“A bucket list can be your best friend or your worst enemy.”
Did you ever watch Wheel of Fortune when you were younger (or perhaps you still do)? Every once in awhile they would have categories called “Before and After”, well here is my bucket list before and after.
The Before: Bucket List.
My Bucket List has been pretty much the one thing about this site that has remained fairly constant since the beginning. Sure about 6 months back I did a bit of a remodel of it, but if there has been one thing that Location 180 has been known for, it’s this list. I’ve received emails from numerous readers and other bloggers saying that they’ve been inspired to do the same thing, and have set out to create a list of their own.
Well now that a year as passed since I originally wrote this list, I’m found wondering if it has been a positive endeavor.
Part of me wants to say: “Of course it has been! How could anything bad come of it?!”
While the other part of me is saying: “Wow, I’ve read dozens of these lists over the last year, and I’m not sure I’ve read a single one that was shockingly unique.”
I don’t remember where the comment was left, but somewhere in the last few months I’ve had a reader mention that my bucket list was just a glorified check list of stuff that you can do on any STA travel tour; that it was too generic. And you know what, after reading so many similar posts, I’m inclined to agree with him.
So does this mean that I’m going to change my list or take it down, and shun the whole concept?
What this tells me is that there are tons and tons of people out there with extremely similar goals. That said, VERY FEW of those people will ever achieve even 50% of the things on their list. Many people have the desire to create a list of all of the exotic places they’d like to go, and the adventures they’d like to have, but for many of them, just writing about it is half of the escape. I think this is why writing a bucket list is such a common exercise.
Someone can write about going to the Eiffel Tower and by doing this, something changes. It’s like a box was checked in their head. Now they have even more of an excuse to slack off since its already implied that no matter what, they will go there someday. They could be asked if they have ever been to the Eiffel Tower, and now instead of just saying “no”, they say “no, but its on my bucket list, so ill go someday.”
Someday is dangerous.
Unless you have a plan to get there, it probably isn’t going to happen. Because in your head, you’ve already gone. You can now talk about it as though the Eiffel Tower is a part of your life without ever stepping foot on French soil.
The After: List Management
All of that said, I still think having a bucket list is an excellent thing and a great exercise. It’s just a matter of how you plan to execute it.
If you are like most people, the majority of the things on your list are travel related or places you want to go. This is great, however if you actually want to go to any of those places, a little list management is going to be necessary.
I’m going to assume you have a couple things on your list that you really want to do. Those are probably the first things you are thinking about when it comes to where you’ll begin. The truth is, without any list management, those are the things you probably WILL accomplish at some point. If your lifelong dream is to float the canals of Venice via gondola, you will probably do it one day.
But what about everything else? There is a good chance you will have ignored almost everything else in order to do the few you wanted the most.
When I talk about list management I want you to think about this:
What can I check off my bucket list that will enable me to check off everything else?
If you have 95 places you want to see on your list, and 5 that relate to lifestyle or making a living, it’s those five you should be focused on RIGHT NOW.
Let’s use my list as an example.
- #10 Start a Successful Blog
- #11 Make a Living Off My Own Business
- #35 Achieve Zero Debt
- #66 Make $10 a Day Via Blog/Internet
Those are the key things on my list that are enablers.
Once I’ve completed those items, it will be much easier to complete the rest of my list. So that is what I’m focused on right now. Sure any one of the last four months I could have hopped on a flight down to Koh Phangan and gone to the Full Moon Party (#48). I still may do that in the next couple months, but the point is that it isn’t my focus. It’s “making a living off my own business” that will allow me to do that and everything else.
By managing your list, and preparing to do everything before you die, you will not only be more focused, but you will be much more fulfilled as well.
The Action: Where Do You Stand?
If you don’t have a list yet, here is your opportunity to write one. Check out this post to learn How to Write a Bucket List. Let me also say, it doesn’t matter if it is a who’s of who of tourist traps and generic items. Like I said, most people will never do half the things that they add to their list.
You will be the one that actually does them.
Now, establish the one thing on your list that will enable you to do the most other things on the list. That is where you should start. Don’t start with Eiffel Tower if you know you won’t make the effort to go for 10 years. Thats a decade wasted. Begin something that will get you there sooner. Obviously you have the rest of your life to complete the list, but the sooner you think about your goals as something tangible and actionable, you can break out of the “someday mindset” and start making progress.
I think creating a blog is an excellent starting point if you aren’t sure where to begin. Not only can you state your goals publicly, but if you are willing to put in the time and cultivate it, over time it will be a huge asset in your quest to do remarkable things.
A Bucket List can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to achieving your goals. Focusing on list management and not the dream goal will ensure that writing this list is one of the most valuable things you’ve ever done.