Have you already compiled your current list of New Year's resolutions, which will end up in your scrap paper by February at the latest?
Yes, our New Year's resolutions! All the little stories we tell ourselves year after year. Next year I will do this and that, finally tackle this, realize this, start that. But most of these plans come to nothing. We all know that.
Many of us also have a so-called spoon list, the famous bucket list. On it is neatly written what you want to experience at least once in your life, what you absolutely want to do before you kick the bucket. The vast majority of these plans also come to nothing. We all know that, too.
And then we feel bad because we are ... hm ... what? Weak, stupid, weak-willed? Total failure?
Even though it may look like it, I don't think it's true at all. Because behind the circumstances of unrealized projects there is an insidious mechanism at work, which you simply cannot turn off. But you can understand it, deal with it, and even override it. You can find two treasure chests full of knowledge and tools for this on the websites of James Clear and Steven Pressfield.
Why is it important to understand this? It's simple: if you want to bring your story into reality, that is, to fulfill your task and thus live a fulfilled life, then this does not follow the principle of chance, which chooses a few, but exactly those steps that we set. One way or another. Whether for yourself, your team, your company or your brand.
If you're just beginning your transformation journey and are in the process of finding your story, that's even more true.
Every one of us knows that on the way there, tempting distractions lie in wait for you in abundance, and Odysseus also experienced this on his odyssey. Odysseus was called the list-rich. With all the lists he devised: that there was a Bucket List has not been handed down. Homer maintains to this day strictly: "Was so!"
We may not be heroes from Greek epics, but we can still be cunning. If only because, like the King of Ithaca, we do not just for ten years but for a lifetime what Robert Musil so aptly described: "We err forward!" So here's my list for 2023 and in general: the upside-down bucket list. It contains everything I will no longer do.
This time the other way around.
With that, I follow one of my favorite creative tips that works with amazing frequency. It's, "Try doing the opposite of what you've been doing."
Cunning, isn't it?
At the top of this inverted spoon list of cancelled activities are the numerous distractions I indulge in all too often. For example, the flood of news, or recurring social media attacks. After all, everything interests me.
Or: Matters that are brought to me as urgent, but in fact are neither urgent nor, in the vast majority of cases, anything but important. They are simply there and glaring and loud.
On the "I won't do it again" list comes the acceptance of invitations "for an exchange over coffee". In almost 100 percent of cases, the result of these exchanges is that they are quite one-sided. My interlocutors' questions are exchanged for answers from me. In other words: I provide one to two hours of consulting services free of charge and then pay for everyone's coffee.
The particularly frustrating thing about this is that people who engage in so-called networking and brain-picking are in fact looking for simple, quick solutions to their complex tasks, and can't do anything with what they get from an exchange with me anyway, because, as we all know, for every complex problem there is a simple solution that doesn't work, and it's not me who's responsible for such simple solutions, but an exorcist. All life time invested in this exchange of all Vernetworkten is therefore solemnly destroyed instead of that I would have fulfilled my task in this time.
First and foremost, my New Story Mentoring is about helping people find their New Story. In other words, those who are searching for themselves, their company, their team, their brand or any other project. They are looking for the deeper meaning, for their task, their Purpose, their Meaning, their Why - call it what you will. I call it: they are on the way to their inner story, and I can accompany these special people as a mentor a good bit there in a supportive way, if I'm not doing a bad exchange business in a coffee house. So: out with the reverse bucket list.
Oh yes, these special people exist. Not very many, but their number is growing and growing. They are people who understand that we are there for a reason and want to understand that reason - their reason.
Picture instead of just frame.
Such people can be recognized by the fact that they seriously deal with their questions and possible answers, go into depth, build up substance and do not wipe around on the surface. They sketch a picture, refine it, fill it with splendid colors and then powerfully with life. The frame comes afterwards, it does not replace the picture. Not even if it is made by André Heller.
If these special people were farmers, they would not fertilize the plant for the next profitable harvest, but build up humus so that life is served and people are nourished.
Such people are quickly recognized by the fact that they invest their time and yes: also their money. First, however, their time, because that is irretrievable even for geniuses; more money, on the other hand, can be earned by any moron, which many also do - exclusively. Thanks to news streams and social media feeds, there is no lack of relevant information about this.
Achieve or fulfill?
One of the tools we use in New Story Mentoring is The Reversed Bucket List, which also serves as an un-learning tool. Old thinking - i.e. old beliefs, the famous mini-stories that we have been telling each other and ourselves for generations and, fatally, believing them - is transformed into a new story.
One of these old stories is the one about the "life goal success & self-realization". This story is pretty much the most effective instruction manual for the poison of unlived life. Because, to borrow once more from the Dalai Lama: "The planet no longer needs successful people. The planet desperately needs loving peacemakers, healers, innovators, and storytellers of all kinds." In my opinion, this has never been different, however, the story of "life goal success & self-actualization" has obscured our view through its seductive efficiency of always generating more and promising endless growth. Because even though it may appear otherwise, if you look closely, you will recognize: People, teams and companies that are stable in life don't exceed quarterly goals, achieve sales growth or market share gains, or even make a career; they fulfill a mission. Everything else is the result of that. This is true universally, whether your name is Jane Goodall, or Steve Jobs, or something like you.
Finding that task is the beginning of a fulfilling new story for those special people who do. Is that how you feel right now? Are you about to embark on your Hero's Journey, your New Story? It would be my pleasure and honor to mentor you if you feel that this is what you are missing.
Currently I'm doing this with and for Christian, Christian, Mario and Guido, and there will soon be a few of the few places in my One-on-One program available again, not just for boys, mind you. They will be allocated according to the unshakable "first come, first served" law of nature. If you want in, just reply to this newsletter. I'll send you the curriculum personally. You can find out a little more right now.
Reach for the ruse(s).
If you want to do something immediately, i.e. really make use of the turn of the year, then take a (large) sheet of paper, a pencil and enough time. On the top of the paper write: "What I will no longer do from now on." Below that is your list of all the things you will not do from now on, and at the bottom you put the date and your signature. With this you have made a contract with yourself.
As a suggestion, a few impulses for things we'll leave out from now on:
- Meet energy robbers
- participate in gossip
- scroll through news streams
- sleep too little
- rue the day
- leave the house without a book
- unthinkingly fulfill expectations of others
- Saying "yes" when we mean "no."
Saying "yes" even though we mean "no" - if you want to bring your story to life, that is: if you want to fulfill your task, then you have to say a very clear "yes" to this task. You can only do that if you say "no" just as clearly to many other things. Namely, to everything that distracts you from it. All this is already neatly summarized on your upside-down bucket list. I have additionally written something behind my ears: If I can't say "Hooray, yes!!!" with a joyful chime, I say "No!!!" It's as simple as that (and sometimes still a bit difficult.)
People who know their task can also be recognized by their clear yes and no. "Maybe" is the cowards' no, "someday" their never.
By the way: the Jedi masters of the inverted bucket list write down a "I'll do instead" next to every "I won't do". That brings them into real, valuable growth: beyond themselves.
Jedi Master with a brave yes to his own task, that would be something for the new year, wouldn't it? The good thing about this new year is: it doesn't start on January 1, but now. And always now.
In this sense I wish you the very best for your inspired new year, whenever it begins. A year full of fulfilled and therefore fulfilling tasks and then lots of deserved usual success (aka profit) as a result of your doing. That would be, in very practical everyday terms, what my grandmother, the cunning old Story Dudette, wrote at the top of Odysseus' list of materials when he was crafting the Trojan horse: "Νέα ιστορία. ΝέαΔόξα - New Story. New Glory."