I spent every day for nearly a decade pursuing my 150+ item Life List. It has now been about nine months since I completed my Life List and my new reality has finally set in.
The morning of my deadline, having completed my List only hours before, I woke up like normal and proceeded to take a shower. Mid-shower, the depth of my new situation hit me like an asteroid. I immediately started to weep. I wasn’t sad, I was just overwhelmed with emotion. I went back to my room and finished my crying session with the support of my girlfriend.
That morning, lacking the power to process my new reality, I switched gears and refocused myself on my upcoming event, Life List Weekend, an event to celebrate the people who had enabled me during my life. 100 of my friends from all over the world were scheduled to fly into my hometown to enjoy Life List items for themselves.
The event went wonderfully. Many of my favorite people had the opportunity to mingle with fellow adventurers and got to experience some of my favorite mini-adventures for themselves. Once again, I was overwhelmed by emotion and wept, this time with friends and family.
After the event, the feeling of being overwhelmed slowly subsided. Many months passed and I slowly started to feel full and accomplished. I felt good about my whole experience.
This lasted for about six months.
Slowly, my perspective started to change. Bit by bit, I started to realize that my internal compass was spinning. Without the strong mission of my Life List, I didn’t know which way to aim my efforts. Despite my daily actions, I was starting to feel stagnant.
I kept to my daily routines but more and more, I felt askew. Without a mission, I had no feedback to know if I was going in the right direction.
This uncertainness started to mount.
Eventually, I reached the precipice of a spiritual breakdown. I wasn’t unstable or depressed but I was feeling devoid of meaning in my life.
Eventually, I felt so uneasy that I fell back on an old medicine of mine, I committed to going on an adventure.
A few weeks later, I found myself at Chernobyl, the epicenter of the worst nuclear disaster in human history. The landscape was alien, the abandoned towns were apocalyptic and I learned firsthand about the bizarre properties and effects of nuclear radiation. (I am currently working on an in-depth article about this adventure. Check this blog in a couple weeks.)
The adventure was fantastic and reinvigorated me. It was exactly the jumpstart I needed to start choosing my next mission.
Like a sculptor eyeing a slab of rock, I know the general shape of my next 10-year mission but I don’t yet have the details worked out. Happily, my view of my upcoming mission becomes clearer every day.
Here is the idea that I have worked out so far. Right now, each of us must find our own path to learning valuable skills. In searching out the optimal learning paths, individuals commonly waste resources on suboptimal learning tasks. This could be as simple as reading a book that ultimately ends up being useless or as costly as pursuing the wrong college degree. Unfortunately, only the individuals who make these mistakes can learn from them. Everyone else must either make the same mistake or stumble upon another way. This is a huge waste of precious mental resources for humanity.
There must be a better way.
I want to create a better way to learn the skills that humanity needs in order to thrive. Schools and universities are great tools for teaching certain types of skills but the education that they provide is incomplete. We need to supplement traditional education with teaching methods that teach the life skills that are necessary to thrive in the modern world. Ideally, each learning success and failure of an individual should be channeled to make a clearer pathway for everyone else. This learning feedback system should be standardized and universally accessible.
While I don’t have the details of this system figured out yet, I do now have the new mission I have been craving. For the last 10 years, I pursued a list, it is now becoming clear to me that I will be spending the next 10 years building a system.