Is it possible to write a blog post with a heavy heart
AND overwhelming excitement and vigor?
Well, here goes nothing.
I have a heavy heart because I had another Life List expire yesterday. The fact it’s been 555 days since I launched my 55/555 list isn’t the depressing part – it’s the fact that I had a handful of things still unaccomplished.
I refuse to use the next 1,100 words to make excuses, but I was able to pinpoint the No. 1 reason I didn’t get everything done. I blame it on the worst phrase in the English language:
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Those four and half words are dream killers, and I firmly believe that they are the primary reason people don’t accomplish their goals and fall short of their aspirations. That phrase paralyzes us to do nothing and embrace the status quo.
It’s the reason I didn’t ride a horse (No. 3), go fly fishing (No. 25) or take my son camping (No. 30) over the last 555 days.
Similar dream-killing phrases:
– “I’ll do it next week.”
– “I’ll do it after _________.”
– “I’ll go next year.”
– “I’ll wait until _________.”
Instead of attacking life and going after what we really want, we fall into the same-ol’ same-ol’ – foolishly confident that there will be a tomorrow. If we knew the exact day we were going to die, we could throw around the phrase “I’ll do it tomorrow” with 100 percent certainty.
Tomorrow is nothing more than a hope.
The philosopher Eminem said it best: “The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.”
– – –
As I stared down the barrel of my 555-day deadline, I decided to make a last-minute push to accomplish a few tasks. That’s the beauty of having a deadline on your Life List – it infuses a sense of urgency as that deadline approaches. If you just have a Bucket List, things you want to accomplish before you die, that “deadline” is unknown and “I’ll do it tomorrow” has the potential to be much more devastating.
My deadline was Aug. 28 – 555 days since I revealed my 55/555 List.
Here are a few things that I accomplished at the 11th hour:
I took Crash to see “Planes” at a new drive-in movie theatre in Fort Worth. He wasn’t that into it – constantly asking why we were watching a movie while sitting in my truck – BUT I loved it. It was just the two of us, and it made my heart smile. Because of the late start time, my 3-year-old co-pilot didn’t make it to the end of the movie. He fell asleep in the front seat, holding my hand.
It was honestly one of the greatest experiences on any of my Life Lists.
This was on my original 101 List – so it had been 4 years since I said, “I want to that!” I finally stopped making excuses and DID IT.
I asked my brother-in-law if he wanted to tag along, and it was a blast. It’s definitely not something I want to do every weekend, but we had a lot of fun.
The best part of this experience was discussing the power of Life Lists with my brother-in-law. He provided unique perspective on having a list. “It’s a great resource to help you fill your free time,” he said. “When you have nothing to do, you can just pull out your list and remind yourself what you want to do.”
The coolest part of the conversation was when he said: “This experience inspired me to make my own list.”
– No. 53: Tie a call to action to a helium balloon, let it go & see what happens
I’m really not sure how this ever found its way on to my 55/555 list, but it did. When I finally took 15 minutes to buy two helium-filled balloons and write a couple action items, it was pretty neat.
The two calls to action were 1) Volunteer, and 2) Write a letter of gratefulness to a family member or friend. I included my e-mail address, letting them know I wanted to hear about it.
I knew it was a long shot, but it was the possibility of a GREAT story that I loved. I thought to myself: “What if someone finds this and follows through?”
Confession: I’m idealistically optimistic that there will be a future blog post about this simple task.
The big one…
– No. 36: Submit a Book Proposal
Here is an excerpt from my proposal:
“Live the List” is not just about inspiring others to make a list and start marking things off – it’s a call to action to help others. I want to encourage people to help someone else mark something off their list. I feel like this is a completely unique and amazing way of giving back.
Feeding the homeless at the shelter and mentoring at-risk kids is important, but so is putting an emphasis on someone else’s hopes and dreams. While people sleeping on the streets is tragic, so is seeing people going through the motions and not truly living life. While it’s heartbreaking to realize there are hungry and sick people in the world, it’s just as sad to see people living in a haze of complacency and excuses.
– – –
The reason I’m writing this post with so much excitement and vigor, I’m using a new 55/555 list as a road map for my book, which I described as “a personal narrative about setting goals and going after them, while helping others along the way.”
I’ve already launched my list. It expires on March 7, 2015.
Just like my previous Life Lists, it has a handful of “big-ticket items” with life simple pleasures sprinkled in. I’m sure there will be countless number of blog posts about this Life List – so I won’t bore you with ALL the details.
However, I did want to share some of the items that I’m most excited about:
• No. 22: Become a volunteer firefighter
We are moving to the country and I thought this would be an amazing way to get involved in the community.
• No. 33: Inspire my wife to make a 55/555 list
I firmly believe this exercise is life-changing, and I’d love to see TK embrace it.
• No. 37-43: The category “All Kidding Aside”
These are tasks that I want to do with my kids. It includes a canoe trip, learning to ride a bike and helping them make a Life List of their own.
• No. 50: Meet Wade Bowen
I’ve already met one of my man crushes – Pudge Rodriquez. I thought it would be fun to spread the love around.
In the spirit of “Live the List,” I’m asking anyone reading this blog post to familiarize yourself with my list and figure out how you can help me accomplish something. Maybe you have a box of Cuban cigars (No. 12), or you own a motorcycle (No. 16) and/or your family has a vacation home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (No. 27).
I’ll definitely return the favor and help you mark something off your list – because it’s my goal to help 100 people “live the list” in the next 555 days (No. 32).