101 Things I Want to Know, Have, Do or Be – My Bucket, Goals and Vision List
We have a monthly event at my work called “Women at Pluralsight”. This is a well-organized chance to hear from women here at our company as well as other inspirational voices from around the world. For May, we welcomed Renee West who blew me away with her story and inspirational message.
Renee West has had quite the life. A twice-divorced mother of 3 in her thirties, she rose to become the first woman CEO of a hotel on the Las Vegas strip – the Luxor and Excalibur(!). In a city with a long-dominated male culture, this is additionally inspiring. How did she do it? You can watch this talk West gave at a Tedx event which touches on her journey. It’s 17 minutes, but it’s seriously inspiring. I’d encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already.
In addition to hard work and intense motivation in the form of her kids, she credits her success to three invitations given to her by people in her life:
- Spend 1 hour a week improving at the craft you want to be paid for.
- Be a lifelong learner for topics outside of that.
- Create a list of 101 Things I Want to Know, Have, Do or Be
I love this list. Even though it’s simple, it gets to a very important core set of life skills: increasing income, knowing what you want to do with it today, and being open to new things. Consistently doing all three can lead to amazing things, and West is living proof of that.
Spend 1 Hour a Week Improving
For almost 20 years, I’ve been creating websites non-stop. This is the area of expertise that I’ve been able to make a living at. West mentioned something that hit close to home to me:
If you spend an hour a week learning something new for a year, you’ll know more than 95% of your peers.
Based on my experience – this is so true. This assumes a base knowledge though. If you and a coworker are both right out of college, the one who dedicates time learning how to do better at their job will grow their skills amazingly fast. Even just 1 hour a week will add up over the months and years.
The idea of spending 1 hour a week improving at the craft you want to be paid for hits close to home for me. Early in my career, I spent a ton of time getting better at programming. I was reading books about software craftsmanship, design patterns and writing clean code and turning that knowledge into career advancements and leadership positions.
After hitting a plateau in that field as a tech lead, I moved on to reading about managing software developers, project management and building strong teams. That led to running the largest team at Code School and constantly delivering amazing courses with an amazing and talented team.
More recently I’ve switched from engineering to product, which has led to reading about user research, qualitative/quantitative analysis, data visualization and product market fit. I’ve always considered myself an introvert, but as part of my role now, I interview people every week about their experience learning to understand what problems they run into to help shape the products I work on. Jumping into that a decade ago, I would’ve been intimidated by the thought of just talking with people I didn’t know. A lot changes in a decade.
For me this outside education has been a superpower, allowing me to be inspired to do new things at work, and keeping me both interested and productive through 7+ years at the same company. I’ve also been extremely fortunate in an employer that has been flexible for me to explore new areas and grow into new roles. I know not everyone is that fortunate.
Be a Lifelong Learner
This may sound like the first one. The difference is that finding things to learn outside of your career path is important. If your entire life is your career, you will not be a well-round person. We all know that one person who talks about work all the time or has been pulled into a job at some time where they are doing it 24/7. Even if you’re a founder of a company, I’d argue that it should not be your identity.
This comes back to just being an interesting person. Being a lifelong learner doesn’t mean you need to go back to school, or that you need to get that next degree or certification. Instead, this is about finding areas that you can be passionate about in life and just learning about them. Learning how to learn and become great at practice is a skill that can be learned.
Whether this is making new meals, exploring your hometown, listening, reading, learning a language or instrument, or developing a new business skill outside of your usual focus, learning will make you a more interesting and happy person. There are times when I have not been able to enjoy learning something, but even with those I learned a lot about myself.
101 Things I Want to Know, Have, Do or Be
This is a long list. It’s a combination of personal mission, goals, bucket list and definition of who you want to be – all in one. Renee recommends not including anything on this list you have plans to complete already, or things you’re currently doing. It should be aspirational and inspirational.
I’ve created similar goals lists at various times in my life which have helped me focus my time. Buffett’s 25/5 list comes to mind as a prioritized list of what to work on. For this list of 101 items, the goal isn’t to think about priorities or realism – but to dream big about what you want out of life. Be honest and be authentic.
