Bucket List of Being

For as long as I can remember, I have obsessed with every aspect of life:

  • Understanding it.
  • Improving my experience of it.
  • Enjoying it and milking every ounce of potential out of it.
  • Helping others do the same.

As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got hold of, and I want to make it burn as brightly as I can before handing it on to future generations.”

I think about how many people we meet through the course of our lives – hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions – and yet what impact do we have? The “Bucket List” notion came into fashion in 2007 with the movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. The bucket list idea is a compelling one – what is it that you want to do or experience before you die?

There have been many offshoots of the concept, including people establishing “40 by 40” or “50 by 50” lists, meaning the 40 or 50 things they want to do before hitting a certain age.

As someone who could likely be the first card-carrying member of Over Achievers Anonymous, I fully embrace this concept. And yet… Another bucket list that I find more compelling, more freeing, and profoundly more satisfying that I hope can gain traction in our success-crazed world. That bucket list has nothing to do with accomplishments or achievement or any type of recognized success. I guess I would call this list “The Bucket List of Being,” and on it would be all of the qualities and characteristics that you seek to master and demonstrate in your life.

I mean by “way of being” are the qualities and characteristics you bring to life. Are you upbeat, optimistic, and engaged, or do you tend to worry, expect adverse outcomes and see problems instead of circumstances? For example, I have the blessing of being married to someone who has the lightest spirit. She is just happy from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed. She does not cave to the constant pressures of her job, nor dwell on the difficulties that life may present. She doesn’t get mired in workplace or family drama and enjoys the simple pleasures of morning meditation or going for a walk in the evening with me, luckily by her side. There is the simplicity of her approach to life that endears others to her.

We all know people who seem to walk just a few inches above the earth and emanate a kind of warm glow about them. Some people just seem deeply contented with life and are kind, easy-going, and full of energy. They laugh easily and complain sparingly, if at all. The question that rises in me is this: Why aren’t more people like that and how, how, HOW can we create a world where more people demonstrate this easy-going, kind, and loving energy?

An interesting notion, isn’t it. Why is it that we as a culture have gotten so obsessed with what we can accomplish yet disinterested in who we can be?

I’m sure you know that the outer trappings of success and even monetary gain are no guarantee of a life filled with love and meaning. How many people who have reached the apex of success in their given field end up wracked in addiction or dead from suicide? Outer success is no indication of inner wealth.

Could it be that we feel more in control of achieving outer accomplishments than we do create inner change and growth?

Take that in for a moment. Do you, as a person who aspires to grow, accomplish, achieve more, feel that it is easier to attain outer success than inner growth and change? It doesn’t have to be that way. Once you understand the machine-like nature of how the human mind and ego operate, creating inner change is easier than you might think.

One way to create change is to focus on what you want rather than lament what you don’t like! To focus on what you want, I encourage you to create your own Bucket List of Being to call you higher in your inner growth as you aspire toward your outer goals and accomplishments.

Live at the intersection of doing and being, knowing that it is your being that gives rise to everything you do.

Here are some items for you to consider on your Bucket List of Being:

  1. Inner peace
  2. Living in acceptance and surrender of the way people and life are
  3. Being clear on who I am and what I value and living accordingly
  4. A belief that life is always working for a higher good
  5. Freedom from the confines of the ego
  6. Generosity of spirit
  7. Kindness to everyone I meet
  8. Doing what is right rather than what is easy
  9. Not sweating the small stuff
  10. Being at ease with who I am and how life is
  11. Trusting life and those around me
  12. Expecting the best from myself, others, and life itself
  13. Feeling joyful with all that I have and do
  14. Being grateful for what I have, who I am, and for life itself
  15. Recognizing that everyone is doing the best they can according to their current growth and development.

Imagine if you went through your day, and at the end of your day, you reference your Bucket List of Being. Was I kind to everyone today? Did I experience inner peace? Was I free from the trappings of my fear-based ego? Did I demonstrate generosity in my encounters with others, not judging or trying to win a point, but showing openness, curiosity, and willingness to engage?

