Maximizing Your Potential With a ‘Bucket List’
By Darrell “Duke” Runyan,
The Leadership Guru Guy
Real life is much like that. One can actually keep-on-keeping-on until success is ultimately achieved. In real life, however, there are ways to “get it right” without being stuck in a time warp. One method that has helped many people, including me, to achieve really interesting, exciting, and successful lives is the “Lifetime To Do List” or simply “Life List.”
It was over 30 years ago, that my stockbroker buddy recommended a program, “The Dynamics of Personal Leadership,” produced by Success Motivation Institute Inc. He knew that I was very depressed over losing my girl friend and having screwed up just about everything I had attempted up to that point in life. I was actually beginning to think that I might be “born to lose.”
In three short weeks of daily exposure to the positive message of the lessons, I came to realize that there is no such thing as “born to lose.” All the famous people in history, whose stories were included in the program, failed many, many times and yet persevered to ultimate success in their chosen fields.
I knew without a doubt, then, that I was OK. Two years later, I was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. This was the beginning of my “Life List” of more than 100 goals.
Over the next 30 years, I did such things as: appeared on the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show; produced and hosted several cable TV talk shows; hitch-hiked across the U.S.; spent three weeks in Paris; was a freelance writer in Atlanta and L.A.; produced a concert for charity; published a newspaper; hopped a freight train from Indigo, Calif. to Phoenix; jumped off a 40-foot cliff into a Colorado river; interviewed Jimmy Carter; became licensed in insurance, securities, real estate and mortgage brokerage; learned to play the guitar; played a draw chess game with a chess master; owned a sports car, motorcycle, sailboat, sports fisherman, a house, and a motor home; shot par in golf; raised the money for the movie “Sharkman”; lost 30 pounds; quit smoking cigarettes; broke a drinking habit; ran-the-table at pool; managed a bar and restaurant complex in Key West; and bought a Success Motivation Institute franchise.
Part of my inspiration was the story about a 15-year-old boy named John Goddard, who in 1939 wrote down 127 things to do in his life. By the time he was in his 40s he had already accomplished about 100. His goals were quite varied. Among them: type 50 words per minute, become an Eagle Scout, visit every country in the world, milk a rattlesnake (yes, he got bitten), climb Mt. Everest, and read the entire encyclopedia. And according to a recent article in Men’s Journal, he led the first expedition down the entire 4,160-mile length of the Nile River.
Goddard says he made his list because he heard so many old people going on and on about all their regrets over unfulfilled dreams. He vowed to never have those regrets. Now in his 80s, Goddard has expanded his original list to 600 items, accomplishing 530, so far.
He tells Men’s Journal that people often ask if he ever just relaxes and has fun, but he says he’s thankful for having a blueprint. “They don’t realize that nothing is more fun than having these adventures,” he says.
In my case, if it weren’t for the Life List and the training from the leadership program, I’m quite sure I would not be alive today. The excessive drinking, smoking and eating would probably have done me in. Fortunately, the program helped me internalize strategies for effectively modifying habits by substituting good habits for bad and substituting a positive attitude for a negative, defeatist one.
The essence of the program is summed up by this quote from Paul J. Meyer, the author and founder of Success Motivation Institute: “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”
You can gradually overcome the three big de-motivators of life: Fear, doubt and worry. If you “know” you will eventually succeed, it doesn’t make much sense to quit.
—Darrell Runyan, Pensacola