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The List is a resource of challenges designed to make us all step outside of our comfort zones, have new experiences, and live sillier, fuller and more entertaining lives.
In 2015 The List emailed a new challenge to subscribers on the 1st of every month. Below are all 12 challenges.
You’ve probably heard the expression ‘life begins at the end of your comfort zone’. There’s a good chance you saw it on a motivational poster in an office somewhere; no doubt illustrated by a stock photograph of a care-free twenty-something hurling themselves into a lake.
The most annoying thing about this aphorism though, motivational posters aside, is that it’s true. You do only get the most out of life when you keep pushing yourself to do different things. That’s why this challenge is designed to place you as far out of your comfort zone as possible. To be specific, you’re being challenged to enter someone else’s. No sniggering please, class.
‘What would it be like to walk a mile in someone’s shoes?’ Everyone’s wondered this at some point, right? So let’s find out. For this challenge, adopt someone else’s routine for a day. Follow their schedule and see what life is like in someone else’s shoes – like Dion did here. The person you choose doesn’t necessarily have to be real, either. For instance, if you have more time and money than we do you could place yourselves in the shoes of your favourite fictional character as they traverse the globe.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.”
Nestor Alexander Haddaway
What is Love? Well, if Valentines Day is anything to go by, it is an aggressive, cynical, global advertising campaign and probably has you thinking ‘**** Valentine’s day and the chocolate teddy-bear it rode in on’.
Or, maybe not. Maybe you’re really into heart-shaped sweets, stuffed animals, and extortionately priced flowers. Either way it’s fine, because whether you’re an outspoken cynic or closet romantic, we think one of these challenges will have something for you.
For those of you in a relationship…
Fan Mail/ Valentine
This letter to a fan from Steve Martin was the inspiration for our second challenge. In the spirit of the valentine we want you to declare your love for someone great — be it your favourite actor, writer or musician, or someone more immediately important in your life.
For those of you who are currently single…
The idea behind The List is to force each one of us out of our comfort zones, and what’s more uncomfortable than meeting a stranger for the first time? Maybe invasive surgery. Maybe.
So, if you’re single it’s time to dust off your Tinder app and go and meet someone new. Maybe you could choose a date that puts you both outside of your comfort zones? Or maybe you could just make them uncomfortable by writing about them on the internet?
Finally, if you’ve already had it up to here with romance, you can still do either one of these things in a completely non-romantic way. We promise we won’t make you have sex with anyone.
“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”
Find a way to help someone. Use what you know to make someone else’s life a little easier. This could be legal, gardening or relationships advice. This could be sharing an important email with someone who needs a break or taking the time to promote the work of someone younger and less established than yourself. There’s always someone a little further down the ladder who would benefit from a hand up.
But don’t be shy. The second half of your challenge is to share your charity with a wider audience. Be honest, we do good things because they make us feel good. Share that goodness and let it infect a few other people along the way.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
“I like to move it, move it.”
Reel 2 Real
If you don’t keep moving, you die. That is a fact. Granted, it’s a fact that relies quite heavily on you being a shark, but there’s probably still something for humans to take from it.
The truth is, moving is good for you. The simple act of motion provides numerous benefits to your health. It can help control weight, boost energy, improve moods and keep illness at bay — all things we can get behind. That’s why we’re challenging you to find new and interesting ways to move. Whether that means donning some spandex and trying out some embarrassing public parkour, or staging a silent disco in the centre of town is up to you. Perhaps you want to take up running for a month, or join a local dance class. Or maybe you want to spend the whole day in constant motion as a bizarre form of protest against inertia. The world of movement is your oyster; be practical, or silly, outlandish or reserved — just remember to have fun.
“I’m not trying to be sexy. It’s just my way of expressing myself as I move around. “
“My winning is getting to perform. That is my victory.”
Hi! Sorry about the Kelly Clarkson quote, it was either her or Britney Spears and the Clarkson one was shorter. I guess a third option would have been to spend more than three minutes Googling, but we’re all busy people.
Speaking of busy people, Kanye West once said that his greatest pain in life was the fact that he’d never get to see himself perform live, and we want you to have the very same, very humble regret! That’s right, this theme is to perform. Whether for you that means amateur dramatics, an impromptu street performance, or Karaoke at your local, now is the time to make a spectacle of yourself in whatever way you choose.
“My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.”
1. write or create (a work of art, especially music or poetry).
“he composed the hell out of that Violin Sonata”
“A songwriter writes songs all the time, whereas just writing a song can be done by anyone, anytime.”
Thanks Bryan. There you have it, anyone can do it, anytime. So you really can have no excuse whatsoever, right?* Incidentally, did you know Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams shares the same birthday as American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. Astonishing. Irrelevant.
The theme of this challenge is Compose. You can write an original poem or a piece of music from scratch, or create a song by putting together parts or elements from the work of others. How you create your literary or musical masterpiece is of course your choice. Igor Stravinsky once said ‘Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal’, so you could just make a cover version or attempt a subtle reworking of someone else’s song (or, if you subscribe to the will.i.am school of composing you can just steal someone else’s musical creation and pass it off as your own).
* “There is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song.” — Masanobu Fukuoka
Sadly, according to Masanobu Fukuoka not all of us have the time, so this challenge excludes all those of you working in modern agriculture. Sorry farmers.
“I really, really like writing songs.”
“All those hours exploring the great outdoors made me more resilient and confident.”
