I've noticed a lot of changes in myself as a direct consequence of aging. Overall, I have a higher level of equanimity than I did as a 30 year old. I'm better at accepting without agreeing with points of view that diverge from my own on almost any subject. I more regularly and rigorously remind myself that my beliefs - even my strongly held ones - are not facts, and that each of my corresponding points of view is simply that. I think I've attained some wisdom (as distinguished from enlightenment) from having my backside kicked and as a result, make generally better choices than I did at 30 or 40.

Three developments have surprised me as I've aged, however. First, my patience regarding some things has actually diminished, which contradicts what I was led to believe by my parents - that I'd become much more patient as I got older. As a result, I now avoid two types of people like the plague: The first are those who uniformly put their own interests ahead of those of other people, including their own families and closest friends. The key word here is "uniformly." The second are people who I refer to as "naysayers, doomsdayers, and dreamslayers." Those people view every glass as half empty and every personal aspiration as out-of-reach or self-indulgent.

The second development is my sense of urgency to accomplish things as my vitality naturally diminishes with age, albeit only a bit. Next year I'm climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. There's nothing magic about this particular goal except as a metaphor and for propulsion. I'm also publishing a book entitled "Redefining Type A" (the subtitle is still being debated). I feel as if I have a long way to go and a short - or shorter - time to get there.

Coincidental to what I do for a living is the third development: my frustration with people who have stopped growing and are OK with that. These are people who seem to believe that the first 25% of life is for growing and the last 75% is for resting. They are who they are going to be. They're satisfied, entitled, bored or resentful. Their skills are outdated and/or their perspectives have congealed and solidified. They pine for the way things used to be and whine about how things are. Many regard themselves as victims and all others as villains. I'm fortunate, however. The people who gravitate to working with me are not those people. My clients are executives and business owners committed to fulfilling productive visions of their lives.

The great business philosopher/consultant/speaker Jim Rohn once said, in describing what he did for a living, that he "worked on issues that matter with people who care." I'd love to steal that and have it printed on the back of my business card. It describes me and my business to a tee.

Here are my wishes for you: Create the life you dream about. No excuses, no blame, no guilt. Do more; give more; spend some; save some. Become the person you have always wanted to be. Establish goals and take relevant action toward their achievement. Measure your progress; make course corrections along the way. Learn from your mistakes, of which there will be many if you're actually doing things. Read the great books. Visit museums. Develop new skills. Make new friends and appreciate the ones you already have.

Most of all, whatever your aspirations, never quit!

My friend and trainer to elite athletes (Drew Brees and LaDanien Tomlinson, among others), Todd Durkin, admonishes and encourages others with the phrase "and then some." You want to be a great leader? Be a great leader, AND THEN SOME! A great dad? Be a great dad, AND THEN SOME! Along the same line, here's my question for you: If it isn't worth doing well, is it worth doing at all?

Don't wait; the time for action is now!!

A couple of years ago, I invoked the name of John Goddard to make a point about personal growth. His name, his life and his accomplishments are worth mentioning again here, for context.

Goddard is one of the world's great adventurers. Articles about him have been written in many renowned publications. At the age of 15, he created a list of the things he wanted to do, see or experience during his lifetime. Among his accomplishments, he visited the Great Wall of China; he attended the Rose Parade; he retraced the route of Marco Polo; he climbed the Matterhorn in a blizzard that was so bad, even the professional climbers wouldn't do it.

Here's Goddard's wish list. Items with an asterisk are those he completed by the age of 74.


1. * Nile River

2. * Amazon River

3. * Congo River

4. * Colorado River

5. Yangtze River, China

6. Niger River

7. Orinoco River, Venezuela

8. * Rio Coco, Nicaragua


9. * The Congo

10. * New Guinea

11. * Brazil

12. * Borneo

13. * The Sudan (nearly buried alive in a sandstorm)

14. * Australia

15. * Kenya

16. * The Philippines

17. * Tanganyika (Now Tanzania)

18. * Ethiopia

19. * Nigeria

20. * Alaska


21. Mt. Everest

22. Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina

23. Mt. McKinley

24. * Mt. Hauscaran, Peru

25. * Mt. Kilimanjaro

26. * Mt. Ararat, Turkey

27. * Mt. Kenya

28. Mt. Cook, New Zealand

29. * Mt. Popocatepetl, Mexico

30. * The Matterhorn

31. * Mt. Rainier

32. * Mt. Fuji

33. * Mt. Vesuvius

34. * Mt. Bromo, Java

35. * Grand Tetons

36. * Mt. Baldy, California

37.Carry out careers in medicine and exploration (studied premed, treats illnesses among primitive tribes)

