Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.
Almost anybody can accomplish almost anything if they work at it long enough, hard enough, and smart enough.
Start with Why
✅ Retire the old soundtrack
✅ Replace with a new soundtrack
✅ Repeat the soundtrack until it becomes automatic
Retire | Replace | Repeat
Empathy (for yourself and others)
Empathy = Understanding what someone needs and acting on it.
Care about what the people you care about care about.
✅ Ask yourself: What do the people you care about in your life care about? Apply this to all people who apply.
✅ Read fewer minds, ask more questions.
In 1871, a twenty-one-year-old medical student read one sentence that would change the trajectory of his life. At the time, the pressure of final exams and the prospect of starting a medical practice led to a near nervous breakdown. William Osler was destined to become the most famous medical doctor of his generation. He would organize the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, establish the first residency program for specialty training, and write the predominant medical textbook of his era.
Of course, Osler knew none of this at twenty one. None of us do. All he knew was that he was overwhelmed by what felt like the weight of the world. That’s when twenty-two words, written by the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle, changed everything: “Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” In other words, Today Matters.
Forty-two years later, Sir William Osler delivered an address at Yale University on April 20, 1913.3 Despite his distinguished credentials, Osler professed intellectual averageness. His success was not the byproduct of innate intelligence or natural talent. What, then, could explain his success? Osler traced it back to the twenty-two words that had altered his outlook on life. He took those words—“Do what lies clearly at hand”—and put his fingerprints on them. Reflecting on his own insecurities and uncertainties, Osler issued a timeless challenge: Live in day-tight compartments. “The load of to-morrow,” said Osler, “added to that of yesterday, carried to-day makes the strongest falter.”
It’s true, isn’t it? We feel overwhelmed by yesterday’s mistakes and underqualified for tomorrow’s opportunities. We feel so overwhelmed, so underqualified, that we’re tempted to quit before we even start. And that’s what many people do. Their lives are over before they even begin. They stop living and start dying.
While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Tony Campolo once turned an ordinary lecture into an unforgettable lesson. He asked an unsuspecting student sitting on the front row, “Young man, how long have you lived?” The student answered his age. Tony responded, “No, no, no. That’s how long your heart has been pumping blood. That’s not how long you have lived.” Tony Campolo then told the class about one of the most memorable moments of his life. In 1944, his fourth-grade class took a field trip to the top of the Empire State Building. It was the tallest building in the world at the time. When nine-year-old Tony got off the elevator and stepped onto the observation deck overlooking New York City, time stood still. “In one mystical, magical moment I took in the city,” he said. “If I live a million years, that moment will still be part of my consciousness, because I was fully alive when I lived it.” Tony turned back to the student. “Now, let me ask you the question again. How long have you lived?” The student sheepishly said, “When you say it that way, maybe an hour; maybe a minute; maybe two minutes.”
How long have you lived? I mean really lived. It’s easy calculating age. It’s more difficult quantifying life. Why? Because time is measured in minutes, while life is measured in moments
According to psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, the average person spends 46.9 percent of their time thinking about something other than what they’re doing in the present moment. We’re half-present half the time, which means we’re half-alive
Long before digital clocks and calendars, an ancient poet said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” If want every day to count, you have to count the days. How? Try counting backward.
Matthew, cofounder of the LA Dream Center, which has helped tens of thousands of people who find themselves at the end of their ropes. Many of them are trying to overcome life-controlling addictions or rebuild broken lives. No matter what habits they’re trying to break or what goals they’re going after, Matthew asks them this question:
Can you do it for a day?
On a rainy morning in 1940, a teenager named John Goddard pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down 127 life goals. By the time he turned fifty, Goddard had accomplished 108 of those 127 goals. And these were no garden variety goals!
