Overwatering Your Plants

It’s pretty easy to neglect your plants. All you have to do is never water them, never prune them, put them in the wrong sunlight, and then patiently wait for them to die.

Very hands-off

But the most common killer of house plants 🪴 is not neglect but generosity. We overwater them to death. We give them so much water that their roots start to rot from our kindness.

What in your life are you overwatering?

Your business? Your kids? A million ideas?

Everything from design to health to child-rearing does better with a little space and breathing room.

When I try to pack too much into my schedule, not only do my stress-levels elevate, but the quality of what I’m doing diminishes across the board.

Too much of one thing ends up being the opposite of what we were wanting. Too much exercise or long hours at the office and we burnout. Too many hobbies, friends, todos, ideas and we no longer have room for intentionality.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1160

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Go Easy on Yourself

That fresh, clean feeling of the start of a New Year always makes me want to resolve to do a hundred things. Exercise more. Be a better friend. Write better stories. Stop eating sugar. Go to bed early… you get the idea.

Whether you are as intoxicated by New Year’s Resolutions like me, or just intoxicated (hey-o!!) remind yourself that you are only human.

It does us no good to self-judge ourselves when we make mistakes or miss the mark.

Go easy on yourself—

Learn to be more self-compassionate.

Good habits aren’t built in a day, they are built every day.

So if you mess up and eat a cookie, don’t quit. Start back up immediately with enthusiasm and desire to be better next time. Don’t let bad habits win.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1155

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Hodgepodge

There’s an old(ish) game that my friends and I use to play called Katamari Damacy. I think we enjoyed it so much, not because of the gameplay, but because it was such a weird quirky experience (plus the soundtrack is crazy). You are this green elf-looking little dude who’s been tasked by your father, the Kind of the Cosmos, to rebuild the stars (which he accidentally destroyed).

So, you roll this magical sticky ball across various levels, and slowly pick up a hodgepodge of things—staplers, candy, chairs, cats, cars, trees, cows, etc.—until grows big enough to become a star.

I know—it makes perfect sense, right?

I’m bringing it up because it reminds me of a perfect analogy of when we decided to start something new, like a new project or new skill.

At the beginning, we’ve got a clean slate. For example, you want to learn how to design, so you sign up for an online class. You’re super excited about learning something new. Things are simple, innocent, singular.

But as we, our one singular task turns into 2 tasks. 2 turns into 5. 5 tasks leads to 20. And the deeper we go, the more options we have, and things we seem to need to do.

First you learn about what design is, but soon, you realize “design” is actually many many things—space, form, typography, grids, branding, illustration, UI, print, Interior, Product Design… And not to mention all the tools available to you to learn and grow as a designer, such as Illustrator, Figma and Auto CAD.

What often starts a simple quest quickly becomes many smaller quests and potential opportunities we could do.

To me, this is both incredibly exciting and also overwhelming.

The problem of course is not everything can be a priority.

As the saying goes, if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority.

The key is to choose and narrow your focus. And knowing what to choose requires us to take the time to learn about ourselves and figure out what we want to give our time to.

Who am I?

What gets me up in the morning?

What would I love to do, even if I never got paid a dime for it?

What makes me feel alive?

Where are my gifts? How can I use them to help others?

Questions like this will help you get the ball rolling (pun intended).

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1153

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Reboot

There’s a lot of… gunk that we accumulate in our lives. As we go about our days, it’s like we are building up plaque in our mind, body, and spirit.

Work comes first. Other people come first. Todo list and doings often usurp quality time with ourselves.

When was the last time you took care of yourself? When was the last time you did absolutely nothing—no work, no tv, no books, no agenda—just you.

We are always going, always striving, always push towards something.

I think every now and then we need to shut down our human OS and reboot ourselves.

Hold down the power button, so to speak, and do a hard reset.

It doesn’t have to be much. A little can go a long way.

