For as long as I can remember I have obsessed with life itself: understanding it, milking every ounce of potential out of it and helping others do the same. As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got hold of, and I want to make it burn as brightly as I can before handing it on to future generations.”
I think about how many people we meet through the course of our lives – hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions – and yet what impact do we have? The notion of the “Bucket List” came into fashion in 2007 with the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. The idea of the bucket list is a compelling one – what is it that you want to do or experience before you die?
There have been many offshoots of the concept including people establishing their “40 by 40” or “50 by 50” lists, meaning the 40 or 50 things they want to do before hitting a certain age.
As someone who could likely be the first card-carrying member of Over Achievers Anonymous, I fully embrace this concept. And yet… there is another bucket list that I find more compelling, more freeing, and deeply more satisfying that I hope can gain traction in our success-crazed culture. That bucket list has nothing to do with accomplishments or achievement or any type of recognized success. I guess I would call this list, “The Bucket List Of Being” and on it would be all of the qualities and characteristics that you seek to master and demonstrate as your way of being.
What I mean by “way of being” are the qualities and characteristics that you bring to life. Are you upbeat, optimistic and engaged, or do you tend to worry, expect adverse outcomes and see problems instead of challenges? For example, I have the blessing of being married to someone who has the lightest spirit, who is just happy from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed, she does not cave to the constant pressures of her job, nor dwell on the difficulties that life may present. She doesn’t get mired in workplace or family drama and enjoys the simple pleasures of morning meditation or going for a walk in the evening with me luckily by her side. There is the simplicity of her approach to life that endears others to her.
We all know people who seem to walk just a few inches above the earth and emanate a kind of warm glow about them. Some people who just seem deeply contented with life and are kind, easy-going and full of energy. They laugh easily and complain sparingly, if at all. The question that rises in me is this: Why aren’t more people like that and how, how, HOW can we create a world where more people demonstrate this easy-going, kind and loving energy?
An interesting notion isn’t it. Why is it that we as a culture have gotten so obsessed with what we can accomplish yet disinterested in who we can be? I’m sure you know that the outer trappings of success and even monetary gain are no guarantee of a life filled with love and meaning. How many people who have reached the apex of success in their given field end up wracked in addiction or dead from suicide? Outer success is no indication of inner wealth.
Could it be that in many ways we feel more in control of achieving outer accomplishments than we do create inner change and growth?
Take that in for a moment. Do you, as a person who is aspiring to grow, accomplish, achieve more; feel that it is easier to attain outer success than inner growth and change? It doesn’t have to be that way. Once you understand the machine-like nature of how the human mind and ego operate, creating inner change is easier than you might think.
One way to create change is to focus on what you want rather than lament about what you don’t like! To focus on what you want, I encourage you to create your own Bucket List of Being to call you higher in your inner growth as you aspire toward your outer goals and accomplishments. Live at the intersection of doing and being, knowing that it is your being that gives rise to all that you do.
Here are some items for you to consider on your Bucket List of Being:
- Inner peace
- Living in acceptance and surrender of the way people and life are
- Being clear on who I am and what I value and living accordingly
- A belief that life is always working for my good
- Freedom from the confines of the ego
- Generosity of spirit
- Kindness to everyone I meet
- Doing what is right rather than what is easy
- Not sweating the small stuff
- Being at ease with who I am and how life is
- Trusting life and those around me
- Expecting the best from myself, others and life itself
- Feeling joyful with all that I do
- Being grateful for what I have, who I am and for life itself
Imagine if you went through your day and at the end of your day you reference your Bucket List of Being. Was I kind to everyone today? Did I experience inner peace? Was I free from the trappings of my fear-based ego? Did I demonstrate generosity in my encounters with others, not judging or trying to win a point, but showing openness, curiosity and willingness to engage?
I believe we can all do and accomplish more when we are more. Being is the root of our actions and the outcomes we produce. What is on your Bucket List of Being?