Category Archives: Life List Successes

Writing a Bucket List is How The Bucket List Came to Be!

On Instant Netflix there is a very well edited movie called Tales from the Script that’s about the trials, successes and tribulations of screenplay writers.

One interview was of Justin Zackham about how The Bucket List came to be.

The short answer: He made a list of things he wanted to do before he died – and voila – wrote a script based on that process.

Cooler yet, after Morgan Freeman accepted his role, he said he’d always wanted to star in a movie with Jack Nicholson. And so it came to be that he checked something off his list!

Given all the people who want to write a screenplay, this self-referential story of making a movie about making a life list delighted me no end.

Why Make a Goal List? A 17-Year Life Lister Tells All

I recently became acquainted with Vic (aka Vienesse), a longtime SuperViva member, who has had a life list since 1991. After a number of conversations, I realized that his approach to life and living with a life list could be of great interest. He’s an “every day” kind of guy who has a well-rounded, happy, fulfilling life.

We both appreciate Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words “It is not the length of life…but the depth of life.” I hope reading about his depth of life inspires you…

The Life List-Driven Life

Why did you first decide to make a life list?

I went to college at 17 and learned to think critically and to be my own person. Much of this was driven from the philosophy of Gandhi: “We must become the change we want to see”. Then in 1991, in an Organizational Behavior course, I was introduced to the life list of John Goddard, often identified as both the world’s greatest adventurer and greatest goal achiever.
Vic Skydiving
Immediately following, I developed a life list with 97 goals, which has now blossomed to 241. Since 1991, I’ve collected a variety of experiences that have helped shape my character, personality and zest for life. SuperViva is an amazing tool to help people brainstorm and manage their goals, as well as seek inspiration from other goal achievers rooted in the same motivation…to experience as much of life as possible.

Looking back at your life do you feel your most cherished experiences came from things on your life list?

Getting married and having children are my two most cherished experiences. Bottom line, my priorities are faith, family, friends, work, hobbies. Aside from becoming a husband and father, my most cherished experiences have come from my life list.

Most memorable include: Rome trip (all aspects), poverty work, opening a company, commencement speech, coaching my sons sports teams, principating for inner city schools, attending graduate school, hiking Yosemite and climbing Half Dome (how majestic).

I’m continuously reflecting on my life and updating my list accordingly to ensure that I’m building relationships and creating memorable moments.

Do you do things that weren’t on your life list or do you tend to stick to it?

If I do big or little things that are not on my life list (initially), but they make a positive impact on me, I sometimes later add them to the done section of my life list (e.g. see Gin Blossoms in concert). For example, one of my goals is to visit 150 college campuses. At this time, I’ve seen 126. While I have some very memorable experiences at Princeton, Boston College and Dartmouth, I don’t individually list these experiences.

I try not to go overboard in adding ancillary events to my list, as it would become diluted. I’ve actually considered purging my life list of these smaller achievements, but I like the breadth that they provide. However, when prioritizing what I want to actively pursue, I tend to follow my list.

How often do you update your list to add, delay etc?

My first update was 1998 with a revision in 2002. I made another revision in 2005, then later found SuperViva. Since SuperViva, I’m in my life list and/or on the SuperViva website weekly due to the convenience and community provided. Additionally, I’m beginning to utilize the tools offered via SuperViva (e.g. date goal achieved, ranking, priority, etc.). For the first time, I’ve considered putting some goals on the backburner.

I often peruse others lists just to see what motivates and inspires people.

You’ve got a lot on your list. Do you intend to accomplish everything?

I recently added some goals that may be stretch goals. Prior to that, I really only put down what I deemed as SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bounded). However, one thing I learned from the SuperViva community is to list all my ideas.

Bottom line, if the ideas are not listed, I’ll forget about them and show them little attention. Since I’m Type A, I wanted to complete the list. Now, I want to add as much as possible to achieve as much as possible. If I don’t finish the list, at least I accomplished a lot trying. Ironically, this same topic is a derivative to a screenplay outline of mine.

You jokingly referred to yourself of the Cliff Claven of ideas. But you really do have a varied background and interests.