Go to bed a little earlier.
Sleep a little longer.
Get outside.
Move a little more.
Eat something healthier today.
Do nothing.
Tap a nap.
Breathe.
Do something that matters to you.
Try something fun.
Try a new hobby.
Reflect. Reassess. Remind yourself what’s important.

Nourish what you’ve been neglecting.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1110

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True Yes

“Saying no frees you up to say yes when it matters most.”

Adam Grant

It’s not that loose threads are inherently bad or good—like many things it depends on the context. On the road to success, there will be many opportunities we could say yes or no too.

The problem is, most opportunities look pretty great! How the heck do you know what’s a good opportunity versus a bad opportunity?

Simple (..but far from easy): compare the opportunity to yourself—who you are, what you value, and what kind of life you want to have.

The question is whether it’s leading you towards or against what you’re looking for.

Is this opportunity and/or obligation distracting me from what I actually want to do?

If someone is dangling money or fame In front of you, but it doesn’t align with who you want to be, will you take it or turn it down? Tough call. Knowing what you want, no—discovering what you want through experience and practice will make tough decisions much easier.

Is this yes a true yes or more like an easy/fun distraction?

Of course, in order to answer questions like these, you have to know who you are. And, equally important, you have to learn to act on self-interest. Self-interest isn’t selfish. You can be caring and compassionate about others AND have an opinion and say what you want your life to look like.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #980

Recommended Reads:

Hell Yeah or No

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Limiting Beliefs / Limitless Beliefs

“Expect great things, and great things will come.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“Yeah, I’m late to everything LOLs…”

That’s me. I’ve said a version of the phrase above more times than I can remember. In high school, I was late to first class so much that we (our class) started collecting my tardy slips and taping them to the wall as a joke—like a badge of honor (shame? disbelief? 🙂 to see how many I accumulated.

I try not to be late nowadays—at least when it matters. You get to a point where you realize it’s a sign of respect when you get somewhere on time because you are respecting someone else’s time. I have to fight it because as a multi-disciplinary, I have a tendency to take on too much during the day. (A topic for another day, perhaps.)

Another phrase I’ve said a lot:

“I’m terrible with direction.”

This one you still my catch me saying. I’ve learned a lot—directions aren’t one of them. It’s not that I can’t find my way around—I can tell you which direction is east and which is west—rather, I’m generalizing. The truth is I don’t bother memorizing road names or direction details. I can easily get around if I’ve been to a place before, otherwise, I couldn’t tell ya where were are or give you directions without whipping out my phone and asking my friend GPS.

There’s a huge part of our identity that’s wrapped in negative labels we adopt from others or give to ourselves.

Perhaps you weren’t aware of it until now, but once you know it, you’ll start to hear it from everyone.

“Oh yeah, I suck at math!”

“Yoga?! I’m as stiff as a board. You won’t see me bending like that”

“Cooking? You mean takeout?”

“I’m so unlucky!”

“I”m terrible at finances lol.”

It goes on and on. We wear these labels like a badge of honor, but in reality, we are just holding ourselves back from being a better version of ourselves.

The reason I’m usually bad with directions because I don’t prioritize learning it. In fact, my mindset is an action AND reaction that devalues me from wanting to be good at it.

The same goes for other negative traits we feel about ourselves.

Something bad happens—like we spill coffee on our brand new white pants—and then we mentally tell, no convince, ourselves we are unlucky. At that point, two things occur 1. We become aware of our “unluckiness”. We start seeing out validating reasons why we are unlucky to prove to ourselves we are right. And 2. we view the world through our “unlucky” mindset and start making decisions that lead us to be more unlucky.

The interesting thing is the reverse can happen too—we can convince ourselves that we are the luckiest person in the world—and find ways to validate it and we start taking action that makes it true.

In a word—we are all biased by our “badges of honor”, so to speak.

The real question is who do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be?