Some things to think about: include a combination of things you want to do, things you want to own, things you want to learn, how you want people to experience you in the world, and how your relationships with other people are.
Here’s a rough cut of my bucket list of 101 things I want to know, have, do, or be.
✅ Complete: 4
🧠 Mindset: 2
➡ Someday: 2
- ✅ Start my mornings relaxed and refreshed.
- ✅ Get out into nature all the time.
- ✅ I go hiking here in Salt Lake City once a week when it’s not snowing or rainy.
- ✅ We take Lily (our 11-year-old dog) on walks outside every day, and sometimes out to nature.
- ✅ I skied a bunch this past winter, but will probably skip it next time. (December 2018)
- ✅ Overnight backpack trip with friends (May 2019)
- ✅ Started camping with friends more.
- ✅ Hike a longer trail
- ➡ Always fly first class.
- ✅ Reduce possessions down to the point we can travel anywhere in the world for any length of time.
- ✅ Condensed everything down to our apartment and a closet.
- ➡ There’s nothing more to do here until we move next time.
- 🧠 Be happy, and inspire those around me to be happy.
- 🧠 Doing my best
- 🧠 Leave everything better than you found it.
- 🧠 This includes things, people, and places.
- ➡ Spend a year not driving.
- ✅ Sold my car, bringing us down to a 1-car household.
- ➡ Maybe when/if we move outside the US or to NY.
- ✅ Have dessert all the time.
- ✅ I’m so glad I added this one. Whenever there’s a dessert option I take it!
✅ Complete: 4
🧠 Mindset: 1
➡ Someday or paused: 7
- ➡ Learn how to surf.
- ➡ Maybe in the future when we live on a beach
- ⏸ Learn to speak Japanese fluently.
- ✅ For a while, I did a Duolingo lesson every day.
- ✅ Practice hiragana and katakana every week until I have them down.
- ➡ Take a WaniKani lesson every day to help learn kanji.
- ➡ One of my 2021 goals was to get to an N5 level of fluency. (failed)
- ⏸ I’ve paused learning Japanese for now, but want to get back to it sometime.
- ➡ Learn enough Spanish to understand Mrs. Minafi’s family.
- ⏸ Learn to play the piano.
- ✅ I took lessons for about a year (2013). I couldn’t find a way to thoroughly enjoy practicing.
- ⏸ Bring this back up someday. Maybe when there are better lessons available online.
- ➡ Learn how to write in a comedic style.
- ✅ Learn how to cook Asian dishes I love from scratch.
- ✅ Made some delicious Korean fried chicken and Pad Thai recently.
- ✅ Read Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
- 🧠 Trying to create more dishes basic dishes – ones that use fewer ingredients than the original, but are easier to create on a random night.
- ➡ Take an improv comedy class.
- ✅ Learn to take amazing photos of adventures and people.
- ✅ Have a Fuji XT-1 with a handful of lenses. Still learning to use it to its potential.
- ➡ Take a class on how to use Lightroom to edit.
- ✅ Learn how to create interactive visualizations that help teach others.
- ✅ Created An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence
- ✅ Wrote Data Says the Millennial Early Retirement Age is 40 – Here’s How They Could Do It
- ✅ Wrote The Gender Pay Gap Told Through Data From Our Finance Blogging Community
- ✅ Wrote The Minimal Investor ESPP Guide and Calculator
- ✅ Harcover Stats pages
- ✅ Learn to create scroll-driven interactive posts
- ⏸ Paused work on an interactive S&P 500 Visualization
- ✅ Learn the skills to create an iOS application from scratch.
- ✅ Launched the Hardcover iOS app
- ➡ Develop an app in Swift
- ➡ Develop DevOps skills so I can confidently manage my own technical projects.
✅ Complete: 1
➡ Someday: 5
- ➡ Get paid to travel.
➡ Start a travel blog someday?