The reason my career and interests are so diverse are due to my life list goals. In 2002, I left the corporate world to pursue several vocational goals and philanthropic dreams. Additionally, I was a new father and my wife and I wanted to slow life down a little so I could take advantage of seeing my baby boys grow up. I call this time my sabbatical…it was, by far, the most rewarding time of my life to date.

If I truly reflected on my calling and passion, they would be teaching/coaching and writing respectively. The goal that I’m most passionate about at this time is finishing my screenplay. This has been a dream of mine since the early 90s. Unbelievably, I’ve had two ideas/outlines for scripts that were later similarly released by the studios. Bottom line, this was inspiring as I knew that I was on target.

What is your background like?

From early childhood, I was always influenced by books and movies, especially fish out of water scenarios where characters were taken out of their element and were experiencing new things for the first time, whether they be people to meet, places to visit, things to see, achievements to accomplish. How I longed to build these type of relationships and experience those memorable moments.

Growing up in a traditional Italian, Roman Catholic, blue collar, middle income family, I was told to be conservative, get an education, work hard, and save my money…that all my dreams could be realized after I retired. However, I fought the conventional wisdom of the family, realizing that life is a journey and retirement is not a destination…it’s just another time of life defined by a series of days.

What are you most looking forward to?

Next year’s Florence trip to celebrate my wife’s 40th birthday and finishing my screenplay. While not yet on the calendar, my trip to Australia will be life changing…multi-week, cross continent.

Reach Vic by signing in and emailing him from his SuperViva profile. You can start your own list by copying ideas from Vic!

I must disclaim that no compensation was made for the glowing remarks about SuperViva. :)

We would love to hear your life list successes and why you first made a list too.

A Goal to be a Movie Extra Achieved! Completely Randomly.

The phone rings at 3pm on Tuesday. “Want to be an extra in a Danny Glover movie?” my friend asks. “Can you be at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco by 5:30?”

Considering I had a goal to be an extra in a movie on my life list, I didn’t have to think twice.

danny glover and meWhile filming for the Harimaya Bridge is near completion, on this day they were filming a scene which will appear near the beginning of the film. It’s fascinating how the film team can track every little scene, filmed out of sequence. Our job as extras was to be a concert audience. The Berkeley Youth Orchestra did a lovely job playing the original piece composed for the movie. Having sat in many a concert, I knew all the right moves for acting like an audience member, no matter how much I wanted to pull a Kramer-like move (ha ha).

birthday cakeAnyhoo, it turned out this day was Danny Glover‘s birthday. The entire event was quite special for other reasons: Glover started acting at this very center as a teen as a good friend of co-star Ben Guillory. Now his daughter works at the center. The Director Aaron Woolfolk grew up in Oakland and I had the pleasure of sitting next to one of his relatives.

Peter Coyote also appears in this movie. As an old fan, I enjoyed seeing him live if only for a few lines.

It will be fun to see if I end up on the cutting room floor (or the digital trashcan). But I’m happy they allowed us to take pictures and videos as a great memoire.

The Most Glamorous Careers Require Tedious Work

me danny glover and ben guilloryAs we sat around waiting for scenes which required participation by the extras, I commented to Chris that most jobs that seem glamorous often require such painstaking detail to piece it together that, in reality, it is drudgery.

Namely advertising, online experiences, and movie making. All of these fields have producers who tend to the minutiae of every detail. The work needs to be done, and re-done repeatedly. You manage the creative process often in pieces with painstaking attention to detail.

Recently I achieved my goal of writing a screenplay and I learned about planning for props, thinking about all the film locations, and even what sound effects would be required. Phew!

These are truly productions in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

You Too Can Be an Extra in a Movie

Of course you need to add a goal to your life list to be an extra. Just by writing it down you’re more likely to make it happen. See all the various ideas on SuperViva.

Find Auditions – Sign up for free with Explore Talent

Not that I have all the secrets. But a few things you can do are:
1) Of course, be somewhere where movies are frequently made.
2) Subscribe to INFOLIST to learn about events and all kinds of movie industry related opportunities.
2) Check Craigslist under Gigs/Talent. You’ll often find film students needing extras. Then there’s events like the 48 Hour Film Project where you could be needed.
3) Stay tuned on SuperViva to receive an invitation to be an extra in my movie 😉

I’m sure there are many Hollywood sites and publications that call for extras. Now go for it!

