Fun to Make

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.” Roger von Oech

Not every aspect of any job will be fun, but if you’re not finding joy or value in what you’re doing, then why are you doing it?

Life is too short to feel dissatisfied eight hours a day, five days a week.

Work is about making a living—and sometimes when you’re in a bad place you gotta do what you gotta do. But work is also about joy and play. Without it, our lives feel stuck and stale. Maybe you don’t even realize that’s what’s been bothering you. There’s time for playfulness just like there’s time for seriousness.

But if every thing we work on is for money—we’ve got a problem.

Maybe not right away, but only grinding through unfulfilling work we’ll burn ourselves out—into the ground.

If you can’t find joy in your job right now, then add it elsewhere. Start a no-pressure project you want to do for the sheer fun of it. Maybe it’s something in your industry or maybe it’s something completely new. By “no-pressure” I mean something that doesn’t directly involve your financial wellbeing. Your fun project can still have challenges and deadlines—it’s still something you want to start and then complete—but it’s not necessary some time to immediately turn into a side business.

We spend our entire childhood playing and learning and then when we transition to adulthood and work somewhere along the way we lose that sense of play and end up only working. Most of us go from play to no play. No wonder all we end up doing is partying, drinking andor stream shows!

So have fun with it. Go make something. Build something with your hands.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1072

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Life is Work (But Work Isn’t Life)

“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” — Albert Camus

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi

Work means different things to different people. I may enjoy pitching ideas to clients and marketing products to customers, whereas you would rather eat your own left foot than deal with customers directly.

A lot of creative “work” I do doesn’t feel like work at all. Technically I am working and working towards a vision, but it doesn’t feel laborious. Naturally, I get joy and energy when I’m working on things I love. But then again, I’m not just doing one thing I’m juggling a few things throughout the day, so there’s rarely a moment where I feel like I want to stop. 9 AM turns into 3 PM very quickly. Plus, I’m sprinkling in healthy practices and breaks here and there—like meditation or going on a walk—so there’s a lot of factors at play.

One important lesson creative work has taught me is life takes work, but work shouldn’t be your entire life.

It takes work to live an intentional and meaningful life. In fact, it’s likely much easy to live a flippant, unintentional life. It doesn’t take much effort to eat fast food, never exercise, stay up late, work just for a paycheck, drink heavily, and veg out on the weekends.

Living intentionally and pursuing a dream, on the other hand, takes effort. Lots of effort. But the effort is part of the joy.

There’s rarely anything more rewarding than sticking to a goal and being consistent with it.

There are limits, of course. If all you do is work then your life is off balance. Friendships, love, community, mind-body, and spirit are just as important (and rewarding) as what you do for a living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1053

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Priority

“Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.”

William Arthur Ward

The sky looks incredible this evening. Gradients of purple and pink kiss the mountains of my hometown.

I’m walking along with the Tennessee River and can’t help but look up and window snoop at some of the visible apartments high above.

Despite the riverside view, I’m seeing glimpses of what you’d see in any house—no matter how poor or rich you are.

Couches, lamps, curtains. Vague shapes of paintings or perhaps photos on the walls. Busy kitchens and empty kitchens.

Flickers of images from TVs stand out the most. The size and quality might change, but you’ll find one in many houses across the modern world. Something about this makes me laugh. No matter how rich you get, you still are gonna make sure you don’t miss your latest show episodes. Entertainment is a great equalizer.

We’ve always been a storytelling people. Nowadays, we’ve traded campfires and spoken stories for pixels, streaming, and social media.

I admire the people who have decided to live without owning a TV. Up until recently, I’ve always had one, or at least my family has. I watch things more on my iPad and phone more than anything these days.

I love watching good shows and movies. I love them in the creative sense too. The interwoven combination of direction, acting, production, design, fashion, and storytelling that goes into creating a film. There’s an unbelievable amount of good stuff out there these days. Palm Springs. The Old Guard. What We Do in The Shadows. Dark. The Last Dance. And that doesn’t even get me started about YouTube.

As much as I enjoy it, I’m also occasionally gut checking why I’m watching one thing or another. “Am I watching this to enjoy, or am I watching this to distract myself from what I actually want/need to do?” It’s a tough question and usually has a tough answer.

If you’re an adult, there are no rules—you can watch whatever whenever you want. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. I’m not here to patronize or get on a soapbox. I’m, more or less, observing my own life and patterns.

Sometimes I need to stop learning, put down the book, turn off the TV, and get to work.

And other times I need to put down my work and call a friend and check in on them. Or take a breather and go for a walk. And, of course, occasionally watch a good episode or two. Everything is balance. A moderation of competing priorities on your time.

The key is to prioritize your life around the values and results you are looking for.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1003

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

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

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Use What You’ve Got

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

According to a quick google search, the top two most sold ice cream flavors are vanilla and chocolate. Out of the thousands of favors and options out there in the world, the humble vanilla and chocolate are still the most popular.

