I have always loved the show ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Of course, for one, the show is hilarious. The stories are often relatable and have a certain depth to them. Most of all, however, one can never read enough into the little quirks that the main characters personify including Barney Stinson; an existence that is arguably entirely a collection of quirks. He is a larger than life character and one of his many mottoes (and also one of my favourite) being ‘Challenge accepted’.
There is something to be admired in the way Barney goes out of his way to make any old boring day at the pub just a little more special. He wants to walk out with an accomplishment under his belt, day in day out. There is no other way to do that than seizing the opportunities. It’s always a good laugh when the other characters are having a private conversation and he interjects with ‘Challenge accepted’ because he has found something meaningful within a mediocre chit-chat. Barney Stinson is indeed the Player King of New York City and it is probably because of his everlasting journey towards improving his skills, setting his own challenges and making it part of his day to day life.
So you probably have a bucket list, maybe it’s not written out in a neat format with colourful fonts stuck to your wall but you probably have fuzzy, not fully formed ideas on what would be on it based on passing thoughts. For some reason, bungee jumping is almost always on there. Have you ever wondered why so many people have bungee jumping on their bucket list? Because it pushes your bravery, your daring and your risk taking to an extreme and it forces you to be all those things in a matter of seconds. Once you are done, you can say you are all these things.
Matter of fact is that self-improvement usually doesn’t come in the form of bungee jumps. In fact, they are anything but. Bungee jumps last as long as the jump lasts-a few seconds. Self-improvement can last you a lifetime and a bucket list is simply a list of actions that represent characteristics you want to acquire. So I have ‘learn to play chess’ on my bucket list. It’s not because I watched Harry Potter and decided I would really like to understand what the hell Ron is doing on that giant chess board (although that would be a plus). What I am trying is to become more strategic and deep thinking and essentially apply it on how I live my life. Understand what calculated risks are, identify and take them.
You will find that most of these steps are along the same lines of simply increasing your awareness, horizons and intellect. Not in the sense of gulping down a set of Encyclopaedia books and recite Einstein but internalise lessons and new outlooks that you have chosen yourself to become someone who is worldlier and aware. The beauty is that you will never reach a limit to how much you can learn or experience and it is your job to get on that path of self-improvement; it’s not where you end up but what you pick up on the way.