About Chris and My Fellow Extras

the renegades logoMy friend Chris who invited me and most of the extras are members of the award-winning drum and bugle corp, The Renegades. I mention this because if you haven’t seen a drum and bugle corp made up of “grown ups” who participate in the band as a hobby (or maybe their work is the hobby, this is their life), give their videos a look.

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Breast Cancer Survivor Living Large With Her Life List

I’m so excited to meet Shelly77, a new SuperViva member, who has a great story to tell about why you should start living TODAY and not wait until after an illness diagnosis:

I had breast cancer that was dignosed a few days before my 29th birthday. The good news is that I’m cancer free and about to turn 31.

In a strange way I’m very thankful for the experience because without it I would probably still be “on the hamster wheel” in a job that I hated, watching life passing me by. If I took anything away from my cancer experience (besides a intense fear of needles, lol!) it is to live in the moment and enjoy each day.

I love the concept of Superviva because before I got sick, there were so many things I assumed I would do “some day”. There was so much traveling that I thought maybe I would be able to do when I retired. Now I realize that instead of sitting around waiting for those things to happen “some
day”, I can make them happen now! Thank you for turning your experience into an inspiration for others :-)

I love Shelly’s “theme for this year” which is: Where do you run when you jump off the hamster wheel?

Making a life list will help direct her!

alaska marathon

Here’s me a few years ago celebrating my recovery with a LLS half-marathon—which I highly recommend over doing a full marathon for knee preservation purposes! Better yet, do something different and daring that’s on your life list to raise money. As another cancer survivor friend once said “Screw marathons!”

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Major Life List Success Story – At 16 !

Among many things, the most important goal on my list was to win a contest. I didn’t have a specific contest in mind, just something along the lines of fashion design (my dream career). I ended up putting this goal on my SuperViva LifeList….Never did I think this one goal would lead me to my very first real-life adventure!

This is a story told by a very impressive, inspiring 16 year old SuperViva member:

I wanted to share with you something I accomplished this year, something that was partly inspired by your site!

Last year on December 31, 2006, I decided to make a list for the year 2007. I told myself this wouldn’t be a “New Year’s resolutions list” because so many resolutions seem to go unfulfilled. Instead I named it my goal list, which to me sounded more achievable.

I believe, but I’m not completely sure, this was before I discovered SuperViva, so I just wrote it down on a pretty piece of stationary paper. Among many things, the most important goal on my list was to win a contest. I didn’t have a specific contest in mind, just something along the lines of fashion design (my dream career, I’m still a student :-). I ended up putting this goal on my SuperViva

Lesson 1: Go For It

vera wang purseA few months passed, and in late Febuary I was browsing through Teen Vogue’s website when I noticed an add for a Vera Wang contest on some new site named I immediately went to the site, and then registered once I found out the winner of this contest got a 2 day, 3 night stay in New York City along with a chance to work on a top secret project with Vera Wang and her team! The contest was for her perfume “Princess” aimed at people my age, and it asked you to tell the people at flip why you were “Born to Rule.”

Lesson 2: Stick To It Despite All Odds

Rachel's designThe site is about flipbooks (basically online scrapbooks) so I went on and started working on my flipbook entry. I worked on it everyday, from uploading photos of things I’ve designed, to working on the effects on the pages. I got behind on a lot of my schoolwork though, so I stopped working on it for a few weeks to catch up, then I had a bunch of computer problems and wasn’t able to access the internet. When I finally got back to it, I only had about a week or two left in the contest, so I was working extra-fast to finish. As I went to submit it the last day, after I thought everything was perfect, my computer just froze and refused to function properly! I thought my entry had missed the deadline and I lost out, which really upset me because I wanted to win so bad!! I sent it manually to all the Editors on the website, just so they could see it.