I believe we can all do and accomplish more when we are more. Being is the root of our actions and the outcomes we produce. What is on your Bucket List of Being?

If you are looking to get more out of life by enhancing your way of being, please download your free copy of my e-book by clicking here ▶︎ “Six Ways to Live an Empowered Life by Design.”



Jackie Woodside
Jackie Woodside
Jackie Woodside is a bestselling author, TEDx speaker, coach, and trainer. She is the founder of the Curriculum for Conscious Living and the Conscious Living Summit, and trains coaches around the world to deliver this life-changing work. Jackie is a certified professional coach and licensed psychotherapist with 30 years of experience in both fields. She has authored three best-selling books and 25 training curriculums. Her books are; Calming the Chaos: A Soulful Guide to Managing Your Energy Rather than Your Time; Time for a Change: Essential Skills for Managing the Inevitable, and; Money Vibe: Your Financial Freedom Formula Whether You Have Money or Not. Inc. Magazine selected “Calming the Chaos” as one of their top ten motivational books. Jackie leads spiritual retreats, offers professional development training and keynote speeches around the country.

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    • Hi Darlene. I need to make my Bucket List video for Bizcatalyst360 soon too. Glad what I wrote here speaks to you. I think it’s high time we all start putting our being before our doing and accomplishing! Good to see we’re on the same page there! Thanks for reaching out and sharing your thoughts.

  1. Thank you for this fabulous article, Jackie, you really hit the nail on the head for me.

    I have been so tired of all the accomplishment “goal setting needed to give direction advice” that I keep reading about when what has been more important for me is to become more me. Visit the rooms inside that I locked up years ago, reflect – hopefully without too much judgement – on why I locked them up in the first place, and remove the dust covers so I can be fully lived in again.

    I am on my way; that is how pieces like this comes into my inbox when I need them.

    Thank you.

    • Beautifully stated, Charlotte. I’m so glad my thoughts resonated with you. I do love doing and accomplishing. Sure, it feels good. And then it’s gone. What’s eternally with us, at least in this incarnation, is our very core being, our self, our views, beliefs, values, perceptions. That’s the work central to the impact we have on the world, and to our own peace of mind. It’s a lovely way to live! Thank you for reaching out.

  2. Hello Jackie. Nice to “meet” you! What a tremendous article you’ve just shared with us (thanks also to Dennis and his team). All of your points resonated deeply within me. Thank you for directing us to a better way to live–from the heart! Wishing you a most wonderful day!

    • Hi there, Art. Nice to e-meet you as well. Always a delight to meet a kindred soul, even if only across the ethers. Glad you enjoyed reading my thoughts on being! Thank you for reaching out.

  3. I like the concept of a Bucket list of Being, Jackie, very compelling. I’m reminded, however, of what Kierkegaard said about finding happiness outside of ourselves. “The unhappy one is absent. But one is absent when living in the past or living in the future.” It makes me wonder how much we contribute to our own unhappiness by chasing a past or a future, and refusing to live in the present? To me, the inherent flaw in ‘bucket-list’ thinking is visualizing something that might be, removing ourselves from the now. I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts.


    • Hi Byron,

      Thank you for deepening the conversation here. I appreciate that. Yes, chasing the future or lamenting the past is likely our primary cause of suffering, indeed. What I am getting to with the notion of “bucket list of being” seems to fit nicely with Kierkagaard’s teaching – rather than pining after some desired future (in our accomplishment obsessed world), what is we simply BE who, how, and what we long to be? Suppose you want to be “rich” – BE THAT NOW… there are so many ways can you experience wealth when you open yourself up to all that we each have around us. And mostly, it behooves us to ask – what will riches bring me? With any accomplishment, there is a quality of being that we are seeking to experience. I affirm that we can experience any BEING state by declaring it so, and then developing the inner landscape that gives rise to that experience.

      I hope this isn’t too philosophical. I’m not sure I’m being clear here. But I see the path of being as the fundamental tool that aids us all in living in the present.

      Thanks for your engagement and relatedness.