By thinking through the limiting believe’s you have, you can slowly begin to convert them to limitless beliefs instead.

What do you believe about yourself that isn’t doing you any favors? What can you replace them with?

What do you believe about yourself that you want to be true? What can you start doing to make that happen?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #941

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Self-Assessing Our Biases

“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.”

R. Buckminster Fuller, Multidisciplinary

“A strong intuition is much more powerful than a weal test. Normals teach us rules; outliers teach us laws. For every perfect medical experiment, there is a perfect human bias.”

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Best Selling Author, The Gene, Emperor of All Maladies

Have you ever wondered why a quote’s attribution (quoter) is after the quoted sentence? Sure, it looks nice and organized that way. Or maybe we think it looks better that way because it’s always been that way and we are used to it so switching it up would seem off. Sometime’s you’ll see the opposite it books, where the author mentions the speaker and their titles before going into what they said. I think this minute detail — before or after a quote — hits upon the same idea:

Bias.

When you read a quote before knowing who wrote or said it, your mind is more open to its ideas. Imagine hearing a great turn of phrase but only afterward learn that it was said by Hitler or from a person you distrust. And what about when the tables are turned? What does your mind immediately do but scoff and ignore or dismiss the quote out of principle?

Can you praise the quote but not the attributor? Can you separate the art from the flawed artist? Van Gogh is known for just as much as — if not more than — cutting off his own ear than he is for Starry Night. Obviously, I’m not defending Hitler, nor am I suggesting we cut off our ears in the name of creativity.

I’m suggesting that we all have flaws and lean towards certain perspectives over others (based on our experiences and upbringing). The key is not to judge others so harshly for their views and instead self-assess and work on ourselves instead.

Where am I short-sighted?
Where are my blind spots?
What decisions (actions and reactions) am I making that are going to come back and bite me?

We may not like what someone says or does, but all we can do is work on ourselves and let our actions be an example of wisdom, character, and integrity. And apologize when we make mistakes. Butting heads with our ego might get us success, but it won’t make us friends.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #861

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Book: Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me).

Fooling Ourselves

“A degree of self-awareness is extremely valuable… I hope I have that going forward.”

Nick McDonell

It’s refreshing to have at least one person around you tell it like it is. When everyone around you agrees or compliments what you are doing, you start to believe your own hype (aka BS).

This is a dangerous position to be in, because you don’t know if what you doing is working in your favor or against you.

Ideally we would be self-aware enough to watch assess ourselves and “pick up what we’re putting down” as they say, and call ourselves out when we notice ourselves cutting corners or making bad choices. But as the American physicist and brilliant thinker Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Self-awareness is all the rage nowadays. But if you strip away the woo-woo and boil the idea down to its essence, self-awareness essential means knowing yourself. Knowing what you like, dislike. Knowing your goals and desires. And more importantly, knowing where your blindspots are, what your bad habits are, and where you tend to get upset (and how you cope with those emotions).

It might sound silly to say, but it’s difficult to know what you don’t know. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If we have a rough idea where our blindspots are, we can try to prepare for them in advance or avoid the triggers that lead to them so we can completely go around them.

Having a friend that’s honest and realistic, but is doing so because they want to see you be better and succeed is a great way to avoid unforeseen problems.

It can’t just be any person that can be our smart decision thermometer. Respect is essential to that kind of relationship. If there’s isn’t mutual appreciation or if you don’t look up to the person who is giving you honest feedback, then you’ll never actually listen to them and take their advice for truth. Without mutual respect and appreciation, they are the equivalent to the random Youtube comment troll who’s only goal is to criticize and take you down. Authority is also essential. If your friend is giving you advice on things they don’t do themselves (or never have done) then the advice will fall flat. If your words don’t align with your actions or experience, no amount of brutal honesty will convince you to change course.

These types of friendships are hard to come by, so when you do find one, do your best to cultivate the relationship and keep it strong.

