‘This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
– Chuck Palahniuk
Sorry to bring up the issue of death! I know most of us would rather ignore this inconvenient truth but I prefer to embrace it. You see the advantage to having your immortality bubble burst is that it injects a sense of urgency into your day to day life. No longer can you afford to waste time watching Friends re runs on TV, getting annoyed about that person who cut you up on the freeway or maybe even working a job you don’t like.
The clock is ticking and unless you eradicate all activities that are not, in some way, connected to your higher purpose, you might find yourself begging for extra time when the final whistle is about to blow.
To avoid this happening, I’m presenting you with a list of life goals like no other. This isn’t your typical ‘travel to every continent on the planet, learn to play at least one musical instrument and sky dive out of a plane’ type bucket list. While these are all great conversation starters, they may not stretch you enough or prompt you to think about the legacy you want to create.
That’s why each one of the following seven is designed to provide both a direction for your life and a means through which you can develop yourself towards achieving it. So print the list out, keep it somewhere prominent, and watch your life transform as you tick each one off.
1. Achieve the Impossible
All you have to do to achieve the impossible is;
- Do something other people said you couldn’t do.
- Do something YOU believed you couldn’t do.
Whether this means leaving the security of employed work and setting up your own business, undertaking an extreme physical challenge or overcoming a fear, addiction or hang up that’s been holding you back for years, achieving the impossible is one of life’s ultimate tests.
Do it once, and you’ll want to do it again. Keep doing it and you’ll realize that most of the limitations we’ve been conditioned to accept simply aren’t real.
2. Gain your Financial Freedom
Does the need to make money prevent you from doing what you want with your life?
For most of us, the answer is a resounding YES!!! If this is also the case with you then there are two means to gaining your financial freedom.
- Make enough money so that you are not obliged to work.
- Work a job that you enjoy.
Gaining your financial freedom through the first method involves either;
- Making shrewd investments (e.g. property, financial markets).
- Executing a brilliant idea (e.g. inventing a new product, creating a company that provides a much needed service).
- Developing an outstanding skill (e.g. writing, playing sports, singing).
The other route to financial freedom involves changing the way you prioritise money. While The System teaches us to make major life decisions based on the amount we will be paid or how much money we stand to lose, you’ll have to take a different approach. The question of what brings the greatest amount of inspiration into your life will have to dominate your decision making process and as a result, every one of your days will be stimulating, largely stress free and provide a reward that money can’t buy.
3. Chronicle at least 1 year of your Life
This goal is about self-reflection. While the more proactive and extrovert among you may question the value of such a discipline, long term journal keepers comment on how the practice enables them to relieve their burdens, see the bigger picture, learn from past mistakes and find strength in previous successes.
I’m asking you to commit a year because it will give you a long enough period of time to assess the benefits, while not imposing any major restraints on your enjoyment if you discover that it’s really not for you.
As a staunch journal keeping advocate, my advice is to update your diary, at a minimum, once a week. Let it know what’s bothering you, what your dreams are and how you are progressing. I promise you’ll find a forgiving, non-judgmental friend who will both sooth and inspire you to greater heights.
4. Do 10 Things that Terrify You
Ever heard that Neale Donald Walsh quote about life beginning at the end of your comfort zone? Here’s how to get there. Over the next few years and into the foreseeable future, regularly force yourself to do things that terrify you.
This may involve approaching men or women you want to date, speaking in front of an audience, going to the cinema or restaurant on your own, striking up a conversation with a stranger on the underground, disagreeing with you boss, putting your work (whether it’s painting, writing or product creation) in front of a critical audience or being honest about your dreams and opinions with other people. Opportunities to partake in this practice can be found every day and by doing so; you gain the new strength and skills that can only come from being in a position where you are forced to adapt.
5. Bet $500 on a Roulette Wheel
Here are the rules. Walk into a casino, exchange $500 for chips and then place a bet on either red or black. But don’t be mistaken, this isn’t about winning money; it’s about not being afraid to lose it.
If you win the bet then great, you walk out having doubled your money. If you lose the bet then don’t despair, you’ve just learned an important lesson on the importance not being too attached to money. This will serve you well when investing funds in your start up, helping others and having well balanced life priorities.
I chose the figure of $500 because I don’t want the loss to seriously damage your finances, yet, in order to learn the lesson; it has to be an amount that hurts to lose.
6. Spend 1 year of your Life Working 20 hours a week towards living your Dreams
Almost everybody dreams of living a greater life than the one they presently live. However, how many of us actually take that seemingly crazy step of putting everything on the line and pursuing those dreams?
For many, the risks can seem far too great and that’s why I’ve come up with this interim measure. Whether you are in full time employment, self-employed or out of work, you MUST give one year of your life to living your dreams. This will give you a significant amount of time to assess the progress you’ve made. If you see some results and believe that further advance is possible, then carry on. If nothing happens, well then at least you can go to your death bed knowing you gave it a shot.
Fit the 20 hours a week around your work. If it means living like a monk for a year then so be it. The rewards it might bring are well worth the sacrifice.
7. Tell Every Important Person in your Life that you Love them
I had to end on a soppy one! Maybe I’m an exception, and most people do this on a regular basis, but it took me 33 years of my life to tell my dad that I loved him. Our relationship during my teenage years was difficult and more often than not, we were exchanging words of hate rather than love.
Funny thing was, though, I felt fantastic after I finally said those words and I can only hope he felt the same way too.
If there’s someone you love, but haven’t told them so, then give them this gift. Don’t leave it as a silent understanding that never needs to be spoken. It brings you closer, cements the bond and improves your ability to express emotions.
Joe Barnes is an author, coach and speaker who is passionate about helping people break free from societies limits and live the life they really want. He’s author of the critically acclaimed Escape the System and runs the www.screwthesystemnow.com website. Head over there now for your free guide on living an extraordinary life. He also works as a hypnotherapist and tennis coach.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.