6 Steps To Crossing Anything Off Your Bucket List

I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferris and he just recently updated his blog http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/ with a great new article. The article however is a guest post written by Ben from the Buried Life.

If you are not familiar with the show Buried Life which comes on MTV, it is basically about a set of guys who have made  a list of everything they like to accomplish in life. Just like one big old bucket list. The tasks on their list range from simple to tasks that most people would deem to be highly impossible, however the guys have stuck to it and have experienced tremendous success. For instance, just recently they knocked out yet another tasks off their list which was playing basketball with Barack Obama. Impressive eh?

With that said, this is really a valuable piece of content so I decided to share it with you so I advise you to check out Ben’s top six steps to crossing anything off your bucket list below!

#1. Stop and think about it. Really think about it.

What is it that you really want to do with your life? Start a business? Reconnect with an old friend? Dive to the bottom of the ocean? Smoke a cigar with Castro? Forget what you think you should do, what excites you? What feels impossible? Be honest with yourself. Your answers don’t need to make an impression on anyone but you.

For many people, the four members of The Buried Life included, the impetus to make a life change only comes with crisis. The summer before we started The Buried Life, I was struggling with depression; Dave was struggling with his weight; Duncan had recently lost a close friend; and Jonnie was just plain angry and disillusioned with our generation (“No one protests anymore,” he used to say). The four of us were so beaten down that we had no choice but to reevaluate what was important to us. Our project grew out of that frustration. Sometimes it takes a debilitating low or a crushing loss to snap you back to reality, but don’t wait for it. Ferris Bueller put it well: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

#2. Write it down.

Simply put, it’s not real until you write it down. And by that I mean, take your dream and turn it into a project. Dreams have a funny way of staying dreams. But a project is something that needs to be done. Approach it as you would any other item on your daily or weekly to-do list. When you have a deadline— a presentation, a grocery list, a birthday gift you need to buy for someone–you find a way to get it done. Treat your dreams the same way. Add it to your list. You need to buy toilet paper. You need to spend the weekend in Paris with someone you love. When you write it down, you’ve taken the first step.

When we first started the project, we put things on the list almost as a joke. We didn’t think about whether they could actually happen; we just pretended that anything was possible. “#53: Make a TV Show” was a dream we’d shared since we were young. We had no filmmaking background and no connections in the business. And we lived on an island in Canada. We decided MTV in the States would be the place to have a show because it was the biggest and best platform we knew of for reaching people like us. So we wrote it down. And then we started filming it, because that was just the next logical step. Every step led to the next. Four years later, we were executive producers and creators of our own show on MTV.

#3. Talk about it.

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.

After you’ve come up with your list and written it down, start talking. Tell everyone you know. Tell your parents’ friends. Tell new people you meet. Talk to your cabdriver. Talk to your boss. You never know whose uncle’s wife may be able to help you. And don’t just talk about it, but talk about it passionately. Enthusiasm is infectious, and people want to help when given the chance. Help can show up in the most unusual places, oftentimes the least expected ones.

We didn’t come from money. We had an idea, we talked about it, and people showed up in incredible ways help us. Our first lawyer was our parent’s friend who had heard about what we were doing and offered to lend a hand; our first manager was my godmother; I met my first Hollywood contact while traveling in Mexico; we cold-called local companies in our hometown to raise money for our first tour. Help often came in strange places. In 2007 we were able to finagle a five-minute meeting with Jann Wenner, legendary founder of Rolling Stone magazine, in order to discuss what it would take to cross #15 off our list, “Get on the Cover of Rolling Stone.” The five-minute meeting turned into a 45-minute meeting (after Jann threatened to kick us out and asked his assistant for a knife), during which time we talked about everything from protests to Bob Dylan to the difference between our two generations. We told him about some of our most ambitious dreams, including “#19: Write a Bestselling Book.” Jann was later instrumental in helping us get our book published—introducing us to a company where we met the smartest, most talented, best-looking book editor alive (hi Lia), who eventually offered us a deal.

#4. Be persistent.

Most people give up just before they reach their goal. We all hear “No,” a lot, but we’ve come to realize that “No” usually just means “Not now.” Be creative in your persistence. Don’t piss people off by nagging them—think of innovative and clever ways to grab their attention. Be different, and never say die.