38. Visit every country in the world (30 to go)

39. * Study Navaho and Hopi Indians

40. * Learn to fly a plane

41. * Ride horse in Rose Parade


42. * Iguacu Falls, Brazil

43. * Victoria Falls, Rhodesia (chased by a warthog in the process)

44. * Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

45. * Yosemite Falls

46. * Niagara Falls

47. * Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great


48. * Coral reefs of Florida

49. * Great Barrier Reef, Australia (photographed a 300-pound clam)

50. * Red Sea

51. * Fiji Islands

52. * The Bahamas

53. * Explore Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades


54. North and South Poles

55. * Great Wall of China

56. * Panama and Suez Canals

57. * Easter Island

58. * The Galapagos Islands

59. * Vatican City (saw the Pope)

60. * The Taj Mahal

61. * The Eiffel Tower

62. * The Blue Grotto

63. * The Tower of London

64. * The Leaning Tower of Pisa

65. * The Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza, Mexico

66. * Climb Ayers Rock in Australia

67. Follow River Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea


68. * Lake Victoria

69. * Lake Superior

70. * Lake Tanganyika

71. * Lake Titicaca, S. America

72. * Lake Nicaragua


73. * Become an Eagle Scout

74. * Dive in a submarine

75. * Land on and take of from an aircraft carrier

76. * Fly in a blimp, balloon and glider

77. * Ride an elephant, camel, ostrich and bronco

78. * Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath two and a half minutes underwater.

79. * Catch a ten-pound lobster and a ten-inch abalone

80. * Play flute and violin

81. * Type 50 words a minute

82. * Make a parachute jump

83. * Learn water and snow skiing

84. * Go on a church mission

85. * Follow the John Muir trail

86. * Study native medicines and bring back useful ones

87. * Bag camera trophies of elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, cape buffalo and whale

88. * Learn to fence

89. * Learn jujitsu

90. * Teach a college course

91. * Watch a cremation ceremony in Bali

92. * Explore depths of the sea

93. Appear in a Tarzan movie (He now considers this an irrelevant boyhood dream.)

94. Own a horse, chimpanzee, cheetah, ocelot, and coyote (yet to own a chimp or cheetah)

95. Become a ham radio operator

96. * Build own telescope

97. * Write a book (about his Nile trip)

98. * Publish an article in National Geographic Magazine

99. * High jump five feet

100. * Broad jump 15 feet

101. * Run mile in five minutes

102. * Weigh 175 pounds stripped (still does)

103. * Perform 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups

104. * Learn French, Spanish and Arabic

105. Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (boat broke down within 20 miles of island)

106. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Sorenson in Denmark

107. * Visit birthplace of Grandfather Goddard in England

108 * Ship aboard a freighter as a seaman

109. Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (read extensive parts in each volume)

110. * Read the Bible from cover to cover

111.* Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Rousseau, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Talmage, Tolstoi, Longfellow, Keats, Poe, Bacon, Whittier, and Emerson (not every work of each)

112.* Become familiar with the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ibert, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Liszt, Rimski-Korsakov, Respighi, Rachmaninoff, Paganini, Stravinsky, Toch, Tschaikosvsky, Verdi

113.* Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, microscope, football, basketball, bow and arrow, lariat and boomerang

114. * Compose music

115. * Play Clair de Lune on the piano

116. * Watch fire-walking ceremony (in Bali and Surinam)

117. * Milk a poisonous snake (bitten by diamondback during photo session)

118. * Light a match with.22 rifle

119. * Visit a movie studio

120. * Climb Cheops' pyramid

121. * Become a member of the Explorer's Club and the Adventure's Club

122. * Learn to play polo

123. * Travel through the Grand Canyon on foot and by boat

124. * Circumnavigate the globe (four times)

125. Visit the moon ("Someday, if God wills")

126. * Marry and have children (has five children)

127. * Live to see the 21st century

What are you waiting for?

Copyright 2009 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rand Golletz is the managing partner of Rand Golletz Performance Systems, a leadership development, executive coaching and consulting firm that works with senior corporate leaders and business owners on a wide range of issues, including interpersonal effectiveness, brand-building, sales management, strategy creation and implementation. For more information and to sign up for Rand's free newsletter, The Real Deal, visit http://www.randgolletz.com.