Seeing in Slow Motion

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

Stephen McCranie

From the outside looking in, an hour of writing or guitar doesn’t look like much of anything. Sometimes practice doesn’t feel like progress either. 

But it is. Every time you sit down and work on your daily practice, you are accumulating skills.

But unless you are tracking and sharing your progress, it will appear as though nothing has changed because we are experiencing change on a day to day, minute to minute level.

Small things add up. Think of it like sharpening a pencil. A few turns of the sharpener will get you to the point (pun intended), but you only start noticing how much those little shavings of wood start adding up until all that’s left is a little nub of a #2 and an eraser, barely big enough to hold. 

Or maybe it’s more like watching a movie, frame by frame. A movie frame by itself is a picture, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

That’s the nature of daily practice—a tiny piece adds up when you look at the whole.

A day of practice is nothing; A day of practice is everything.

It just might not look or feel like it in the moment. But don’t let that discourage you or prevent you from practicing. Every single practice counts—even the mediocre ones. And soon enough, your progress will be so noticeable it will feel like it came out of thin air.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1092

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Learning to See

I recently found my old sketchbooks from middle school and high school. Back then, I remember thinking my art was pretty good. I would get compliments on them too (and not just from my mom.)

Looking at them now, I see how raw my skills were, how little I knew. Rough sketches of keyblades, characters from my favorite shows, still life sketches, all drawn with a heavy hand. Not to belittle my younger inexperienced self. I don’t see his (my) work as terrible or cringe-worthy. It’s more nostalgic than anything.

A big part of creative work, be it art, film, music, writing… is progressing to new levels of understanding and seeing.

At each stage, we use the knowledge and experience we’ve got to work with. It’s only until we reach a new level of understanding that we glimpse the flaws in our previous work. No—not flaws. It’s more like we go from standard definition to high definition, and then from HD to 4K, and so on.

SD only looks blurry and muddy in retrospect. At the time, it was sharp to our inexperienced eyes.

When you look at your previous work and see the flaws and what you would do differently, then you are in a good place. Because you’re able to observe what you couldn’t before shows how much progress you’ve made.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1070

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Treading Water

“Leave your ego at the door every morning, and just do some truly great work. Few things will make you feel better than a job brilliantly done.”

Robin S. Sharma

On a micro-level, big projects feel like you’re treading water. A day’s amount of work doesn’t feel like much, but it adds up. When you know what you want and when you know where you are going, then all you need is the patience and perseverance to see it through.

That tension between an unfinished idea to a finished project is a natural part of the process. It’s that class phrase you hear, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

As much as I’d like to be 150 percent productivity all the time, I know that some days will be more effective than others. Unless you’re a robot, you’re likely gonna have some off days where you’re not creativity firing at maximum thrusters. IT’S ALRIGHT. IT’S OKAY. Tomorrow is another chance to add work to the whole.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #996

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Fool’s Errand

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard P. Feynman

Don’t mistake action for progress. Movement is good, but if you’re going in circles you’re not going to see the results you are looking for.

For example, no amount of programming you do will make you a better guitarist. It might give you ideas, but it won’t make you better at songwriting—only practicing guitar can do that.

Here’s a subtle one—posting and commenting on social media for your business or client. Will it get you likes? Sure. Will those likes turn into sales or true fans? Maybe a few. But it won’t make your product better. That takes work and customer research.

Progress is doing the right things on the stuff that matters to you.

Everything else is either play or a waste of your time.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #949

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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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Introducing Elbow Grease — Put a Little Elbow Grease on it

I love having a great idea (arrogant much josh?)—

or the thrill of goal setting, visioneering, and dreaming.. but —

An idea is only as good as its execution.

Having an idea is not enough, we must also act on creating it.

Head in the clouds feet on the ground.

 

Elbow Grease is a new RenaissanceLife series focused on

The Art of Grit — the blood, sweat, and tears needed to making things happen.

To take a dream and make it reality.

From something we say, to something we do.

And the hard work and grit it takes to do so. (For Grit is necessary if you want to build an empire.)

 

How do we make an idea more than just an idea?

How do we make our dreams reality?

How do we follow through on what we say?

How do we thrive in failure?

How do we be resilient in our work and relentless in our pursuits?

There’s only one way to figure out.

Let’s get to work.

 

related

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner

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?

A Cure For Despair

One cure for despair is through action.

Wallowing in worry, anxiety, and despair won’t bring us relief.

We must lose ourselves in doing.

Stop living for despair — live for action.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making progress on something you love.

Action on what’s important to us gives us energy.

Action doesn’t leave room for despair to attach itself to us.

It can’t hold on to our momentum, It’s claws dull from our steps. 

related:

How to Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

“I’m too busy. I have no time for worry.” — Winston Churchill

“The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.” — George Bernard Shaw