Here’s a sampling:
Milk a poisonous snake
Study primitive culture in Borneo
Run a mile in five minutes
Retrace the travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great
Photograph Victoria Falls in Rhodesia
Build a telescope
Read the Bible from cover to cover
Circumnavigate the globe
Publish an article in National Geographic magazine
Play the flute and violin
Learn French, Spanish, and Arabic
Honestly, I would have counted French, Spanish and Arabic as three separate goals. And I would have considered the flute and violin as two goals, but that’s me. My favorite Goddard goal? Visit the moon.
Goddard set that goal long before Sputnik escaped the earth’s atmosphere or the Eagle landed on Tranquility Base. That’s aiming for the stars, literally! “Indiana Jones, the swashbuckling fictional adventurer,” said the Los Angeles Times, “would seem to have nothing on John Goddard.”1 For the record, Goddard did not accomplish every goal he set. He never climbed Mount Everest and his quest to visit every country in the world fell short by a few countries. But if there is a lesson to be learned from John Goddard’s life it’s this: you won’t accomplish 100% of the goals you don’t set.
I am not a guide. I want to be a Sherpa. Guides tell people what mountain to climb, Sherpas, on the other hand, let the climber pick the mountain to be climbed, then spend their time helping the climber lay the ropes so the climber can go faster.
- Ask the Important Questions
Setting goals is a spiritual exercise—it’s dreaming big, praying hard, and thinking long. Set aside 24 or 48 hours. Turn off your phone. And go someplace that holds special significance in your life. Why? Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. One more tip, take a journal. Your life goal list is a rough draft, but you need a place to capture thoughts, ideas, and dreams.
Organizing your thoughts around these three questions will help you accomplish in the future what you haven’t been able to make happen in the past.
Who are you? Where are you? What do you want?
Who are you?
I had a friend who told me “I am more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles” Trying to be everyone who thinks or expects of us is exhausting. Discovering who you really are and what makes you tick is worth the effort. If we can learn what the core motivation behind our actions are, we can figure out where they came from and take the necessary action to move forward.
Where are You?
Hurling through space around the sun, at 25,000 mph, the earth is spinning 1,000 mph on its axis, Your brain can process what your eyes see in 13 milliseconds. If you think you are moving to slowly you are wrong. Everyone is somewhere. Most of us know the deeper answer, but are afraid to say it out loud. I am an addict., I am coasting in my marriage. I’ m selling myself short. I am afraid I will be discovered.
For me, I am going so fast and doing so much I am missing the important things I could be sharing with friends and family.
What do You Want?
This is something we each decide at some point. We have an ambition and then face the headwinds that discouragement and reality and failure bring our way. That is when we have to decide if our goal is worth it.
- Check Your Motives
If you set selfish goals, you’d be better off not accomplishing them. That’s why you need to take a long look in the mirror and make sure you’re going after it for the right reasons. A goal is only as good as the motivation behind it. Make sure your goals pass the motive test., I had a paradigm shift when it comes to financial goals. I stopped setting “getting goals” and started setting “giving goals.” Those giving goals changed my focus—you want to make more so you can give more. Don’t focus on standard of living but on standard of giving.
- Think in Categories
When it comes to goal-setting, it’s hard to know where to start. It can feel as random as roulette. My advice? Think in categories! Some common types of goals include physical, mental, spiritual, relational, occupational, and financial. You can also think in terms of experiential and influential goals. Experiential goals include the places you want to go and the things you want to do. Influential goals are other-focused. They revolve around the legacy you want to leave. To jump start the goal-setting journey, look at a few life goals lists I would encourage you not to cut-and-paste too much, because to reach your goals, they have to be YOUR goals. But it’s okay to browse as a way of getting your own ideas. I’ve borrowed some of my goals from others, but I’ve always found a way to put my fingerprint on them.
If a goal isn’t measurable, it’s not manageable. You have no way of knowing if you’ve accomplished it. Losing weight and getting into shape are not goals, they are desires. You turn it into a goal by giving yourself a target weight and a target timeline. Make sure your goals pass the thermometer test. One of the ways I’ve made my goals measurable is time-stamping them. There are physical challenges I want to accomplish during different decades of my life. It’s not easy attaching numbers to your goals, especially giving goals, but I’d rather aim high and fall short than aim low and hit the target. If you realize that you didn’t dream big enough, it’s okay to make revisions to your visions!
