Bucket List Mastery: Designing a Life of Adventure and Fulfillment

Trav Bell delves into his bucket list blueprint, inspiring individuals to forge their own procedures, guidelines, and structured plans in pursuit of their objectives.

Exploring ‘My Bucket List Blueprint’

Nick: Let's move on to your bucket list philosophy or how you've put together your bucket list. And I think it's relevant because at this time of the year, many people start thinking about New Year's resolutions or goals for the new year. And I think after the initial excitement of setting the goal, many people then struggle to stay on course.

So I think you offer a far more effective philosophy and strategy with a bucket list approach. So do you want to talk about specifically what it is?

Trav: Yeah, I'll give you the what and the why. The what is, it's very important as coaches, speakers, authors, thought leaders in any space, you pick a highway, pick a lane, then own the lane, obviously, bucket list is for me, and ikigai is for you.

So we could have been experts in a number of different areas, but they're the ones that our most values align, it's really congruent with who we are and what we believe. So it's really cool. I think it's the Holy Grail, when you can speak from your heart, speak from truth, speak from stuff that you practice on our day-to-day basis, and get handsomely paid for it. That is the holy grail. It's really cool.

There's a lot of people out there that can't claim that, they're doing jobs or careers, even businesses that they've created that they hate. That incongruent life is very ‘un-ikigai’, right? So, we're speaking from the hearts and wrapping this business model around it, I think is a double bonus.

So our job is to distill all of the stuff that's come before us and distill all the stuff that we've been exposed to, and pay it forward somehow. Not rip it off, not plagiarize, or anything like that, but put our own flavor, our own spin on it, and then pay that forward in a really tangible way.

We've got to make the intangible ideas tangible. How do we do that? Well, we create our own processes, rules, blueprints, etc., you know, diagrams that we can teach—that becomes the filter, the lens, that we can teach that intangible through, and it becomes tangible that way.

And so I created the book, which is My Bucket List Blueprint. You've created your ikigai process, and I did the TED talk on the My Bucket List Blueprint. And really, it's a simple acronym, there it is on the back of the book. It's a simple acronym, if you're watching this, and if you're listening to this, it's as simple my bucket list blueprint. My bucket list is the acronym.

Now prior to me becoming the bucket list guy, being named as the bucket list guy, registering that domain, there'd be a movie the bucket list. Everyone was talking about bucket lists already. I wasn't the pioneer of the concept, it's an old term, even though an urban term.

And so my way, I looked a lot of it, in the movie, to a certain extent it was all about travel. I love the narrative, I love talking about it. And to be honest, my 18 year old life list wasn't called a bucket list, it was just a to-do before you die. And it provided me a bunch of reasons, not just travel. A bunch of reasons for getting out of the bed in the morning.

I wanted to create something that wasn't all about travel. The ‘T’ in the my bucket list blueprint, the T at the end stands for travel adventures. But now we know we've got 11 other categories. I designed the whole 12 categories to allow people to go north, south, east, and west in their own brain, to help them extract in an articulately personal meaningful and holistic bucket list, and stuff that didn't cost a lot of money.

See travel costs a lot of money a lot of time. So people wait till someday, the perfect time, to get those resources banked up so they can go and do it. But sometimes that day never comes. And we live in a delayed gratification society, ‘I'll be happy when syndrome.’

So I'm going to do all my travel when I retire, in my two to four weeks break I've got every year from my job. That's cool, but something's broken. Because if you look at mental health, the perfect storm that is mental health of which we've both been exposed to a lot, when you look at anxiety, going through depression, going through the roof, the over prescription of antidepressants, going through the roof, suicides, youth suicides.

And then we got this thing called the loneliness epidemic, it's a real thing. Google the loneliness epidemic, and you go through the pandemic on top of that, and you've got a complete mental health perfect storm. So something's broken, even though we've got all this information out there.

So basically, what I teach is positive psychology. Positive Psychology is identifying a person's strengths: what gives them meaning, purpose, fulfillment, gratitude, and getting them to basically bleed more of that into their work and into their life, they'll have a happier life, more fulfilled life.

What I've done is put this bucket list brand over the top of it. So they go through this blueprint and identify all the travel things that they want to do, but also all the little things that they wanted to do, that they can do right now that doesn't cost any time and money, and you cross off or tick off a lot of that low hanging fruit.

And that gives them a sense of motivation and momentum to smash through the bigger ones. So it helps people get moving, you could call it short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals, of course. But bucket list has been a real user friendly way to get people to pay attention, rather than just goal setting, traditional goal setting.

And so I say a bucket list is a tangible life plan, where your career planning, your business plan, should fit into your life plan and not be the other way around. It really brings down that work to live principle. And it's not just about ticking a whole bunch of cool stuff off. It's really about how a person reverse engineers every aspect of their life in order to make this stuff come to fruition.

So it's a growth of them on this journey towards his self imposed destinations. But more importantly, it's about a person that exists on the other side. And that's the person that they don't know yet. That's a bigger version of us.

Nick: Yeah, it really resonated with me when I got your book. I thought, this is a really cool blueprint, because there are things like for C, conquer a fear or E, express yourself, T, take lessons. And even I, idiotic stuff.

And then yeah, I thought, this is gonna be fun, I was sort of rubbing my hands thinking, ‘Well, I want to take lessons from The Bucket List Guy.’ So that sort of immediately became, I want to be coached by this guy. So I sort of put that down on my list, and sure enough, I managed to make it happen, we connected.

So having a list of meaningful things to do, where there as you say, it's just not travel, and it's not materialistic, and it's not superficial. It's meaningful, it's tied to your values, it pushes you to grow. It is life-changing.

And there is actually a lot of overlap with ikigai as well. That's why I think we get on so well, we have a good time, but we also share a lot on our cause. It's amazing that we don't have more conversations on these themes of what makes life worth living, or what helps us to grow, or what's worth fighting for. What's the challenge worth fighting for?

Rather than accepting, okay, I'll just accept that, I'll do the nine to five, I'll have the weekends, I'll have the occasional holiday and then eventually, I'll be free from all that.