I’d rather spend my money on experiences or on my business than on things. It’s a realization I had a couple years ago whilst sitting with a pal, pint of Guinness in me hand, cigar in me mouth talking about cars and trucks and other things that are of little significance in life’s grander scheme of events and adventures and desires.
This, of course, was before I took a 3 month trip to Italy, with a wee stop in Scotland, but after I dipped down to Costa Rica on a whim with an invite from a fine young lady. So I’d done stuff already, I’d had a taste of the experience focus vs the items focus, it just took a jolt from a good conversation and the added brain cells that have been scientifically proven to come as the result of a beer and cigar combination to figure out that experiences should be the focus and more of a focus, the adventures and thrills and missions that consume great men, not the meaningless goals so many get sucked in to typically spending money on things to impress people that really have no significance to our happiness or value as humans.
This is when I really started thinking about things I wanted to do before I die, but more than things and mere adventures, it’s the impact, an indelible fingerprint on society and a life that is the stuff of legend.
Thus, a turning point in my focus, a maturation in my mission, an evolution in what I was willing to dare to set out to accomplish as well as what I was willing to give in return for this life and this legend. Rather than having a list of things, the bucket list should read as an ongoing epic narrative that is so grand that as its accomplished its validity will be questioned by generations to come. Mine isn’t there, not close, yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t write down our story with broad strokes before we live it in more detail.
And so the bucket list fit for a legend.
1. Dare greatly.
2. Aim the highest in any field.
3. Make it personal. Make your epic narrative then do all you can to live it out.
4. Give more to get more. To get something you have to give something. To make a successful company you have to give a lot of your time and money and energy. To live a life of great value, you have to give everything you have, all the time. It’s exhausting. Go into this ‘bucket list for legends’ knowing that it will be a long, arduous road filled with pain and anguish, but also meaning and purpose and life.
A Bucket List Fit for a Legend
1. Give people the ability to earn from an infrastructure you’ve created. Create Jobs.
In starting a business and incorporating you realize that things don’t just take off, it’s when you become legitimate that you have to buckle down even more and minimize your salary. You end up, literally, working for yourself and discipline becomes an even greater requirement or the business fails and runs out of money.
Getting this salary, however minimal it may be, that you paid yourself, is a great feeling. It’s satisfying beyond belief to earn your own keep and as things have progressed I’ve realized that I want to pass that feeling forward. I want to create a structure that gives people that feeling of earned income. In short, I want to hire a full time staff of awesome people.
That’s something that every legend should do. Rather than simply giving his money away at the end of his life, give a living to someone who deserves it and enable them to stand with pride as they bring home the bacon for their family.
2. Create something that will live on, even thrive, after you’re gone.
There are only a handful of things that can do this. Art, great works of literature, a company, a corporation, a firm, a charity, and so forth. Each must be fueled by a mission and a purpose greater than your own gain for them to be able to thrive even after you’re gone.
You can’t simply write books to sell copies. Some of the best selling books available right now simply fit a niche and pander to that niche, they aren’t timeless works of passion and belong nowhere near the works of Chekhov and Tolstoy, Thompson and Hemingway. The same goes for the great companies of the world, they can’t merely pander to a niche, they have to create a movement.
Do something so grand that it lives on and thrives long after you’re gone. Theodore Roosevelt’s conservationism, stories about his escapades, his legend. Aristotle’s philosophies, Homer’s words, Christ’s actions and deeds and words and kindness and compassion. Be who you are so greatly and on such a grand scale that the result of your focus and passion and discipline is left behind long after you’re gone.
3. Write a book. Give back.
Give back, in any way you can, and if you’re living the life of a legend one of the best ways for you to give back is through a book. Put your experiences down on paper and let people learn through reading. Give your money away, by all means, but do more than that, give your knowledge away.
Take people under your wing and help them do what you’ve done in your life and create what you’ve created in your life. Some of you guys are in this stage already, where you can give back, maybe it’s through a book, or teaching, or mentoring someone. Give your time and your knowledge, not simply your money.
4. Travel. Get out of your comfort zone.
You can literally – and I hate using that word, but it fits – not improve or become better or become a legend if you stay comfortable. There is no growth in comfort and for many of us, living in the same place our entire lives is comfortable. It may not be for you, living where you were born and never leaving may be your path and a path that will lead you to greatness, but if it isn’t, get the hell out of there and get uncomfortable.
Leaving your comfort zone doesn’t merely mean traveling. It means doing things you haven’t done, daring mightier than you thought possible, and working harder than you ever have, and doing this every damn day.
To be a legend you MUST get uncomfortable, always. Never stay stagnant, never sit back and think you’re there, finished, at the end of the road. Your road will end when you’re six feet deep, now start living!
5. Give your life.
This isn’t your typical bucket list filled with things you want to do before you die because you saw them in a movie, heard about them through a friend, read about them in a magazine, or saw them on the TV. This bucket list is focused around the thing you want to do, the man you want to be, and the legacy you want to leave long after you’re gone.
It’s also a bucket list that doesn’t lay things out for you, it expects you to do some leg work, to think about the bigger things in life, on a bigger level, a grander scale.
Ask the simple question: Why am I here?
Ask that everyday. Live your answer. Give your life to something and for something or someone, even if it’s an idea. Find or create something so great that you’re willing to die in its name.
To reach that “legend” status, mediocre thoughts and goals and tasks and “things” can’t find their way to the heart of the things you want to do before you die, your bucket list. Everything, even the little adventures and the grand missions must focus around something greater. Think. Live. Try new things and everything, just figure out the answer to that single question and then work on living the answer. This is the way of the legend. This is the way of life.