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Get Your Bucket List Done!


This is my last blog post of 2021 and I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year. Today I veer off from my usual financial fare to potentially provide you impetus for a New Years resolution; creating and crossing items off on your bucket list.


In 2010, after I watched the movie the Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, I created my own bucket list. Over the years I have occasionally written about some of the larger bucket list items I have been fortunate enough to cross off my list from playing golf at Pebble Beach to my safari to Africa. I have also discussed some of the smaller bucket list items I crossed off my list such as going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and attempting to learn how to play the guitar (ended up with tennis elbow) and writing my book Let’s Get Blunt About Your Financial Affairs.


What has been crucial in working through my bucket list was writing down my actual list and talking about the list often to others which functioned as a catalyst to actually move forward on many of these items. I discuss this in greater detail below.

My firm BDO Canada LLP (until December 31st when I officially retire) is celebrating its 100 birthday this year an impressive milestone for any company. BDO was also recently selected as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2022. One of the reasons BDO was selected as a top employer was for the various programs it has implemented in respect of mental health. This priority was reinforced during a recent firm-wide webcast when BDO had Ben Nemtin speak to everyone about mental health and the use of bucket lists.

Wikipedia states that Ben was “the creator, executive producer and cast member of the MTV series The Buried Life”. He also is” co-author of the book What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?, which entered The New York Times Best Seller list”. Today I am going to discuss how Ben used a bucket list/buried list to not only accomplish the above producing and writing achievements, but even more importantly, how he payed forward his accomplishments to help others.

During his BDO presentation, Ben started his talk by discussing the depression and anxiety he had in part due to the pressures of being a member of the Canadian Under 19 National rugby team. He told us how his friends got him out of the house and how he and his friends (again per Wikipedia) eventually ended “up on a two-week road trip with a camera and a borrowed RV to complete a list of "100 things to do before you die." Along their journey, they asked people the question, "What do you want to do before you die?" For each item they accomplished on their list, they helped a complete stranger do something on their own list”.

If you have ten minutes, watch this inspiring Ted Talk by Ben, which includes the key steps to creating and crossing items off your Bucket List and a great story how he and his friends payed it forward to help someone in an incredible way.

Here are Ben’s six key steps:

1. What is important to you – listen to your heart and stop and think about what you really want to do

2. Write down your list – as I note above, it is so important to put your thoughts to paper

3. Talk about your list – if you don’t talk about it, you won’t accomplish it yourself and no one is going to help you (Ben notes many people help you accomplish your list when they hear about your items)

4. Be persistent – for bucket list items that may note be easy to accomplish, be persistent, you may be surprised what you can accomplish - no may mean not now

5. Be audacious – have some items that are not mainstream and go for them

6. Help others – Ben and his friends have done some incredible things for others (as noted in the Ted Talk).

While on YouTube you can find many other great talks on bucket lists, buried lists, life lists etc. Many of these talks are ways for you to reconnect with your true values and what you are enthusiastic about and to live life as your “true self”. So, whatever you want to call it, a bucket list is a wonderful way to not only create a list about things you want to do and accomplish, but it may be a means to self exploration. Anyways, I will get off my soap box/bucket and let you decide for yourself whether creating and/or acting on a bucket list is a worthwhile New Year's resolution for you.


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