Seek out groups of likeminded individuals or create a group yourself. Look for people who are lifelong learners and who are always doing new things and trying to be the best version of themselves.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #855

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Work on Yourself

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

Malcolm X

It’s quite easy to see the flaws in other people. You have a friend that would be killing it… if only they would put in a little more effort. Or you have a parent who would be so much better off if they would stop worrying all the time about everything. Or you strike up a conversation with a randoe person and notice exactly the things they could improve.

It’s harder to see the flaws in ourselves.

We don’t see ourselves from the outside perspective. We don’t know what we don’t know. What’s easy for you to solve might be difficult for me, because we’ve experienced life in different ways through different experiences.

Although, I think people growing up today with social media might have a better sense of it, but not in a good way. Everything is styled and curated. If something’s wrong, they notice. But they don’t use it to try to improve themselves (or learn to accept their flaws as a part of what makes them who they are). Instead, we see waves of self-loathing and anxiety.

It’s alright to be flawed. No one is flawless, even the people that tell/show us they are. We all have things we are great at and things we need to work on.

One insight I found help on my journey is to think about yourself as a work in progress. If you don’t like something about yourself, then change it. If you want to be better, then be better. You are a blank canvas waiting to be painted and repainted. You can change. And you can change your mind over time too.

And if you want to help others, begin by helping yourself. Take the lead. Live the example first. Don’t just shout advice like you have a clue what you are talking about when you don’t. Give advice on what you do know, or examples of who does.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #823

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Book: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant

I Need a Tune Up

“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can’t find who it’s originally attributed to, but there’s a great quote from the show Justified where the protagonist, Rayland, is bringing in a drug dealer or something and says “If you run into an *sshole in the morning, you ran into an *sshole. If you run into *ssholes all day, you’re the *sshole.”

Personally, I’ve noticed that when I’m in a bad or discouraging mood, every little things seems to be against me. I wake up late, feeling tired. Everyone I come into contact is in a bad mood. My car is out of gas. There’s construction and traffic on my way to work. I trip and rip my pants.

The real problem isn’t the traffic, the problem is me. (It’s not you, it’s me.) And more specifically its my mental state.

When I’m feeling great mentally, everything is great! Traffic seems much lighter today than normal! Wow, I’m literally getting all green lights. Who cares that I tripped and ripped my pants. It was time to get new ones anyway.

I wonder if our mindset works on the same wavelength of music frequency.

We tune instruments, such as a guitar or piano, to be in tune to a particular harmony. Does ‘tuning’ our minds to a more optimistic mindset create more harmony in our lives?

It’s more likely that having an optimistic view of our life, in good or bad circumstances, changes how we perceive what happens to us. So when setbacks happen, our optimistic mindset become a mental firewall to self-criticism and despair, which makes us more resilient to negative circumstances.

All when need to do is figure out how to turn the guitar tuning pegs, so to speak, and align our mental strings to the correct note.

First, we must become aware of our mental states. It’s hard to stop being a crabby patty if you don’t know you are acting like one. This requires us to make regular mental pit stops to check in with ourselves and make sure we are acting from the mindset we want to be in. Am I grumpy? Do I feel agitated or annoyed by things that normally aren’t? Am I hangry?

Second, we need to cover our bases. Did I get enough sleep last night? Do I need a nap? When was the last time I took a break? When was the last time I had water or ate something? It’s the little things that we are neglecting that cause us the most trouble.

It’s the little things that we are neglecting that cause us the most trouble.

And lastly, we need to find a way to reset. Easier said than done, but taking time for ourselves helps. Go for a walk. Take a break and pick up a good book. Read a blog post or two. Go play a pickup basketball game with a friend. Run up some hills. Breathe. Do whatever you need to do to reset your mental state.

When we are in tune, and acting from a mental state of possibility and opportunity, life is electric. Setbacks become moments to practice resilience. Failure becomes lessons. And all the good things become joy.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #671

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