Lesson 3: Go the Extra Mile

About two weeks later I got a call from a girl named Nicole saying they had accepted my entry because their technicians had seen I had issues with using the website, and they saw how much work I put into it. They were equally impressed that I had sent it to all the Editors anyways just asking them to view my flipbook for the fun of it. As you may have guessed, she went on to tell me I had won the contest and I was going to New York City!!!! I flipped out! (no pun intended, haha)

teen vogue office

My mom got to go too, so she was equally as excited (she starting screaming outside, where she was doing yardwork, and I’m sure all the neighbors thought we were crazy!) So, I went in July from the 18-20. It turns out I got to go on my 16th birthday! It doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

GivaduanI went to the Givadaun Fragrance House that day (where Vera Wang’s perfumes are produced) and they had a room set up for the other winner and I (forgot to tell you there was one other winner, my new friend Ruth) and it was all “Princess” themed, cupcakes, tiaras, flowers, everything! They weren’t even aware it was my birthday! We got to help them in the creation process of their future Vera Wang Princess perfumes! I also visited Times Square, Teen Vogue’s offices (and fashion closet!) and finally Vera Wang’s own showroom! Unfortunately, due to
multiple schedule changes, I ended up arrving the day she was leaving for a family vacation in Italy, which at first was disappointing, but considering everything else I did, I didn’t mind too much!!! She had gift bags ready for us instead with a special bottle of her perfume, some of her brand’s stationary, and a signed, rare photoshoot book of the Princess ad campaign. I also presented her top assistant’s with a purse I sewed for her.

Lesson 4: It All Starts by Writing Down Your Goal

I think that sums up my trip mostly, and I can’t tell you how gratifying and exciting it was to check off “win a contest!” as done on my SuperViva list!!! Never did I think this one goal would lead me to my very first real-life adventure!

Lesson 5: Combine Your Goals Into One Experience

fashion districtA few other “firsts” for me that were accomplished through this trip were:

  • First airplane ride
  • First time at an airport
  • First time eating Japanese food
  • First time riding in Taxis
  • First time in NYC
  • First time trying a “Crumbs” cupcake
  • First time in Queens, NY (that’s where our airport was)
  • First entry in my “Travels and adventures” journal (my mom’s good friend presented this journal to me, passing on a tradition she has practiced for many years, and I will now take this on every trip to record all the memories I’ll have!)

…those are what I can think of right now :)

Lesson 6: Be Wise, Whatever Your Age

I have found that by making a list of all my life goals, be them small or seemingly next to impossible, I take one step towards making them real. In a way, my dreams start to come alive through my list, because they are no longer random thoughts or daydreams, they’re suddenly achievable.

Note from Susie: Wow, if only I’d been as mature and insightful as she is at 16! Next step: Project Runway!?

See more SuperViva success stories

SuperViva Success Story: Goal to Write a Screenplay. Check!

This exciting end of 2007 success story comes from someone who started her life list about a year ago on SuperViva:

For years I’ve wanted to write a screenplay. Every time I see a movie I really love, I’d say: “I wish I’d written that!” I’ve even had partial outlines (plus one complete outline) for several movies sitting in my computer for about seven years now.

In November I got serious about it and set a goal of writing the first draft for my first screenplay in one month flat. On November 7 I posted this goal on my SuperViva page. After some prep and self-education, I started the actual writing on November 20.

I used various tools and techniques to keep me motivated. One that really helped was posting frequent smaller goals on my SuperViva page. I would always look forward to checking those off and this trick really spurred me to the finish line.

Today, December 18 at 2:30 pm, I finished my first draft. Yay! I even came in a little ahead of schedule.

During the month, I had a crisis where I realized that my original ending from the outline was going to be too insipid. I lost a whole week of writing trying to figure out the problem. Finally, I read some advice from a screenwriting teacher who said that this is a common occurrence and the solution is to “Just do it. Write a crappy ending, just to get to the last page and write THE END. You can fix it in the rewrites.” This gave me permission to be reckless and go for it, which I did. I wrote in total creative abandon — and the reward was that my ending turned out to be far better than I could have hoped for while I was sunk in my crisis.

The feeling that I HAD TO check off that SuperViva ultimate goal was what stopped me from even considering flunking out.

Woohoo! Love that story. If you have questions about making a life list or about SuperViva, please ask away!

See more life list success stories or sign up to start your list for 2008 and beyond.

