A few years ago I crossed something off of my bucket list and took a trip around the world that sent me to Japan, India, Thailand, Egypt, and France. It was a trip that would change me forever.
A weeks ago my roommate left on a similar trip. He’s starting in Indonesia and will be gallivanting around in South East Asia for a bit before heading to New Zealand and then back state side. See you in NZ buddy.
His trip has me reminiscing a lot about the trip that I took and the LimitlessLIST that I created for myself when I got back. Looking back at the list I realized I’ve really gotten away from it.
So what happened?
Tossing aside the excuses of not enough time and money – those are easier to get around than you’d think – why exactly did I stop pursuing the things on my list? The mistake I made when creating this list is just that. I created a friggin to-do list. When you create a “list” you’re essentially taking a “check off boxes” approach to life.
I don’t need anymore lists and neither do you. We’ve got enough of them already.
- Grocery lists
- To-do lists
- School lists
- Work lists
- Don’t forget this list
- A list to remind us to make some more lists
Today’s article is all about creating a better
LimitlessLIST quest, how you can create your own, and how to make sure you’ll accomplish the items you have on it.
How To Create Your
Just about everyone I know has some version of a bucket list. A list of things they want to accomplish, do, or see before they die.
- Travel the world
- Get six-pack abs
- Make a million dollars in a life time
- Get a Phd
- Pay off a mortgage
The biggest problem I see with bucket lists is that they make the mistake of focusing on things to “get done” before you die as opposed to taking action while you live. They end up being a really long list of random thoughts, ideas, and pipe dreams that don’t clearly define what it’s going to take to get them done.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a list of things that you want to do, they’re a really good way to get the cluster f*ck that’s happening in your brain out. – this is a starting place – not the end destination.
So that’s what I want you to do right now. Grab a pencil, a note pad (or Evernote), and open up that brain of yours. What are some things that you’ve always wanted to do, see, try, eat, experience?
If you need some help think about categorizing the things you want to do.
- Adrenaline rushes
Go big and bold: Forget costs, possibilities, and any limitations that you’ve placed on yourself. If you want to meet the President put that shit on there – these guys did it, it can be done. Want to skydive from outer space? This guy did it, it can be done. There are no limits to what can be done, you just have to want it bad enough.
Not everything needs to be of epic proportion: Yeah, you definitely want some big and bold things on that list but not everything needs to be. Maybe you want to learn cool pen tricks, visit a local museum you’ve put off, or take some improv classes. Having a few easier things to accomplish on your list is a good way to build some momentum and confidence moving forward.
Would you do it if you couldn’t tell anyone about it?: If you’re not sure if you should put something on your LimitlessQUEST just ask yourself if you would want to do this if you couldn’t tell anyone else about it.
It’s common to want to do something because we think it will make us cooler, more interesting, or impress someone. This can lead to pursuing things that have no real meaning and value to you – they’re essentially for someone else.
I like to call this “look-how-cool-I-am syndrome.”
- Would you want to walk the Great Wall of China if you couldn’t tell anyone else about it?
- Would you want to make 100,000 dollars a year if no one else knew about it?
- Would you want to go skydiving if you could never tell anyone you did it?
You don’t have to do everything at once: You could easily create a list with hundreds of pretty cool experiences to have. Heck, you could probably create a list of thousands. However, too many choices leads to no choice at all. You’ll notice that my list below is only 11 things that I’d like to do this year. Once I complete those things I’ll move on to some other goodies on my quest.
Narrowing down some experiences I’d like to have and putting a time frame on them makes it easier for me to decide what to do. For things that might take a little longer to do (like learning French) I can get started now and make progress over the next few months. While other things like bike to San Diego I can do this weekend if I want to.
But there’s so much I want to do in my life? I know, me too.
Keep a separate notebook (or use Evernote) and write other ideas that you get. If one of your new ideas gets you more excited than something already on your quest simply swap them out with each other. But keep the list short and with time constraints.
There’s no need to rush through this. Spend a few days working on it – a few weeks if you need it.
