The Notorious “2 Lists” Approach To Life & Biz

Tuesday, 3:59pm
Reno, NV
Of course, some people go both ways…” (Scarecrow to Dorothy, “Wizard of Oz“)


Here’s a quick bit of wisdom ripped from the ongoing coaching in the current Simple Writing System program.

It’s actually a tactic I’ve been sharing with consulting clients and mastermind colleagues for decades.  I haul it out whenever someone expresses frustration on what next decision to make.

Key point: It doesn’t matter what the situation is.  This works for business, love, revenge plans, shopping, starting wars, arguing with idiots, wondering what to do on a nice afternoon…

… any situation at all where you need to make a decision.

It also works even if you’re looking at lots of “gray” area… so you’re not facing an either-or, or a fork in the road, or a choice between two clear options.

In fact, it probably works best when you have no idea whatsoever of the POSSIBLE decisions to make.  You’re clueless.  Frozen.  Absolutely blank on the next step.

(This is, by the way, a common reason serious small biz owners come to me for consultation.)  (In the larger corporate world, another long-observed excuse for hiring a consultant is to have someone to blame for making a decision you either can’t or won’t make.  CYA.  Not the best reason to bring in an expert…)

So here’s the tool… edited (and expanded) from a response I just wrote for a student in the SWS program:


When you’re faced with a situation where you must walk a fine line… for example, being careful to stay within rules, guidelines, or other factors that require making a conscious decision to choose a path…

… just make two lists, related to the main goal you have.

List Number One: The things you want to do.


List Number Two: The things you don’t want to do.

Then, to the best of your ability… do what you want to do… and don’t do what you don’t want to do.

Yes, it’s exactly as simple as you think it is.

However, most people don’t go through this process at any level… and the result is muddled thinking and confused results.

Let’s say you want to buy a new car.  You want a cool set of wheels that’s fun to drive.  You don’t want to go into debt.  You don’t want to pay too much insurance.  You don’t want to take crap from your pals about your ride.  You want to get a screamin’ deal. You want to be able to car-camp in it (or maybe make-out in the back seat at the drive-in). And so on.

Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?  In the above case, maybe. Decision-Making 101, right?

And yet, lots of otherwise level-headed folks end up with an overpriced wagon their main squeeze hates.  With a shitty sound system (oops, forgot to consider that).

Another example: Your goal is to become an entrepreneur.  You want to work for yourself, be a slave to no one ever again, enjoy the adventure of living life by your own rules, go for the gusto, etc.

Well, guess what?

I’ve seen this happen so often (it happened to me, too) that I now believe it’s an immutable law of nature:  Once you get your entrepreneurial game on, and get your biz going…

… you will be offered a cushy job somewhere.

For lots of money.  Probably more than you’re anticipating earning in your biz this year.  And with perks, like health insurance and a pension, that seem to soothe all your anxieties about navigating capitalism in the modern world.

And now you’ve got a decision to make.

If you’re really cut out to become an entrepreneur, it may be a slightly easier choice.  Fuck the job, what’re you, crazy?

If, however, you find yourself frozen like a deer in headlights… how will you decide?

The lists will help you sort out what you want in life, and business, and security issues and grooming yourself into primo marriage material maybe.

Your decision may require scrapping your goals, and creating new ones.  That’s not a crime.

But you better make damn sure you’re covering the essentials.  It’s no secret that (a) we live in a rare time in history where you really can create your own path in life…

… and (b) it’s still completely up to you to pursue something that brings on the happy-happy, joy-joy.

And all that can really suck, when you’re trying to make a decision that will send you off in totally opposite directions.

This 2 List Tool helps keep everything straight in your head.

Your goal is mega-important: You must know precisely WHAT you want to accomplish — in terms of results, long-term and short-term.  And mid-term, and every other term there is.

Professional copywriters have to dance along a very hazy, very risky line all the time…

… between what a client wants (which is almost always going to murder results)…

… and what the project NEEDS to succeed (which the client almost always will completely freak out over).

My best clients — in particular, the ones I wrote all those killer golf ads for — made a very smart move years ago.  They “took the leash off me”.  Which means, they mailed and ran every ad I wrote, exactly as I wrote it… without a peep.

They were nervous, but they held their tongue…

… and reaped the rewards.

Almost ALL my other clients (over my decades-long career as a freelancer) fussed and fought me and changed stuff to get back to their comfort zone… and it affected results dramatically (and almost always negatively).

I learned, as a survival tool, that the first step to navigating any “line” like that…

… was to know exactly and specifically where you’re stepping, and what’s to each side, and what the consequences of failure and success were.