- This is a content treadmill I don’t want to get on
- ✅ Retire by 38 (as in no longer need to work to live).
- ➡ Allow my parents and in-laws to live a financially secure life.
- ➡ Create a business that teaches people how to improve their lives.
- ➡ Never worry about cost/price.
- ➡ I have a long way to do on this one. If something is over $100 then I always do some research.
- ➡ Create a side project that pays my ongoing expenses.
- ⏸ Minafi is not this. Minafi makes a few bucks (less than $100/month).
- ➡ Currently working on Hardcover, a startup I’m excited to build up into something.
✅ Complete: 4
➡ Someday: 12
- ➡ Watch the Winter Olympics in person.
- ➡ Watch the Summer Olympics in person.
- ➡ Watch the World Cup in person.
- ➡ US World Cup 2026?
- ➡ See the tulips blooming in The Netherlands.
- ➡ See Wisteria blooming in Japan.
- ✅ Attend a Ted event.
- ➡ Go to burning man.
- ✅ Go to a FinCon
- ➡ Visit Germany during Oktoberfest.
- ➡ Visit the lantern festival in Thailand.
- ✅ Go to the Sundance Film Festival
- ✅ See Hamilton on Broadway in New York
- ✅ 2016! Most of the original cast had left, but a few were still there.
- ➡ Go to ComicCon in San Diego
- ➡ Check out the hottest new tech at CES
- ➡ Go to Gen Con to play board games
- ➡ Attend South By Southwest
✅ Complete: 2
🧠 Mindset: 2
➡ Someday: 13
❌ Removed: 4
- ➡ Go skydiving.
- ➡ I’ll do this whenever Mrs. Minafi is OK with me dying.
- ➡ Go on a Safari.
- ➡ Go Scuba diving.
- ➡ Live in a Buddhist Monastery for a month.
- ➡ Hike the Nakasendo Way trail from Kyoto to Tokyo.
Eat at every Michelin Star (1+) restaurant in the world.
- Removed in 2019.
- I’d rather focus on what’s good and local than what’s “rated”.
- I’ve enjoyed 1-star places much more than 2 and 3-star places. And food trucks are more than that!
- Since that realization, I’ve removed this one from the list
- 🧠 Eat the most delicious local meals from around the world
- 🧠 Try beer, wine, and alcohol from around the world.
- 🧠 Whenever we travel we look for local spirits, wines, and beers.
- ✅ See the latest shows on Broadway in NYC every few years
- ✅ Went to NY in 2019 to see Moulin Rouge and Sleep No More.
- ➡ Next trip in 2024-ish?
- ➡ Live (and eat) in a fishing village.
Go on a month-long camping trip.
- ✅ Longest camping trip: 7 days when I was 7 years old.
- ✅ Started doing overnight backpack camping trips.
- ✅ A 2-night backpacking trip in 2020.
- ✅ Went on a 5-night backpacking trip on the Highline Trail in Utah.
- ❌ Spending time far enough away from society and help made me realize I don’t actually want this. I’d rather go on backpacking trips where if all goes wrong we can still make it back to a town within a day’s hike.
- ➡ Climb a glacier.
- ➡ Fly in a glider.
- ➡ Many opportunities to do this in Utah!
- ✅ Hike through ruins around the world.
- ✅ Angkor Wat in 2018.
- ➡ Want to do more!
- ➡ Dive with sharks.
- ➡ Go dog sledding.
Explore an unexplored cave.
- ❌ Having been on a few explored cave tours, I now realize I’d rather stick to the well-defined path (which has a way out).
- ➡ Complete an arcade game in a single quarter.
- ➡ See the northern lights.
- ➡ New Zealand? Southern lights!
- ➡ Iceland? Alaska?
- ➡ Live in NYC for a
Hike the Appalachian Trail.
- ❌ After hiking some of the Highline trail, I realized this was more of a fantasy than something I enjoy.
✅ Complete: 2
➡ Someday: 7
- ⏸️ Be able to do every CrossFit workout RX (in a reasonable time)
- ✅ I can do most workouts, but not in what I’d consider a reasonable time.
