Why You Need a Bucket List

One of the most important insights on my journey towards becoming an NLP Master Coach, was the concept of Motivation Direction. We live in a society where the idea of being motivated by things pulling us towards them is not only encouraged, but anticipated. We are expected to be motivated toward health, wealth, happiness and everything positive and meaningful in our lives.

There is so much emphasis given on these scenarios by our media that we make the quiet assumption that everything people do, is aimed at achieving goods and rewards. Hereby we conveniently overlook the fact that many people around us act in ways that are difficult to explain within this paradigm. If everyone in our world is motivated to get rich, healthy and successful then why are there so many people around us that are neither and yet somehow at peace with their condition?

The answer is given by the aforementioned concept of motivation direction. Many people are not motivated towards things that are pulling them in their direction. They are motivated away from things that are pushing them in the opposite direction. As you can guess, these things are the opposite of the positive things that are pulling people toward them; people are pushed away from poverty, illness, unhappiness etc. They only get truly motivated to take action when one or more of these things appears in their lives.

I am one of these motivated away people. I have difficulty to step into gear when a carrot is dangled in front of me promising riches, success and a long, happy life. What helps me to get motivated toward things, is when I make a conscious effort to connect these things to a higher purpose. When I establish a connection between e.g. wealth and my own purpose and values, then I can motivate myself to pursue wealth. However, I need to keep reminding myself of this connection so that my daily actions and habits become aligned with creating purpose through those goals that will increase my wealth.

Recently, I found another useful tool I can add to my arsenal of things that change my motivation direction: the creation of a bucket list. Simply put, a bucket list is a compilation of the things you want to have experienced and completed before you die. Imagine yourself sitting on a comfortable rocking chair at a very advanced age. You are looking back with contentment and satisfaction on all the wonderful things you have experienced and achieved. What are these things?

Grab pen and paper and write them down. Remember, this is your list. So don’t be limited by lack of money, what other people will say or the impracticalities of the endeavor. The only question you need to ask yourself is when I will be looking back upon my life at an advanced age, is this something I would regret not having done?

Give yourself at least 20 minutes to write down all the things that come to mind. Once you finished, read through your list. Does everything in there fire you up, fill you with passion and enthusiasm? Remember, these are all specific experiences and achievements, so it’s important to be clear on what it is you want to have completed. It could be things like getting a degree in philosophy, travelling to Japan and getting accustomed with local traditions, having a memorable meal with friends or relatives at The Shard in London, attending Glastonbury festival with friends, attending a concert of Metallica or Ed Sheeran, learning to speak Spanish at proficiency level so that you can have a basic conversation with locals in Mallorca, backpacking through South East Asia etc.

I find that writing down my bucket list items fills me with enthusiasm and reminds me of the things in my life that are worth pursuing. It’s certainly exciting to remind myself that I want to record an album with choir and orchestra, organize a gig in a castle, attend a rave in Samothraki (Greece) with my spouse, take a month’s break to tour the Greek islands etc. Once I put a date to them, they become real and my unconscious starts working overtime devising strategies to achieve them.

Once you have written your list (and remember, if it’s not on paper, then it doesn’t exist!) then keep it at an easy to find location, or stick it on your wall. You can even incorporate your bucket list in a vision board. Revisiting your bucket list at regular intervals, will remind you of the ‘highlights’ you want to create in your life for that time in a remote future when you will be sitting on your rocking chair, reminiscing about all the lovely memories you are now creating.

Published by Kostas Panagiotou-The Freedom Composer

Creating Clarity and Freedom for overwhelmed solopreneurs, small business owners, therapists and creatives - https://bit.ly/384SrlP | Composer | Birman cats

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