You have everything you need to create what you need. Everything you can and will eventually add to the mix (experiences, higher quality gear, knowledge, the latest gadgets, and gizmos, etc) are extra flavor to your toolkit.

But for now, you have what you have—so make do. Think of it as a creative limitation, something that gives you the opportunity to think differently and come up with a clever solution.

More tools doesn’t equal more creativity or originality.

There’s no sense in waiting for the right tools and gear. Nor for right time for that matter.

Be resourceful. Make do with what you have and make it shine.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #963

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant. 🌱

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

The Struggle

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.”

Trent Reznor

Complacency can creep up on you at any stage of your journey. Beginning, middle, and end.

  • When you think you have nothing and feel hopeless—you can become complacent to the life you dislike but tolerate.
  • When you are finally starting to make progress—but then you let the fear of failure (or success) lead you to procrastinate and avoid what you need/want to do.
  • When you’ve succeeded beyond your wildest dreams (or your family has succeeded before you, and has accrued wealth and/or status) — you can become complacent to a life of luxury. Your immediate needs are fulfilled, but you can’t help but wonder, “Is this all there is?”

Complacency also lives somewhere in the middle of not failure and success. A not-not world. A negative space. That pesky in-between state where nothing seems to be happening to us. We are working harder than we ever have, but we’re not making progress towards our goals. Or we aren’t trying hard enough to tip over into something better, but we aren’t getting worse either.

The word ‘struggle’ gets a bad rap, but it’s through the continuous drive to learn and improve, and the love of the craft that we can find meaning within our lives.

There’s a paradox here though— momentum creates both meaning and struggle. In fact, the struggle to be someone, or the struggle to create something worthwhile gives us the energy to stand out and make an impact.

Joy is found in motion. Work. Rest. Work Rest. Forward. Change. Towards somethings. Without that things can feel lost and distant. Luckily, there’s purpose waiting around every corner, you just have to put one foot in front of the other to see it.

The struggle isn’t the problem. The struggle is the solution. Let go of trying to rid yourself of struggle and embrace what comes, no matter if you like it or not.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #933

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant. 🌱

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Fortitude

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m always torn between staying up later to have a little more time to learn and work on my passion projects, versus going to bed on time so that future josh will feel fresh in the morning.

Should I grit my teeth and push a little bit more, or do I let go and rejuvenate?

I’ve read Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, I understand how vital good sleep is—not just for creativity— but for everything. Yet still, I’m torn. I don’t know what my future looks like. Would future Josh wish that past Josh tried harder or does he wish that past Me didn’t focus so much energy on doing more?

More doesn’t always bring you the results you are seeking.

As Seneca once wrote, “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as I’m living a life true to myself. My dreams in life aren’t going to realize themselves. There’s a reason most people don’t do what they want to do—they convince themselves it’s not possible. As long as we are making decisions for the right reasons—based on value, connection, joy, love, meaning, passion, curiosity, etc— it doesn’t really matter how long it takes for my day to come, or even if it does. Because if you live true to yourself, and treat yourself and others with respect and care, then the life that we end up living will be 10x as meaningful, compared to a life spent in fear, doubt, and by someone else’s rules.

It’s a simple idea, but it’s far from easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It takes strength and perseverance to surrender to the moment while also never wavering on who you are and who you want to be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #929

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant. 🌱

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Value for Value

“Takers believe in a zero-sum world, and they end up creating one where bosses, colleagues and clients don’t trust them. Givers build deeper and broader relationships – people are rooting for them instead of gunning for them.” — Adam Grant

Clients, like any relationship, are two-way streets. It’s a give-give relationship. Even if the work you are giving is free of charge, and the value the client giving is only experience.

Value for value. Trust for trust. Respect for respect.

when the balance leans too much towards one side or the other the client relationship eroded and starts to become unbalanced and un-valuable.

I’ve been both a client and a freelancer, so I’ve been on both sides of the seesaw, and have experienced every good, bad, and crazy situation you can think of.

As a freelancer, you have to put in the work. The quality has to be the highest you can give, every project you get. Be smart. Time actually is money (and more important than money). But if you are taking shortcuts that compromise your work, you won’t make the client happy nor will you improve your skills. Procrastination. Shortcuts. Half-*ssed work. Poor communication. No communication. This is how you can disrespect (intentionally or not) your client. You’ve got to put in the time and effort to make your client shine. Otherwise, your work will fall flat and won’t lead to more work or referrals.

As a client, you don’t own who you hire. They are a partner whose job is to do great work in their area of expertise—not to do whatever you tell them.

Unrealistic deadlines. Last-minute changes. Underpaying. Paying late or refusing to pay, Revisions upon revisions based on personal taste versus thinking of your customers. These are just a few ways you can disrespect your hired worker (again, intentional or not) and make yourself look unprofessional. Whether it’s a logo, or video, or business consulting or marketing strategy, 99% of the time, when you hire someone, they want to create success for you. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they are doing and have the expertise you are looking for to improve your business. Trust that. Have an opinion of course. But be open to trusting their guidance.