SuperViva Member Uses Life Lists to Change Her Life and the World

Tara joined SuperViva in 2006, and from the get-go saw the positive effects of making a life list.
For one thing, it helped her decide to become a counselor. Here are some recent stories she shared with me:

I’ve really found Superviva useful, especially recently as last year I finally met someone worth dating seriously (we’re actually getting married in less than two months) and upon looking at my life list together, we found that we have quite a lot of goals in common. Still, it prompted some reflection on both of our parts to see where we were both going and how we’d like to get there, as well as how it might clash with the other’s plans. Surprisingly, this life list helped me know that this was someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with – not that Alex wants to do EVERYTHING I want to do, but at least he supports all of my odder tendencies :) And I guess that’s the most important thing.

Results of Her Life List Workshop
Now that I’m pursuing graduate work in counseling, I’ve found it even more useful. I even conducted a Life List Workshop at my local women’s center. The ladies found it extremely helpful to look at things they’d always wanted to do, things they’d yet to accomplish, and things they’d done and never taken notice of. I played a game with them and told them to write down a list of all the things they ever dreamed of accomplishing, even if it was something that didn’t seem within their constraints at the moment. I told them to “dream big” and pay no mind to limitations (financial, physical, or otherwise). They had a hard time at first because we (especially women) are so conditioned to be realistic and take care of others, but after awhile, they came around and had so much fun with it! I then went over their lists with them and helped them figure out ways they could make some of their more outlandish dreams come true in realistic ways – one woman wanted to go to space camp when she was younger, but obviously was in no condition to go now. So I helped her think of ways to accomplish what she’d sought to accomplish with this particular goal – why did she want to go to space camp in the first place? Would taking astronomy classes at the local community college, coupled with a mini-vacation to Kennedy Space Center, accomplish the same thing for her now?

This technique also really helped some of the women see how and why their goals had changed over the years. Some of them said getting married and having kids meant they could never think of themselves and always of others – I encouraged them to find freedom in the little things, even as some of them continued to feel constrained by their life situations. All in all, it was a wonderful workshop and I recommended SuperViva bigtime!

SuperViva stickerNext: Life Lists for Prisoner Re-entry Program
I’m going to start volunteer teaching at a Prisoner Re-entry Initiative in my area; though my major task is to teach them basic life and employment skills, I think I’m going to start by having them develop a life list – I really believe that before you can teach someone you have to give them the confidence to learn and life lists are a really wonderful tool to make people “dream big.” Really I can’t thank you enough for constantly developing my concept of how life lists can be used – the website is just awesome and so useful for coming up with many new ways to spread the good word about allowing yourself to dream :)

(Currently Tara has her life list set to “private” while she updates it.)

New to SuperViva?
It’s quick and easy to start your life list on SuperViva with our “Super Lister.” You can make your entire list private or public, or make just specific goals private. Learn more or get started! Feel free to post any questions here or send an email.

Planning a social or coaching event? The SuperViva stickers add a fun, twist to help people socialize meaningfully. Get in touch if you’d like some.

See more life list success stories

SuperViva Success: Busy Mom Lets SuperViva Be Her Guide

A doctor and a mother, SuperViva member Countrydoc sent this wonderful story about how she focuses on priorities using her life list:

“A friend is lending us a camp, which is just 15 minutes from our house, so we’ll actually be taking our first family vacation. i have superviva to thank! i only do stuff on my to do list.”

While parents of young children are generally too busy to even think of themselves, a life list helps focus on the big picture: What do you want for yourself, for your children, and for your family? You don’t have to look at your list often but when you want to, it’s there.

As another SuperViva member said of her chaotic life, it’s nice to know your list is in one place, accessible anywhere. One less thing to get lost!

An Audacious Goal-Setting Success Story

Business Week said it right when they described Bill Bartmann’s career as “one of seized opportunities.”

Bartmann, now 58, became a coach fairly recently based on his life experiences. I was impressed (or astounded) that he’s set goals to make $100 million in a year as a motivational coach, the majority coming from $100,000 earnings a day as an executive coach. He also has a goal to “touch 10 million people in five years” which helps him find meaning behind the money. (Similarly it impresses me no end how many people on SuperViva have the goal to positively affect the lives of a billion people.)

It was nice to see his final “It would be a shame to make success a priority. There will be fewer zeroes behind my name, but it won’t be bad. I’ve moved from success to significance.”

A good role model for self-motivation!