At some point between 18 and 50, you stop, look around and ask yourself: “Is THIS it?"
You work all day doing pointless work in an uninspiring job. You sit in infuriating bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. You drive to your local grocery store with the sterile fluorescent lights. You return home to spend a few hours mindlessly surfing the net - too tired to do the things that would set your life in motion. The grand vision of your life seems like a distant fantasy.
As a culture, we've become complacent to work a mediocre job, drive a mediocre car, return to a mediocre home, eat mediocre food, have mediocre relationships, watch mediocre shows on Netflix, lay in mediocre bed where we buy mediocre products on Amazon, binge internet surf on mediocre social media and get mediocre sleep. We wake up only to do the same mediocre routine again and again.
There are too many mediocre things. Your life experience should not be one of them.
What happened to bold living?
What happened to excitement?
What happened to novelty?
What happened to inspiration?
What happened to your spark?
Modern adult life is designed to stamp out your aspirations with the ruthlessness of a honey badger attacking an abandoned limping baby gazelle.
Moreover, we wonder why we are the most overweight, overworked, over medicated, over-educated, stressed out, anxious, in-debt cohort of adults in the history of the earth.
Previous generations fought wars of life and death. Our war is one of spirit.
Enter “The Real Life Indiana Jones”
Answers for the future can often be found by digging in the past and perhaps there is no better example of courageous living than Jon Goddard. Some call him “The Real Indiana Jones” others call him the world's biggest adventure junkie. Regardless, we can all learn something from the way he unapologetically lived life.
On a rainy day in 1939, a 15-year-old John Goddard sat down at the kitchen table of his Los Angeles home with a yellow legal pad felt the spark of inspiration.
Staring at the yellow legal pad, he asked the big question:
“What do I want to do with my life?”
Inspired by the muse of the moment he wrote down three words at the top of the page: “MY LIFE LIST.”
The words stared back, simple and clear. The vision of Goddard’s future appeared and his hand wrote the vision which appeared in front of him.
The possesed Goddard started writing and did not stop until 127 "Life List" goals stared back at him. Each goal originated in passion, curiosity and his unique search for meaning.
His Life List goals were not simple or easy. They were not SMART goals. However, his goals had the two elements which precede any significant achievement or life breakthrough: Clarity and curiosity. Goals without these two elements are just dreams.
His goals included climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, “milking” a poisonous snake, speaking Arabic, writing a book, reading the collective works of Shakespeare, owning a cheetah, exploring the Nile River, and learning Jujitsu. Some of were downright crazy (visit the moon).
When Goddard passed in 2013, he had lived a life of adventure, achievement, happiness, and purpose, accomplishing 109 of his 127 "Life List" goals. 
Perhaps he was the world's greatest goal achiever.
Reintroducing "The Life List"
If you think reading, writing, and podcasting about personal development means I have it figured out you are completely wrong. For the most of 2016, I was stuck. Unable to make progress towards my long-term goals. Stuck in a cycle of procrastination, perfectionism, and resistance. Just plain stuck.
While I could describe all of my problems with all of the vocabulary and flair of a seasoned high-performance coach, there was little I could do to drag my ass back into a state of actually producing (actually working towards my goals).
Like many people who feel stuck, I kept asking the bigger picture questions like:
- "What is my purpose?"
- "How can I make money and still live in a meaningful way?"
- "What does God / The Universe want me to do with my life?"
- "What do I need to accomplish in order to die complete?"
I kept asking. Still nothing.
When I do not make progress, I am not happy. When I am not happy, I get stuck in my head. When I get stuck in my head, I think too much and don't produce. And the cycle continues.
Around this time, my mastermind partner Robert James Collier recognized what was going on. He introduced me to the concept of The Life List and Goddard. After reading his article, I felt the spark come back.
Inspired by Goddard and the Life Lists of my mastermind partners (check out Robert's here and Sunny's here) I decided to create my own. Like Goddard, I sat down with a legal pad, put myself back into the mind of my 15-year-old self and started writing, remembering what I wanted to accomplish as a youth, young adult and a man.
I wrote until my fingers hurt and didn't stop until five pages were filled.
To my surprise, the missing sense of clarity, purpose, and direction returned. My spark returned. My mind opened again, and the ego slithered back into the depths of my subconscious.
Many of the things I wrote were utterly insane (go to space… I still want to), and some were quite tangible (read the works of Thoreau). In any case, I was excited again. I had a roadmap and felt a sense of clarity for the first time in months.
Since writing my initial list, I have checked off three items - build a dining room table for my family, make a home and give a best man speech. Instead of these moments passing into obscurity, I was able to fully appreciate and understand the magnitude of the moment and experience deep states of fulfillment, joy, and purpose. Each accomplished “Life List” item felt like a tremendous achievement and inspired me to tackle another "Life List" item.
I want the same for you and challenge you to create your Life List.
- Sit down with a notepad (put your phone in the other room and do not use a computer).
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Remember what you wanted to achieve when you were 13, 14 or 15.
- Write MY LIFE LIST across the top.
- Begin. Write what inspires you. Don't worry if it is realistic or not. Your only criteria for success is if it sparks your curiosity.
- Think about it for a few more minutes.
- If nothing else comes to mind, stop. Take a break and do something active like walking around the park, run errands, play a round of golf, hit the gym or take a nap. When something pops into your head, write it down.
- Keep the list with you for an entire week, writing down everything which comes to mind.
- Compare your list with the lists of others for inspiration. Remember, "Good artists copy; great artists steal" – Picasso. (Check out Goddards original list here)
- Refine. Rework. Redraft.
- Keep the items which inspire you. Discard the rest.
- Place your list in a place where you frequently have to look at it. Your desk, wall or social media profile are good places to start.
- As more ideas come to you over the coming weeks, months and years add to your list. Discard anything that grows stale.
- When opportunity knocks take advantage and start crossing off items on your list.
Your Call To Action
At some point you’ll stop and realize “THIS IS IT”. You’ll understand the only way to find your “path in life”, “your purpose” or “make an impact” is to reconnect with your natural curiosity and let it guide your decision making.
The best way to do this is by first creating your Life List.