Why Bucket Lists Don’t Help Us Have A Great Life

I have never watched the movie ‘The Bucket List’ with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, from 2007.  But I have heard of the term ‘Bucket List’ as a way to create a list of awesome experiences (like the characters in the movie) before we die.  That sounds great and all, but here’s the problems I see with Bucket Lists.

Bucket Lists focus on the end- death.  Rusty Bucket Woman

You have to squeeze in all these great experiences before you die.  Really now, who here knows when they’re going to die?  

And if we’re living our lives in such a way that we’re experiencing all these great adventures, isn’t it possible that we’ll actually die sooner?  I’m not saying we will die sooner as a result of awesome living, but the possibility seems greater at least.

And we should be living this way. 

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and wish you had spent more time on the couch watching reruns of Lost or The Shark Tank, do you???

Instead, I think you’d rather live an adventure every single day.  Wake up anticipating the day’s opportunities and challenges.  Go to sleep dreaming about tomorrow’s excitement.

The end is out of our control.  Completely.

I’ve heard it said that we should hope for the best and plan for the worst.  I’d like to rephrase that:

Let’s start planning and preparing for the best.  Period.

Bad things will happen.  Setbacks will find their way in front of us.  And we’ll suffer immense loss along the way.

But won’t those things happen anyways?

We can’t live safe enough to avoid pain and heartache.  Investments fail, mortgage companies cheat, and the Bernie Madoffs of the world are still going to steal from good and trusting citizens.

Do we really want to live our lives holed up in our bunker basements, trying to avoid getting hurt?  Is that what America’s come to?  No way, I say.

We’ve never advanced civilization by sitting around, reading blogs about what we should be doing, and failing to put our new learning into action.

Thomas Edison, despite his incredible genius and tenacity and business acumen, actually failed to invent the light bulb.  Did you know that?  Yes, he failed to invent the light bulb TEN THOUSAND TIMES before finding the solution.  He would have never succeeded at creating the incandescent bulb that illuminated the entire world if he hadn’t stepped out into the unknown, and committed to staying there.

I stared at that last part for several minutes before moving on.  “…and committed to staying there.”

I dare you to ponder that and find an unknown you want to explore, and then COMMIT TO STAYING THERE.  Double-dog dare.

The second reason is that it’s based on a movie.  Seriously, folks?

Since when did Hollywood ever give us anything actually worth repeating?  Even worth following as a life plan?  It’s pretty rare, actually.

Allow me to talk out of the other side of my mouth for a moment:

Bucket Lists have inspired more people to become aware of the rest of their lives.

To recognize that every day needs to be filled with meaning and purpose.

To live in such a way that if you died tonight, you would be glad about how you lived your life.

I’d love to hear how you’re stepping out.  Where you’re going.  And where you plan on staying for awhile.

I’ll be here, and you can subscribe to make sure you never miss a single post.  There’s great stuff coming your way when you do.