Maintain a bucket list

DSCN1302A bucket list is a list of things you want to accomplish in your lifetime. They are typically out-of-the-ordinary experiences, not mundane, predictable ones. For instance, you wouldn’t include maintain personal health on your bucket list or buy a car; but you might include tour Europe or plant a vineyard. They are usually big, challenging goals (get my pilot’s license) and not small, simple activities (buy a water bed).

Most people think that a bucket list is just for old people: “I’m 70 years old. What do I want to do before I die? On my deathbed what will I regret having not done?” But a broader perspective would suggest that everyone should have a bucket list and that the earlier you start your list the better. In a recent post I wrote about the advantages of setting goals early in life.

I’ve had a robust bucket list for years. It’s fluid: I’m constantly adding, subtracting, and tweaking the items. Here are a few items on my list.

  • Attend the Art Basel art show (in Switzerland) and buy a painting
  • Eat at the best restaurant in the world
  • Taste all the great wines of the world
  • Take a one-week course at Oxford
  • Give a TED talk
  • Have 50,000 subscribers to my blog site
  • Run the NYC marathon at age 65 (I ran it when I was 35)
  • Visit 60 countries (I’ve been to 44; I try to add one new country a year)
  • Visit the source of one of the four great rivers of the world: Nile, Amazon, Yangtze, Mississippi
  • Stand for 30 minutes by myself in 130°F and -30°F temperatures

In his good book, never eat alone, Keith Ferrazzi posits a strong argument for setting life-goals.

“In a study cited in Success magazine researchers asked Yale’s class of 1953 a number of questions. Three had to do with goals: Have you set goals? Have you written them down? Do you have a plan to accomplish them?

“It turned out that only 3 percent of the Yale class had written down their goals along with a plan of action to achieve them. Thirteen percent had goals but had not written them down. Fully 84 percent had no specific goals at all, other than to ‘enjoy themselves.’

“In 1973, when the same class was resurveyed, the differences between the goal setters and everyone else were stunning. The 13 percent who had goals but had not written them down were earning, on average twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. But most surprising of all, the 3 percent who had written down their goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the 97 percent of graduates combined!” (page 23)

If you aim at nothing you will always hit it.

I have also found that sometimes the journey is just as satisfying as reaching the destination. Planning how you’re going to accomplish a goal and taking incremental steps forward is, in itself, fulfilling.

For instance, I’ve been strategizing for years about how to spend 30 minutes in 130° F temperature (see the above list). Early in 2015, Mary and I planned a trip to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and I did some research into how hot it gets in that Arab emirate. The hottest temperature on record is 125° F in the city, but Dubai is on the Persian Gulf and is cooled (relatively speaking) by the sea breeze. Perhaps I could get closer to my goal by going south into the desert.

So when we were in Dubai I hired a car and driver and ventured out into the desert. When we were far from civilization the driver dropped me off and I walked the dunes, taking temperature readings as I went. Fortunately for me, a heat wave was ravaging the area that week DSCN1305 (2)so I recorded 132° F where I stood. Mission accomplished. I asked my driver to take my picture.

Maintain a bucket list.

[reminder]What’s on your bucket list?[/reminder]



16 Replies to “Maintain a bucket list”

  1. In September 2011 I was in Iraq as an DOD Contractor and temperatures were 130 degrees F. In October 2011 along with mass exodus of American troops I was sent home.
    In October of same year I found myself with a new job in the oilfield boomtown of Williston, ND, where temperatures fell sometimes to 40 below. It amazed me that in a matter of a little over a month the temperature of my environment changed 170 degrees. It had never occurred to me that the human body was capable of such a thing.

    1. Ray, thanks for sharing your story. Amazing that in one month you experienced those extreme temperatures. My son-in-law served in Iraq and he, too, remembers the heat of the desert.
      I hope you are doing well.

    1. Cap, that’s a terrific addition to your bucket list. Keep planning and one day it will happen.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. You’d better bundle up when you go for the -30 degrees. I haven’t done it but it seems like your breath would freeze at that temperature.

    One of my goals is to visit the Holy Land and see the valley of Megiddo where it’ll all wrap up. I will accomplish that in the spring on the IFL tour.

    1. Richard, I’m so glad that you’ll be on the IFL tour to Israel. IFL trips are the very best. I’ll be on the trip so we’ll experience a lot of great things together – including seeing the valley of Megiddo.
      At 30 below, you can throw a cup of boiling water into the air and it will turn to snow!

  3. My wife and I would like to attend the New Year’s Night Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Wienerphilharmoniker Concert Hall in Vienna. We have viewed that special concert for many years via television on January first. If we never make it I won’t be disappointed as we have heard that fine orchestra in person and have been to Vienna twice. But being there on that evening in that place would be very special. I am 70 years old and have been blessed with many opportunities to fulfill “bucket list” type plans and dreams, but my wife and I still have a few items left on the list. We have found the wisdom in the old Hebrew proverb in Scripture to be reliable :
    “Make the best plans you can, implement as you are able, always confident that the Lord has your “master plan” and is directing your road ahead (Proverbs 16:9).”

    1. Paul, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I hope you get to see the concert in Vienna; what an experience that would be. A concert that’s on my bucket list is to see a ballet of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – hopefully in the same hall it had it’s first showing…in Paris in 1913.
      I like the unique translation of Proverbs 16:9.
      I highly value and enjoy our friendship.

  4. My Bucket list

    1. I want to lead my brother Dale to the Lord or hear him say he received Jesus.
    2. I want to lead my granddaughter, Stephanie, to the Lord. All of the other 12 are Christians.
    3. I want to go up in a hot air balloon.
    4. I want to hear Jesus say well done thou good and faithful servant.

    1. Ruth, you have a great list; keep working at it and God will help you accomplish all that is in your heart.
      Kind regards,

  5. From my favorite minister of music. You know how goal oriented I was in my ministry. Since retirement, my bucket list has changed: reading 50 books per years etc. Now nearing the great meeting in the air for me, I have just readjusted my list, thanks to you. My question, as a God called man of God, where are your spiritual goals?

    1. Harold, it is so good to hear from you. Terrific things were accomplished at Allandale and Great Hills during your tenure.
      Most of my spiritual goals are routine – daily time with God, faithful Bible study, influencing my children and grandchildren, etc.
      Are you and Barbara living back in Austin?

  6. Thank you for challenging me Don. I only have two items on my bucket list. One is to build a building on some bare land that I own and lease the building out (I’m now in the process of doing that). The second one is to spend several months in Costa Rica. Audrey and I have been there three times and love the country but the times were short; 10 days or so. I plan to do this in January-March 2017. It is a ways off but the plan is in place. I will need to increase the items on my bucket list. Thanks again for the reminder and challenge.

    1. David, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Those are two noble goals. I wish you well in pursuing both. Thanks for our friendship. Don

  7. Don,

    Wow…what an accomplishment!! I look forward to receiving your blogs!! They always give me a moment to stop and think bigger!! Keep up the great writing and perspective. Julie

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