Lots of people have stuff they want to get done in life. Things from seeing the pyramids to going skydiving but a lot of us keep the list inside our heads saying that we’ll write it down “someday” instead of doing it now.
If it’s because you don’t see the benefit of having a written list of stuff you want to accomplish, here are some reasons to get started.
Benefit 1: Making a bucket list makes you feel like you’re accomplishing things.
I know you’ve felt this before. You wake up, make a list of two or three (or more) things you want to get done, and you do them. It’s a particularly good day and you actually knock every item off your list. Think about how good it felt when you made progress. Go to the grocery store, done. Get the laundry, done.
Now think about how it would feel to cross items off on the larger to-do list of your life. Your pen slides across the page and you feel a little more ready to die, a little bit more like your life meant something. Which brings us to the second point:
Benefit 2: A bucket list makes you less likely to ask “what’s the meaning of it all”
We all get depressed sometimes. Sometimes I’ll lie in bed for a day or two, not shave and just mope around wondering why life is so bad even when I have a lot of good stuff happening. But, what gets me through those bouts of sadness are two things, one is knowing that sadness is just in the moment and will eventually pass and the second one is having goals and a purpose in life.
Your bucket list is where you put all the stuff that will give your life meaning. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of meaningless but fun experiences like seeing sights and doing extreme activities. My bucket list also has life goals on it like “become a CEO,” write a NYT bestseller” and “perform in from of 10,000 people.” Having this stuff listed gives me a reason to keep moving when life seems boring and dull, and it will do the same thing for you. And if you don’t think your life is boring, know that:
Benefit 3: A good bucket list will give you more to talk about
Throughout life and in job interviews we all need to speak up to survive. Sure there are the kids in the corner who watch the conversation trying to appear “dark and mysterious” because they don’t know what to say (that’s where I used to be), but the true superstars, the ones who kick ass in business and have the best lives are the ones that can stand up in front of any size crowd and keep them interested.
The easiest way to get good at talking is to have a lot of stuff you’re interested in, and to have a lot of interesting stuff happen to you. Once you have a few items written down on your bucket list, think about how attractive you’ll look telling those stories. And once you have a lot to talk about, you’ll feel the final benefit:
Benefit 4: Having a bucket list will make you more confident
It’s simple: having a lot of experiences makes a person more cool and collected. Remember the first time you went to the dentist as a little kid? You didn’t know what to expect, so you were probably frightened. Now, remember how your mom or dad or babysitter kept telling you how simple it was? Do you remember the envy you felt toward them? That craving to be more experienced in life?
Now, translate that to something bigger. Let’s say it’s ten years from now and your company assigns you on a business trip to China. You’ve never been there, you know little about the culture and even less about the language. You feel scared because it’s so out of the ordinary.
But, imagine now that five years prior you had “learn to speak Mandarin,” or “go to China, meet ten locals” written on your bucket list. Now, you’re going somewhere you’ve been before and where you’ve set up some roots and suddenly it’s not so intimidating.
Now is the right time to write your bucket list.
If you need some help, you can pick up a book I wrote about this a couple years ago called Just Three Months, which will walk you through some simple bucket list items.
For more inspiration, I’ll be publishing some of my bucket list soon while working through the bigger accomplishments.
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