With every blog post I publish, I aim to challenge you to take a moment to think about things a little deeper.
This blog post is no different.
This blog is about bucket lists.
Bucket lists contain things you wish to achieve before you die. Sorry for sounding morbid, but sooner or later, we will all die so it’s important to live your life to the full…
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to create a bucket list. They are great because they allow you to dream crazy dreams and give you something to look forward to as you grow older. I have seen a lot of adventurous bucket lists out there which consist of things like:
scuba dive the great barrier reef
go bungee jumping
become a millionaire by the time I’m 30
solve a rubix- cube
meet Mike Tyson!
I think these things are exciting because they make us feel alive. However, I have noticed that a lot of bucket lists are about making ourselves feel good.
There is nothing wrong with this at all, however, I have a suggestion to make.
Can I invite you to write an additional bucket list? One that benefits others?
For example, before I die I would like to:
fund a child’s education
invite lonely people to my home
randomly pay for someone’s food shopping at the supermarket
take someone on a shopping spree
make time for an older family member
Think about it. Some of the most inspirational people in history are those who make the wellbeing of others a priority. I encourage you today to start putting a list together and to start working on it straight away.
If you feel comfortable, please leave a comment below listing one thing you would add to your new bucket list.
We live in a world where success is like a drug. We crave it, we chase it and some will do almost anything to get it.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful but at what cost?
I met with a client recently and the topic of “work life balance” came up. He was telling me a story about a friend of his who was “successful”. He was great at his job, had a great house and a number of top of the range cars. He had what lots of people dream of. However he worked day and night for this success without rest and eventually had a heart attack. He is still alive but his quality of life is much reduced. My client had learned a very valuable lesson from his dear friend – rest is vital.
This story made me start thinking about my approach to life and my obsession with achieving. Could I potentially work myself into ill health? While we’re on the topic what about you? Do you work really hard? I’m not only talking about your occupation. Are you always running around going from one activity to the next? Helping your sister’s husband’s cousin with a problem because you feel obliged? Serving in 10 teams at church?
If your life is over-cluttered then maybe you’re in the same boat as my client’s friend and need to simplify your life, relax and enjoy it more.
After examining my own life I realised that I needed to scale back and make time to take care of me. Here are some suggestions made by my client, a good friend of mine and some good ol’ research done by yours truly:
– make a list of everything you do and work out what is important and what is not. Scale back or stop doing the not so important stuff. I found I was on Facebook very often and this took up a lot of my time. I deactivated my account for some time to restructure my life.
– come up with a way to treat yourself every month. This gives you something to look forward to. It has the added benefit of helping you to de-stress. A good friend of mine taught me this and it works a treat.
– Be active but not always in the same way. I used to force myself to go to the gym week in week out and I got bored. My client suggested that I do different activities, for example skip on one day, run on another, play a sport the next. I’m yet to try this but I’m open to trying it.
– Switch your phone off when you’re having “you time”. Our phones are constantly ringing, bleeping and distracting us.
– Learn to say “no”. I’m all for going out and helping on other peoples’ projects but sometimes it gets too much. Help out where you can but when you do not have the capacity, just say “no”. Remember, rest is vital.
This is not an exhaustive list of ways to rest and switch off, just a few. It would be great to hear if any of the above has helped you. It would also be great if you could share ways you relax by leaving a comment below.
Last month I said that I’d be challenging myself to achieve some “out-there” goals. It’s all good and well saying this but how am I meant to do it? Well firstly, I need to enlarge my capacity by being exposed to more and being willing to go beyond what is normal to me as often as I can.
Last week, I got a call from a friend who lives in the Midlands and he invited me to an event in Manchester where a certain Deputy Prime Minister would be a keynote speaker and would also take questions from the audience. My instant reaction was “I’d love to go to something like that as it’d be an interesting experience, plus there are a few questions I’d like answered”. But then I began making excuses such as ” I have to go to work and it’s too short notice…my boss may not allow it”, “it’s expensive going all the way to Manchester from London especially as I’d be booking my ticket a few days before travelling” , “oh and what if I say something stupid?”
There I was again, holding myself back with the most pathetic excuses. I was scared of doing something different. Then I remembered that this year I vowed that I would dream big and go the extra mile. I quickly realised that in order to keep that vow, I’d need to veer away from doing the ordinary and take opportunities whenever they arose.
I requested time off of work- got it. Booked my ticket to Manchester – found excellent deals.
Then I got a little carried away and thought hey, why not make a weekend of it? While I’m at it, I may as well visit some friends and not do “life as usual”. So here is how I did it.
Destination 1: Manchester
I went to a science museum to explore the contribution Manchester has made to the world of science.
Then watched a film during the day at a random cinema alone (which I’ve never done before) and chatted to some locals.
I rounded off the day by attending the Q&A session with The Rt Honourable Nick Clegg. Very interesting indeed.
Destination 2: Nottingham
I spent the night in Nottingham with some friends and in the morning the 5 of us headed to destination number 3.
Destination 3: Kettering
We arrived in Kettering early in the morning, met with another friend and had a real country breakfast at a local public house. The decor was beautiful as well as homely. All the ingredients were fresh and tasted absolutely amazing. Again, I’ve never had a countryside breakfast and if you haven’t, I recommend that you do.
After breakfast we headed to “Bugtopia” where I was to conquer one of my biggest fears- being around animals. I was expecting to be looking at bugs in boxes but no, it was far worse.
When I walked into the cabin I saw a massive snake, iguanas, scorpions, a giant rat, and of course some bugs. It gets worse.
Not only did I have to sit in a room with these animals but I was encouraged to HOLD them! One of the insects started flying around the room and two lizards almost got into a fight! Although I personally did not hold any of the animals, I did stroke the yellow lizard and I was proud of myself for doing that as I normally cannot sit amongst strange animals let alone touch one.
After my frightful experience, we headed to the prestigious Kettering Tea Room. It was surrounded by beautiful countryside and the decor had that warm country feel. I ordered the special hot chocolate with a raspberry and almond scone! It tasted EXCEPTIONAL!!!!
Return Journey: Home
I had one more opportunity to do something different so I booked myself a seat in First Class. I normally sit in the standard seats but wanted to see what all the hype was about “First Class”. I have to admit, it’s a lot more spacious and the seats are nicely cushioned which makes the journey more comfortable.
So that’s my spontaneous weekend! I had a great time going with the flow and going beyond what I find comfortable. When you next get an opportunity to do something different, grab hold of it and make the most of it!
On Wednesday the 4th of September 2013 I held my first conference for new university students at City Hall! Students had the opportunity to learn about what uni has to offer and how to make the most of their time there.
It was a roaring success and 100% of the attendees said they would recommend the event to other students.
Have a look at the pictures below!
“When I first heard about the ‘What They Don’t Tell You About University’ event I did not hesitate in agreeing to be involved and was not disappointed. The evening was well attended and the content was delivered in a way which both connected with and entertained its audience, which was key given the wide range of concerns young people can have about accessing higher education today.
All credit must go to Crystal and her team for putting on the event and I look forward to supporting it again in the future.”
Ben Rutter, Student Loans Company
Thanks to everyone who came out and supported the movement.
A special thank you goes out to Sally Bartolo, the Peer Outreach Team at City Hall, Jide Fisher, Flourish Drama Group, Ben Rutter (Student Loans Company), David Chick (University Lecturer), Tambo Silavwe (Graduate and Entrepreneur) and Samson Osun (Former Student Union President and Student).