Thus, the lists.  (Which led me to stop working with clients who couldn’t handle the kind of ads I wrote — no matter how much they paid me — and to actively pursue clients who understood the power of high-end salesmanship.)

I wish I had some photographs of my consulting clients’ faces when I asked them — mid-explanation of their horrific dilemma or “unsolvable problem” — what they WANTED to do.  Or not do.

Most had never considered their own desires.

Or, just as likely, they hadn’t examined their “wants” versus their “don’t wants”.

“Well,” they might say, while confused about their goals, “I want to earn a fortune without working at all, so I can screw off for the rest of my days.  Who wouldn’t want that?”

Really?  I know many, many, many business owners who earned more moolah than they could ever spend in five lifetimes… who nevertheless still work as hard (or harder) everyday at their biz, with the drive of a rookie smelling paydirt.

You know why they do this?  Cuz on their “want” list are things like “I want to make a difference”… “I love to work hard at things I’m passionate about”… “I want to enjoy the satisfaction of being productive until my ticket gets punched”… and so on.

And on their “don’t want” list: Don’t wanna be bored.  Don’t wanna become a lazy bum hanging around tourist traps.  Don’t wanna lose the opportunity to make a difference.

Crafting good goals for yourself is a process, not an event.  First, you need to realize that yes, you CAN want something.  (I never believed this was allowed, until I discovered goal-setting.)

Then, you need to come to terms with the idea that you’re allowed to make a plan to go GET what you want.  (Shocking to me as a working class kid who felt doomed to working at a job for the rest of my life.)

And finally… you need to experience that transformation of spirit and mind that only occurs when you PUT YOUR PLAN INTO ACTION.  And start nailing some goals.

It’s like the universe was playing a game of hide-and-go-seek, without telling you.  And as long as you didn’t seek, nothing happened.

But when you finally got your butt in gear… oh, my.  The vast wonders of feasting on life suddenly abound.  The adventure begins in earnest.  Your boat done docks.

So… yeah, the 2 List Tool is simple, and pretty obvious.  Just like breathing is simple, and obvious.

Life is a series of decisions.  Ignoring or avoiding or putting them off are all decisions.  Being courageous while scared to death is also a decision.  So is choosing to become conscious about how you move through life, and who you let push you around.

I like to keep my tool kit simple.  There are always excellent ways to complicate your life — no shortage of drama and anxiety and bad choices out there.  And they all arrive at your door whether you seek them out or not.

The best defense is a great offense.  Like having goals that resonate in your brain and heart, and having a plan to go get ’em.

Does this 2 List Tool seem like something that can help you out?

Do you have any observations or experience or tricks to add?

What have you got in your career tool kit?

Comment threads are open…

Stay frosty,


P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about creating your own killer action plan — for your biz, for your life, for everything — then block off February 25-26 on your calendar.

Cuz I’m going to personally host (along with my biz partner Stan) an intense, hands-on, totally interactive little event we call The Action Seminar.  Down in San Diego.

We’ve got the venue locked in, we’ve got a jaw-dropping list of guest experts showing up (cuz they love the concept of “action”)… and we’ll be announcing more details in just a bit.

To make sure you’re on the notification list, sign in below.

Just enter your name and primary email address below and we'll send you the new report right away.

"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • Mark says:


    It’s like the universe was playing a game of hide-and-go-seek, without telling you. And as long as you didn’t seek, nothing happened.

    So, so true.

    • John Carlton says:

      Yeah, once I realized that was how the universe was playing, it permanently changed my own game-plan.

      The old advice of “seek and you shall find… ask and it will be given… knock and the door will be opened” transcends religion — it’s a straight-on “cheat sheet” for living life deep, regardless of your spiritual orientation.

      Life gets really, really fun when you finally say “Okay, I’m in… let’s play.” Key, though, is the relevant side note that the universe also doesn’t care at all if you DON’T play. Which puts the burden on you to wake up and get moving… cuz nobody and nothing else is gonna do it for you.

      Okay, sermon over.

      • Mark says:

        A sermon worth listening to. I understood it until I went to college (coincidence???) and didn’t rediscover it until my early 30s. While a couple of great things did happen to me in my 20s, for the most part life sucked. I look at that decade as almost a hole in my life.

        When I got back in the game, it’s amazing how much better life got. Doubled my salary (twice in two years), nicer house in a better neighborhood, reconnected with my love of music and got the balls to start playing out in a band again, dropped 15 pounds and got back into fightin’ shape…the list goes on.