Check out these awesome lists from around the web if you need a little inspiration.
- Joel Runyon: Impossible List
- Mike Hrostoski: The List
- Jonathan Mead: The Hero List
- The buried life guys
Turn That List Into A Quest: Start Your Hero’s Journey
Lists are boring so we’re going to take that list and turn it into a quest. Take a look at all of those things you wrote down. Start reading them off one by one – what you’ll start to notice is that a few of them don’t excite you as much as they did when you first thought of them. Cross those things off.
With the things you have left close your eyes and actually picture yourself doing them. Visualize yourself roaming around in Thailand, jumping out of an airplane, speaking fluent French, running a marathon, or donating $5,000 to your favorite charity. If that visualization process doesn’t bring about any kind of excitement, emotion, or a lump in your throat – cross it off and move on down your list.
Now with the items you have left I want you to ask yourself how bad do you want it? Are you willing to give up something to do it?
Are you willing to embrace the hero’s journey?
Joseph Campbell describes the hero’s journey as the common path that all hero’s embark on. It includes leaving the safety, comfortability, and security of the ordinary world to embrace challenges and discomfort.
- Dorthy leaving Kansas
- Bilbo Baggins leaving Hobbiton
- Luke Skywalker on Tatooine
They leave this world because they’re summoned by the need for adventure. Something is calling them, signaling, or maybe they happen upon it by accident.
They’re then presented with a challenge – a Quest. They have a choice whether they’d like to accept it or deny it. Denying the request for adventure is usually their first reaction but something keeps calling them. Usually someone needs saving – sometimes that person is them.
Once a hero has accepted their challenge they’re faced with uncertainty and the unknown. This is often a very scary and confusing time for the hero. They often think about quitting and heading back home to the safety and security that they’re familiar with. But something keeps calling them and they can’t.
Throughout their quest they’re constantly being tested, limits are pushed, and obstacles are thrown in front of them to overcome. How bad do you want it?
What quest are you on?
- Are you looking to travel to unfamiliar lands to learn more about yourself and challenge what you think you know?
- Are you on a quest to see if humans can really fly by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane?
- Are you on a quest to build superior strength by holding an iron cross? Still holding… still holding…
- Are you on a quest to test your endurance and mental strength by running an ultra marathon, adventure race marathon, 10k, or your first 5k
Stop making lists – start creating quests.
Money and Time Are Not The Problem. Your Priorities Are
Money and time are the two biggest excuses most of us use for not doing something we say we REALLY want to do.
- I just don’t have the to learn a new language
- I can’t afford to take a trip
We use money and time as a way to justify not putting in the effort, hard work, or sacrifice needed to achieve something that we SAY we really want.
I’ll ask you again… how bad do you want it?
Step 1: Believe You Can Actually Do It
If you want to complete your LimitlessQUEST you’re going to have to actually believe you can do it. When I took my trip around the world a few years ago I had friends tell me they wish they could do something like that, “but I’ve got bills to pay, a family, a job, insert any excuse you’d like right here _______________ .
There are thousands of examples of people doing extraordinary things regardless of their current situations. The biggest reason they’re doing it and you’re not is they believed they could and made it a priority. Use them as inspiration that your quest can be completed.
- Benny has learned multiple languages and now teaches others
- Matt here travels the world and teaches you how you can too
- This guy is super fit and strong. Oh, and he’s also paralyzed
- Scott started his own business about doing work that you love
- Jason broke the world record for Aztec push-ups
- Amy started the 30X30 project to help girls struggling with depression
- Christina Stephens built a prosthetic leg out of Lego’s
- Adam sold his junk, got out of debt, and created a business
Step 2: Get Your Priorities Straight
In the past 30 days I’ve sold stuff around my house on Ebay and Craigslist to the tune of over $1,000. My mattress went for 50 bucks, an old broken iPhone sold for over $50, a motorcycle helmet I don’t use sold for $154, and a snow globe sold for $40… yes a SNOW GLOBE.
Add it all up and I can buy a plane ticket to Thailand simply from selling crap around the house.