You may be their client, but they are your client too. Or put another way, reputation goes both ways.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #922

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ or a new plant 🌱 or supporting the Renaissance in other ways.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Smart Work

“We work to become, not to acquire.”

Elbert Hubbard

Hard work alone doesn’t get you wherever you want to go. In fact, all that hard work your doing doesn’t ensure anything if you are working towards the wrong things *and/or* doing it for the wrong reasons. 

I know because I’ve done it. I worked a long time on the wrong things for the right reasons. Why were they wrong? Because they didn’t align with my goals and vision for my life. I was putting in work for a company that I thought I needed but didn’t see that it was a one-sided deal without real reward or enjoyment—aka they needed me more than I needed them.

It’s easy to get so worked up with the day to day of what you’re doing that you don’t notice that you actually don’t want to do it. And because you are in it, and stressed and tired, you keep going because that’s the thing in front of you.

The first step to smart work is knowing yourself and what you want and periodically checking in with those desires and comparing it to reality. Just like money how money is impossible to manage unless you are tracking it and paying attention to where it’s going, it’s difficult to bug e happy and creating fulfilling work if you aren’t paying attention to who you are and how you are living.

The next step to smart work is focusing your efforts on the *right* things. 

As a small example. Say you want to be Instagram or YouTube famous. Well, you’re off to a rocky start because you’re already focused on the wrong things. Being a star on an online platform is a byproduct of doing great work. That comes from loving your craft and connecting with likeminded people. (Fame has its perks, but I’m sure it has its downsides as well. For one, not being able to leave your house without someone wanting a selfie. Fame replaces your anonymity and pricy. Regardless, if fame is what you want, seeking it isn’t going to be how you get it.

Smart work is a win-win relationship. It’s worth it to you (to put in the time and effort and worth it to the people who consume it (worth their time and attention). 

Another great smart work strategy is making sure the work you are doing is truly necessary. There are a countless number of great ideas that have never been started or never been finished because some little fear or todo got in the way. Don’t get caught in unnecessary work that keeps you stuck in a loop. Ask yourself,

Is this necessary?

Is there a better way? 

Has someone else done this that I can emulate?

Lastly, smart work is also choosing purpose over immediate gratification.

Don’t let little wants and distractions keep you from what you really want. 

If your dream is to start your own company, then why are you spending all your money on booze and fancy toys? 

Ask yourself, is this thing (item, person, habit, another idea/ goal, want) moving me towards or away from my dream?

If it isn’t — pass on it. 

If it is — full steam ahead.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #920

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a coffee or a new plant or supporting the Renaissance in another way.

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Practices |  Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Why Do We Work?

“It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”

Benjamin Franklin

To eat? To buy nice things? To occupy our time? If you didn’t have to work another day in your life, would you able to?

Personally, I would go crazy without work. Even when I’m not working I’m working. I’m learning and making things. I’m dreaming about making other things.

Even when we are on vacation, we work. We work our way through a good book. We work on our tan. We work up an appetite after a workout. We learn and play, which are just other forms of working.

I think most picture ‘work’ as something to hate. Something they have to do to live. I know, because I’ve been there too. There was a point on my journey where I liked what I was work on, but didn’t like where I was doing it and who I was doing it with. But when I refer to ‘work’ I’m talking about the things we enjoy doing.

I think we work because we want to be somebody.

We want to make something special. We want to ‘put a dent in the universe’.

We work to be somebody.

That’s why we’re disappointed when we don’t like our job and find it dull. It’s also why we hesitate to pursue what we love. Because what if we fail? What if we are bad at it? We’d rather stick to a boring job than fail.

Work is part of who we are. It’s not all of what we are, but it’s certain a large part of our lives. Work can make you feel good too. There’s nothing quite like making things with your hands, such as woodwork or putting brush to paper. Sometimes it’s frustrating but more often than not it’s rewarding.

But if you’re working make you feel bad, then you might be climbing the wrong ladder, as they say. It happens to the best of us. You could spend twenty years climbing and only after so much time and effort you realize what you’ve been doing isn’t meant for you. That’s a difficult thing to consider. But that doesn’t mean your time was completely wasted. Some go their entire lives without realizing it. They’ve ignored their dreams in the pursuit of other things — without even noticing! Noticing you’re on the wrong path is a good thing. Catching it earlier is better, but catching it at all is better than not.

Time’s too precious to not pursue what you love. There’s too many occupations, skills and things you could do instead. Don’t waste your time doing something you hate (and/or are doing because it was there.)

Do it because you want to, not because you have too.

Do it because you want to be it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #818

Join the Renaissance:

IG@Renaissance.Life

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify