If you've seen my first TED Talk "Cutting through Fear" (TEDxMaastricht Netherlands 2013, now viral at over 1.3 Million views), you might already know that as a child, I grew up extremely shy and afraid of everything. I was always picked on by the bullies at school and the bigger kids in my neighborhood. I was so scared that when I had to stand up in front of my class to read a story or give a speech, my hands would shake so violently that the papers would shake and I couldn't read what was written. When I was confronted with challenges, my mantra was always, "I can't, I can't... I CAN'T!..." When the going got tough, I would quit...
It was only due to the encouragement and nurturing of my parents, family, grandparents, pastor, scoutmaster, mentors, and other rolemodels (quotes), that I learned I did not always have to be a quitter and a failure. In High School, as I gave my life over to God, I learned that I could do ALL things through Him, if I just trusted Him. After I gave my life over to Him, my life changed dramatically.
During an 8 month mission trip to Tamil Nadu south India in 1978, on the week before my 21st birthday, my friend and mentor Greg Ormson asked if I had a list of "Thromes".
"Thromes?" I asked. "What are thromes?"
Greg explained that "thromes" were a sort of "bucket list" of major life goals or quests to shoot for in life, like a cross between dreams and goals.
"If you could go anywhere you wanted to go, do anything you wanted to do, be anyone you wanted to be," he asked, "Where would you go, what would you do, who would you be?"
"Oh, I could never do anything like that," I told him, "I've got too many fears."
He then challenged me to dream big and put together a list of thromes to go after. Little did I know how much that challenge would affect my life.
That night I went to bed on the rooftop of a bungalo in Thiruvanamalai India thinking of thromes. A few hours later, I awoke with malaria fever.
Over the next few days, I lapsed in and out of conciousness, my body convulsing, my brain burning up with Malaria fever. During the times I was awake, all I could think of was "Thromes" and what would do with my life if I could just survive until my 21st birthday.
So while on my deathbed with malaria fever on the night before my 21st birthday, I created my first life list of 10 "thromes". I started out by thinking and dreaming of all the things I wanted to do and then compiled a list of 10 things I wanted to accomplish in my life. I figured even if I only accomplished a small percentage of goals I set for myself, I would be accomplishing a lot more than if I had NO thromes or goals at all.
Over the next few years, I began accomplishing some of my thromes, and one by one I accomplished most of my original 10 thromes. Every time I would check one throme off the list, I would add several more.
Over time, that list of thromes has grown and evolved to the list you see here on these pages. Now each time I visit a new country or try a new experience, I look to the next new horizon, the next country across the border. Now it seems that every time I check something off my list, I find that I am adding several more new goals and thromes onto my list that I want to see or experience in the future!
Did I make this list to compare myself to others or impress others? NO, not at all! I know what a loser I was! I made this list for me so I can challenge myself to do things I had never done before, so I could look back and remind myself of where God has taken me from the scared loser I was. In many ways, I am still just a scared, shy skinny kid, a average simple guy who makes lots of mistakes. But along the way, I've learned that if there's a will there's a way to do just about anything, as long as it is God's will, and He gives me the strength to do it.
The advertising executive Leo Burnette once said, "Reach for the stars! You might not always get a star, but at least you don't end up with a handful of dirt!"
Do I always succeed in everything I set out to do? NO, of course not! But if I shoot for 100 goals and only accomplish 10 to 20 of them, at least I end up doing 10 to 20 per cent more than if I hadn't attempted anything at all!
More often than not, I end up accomplishing many of my goals, even if it ends up taking some time, or learning about myself along the way. But the experience and confidence I gain along the way gives me more confidence to go on and take on other challenges. Now I find myself LOOKING for new thromes, new challenges, and new ways of "expanding my envelope"!
Since creating the original list, my life has changed dramatically from the loser I once was, and God has taken me on so many incredible adventures through many more lifetimes of experiences than I deserve. Now every time I visit a new country or experience a new adventure, I realize that there are so many other new horizons, borders to cross, mountains to climb, places to explore, adventures to tackle, cultures to soak up, and people to meet, many who have seen and done much more than I have. It is at these times that I realize how very small I am in this huge and incredibly wonderful world, and I am challenged with even more new challenges, new borders, new friends to meet, new horizons to explore...
Below is the original list of top 10 goals and thromes I made on the night before my 21st birthday, as well as the current list that it has grown into. This list is constantly changing (check back often), but it's living proof that if someone else can do these things, then I can do them too, and consequently, so can YOU!
So look through this list and see if there is anything on here that interests YOU... anything that YOU would like to do...
Where do YOU want to go in the world? What would you like to do if you could? Have you made your list of thromes, your goals and dreams? If not, what's stopping you? Don't say "I CAN'T..." You CAN! If this Loser can do it, you can too!
So what are you waiting for? Make YOUR own list of thromes! What have you got to lose? Go ahead and DREAM... Think BIG, Dream BIGGER! Give your life and dreams to God, then just go out and DO IT! Where there's a will, there's a way!
"I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me"
Visit, Dive in, Sail on, Climb, Explore
Visit the 7 Wonders of the World:
Taj Mahal, India (1978, 2012)
Machu Picchu, Peru
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Coliseum, Rome, Italy
Great Pyramids of Egypt
Great Wall of China
Scuba dive in Lake Michigan, Indiana
Dive Coral Reefs, Florida
Dive John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo, Florida
Dive Coral Reefs Bahamas (scuba - kicked footbag under water)
Dive Barrier Reef, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (scuba)
Dive Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Roatan, Honduras
Dive in Fiji
Dive Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Dive the Red Sea
Indian Ocean (sailed in catamarans)
Lake Titicaca, Peru
Lake Victoria, Uganda Africa
Lake Tanganyika, Africa
Nile River, Africa
Congo River, Africa
Ganges River, India
Amazon Rain Forest, Ecuador (dugout canoes)
Gullafoss Falls, Iceland
Blue Ridge Mountains (skiing and kicking footbag)
Rocky Mountains (skiing and kicking footbag)
Andes Mountains, Ecuador and Peru (kicking footbag)
Mt. Kebnekaise, Sweden (climbed highest mountain in Sweden, kicked footbag at summit)
Mt. Kilamanjaro, Africa
Mt. Everest, Himalayas, Nepal (saw the summit at sunrise 2012)
Mount Ararat, Turkey (September 2014)
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Þing Vellir, Iceland
Ayers Rock, Australia
Stonehenge, England (swallowed a sword there on March 11, 2009)
Alesstenar Standing Stones, Kåseberga, Skåne (Sweden's Stonehenge)
Copenhagen's Little Mermaid (swallowed a sword there on April 24, 2009)
Machu Picchu, Peru
Huancha Picchu, Peru (climbed)
Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba pyramids, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (kicked footbag)
Great Pyramids, Giza, Egypt
Great Wall of China
Taj Mahal, India (1978, 2012)
Red Fort, Agra, India (swallowed a sword there in February 2012)
St. Catherine's Square, Russia (kicked footbag )
Lithuania's Hill of Crosses
Viking Ruins, Haithabu, Hedeby, Germany
Viking Ruins, Birka, Birkö, Sweden
Viking Ruins, Trelleborg, Sweden
Viking Runestone, Jelling, Denmark
Viking Ruins, Roskilde, Denmark
Ride Icelandic horses in the mountains, Reykjavik, Iceland
Viking Ruins, L'Anse Aux Medows, Vinland, Canada
Straddle the Equator, Ecuador (kicked footbag)
Straddle the Arctic Circle, Lappland (kicked footbag)
Straddle the International Date Line
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