Failure happens. You swing for the fences, your fairy wish is granted, you run with joy and anticipation and the wheel come off. Resist the tendency to be discouraged.
- Write It Down
“Write down the vision,” said the prophet Habakkuk, “and make it plain on tablets.” Paper tablet or digital tablet, same difference! The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. Something powerful happens when you verbalize a goal, especially in writing. Neuropsychologists call it the generation effect. We have a better memory for things we write over and above things we read.
Only 3% of people have written goals. Make sure your goals pass the written test. Writing down your goals helps you remember them, but it also holds you accountable. Yes, you can revise the goal. But writing it down creates a category in your reticular activating system. It’s the part of the brain that determines what gets noticed and what goes unnoticed. When you set a goal, it creates a category in your RAS and you’ll notice anything and everything related to it. Plus, you’ll have a written record when the goal is accomplished.
- Don’t Go Alone
My goals used to revolve around me, myself, and I. I have replaced those personal goals with shared goals. How? By adding a relational element. Kissing my wife on top of the Eiffel Tower is far more fun that simply going to the top!
Make sure your goals pass the relationship test. Nothing cements a relationship like a shared goal. Goals are relational glue, and they double the joy when the goal is achieved. Many of my goals revolve around my family—they are tailored to the unique personality and passions of my wife and children. I want to hike the Grand Canyon rim to-rim with my wife Cindy, dirt biked with my sons, and do missions trips with my sons.
If you want to achieve your goals, don’t be all balloon and no string in your life. We need to be anchored and tied to one another.
Our availability to on another is a pretty good measure of how available we will be to opportunities that come our way. Availability is the most reliable predictor of engagement, which will be the most reliable predictor of success.
If you want to make progress on your goals, ask other people about their goals. Engage in noteworthy conversations and write down what you learn and opportunities will find you. Availability attracts ideas.
- Celebrate Along the Way
Goals come in lots of sizes and shapes—big and small, short-term and long-term. You need some over the top goals that will take a lifetime to accomplish. Why? Big goals turn us into big people! If you want to dream until the day you die, set goals that will take a lifetime to achieve. One key to going after big sized goals is reverse engineering them into smaller wins.
I ran a marathon a few years ago, but the key was the training plan. I did 65 training runs totaling 320 miles. That’s 65 days of winning the day so that on marathon day, I could win THE day. I didn’t just celebrate when I crossed the finish line, I celebrated new mile makers along the way! You need to celebrate what you want to see more of. When you accomplish a goal, throw a party. That’s how you turn wins into winning streaks!
It is easy to confuse a lot of activity with a bunch of progress. Rest is wise, preparation is wisdom. Don’t think taking care of yourself-lying down for a nap, lounging in a hammock, or sitting in your chair-means you are slacking. The path to your ambitions is not one long race, it is a series of wind sprints that covers the distance of a marathon.
Win the Day– 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less and Accomplish More, Mark Batterson,
Dream Big– Know What you Want, Why You Want it, and What You are Going to Do About it, Bob Goff
Goals– How to Get the Most Out of Life, Zig Ziglar
Atomic Habits -An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, James Clear
Dream It. Pin it. Live it. – Sa Alkatheri
Intentional Living – John Maxwell
Everyday Visionary – Focus Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Jesse Duplantis
Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World and Why Things are Better Than You Think, Hans Rosling
Log and catalog all the stuff you want to accomplish before you expire. Read stories and watch videos by people who checked items off their own bucket lists.
We’re going to teach you how to build a lifestyle business that will let you leave your job, work from anywhere, and spend more time doing the stuff you love. On the site you’ll find resources for how to do this, as well as content from our own adventures.
Chase was a small town guy in Oregon, working long hours as a caregiver and settling in every area of life. When his life was flipped upside down and he was totally lost, he wrote a Bucketlist.
Join me in my life’s journey
Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/dbarry05/