- ➡ I paused doing CrossFit from March 2020 to April 2022 due to COVID-19.
- ⏸️ Tore my ACL in 2022 doing CrossFit. I’m unsure if I’ll rejoin and make this a goal or not.
- ✅ Run a marathon.
- ✅ Ran 10k (April 2019)
- ✅ Ran 14k (May 2019)
- ✅ Ran a half marathon (June 2019)
- ❌ Signed up for a marathon in 2020, but it was canceled
- ✅ Ran a marathon! (June 2021)
- ✅ Learn how to
confidentlykind of ski black diamond slopes
- ✅ I can confidently ski blue slopes.
- ✅ I’ve skied some black diamond slopes (2019).
- ✅ Take lessons with an instructor in (2020/2021).
- ✅ Continue improving one run at a time! (2021)
- ➡ I’m nowhere near being able to confidently ski, but I can comfortably enjoy up to blue runs now.
- ➡ Learn how to Snowboard
- ➡ Take a lesson with Mrs. Minafi in the 2023/2024 season.
- ➡ Run a mile in under 6 minutes.
- ✅ Fastest ever mile: 6:49 (2012)
- ✅ Most recent mile pace: 8:10 minutes (2020)
- ➡ Recovering from an ACL tear now. It’ll be a while.
- ⏸️ Be able to walk on my hands as long as my muscles allow.
- ✅ My max hand walks so far: ~20ft.
- ⏸️ On pause since I stopped doing CrossFit
- ➡ Scale a 5.11 rock climbing route.
- ➡ Join a rock climbing gym. Maybe slim down a few pounds to make this easier.
- ➡ Complete the CrossFit workout “Murph” with a weighted vest.
- ✅ 51:17 in 2013, no vest, partitioned
- ✅ 51:00 in 2014, no vest, partitioned
- ✅ 58:22 in 2016, no vest, partitioned
- ✅ 56:56 in 2018, no vest, unpartitioned
- ➡ Bought a pullup car during COVID-19 for the apartment. Trying to practice these more! Pushups and overall cardiovascular endurance are still my limiting factors.
- Continuing to practice all of these exercises.
- ➡ Become the strongest version of myself ever in my 40s
✅ Complete: 2
🧠 Mindset: 6
➡ Someday: 3
- 🧠 Have a joyful marriage.
- 🧠 Yesss (2017)
- 🧠 Play board games with friends all the time.
- ✅ Got some friends into Settlers of Catan recently. Need to make this a repeating event.
- ✅ Have a repeating weekly event with friends where we often play games via Zoom. Cards Against Humanity and Jackbox have been the go-to choices.
- ➡ Marilyn and I are trying to have weekly board game nights with each other.
- 🧠 Share amazing adventures with others.
- ✅ Travel, backpacking, more.
- ➡ I’d love to schedule this in some way. A yearly fun event that’s open to friends.
- ✅ 2021: Hiking the Highline trail, backpacking around Utah, going on a Gottman retreat in Colorado.
- ✅ 2022: Renting a cabin with friends for a week.
Going Helihiking with friends in Canada.(canceled due to ACL tear 😭)
- ➡ 2023: Tahoe. Eclipse in Oregon.
- ➡ Help animals in need to find new homes.
- ➡ Look into how I can use my programming skills to help.
- 🧠 Have dinner parties with friends.
- ➡ Volunteer for a political campaign that helps drive real change in the world.
- ✅ Lots of volunteering for the 2020 election.
- ➡ It’s still essential to organize. I think my greatest help can be on the technical/systems side to help campaigns get their message out more and optimize their outreach.
- ✅ Be able to drop everything for a sudden trip with friends.
- ✅ Went to Scotland last year with friends.
- ➡ We can always do this!
- 🧠 Have real, honest conversations about people’s dreams and goals
- 🧠 I’m trying to improve at having these conversations.
- ➡ Go on a retreat away from society with like-minded strangers on a common interest.
