we want, and what the end goal looks like.

Focus — during the time we make, we need to give 100% focus on the task. No distractions, no interruptions — just focus.

Consistencyas in Daily Action Steps — clearly defined next steps we can take. Small actions allowing us to chip away at dreams.

Small Actions lead to big change.

Steadfast — It’s a long road to overnight success. Perseverance is key.

We must be relentless in our pursuits.

related:

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” — Confucius

 

“If you can dream it you can do it.” — Walt Disney

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?