I don’t know about you, but I never really knew what to say when people asked me what was on my bucket list (if you haven’t heard the phrase before, a “bucket list” is a list of things you want to do before you die).
Common bucket list items:
- Go skydiving
- Live in Paris
- Compete in a triathlon
- Buy your parents a house
- Swim with dolphins
All of those sound cool, but today I want to talk about BUCKET LIST vs. REALITY.
How many of us magically wish for something to happen…but do nothing about it?
This is a little politically incorrect, but I’ve promised to always be honest with you:
Your best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So if you’ve lived to be 25, 30, 35, even 45 without doing your bucket list items…
…chances are you never will.
Here, I’ll show you exactly what I mean.
Every so often, I run a contest on my blog where I give away $1,000, or a trip to Hawaii, etc. I ask people to tell me what they’d do if they won, and I get THOUSANDS of comments.
But what happens when people don’t win? Do they figure out a way to do it anyway? Or do they just sit back, sigh, and go on with life? (“Damn, that would have been nice…”)
I decided to follow up with a few people that commented on one of my $1,000 giveaway contests and didn’t win. Watch and see.
Here’s what one reader said he would do:
“I would use the $1,001 to pay for a class on how to get over my shyness”
Even though he didn’t win, did he find a way to take the class anyway?
“I would still love to take an improv class if I could afford it… I bought a book by Neil Strauss that has given me advice on being more social. I still struggle with shyness and am still looking for something that can give me a permanent solution.”
Sadly, no. Let’s try another.
“I would love to take a hands-on mentoring photography workshop”
Did Gabby do it?
“Not yet, but I do plan on attending a mentoring workshop this year. One of my favorite newborn photographers is thinking about coming to [my city] for a workshop, which would be great since I wouldn’t have to travel…”
Still waiting. Still delaying until something external changes.
Compare those above responses to THESE ones:
“I would take my girlfriend to Denver…we’d check out some of the best rock climbing in the world while out there”
We followed up with Dave to see if he’d done it.
“I/we did make it out to Boulder. Shortly after that post…got an offer in December. Moved to Boulder, CO on Jan. 1, 2013…The company paid for moving expenses, and the job itself came with a 26% raise, care of Ramit’s negotiation course that I bought.
I’m totally going to volunteer a bunch of information (and brag) to show how awesome my life has been since moving here:
- Became a professionally sponsored rock climber
- Chosen to be a member of Columbia Sportswear’s social media ambassador program (#OmniTen)
- Free gear, all expenses paid trip to Park City, UT, all expenses paid trip to the Kingdom of Jordan
- Website (blog) has taken off, which brought in more opportunities -LowGravityAscents.com
And I will be starting my own business on the side this year…”
Do you see the difference? Dave didn’t NEED to win to take action. It would have been nice, but he didn’t need some outside blessing — he did it himself.
Let’s look at another one from IWT reader “Pete”:
“I would use the $1,000 to build my side business”
Pete didn’t win, but two years later:
“My photo business has seen tremendous growth since that post. Wow, that seems so long ago. I have expanded my client roster to nearly 30 agents spanning 4 separate real estate agencies here in Green Bay. I have since left my job in marketing to go full time with my photography business, Green Bay Home Tours (gbhometours.com). Last year, in my first full year doing photography, full time I averaged 20 homes per month. This year looks even more promising…I did get business cards, I believe shortly after I made the post. They’ve been a big help in growing my business…I am pretty proud of what I’ve built thus far, but have a long way to go.”
Losers wait for the world to give them permission to do something. Winners do it anyway.
Do you see the difference? Life doesn’t happen to you. You MAKE it happen.
Of course it would be nice to get $1,000 free. But if you don’t win, you find a way, any way.
There are so many other examples:
- “I hope I get into XYZ college, because then, I can really…”
- “I hope XYZ likes me, because then, I know I’ll…”
- “I hope I get this promotion, because then, I’ll be able to…”
YOU DO IT ANYWAY. You find a way. “Waa, Ramit, that sounds easy because you went to Stanford, but I don’t have [your eyebrows/your email list/etc].” First of all, never whine to me. I’ve covered over 500 ways to get what you want over the last 10 years on my blog.
More importantly, take an honest look at your past behavior: If you’ve been claiming you want to move to Paris, or learn a new language, and you haven’t taken any action towards it…today is a GREAT day to decide:
- I really want to do this. Here’s what I’m going to do to get it.
- I actually DON’T want this. Screw it. I’m crossing it off my list (doing this is incredibly freeing)
MY QUESTION FOR YOU
What’s on your bucket list? It could be anything — traveling to another country, starting your own business, or getting in shape. Leave a comment below: What’s 3 things you’ve always wanted to do? And what’s held you back so far?
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about one way to make them happen.
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