- ➡ Camp Mustache? Chautauqua? Camp FI?
- ➡ Still on the lookout for this. Any recommendations?
- 🧠 Raise others around me up.
- 🧠 Doing OK, but want to do better
- ✅ Travel with friends.
- ✅ Scotland Trip (2018) with friends
- ✅ Camping & backpacking around Utah
- ➡ Where next?
✅ Complete: 6
➡ Someday: 3
- ✅ Read at least one book a week.
- ➡ Watch every movie on the IMDB top 250.
- ➡ 157/250 so far according to iCheckMovies
- ✅ See The Moth live in New York
- ✅ Saw a show at The Bitter End in 2014.
- ➡ Read every science fiction and fantasy book on the NPR top 100 sci-fi list.
- ✅ 50 (2019)
- ✅ 60 (2020)
- ➡ 70 (2022)
- ✅ Volunteer at The Sundance Film Festival.
- ✅ Volunteered in 2019
- ✅ Volunteered in 2020
- ✅ Volunteered online in 2021
- ❌ Skipped 2022 when they canceled in-person at the last minute.
- ✅ Volunteered in 2023
- ✅ Play lots of video games that have great storylines.
- ✅ 2018: Horizon Zero Dawn, Doki Doki Literature Club, Hollow Knight.
- ✅ 2019: Gris, God of War, Death Stranding, Red Dead Redemption 2.
- ✅ 2020: Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us II, Chrono Trigger.
- ✅ 2021: It Takes Two
- ➡ I’ve struggled to get into longer games lately.
- ✅ See
everyCirque du Soliel show whenever we can
- ✅ La Nouba
- ✅ Ovo
- ✅ Quidam
- ✅ Beatles Love
- ✅ Michael Jackson
- ✅ See unusual local and interactive shows everywhere we go
- ✅ Frueza Bruta (2011)
- ✅ Sleep no More (2019)
- ➡ Write a science fiction book
- I have a journal with story ideas. Maybe someday I’ll put them all together.
✅ Complete: 2
➡ Someday: 6
- ➡ Help a million people invest confidently
- ➡ See something I’ve created mentioned on national news.
- ➡ Maybe something Minafi or FIRE-related?
- ➡ Inspire others to share their knowledge
- ✅ Create interactive teaching experiences that people remember.
- ✅ I’ve created some and will continue to create more.
- ➡ Teach and inspire kids to program.
- ➡ Find a place to volunteer here in Utah.
- ➡ Teach and inspire kids to be financially educated and independent.
- ✅ Met with Utah teachers about how they teach financial education.
- ➡ Figure out the next step to stay involved. Find a way to provide The Minafi Investor Bootcamp for free to teachers.
- ➡ Create a website that gets over 100,000 sustained visitors a month with minimal upkeep.
- ✅ Getting a whole 15k so far, so 85k to go! (2020)
- ➡ Up to 40k people a month now! (3/2021)
- ➡ Continue working on Hardcover to grow it.
- ✅ Create and self-publish a product that lots of people enjoy.
- ✅ Created The Minafi Investor Bootcamp. Some people have enjoyed it, but there’s still a lot of work to go!
✅ Complete: 2
➡ Someday: 21
Domestic Travel (4), European Travel (4), and Asian Travel (5).
- ➡ Visit all 50 US states.
- 42 States down. 8 to go! (42/50)
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- 42 States down. 8 to go! (42/50)
- ➡ Visit every National Park in the US.
- 17 down, 45 to go! (17/62) Next up:
- Yosemite (California)
- Great Sand Dunes (Colorado)
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
- Mesa Verde (Colorado)
- 17 down, 45 to go! (17/62) Next up:
- ✅ Visit Japan
- ✅ Went for 2 weeks in 2014.
- ✅ Went again for 2 weeks in 2017!
- ➡ Would love to go again sometime in the fall.
- ✅ Visit Southeast Asia
- Visited Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia for our honeymoon.
- ➡ Visit and tour Venice.