Can’t afford that trip to Italy but you can afford your cable bill every month? One year of no cable and you’ll have enough saved up for that trip. Faster if you use these tricks.
Don’t have time to train for a triathlon? Hmmm, you’ve got time for watching your favorite show tho.
Where are you wasting money and time? Track these things if you’re not sure but some common money and time wasters include, memberships you don’t use, cable bills, meals and coffee out, checking Facebook, living in your email, and commuting.
Step 3: For bigger quests chunk it down so it’s not so overwhelming
Find the biggest limiting factor for you not pursuing a quest and break it down into manageable pieces. Lets say you want to take a trip to Paris and money is the biggest thing keeping you from going.
- Decide when you want to go: Lets say you want to leave 12 months from now.
- Figure out how much the trip will be: Lets estimate that the entire trip will be 3,000.
- Break it up monthly: You’ll need to save $250/mth for the trip
- Break it up weekly: You’ll need to $62.50/week
Saving $62.50 per week seems a lot less dating than $3,000 right?
Now get to brainstorming. Where are you throwing money away each week (see above). More importantly, make saving automatic by opening up multiple savings accounts. Titled one of the “Travel Fund.” Set it up so that however much you need to save each week automatically gets deposited there from your checking account.
Doing this automatically will do two things for you:
- Make it mindless and automatic
- Force you to find ways to save $62.50 per week
I recently decided that I wanted to start saving $250 every week. At first I thought there was no way I could do this – but I committed to just setting up the automatic deposit from my checking account to my savings account and told myself, “I’ll figure it out.”
And you know what? I totally did. I stopped buying coffee out, I signed up for CSA boxes to save on groceries, I cancelled memberships and subscriptions. I discovered ways to save myself money each week as well as make more money each week and am having no problems reaching my savings goal.
It’s amazing what we can do when we force ourselves to do something.
What To Watch Out For When Creating Your Quest
When creating your quest it’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking about things you might regret not doing. The Harvard Grant Study and The Five Regrets of the Dying has taught me that the only things we’ll ever really regret are not spending more time with the people we care most about and not taking more risks or accepting more challenges.
So with that in mind – think a bit about how you can incorporate the people you care most about and how you can really challenge yourself as you create your quest.
What are some ways you can help others tell a great story with their life, include them in yours, and challenge you and them to test their limits?
Justin’s 11 Item LimitlessQUEST For World Domination:
Whoa, why are there only 11 items on your Quest? Why so weak sauce bro?
This in entirely up to you but I prefer to look at my quest in one year increments. While I do have a larger list of things I’d like to experience, I’ve decided the best way for me to guarantee that I get shit done is by creating multiple quests each year.
You’ve got to understand yourself and how you operate. I’m easily overwhelmed and a big list will keep me from getting started. I’d end up taking one look at that thing, probably start sweating profusely, panic, and end up doing nothing with it.
I’m confident that I can complete the 11 things on my list in the next year so that’s how I’ve decided to roll. 🙂
- New Zealand
- Hold an iron cross for a minimum of 10 seconds
- Have lunch with a stranger. Get to know them and write a post about it (if they’re cool with that).
- Learn to speak French fluently (go back to Paris and have a conversation with a Frenchy)
- Become location independent
- Take Ramit Sethi’s save $1,000 in 30 day challenge (link)
- Own only 100 things (using the 100 thing challenge)
LimitlessTODAY (things you can do right away)
- Meditate for at least 15 minutes every day for 30 days
- Adopt a family for Christmas
LimitlessLOCAL (experiences you can have close to home)
- Complete 30 items on my LimitlessCALIFORNIA whiteboard (these are relatively easy to complete)
LimitlessEPICQUESTS (might take a while to complete but get started on)
- Earn all 137 boyscout merit badges (or create my own) 😉
What’s on your quest? Post to the comments below with one big thing you’d love to do.
You can check out some of what’s on my list here. It’s a work in progress.. I literally just started it.
Remember, this is your quest. It’s filled with experiences, adventures, skills, and a whole-lotta other good stuff that is important to you.