Aug 3, 2010

Killing Your Life-List: How To Be A Superstar

Life Lists have been all over the internet recently. I first saw them take hold thanks to Maggie Mason, and after writing my own I watched as internet superstars from all types of blogs and websites shared their lists and all the fun things they were able to cross off.

My own Life List contained a fair bit of travel, an even larger amount of knitting projects, and more than a few smaller items. Since writing my list I’ve crossed a few off excitedly, and even created a smaller list of things I wanted to get done in my 33rd year of life – many items for this list coming directly from my Life List.

All this list-making quickly got me frustrated, however – it’s hard to maintain any sort of focus when you’re trying to accomplish over 100 big ticket items!

And so I killed my Life List, just deleted it both from the blog and from my computer. Maybe it has something to do with the article I recently read on the Superstar Effect? The article discusses what makes the difference between impressive and superstar, and how to push towards superstar-style status.

Focus On Your “Main Thing”

The article got me thinking – what if I focused on one thing, on my main life goal, rather than spreading myself thin {and stressing myself out!} with all these Life List items? What if I truly gave in to my passion for knitting for charity, and committed whole-hog to knitting 10,000 charity items before I die? For me, knowing my “main thing” was knitting was easy.

I’ve spent much of my adult life knitting for others anyhow, and while much of the other to-do items on my Life List sounded fun, knitting for charity was the one constant, the one item that was a must-do amongst a list of “should-do’s”. Figuring out your Main Thing may be simple like it was for me – or it could take years. Chances are you already know what it is, though.

Setting An “Unreasonable Goal”

One year ago I quietly set the goal to knit 10,000 charity items in my lifetime, and in the last 365 days or so I’ve knit approximately 120 items – mostly hats. At that rate, it will take me 83 years to knit 10,000 items. I’m 33 – this means if you include the past year in my tally {which I do}, I’ll have to live to be 105 or older before I’ll complete the 10,000.

In order to truly live your Main Thing with superstar status, you need to have an “unreasonable goal”. Chris Guillebeau is travelling to every country on Earth, I’m knitting 10,000 items for charity. Your Main Thing should be a bit scary, truth be told – it should challenge you and stretch you, force you to be the most streamlined and razor-sharp version of yourself. It’s hard to knit 10,000 charity items while dilly-dallying around with other crafts, just as it’s hard to travel to every country in the world when you’re caught up in owning the latest must-have vehicles and gadgets.

Don’t Let Your Big Dreams Scare You

Chances are your Main Thing will be completely different from mine, and your Unreasonable Goal will blow me away – that’s a good thing! Don’t let your big dream scare you; simply sit down and figure out what steps you need to take to reach it!

Rather than letting the number of hand-knits I wanted to make scare me, I immediately begin thinking about how I can up my knitting tally in the coming year – more baby hats, less diversity with my knitting, a better plan of attack. I began making lists, plotting new knitting challenges that will far surpass the One Hundred Hats challenge I am about to finish.

So how does this fit in with minimalist knitting? Easy – by minimizing my life goals, and by sticking to a minimalist knitting lifestyle, I think I can easily increase my total hand-knit numbers for each year and accomplish my goal of 10,000 donated hand-knits in my lifetime. The key for me? Kill my Life List.

{image from Rowdy Kittens}

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