Last year, we broke into the Playboy Mansion. We rented a giant stripper cake and decorated it like it was for the Willy Wonka–themed party. Two of us dressed up like Oompa-Loompas and hid in the bottom of the cake, which was then delivered to the back door of the Playboy Mansion in a rented delivery truck. Security saw our homemade Playboy logo on the cake and allowed it to pass through the gates. After waiting inside the cake for six long hours (peeing in bottles and filming in night-vision), we hatched out unnoticed and partied at the Mansion all night with free rein. Security assumed we were just very rowdy employees.

Playboy had no idea we had been in and out, or that we had filmed our first episode. But when we went back a month later to ask for permission to air, they said, “If you air the episode, we’ll sue you and have you charged with breaking and entering.” We got ahold of the company’s vice president, and he echoed that sentiment. MTV told us to move on and film another episode. Our production company said there was nothing we could do. In a last ditch effort we decided to send Hugh Hefner a handwritten letter along with the rough cut of the episode. A week later, we received this response from Mr. Hefner himself: “You can air the episode. Just know I’m not very pleased with you boys.” I always thought that crashing the Playboy Mansion was my dream, but getting scolded by Hugh Hefner was way better.

#5. Be ballsy.

The majority of people don’t go after their wildest dreams because they think they’re unrealistic. Tim says it well: “Ninety-nine percent of people believe they can’t do great things, so they aim for mediocrity.” The level of competition is highest for realistic goals because most people don’t set high enough goals for themselves. But not only do you statistically have a better chance of achieving what may seem like an unrealistic goal, doing so fuels you. Once you feel the first high of accomplishing something major and seemingly unattainable, you want to go bigger and badder, and you force yourself to fulfill the need all the more. Even better, the technically smaller goals suddenly seem less daunting.

We put “#95: Play Ball with the President” on the list because it was literally the most unattainable goal we could think of. I remember Jonnie called me from his dorm room in Montreal in 2008 right after Barack Obama had been elected and Jonnie said, “We should add ‘Play Ball with Obama’ to the list.” I chuckled because it was so absurd and agreed. I found it humorous not only because the idea was so outrageous but also because I knew Jonnie was calling me from his “room,” a tiny space he was renting for $200 a month, which he shared with a washer and dryer. Of all people, we weren’t the best candidates for a pick up game with the leader of the Free World. Nonetheless, two years later we found ourselves shooting hoops with the President in the backyard of the White House. It’s a long, complicated story, and I don’t want to bore you with the details, but this is the kind of thing that the four of us chuckle about sometimes. It’s as if we have horseshoes up our butts, but it’s also happened too many times to be luck. When you dream big, you surprise yourself.

#6. Help others.

We’ve crossed off more than 80 list items over the last six years, but the moments that stand out the most are the ones when we’ve been able to step into someone’s life and share something real with them. I’ve been surprised by how little it takes to impact someone’s life. Something as simple as asking the question, “What do you want to do before you die?” and taking the time to listen is often all it takes. If you’re feeling lost or depressed, you might find what you’re looking for in someone else. Into the Wild said it best: “Happiness is only real when it’s shared.”

The first person we ever helped was a guy named Brent. He wrote to us in broken English saying his biggest dream was to bring pizzas down to the nearby homeless shelter. Brent had himself spent three years living in that shelter and remembered fondly the days people brought in food because those were the times it felt like someone gave a damn. When we talked with Brent in person, we learned that what he really needed was a truck. He had pulled himself out of the shelter by starting a business that relied on his truck, but it had just broken down. We knew we needed to help him find a new vehicle, but we didn’t have the money ourselves.

#7. Your Turn.

Your dreams are closer than they appear. There’s nothing about us four guys that makes us more able than anyone else to accomplish our goals, other than the simple fact that we’ve decided to go after them. George Elliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Don’t wait. Why not start now? Post one thing you want to do before you die in the comments below.

You can find the full article here (I highly recommend you check out the full article): http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/04/04/playing-b-ball-with-obama-6-steps-to-crossing-anything-off-your-bucket-list/

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