- ➡ Take a slow trip around Europe.
- ➡ Take a slow trip around Italy.
- ➡ Visit and tour Greece.
- ➡ See the sunrise at Mt. Fuji.
- ➡ Visit Lhasa.
- ➡ Spend a few weeks exploring Angkor Wat.
- ➡ Explore China.
- ➡ Explore Tibet.
- ➡ Visit every UNESCO world heritage site. (Status: dozen-ish?/1073)
- ➡ Live somewhere for a month where no one speaks English.
- ➡ Live on every continent for a year (maybe less for Antarctica).
- ➡ Visit old-growth forests around the world.
- ➡ See The Great Barrier Reef.
- ➡ Spend a month in a rainforest.
- ➡ Visit and tour ancient Egyptian pyramids.
- ➡ See New Zealand, including where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
- ➡ Hike to Machu Pichu.
- ➡ Visit the Galápagos Islands
So this was a few more than 101, but it was close!
Total: 123 Goals
✅ Complete: 29
🧠 Mindset: 11
➡ Someday: 79
❌ Removed: 4
About This List
Creating this list was a lot of fun, and I’d highly recommend you create your own. At about 30 items I started to slow down on ideas, but by the end, I had to start cutting things. This kind of blue-sky exercise is extremely inspiring.
After I wrote down the full list, theming these into a few categories took a little work. It helped me to understand what areas I find most important, with travel, relationships and experiences being the standouts.
What was interesting to me was what was not on this list.
- Real Estate. After owning/maintaining a home since I was 4 years old, I’m good not being a homeowner.
- Cars. I like a good ride as much as the next person, but for me, it’s a means to an end.
- Domestic Travel. Aside from national parks a few unexplored states, the domestic travel category is rather small. I credit that to a lot of travel throughout the US growing up. As of today, I’ve been to 42 states (I’m missing Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska).
- Career. There are a few things on the list that relate back to teaching (which is the area I’ve been involved in for the last 7+ years), but none about achieving specific career goals.
- Numbers. These aren’t about hitting a specific number, but what to do with that money or time. Hitting $1 million, or $2 million in savings has a goal, but it’s more to “not worry about money”.
- Kids. Mrs. Minafi and I have decided not to have kids. I have a feeling if we didn’t there would be a section devoted just to them.
- Local Bucket list – I have an entirely separate list of things I want to do locally. Some of these overlap if they’re life goals.
Some of these are unrealistic to ever achieve, and that’s OK. I don’t expect I’ll ever visit every UNESCO world heritage site, or eat at every 3-Michelin star restaurant. I’m OK with that.
These can also change. I’ll be honest, I’ve never taken a multi-day hiking & camping trip before. Who knows, maybe I’ll hate it. If I try it out on a small scale and don’t love it, I’ll remove it from this list. Other things will be added as I learn about them.
Many are ongoing or lifestyle related. Things like always having dessert or reading a book a week are never going to be checked off.
How do you prioritize these?
To me, there is no prioritization. These can be done in any order at any time. Looking at this list initially, I assumed most would need time off work to do. At least 56 items on this list can be done while working a fulltime job right here from my home in Salt Lake City. That’s a crazy high amount!
When I think about early retirement or being able to do whatever I want full-time, it’s a good gut check to think that over half of this list could be done today. If I’m able to do these now and I’m not doing them, that’s on me. No amount of money or time is going to change that.
What If You Complete Things on the List?
Take them off and replace them! This is a living list, not one to complete and be done with life. This is a list that will always have at least 100 uncompleted things on it.
Parting Words from Renee West
If you haven’t taken the time to watch Renee’s talk, I’d encourage you to check it out. One
Two small stones sit atop my office desk, each engraved with a single word. One says, “Imagine.” The other says, “Create.” Those two words have made all the difference for me. I believe that success is limited only by our ability to imagine what we want and to lead ourselves to it.
What do you know, have, do or be. Have you created a similar list? If so, feel free to comment and link to it! I’d love to read other peoples lists.