Fancy being more resilient and confident? Well that’s a coincidence, you’re in luck!
As you’ve probably guessed the theme of this challenge is to explore. Whether that means hopping in the car, screwing up your map and seeing where the road takes you, or perhaps joining the legions of people exploring the world’s forgotten environments is entirely up to you. The idea is to get out there and see something new.
Exploring the lost and forgotten places beneath our feet and within our cities.
Exploring the not so lost spaces around Britain… PLUS a geocaching hunt for money!
Whilst the challenge to SURVIVE sounds quite simple on the face of it, we want you to channel your inner Ray Mears and endure a little bit of wilderness bushcraft. Yep, you’re going to have to go camping and try to live off of the elements for a bit (apologies in advance).
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
Hipster Moustache Aficionado and German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche knows a thing or two about suffering, he contracted syphilis at a brothel while he was still in college and was constantly ill for most of his life. Poor fella, but in this quote Friedrich is quite clearly talking about camping.
This challenge is to SURVIVE — which of course we dearly hope all of you do — but more specifically it is about surviving ‘out there’ in the wild and dangerous world of camping.
Everyone knows that camping is truly one of life’s most awful experiences and only for masochists like Ray Grylls, Bear Mears or alcohol, drug, sex and poor hygiene fans, aka festivalgoers. How long do you think you could survive in the wild?
The aide your survival here are some ideas:
Try to build your own shelter, why not ‘Consider a lean-to’ http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-in-the-Wild but however you do it, make sure you send us a photo.
You could also try to catch and/or pick your own food, or make a fire from scratch like you couldn’t ever do as a boy/girl scout.
Here are some wilderness tips to keep you alive: http://www.secretsofsurvival.com/wilderness-survival.html
“You live and learn. At any rate, you live. ”
Get your pencils sharpened and your P.E. kit ready, because it’s time to go back to school. Not in a real way of course. We’re adults and there are probably laws about that.
This challenge is to ‘Learn’. Whether that means joining a class where you’ll fulfill your secret desire to Salsa, buying some tapes to help perfect your pigeon French, or simply learning how to do something completely useless on the internet (see below), is, as always, entirely up to you.
If you’re more inclined to explore useless and quirky, here are some really pointless ideas to get you started, courtesy of Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnUselessTalents/
If language is more your thing, you can learn a completely fictional one from this nice chap called Andrew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDJSsDZ3gs4. Or, if you prefer, a real one from someone else.
“ We don’t need no education.”
The grammatically incorrect Pink Floyd
With a clue to this next challenge, here’s our favourite self-mutilating 19th-century post-impressionist painter, Vincent, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Yeah! You tell that voice to shut the hell up Vincent, for this challenge we are going to undertake a very specific task.
Did you know Van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits? #selfie #alert. He was a little bit mental — which might explain the selfie obsession — and was born in Holland. Here endeth the Van Gogh lesson.
“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”
Well, if you know f**k all about painting like us here at The List, then GOOD NEWS, this challenge is going to be a piece of piss. Thanks Edgar.
We want you to get a canvas and some paints and have a crack at a still life or self-portrait painting. A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate commonplace objects such as food, flowers, dead animals (oddly), drinking glasses, books, vases, and so on. According to an article we just read painting can reduce stress, make you live longer and lead to an overall improvement in well being.
So grab some painting gear (canvas, paints, brushes and a fetching beret) and get straight to it. Don’t worry about how awful your painting is surely going to be, it’s the stress relieving/ life giving properties of the process that we are doing it for.
Best avoid trying a landscape painting though, it looks far too dangerous.
“Great artists suffer for the people.”
See how much better your life might be if your face wasn’t always stuck in your phone. Unless you’re reading this on your phone, in which case the argument becomes a bit harder to make.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
I know what you’re thinking; I bet Albert Einstein’s fun at a party.
This challenge is all about technology. Let us ask you a question: with the exception of reading this very important web page right now, how often do you find yourself looking at a screen? How often are you staring at a phone when a conversation’s going on around you, or the outside world is passing you by?
Some of us are old enough to remember a time before mobile phones and tablets; before ever-present technology from which there was no escape.
It was terrible for the most part, you had to remember your friends’ home numbers off by heart and pay attention when people spoke to you. But, there were also benefits. Back then we had an attention span. It was possible to sit through an entire film without getting distracted and reaching for your phone. Conversely I’ve checked mine three times while reading this paragraph.
So, this challenge is to UNPLUG. To relinquish our dependence on modern technology. This can be as simple as leaving your phone off for certain periods of the day, or as difficult as shunning all modern appliances that are non-essential. Maybe for you it’s about giving up the internet for two weeks, or television? Maybe it’s replacing email with handwritten letters? The important part is to fill the time you save with something more productive. Or fun.
“Cell phones, mobile e-mail, and all the other cool and slick gadgets can cause massive losses in our creative output and overall productivity.”
Robin S. Sharma
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
December’s task, in the spirit of Xmas, is to break into someone’s house and leave a present on their bed. Not really, obviously. It’s GIVE.
The thinking behind this is that Christmas (or, If you are reading this and it isn’t currently Christmas, then <insert month>) is as good a time as any to remember those less fortunate, so we’re challenging you all to be secret Santas (yeah, no one likes secret Santa, we know) and give something to a stranger in need. It can be a gift, or a donation or whatever you like. No rules, just pure, filthy, unbridled generosity.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another”