        Funny thing was, I didn’t even REALIZE I had stopped “seeking.” Not gonna let that happen again and miss all the fun!

        Unlike that schlock video called “The Secret” I think THIS is the real “Secret”. You can’t just wait and hope–the universe most definitely IS NOT LISTENING.

        Rock on, John.

  • Another bit of wisdom shared…and yet so simple. I’ve actually used this very technique myself, and can vouch it IS that simple, and it works.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eric Graham, NLP Courses. NLP Courses said: The Notorious “2 Lists” Approach To Life & Biz | The Marketing Rebel RANT […]

  • I love the line about not working with clients who don’t do things as you have the conviction to do them, even for an obscene amount of money.

    Sure, us marketers are not always right, but we DO have a conviction on what needs to be said, how it needs to be said.

    Plus, seems like asking that question more often would swing things our way…”Well, what do you WANT/NOT WANT to see happen here?”

    Thanks for the tip John.

    Keep on playin’.

    You on a strat now?

    P.S- here’s that Dave Alvin record I recommended you get.

  • Jacques says:

    To ‘geek-it-up’: create an Excel sheet with 4 columns: Don’t want, score, Want, score. Each item gets a score of 1 (not important) to 5 (very important). See how both columns add up – maybe that gives you perspective. And yes, you can keep tweaking it endlessly. But that then in itself is proof of why you fail…
    I have never used this myself, so it’s ‘do like I say, don’t do as I do’, but one day I need to slap myself out of my stupor. And your 2 list tool will come in handy there. TFS!

    • John Carlton says:

      That’s a nice “geek add”, Jacques. I never used it, because it was my list, and I intuitively knew which item was most important… but I actually recommend this point system to help objectify each item, and make your “grading” of it real.

      Thanks. Good suggestion.

  • Please Get a Better Design says:


    You’ve got to do something better with this blog. The current design is atrocious. It looks like something circa 1999.

    Spend a little cash and pay someone for a better design. And if you paid someone for this design, it’s time to tell them to hit the road.

    • John Carlton says:

      You’re joking, right? This IS a new redesign, and we’ve gotten nothing but thumbs-up on it so far. Except for you.

      Some folks will never be happy. And the “it’s so 1999” remark is a tired cliche, dude.

      We be cuttin’ edge here. (Mostly, though, I love the new design, and that’s all that really counts…)

      • JG says:

        I love your new design John! It’s the first thing I noticed and was going to congratulate you:)

        — I need to make my business list, desperately.. I’ve been working on so many projects; some of which I don’t particularly enjoy!!

        Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

        Have a great day John,


    • who cares about the design? It’s the words I’m reading.

  • Mark says:

    Great advice.
    Most people don’t consciously decide their future.
    I believe Socrates said,
    The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being
    Think, Decide, Act.

  • Thanks John, great way to put it. You helped me realize that I’m having a hard time doing that in a specific area of my life right now 🙂

  • Alex says:

    Hey John…

    Is the date and venue for the action seminar fixed? I think I’ve got a place as a sws graduate from April. I’m planning on coming and the sooner I can book the flight tickets the better.



    • John Carlton says:

      February 25-26, Friday and Saturday, San Diego. Hotel’s booked, and we’re ironing out the details of the schedule now.

      I recommend coming in at least the evening before, and staying until the day after. This is a matter of some strident comments in the current SWS forums — veterans of other events are beating up the newbies who want to zoom in and split early. Which is dumb… cuz so MUCH happens before, during, AND after a super-sized event like this.

      The extra networking time alone can change your life…

  • Sam says:

    Great Post!

    I’ve always believed in the adage “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear…”

    Today was no exception – Thanks John.

    I was in a dilemma. Take the job offer worth over 600k a year, or persist and pursue my passion for finding online success.

    My head says “take the F’ing job you idiot.” My heart says keep plugging away at the online stuff (I’m an optimist – what more can I say).

    The right answer was to draw up the list and take action.

    The power of simplicity is too often overlooked. Thanks again for the reminder, and all the best to you.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Sam. Just remember — the best answer is the one that works for YOU, not anyone else.

      Good decisions are made with full disclosure, focused research, and all the facts and all the emotional input necessary.

      Good luck, no matter what you decide.

      • Patrick says:

        I tried to read further without thinking about it but… $600,000.00 ?!! That’s a nice round figure.

        I had a guy offer me a job three times, almost stalking me (over a six year period). On the last time, I really understood what I didn’t want.

        His style of leadership is Patriarchal, Authoritarian and Alpha Male.

        He is a great guy and a top bloke with a good sense of humour, but I didn’t want to be under the thumb like that.

        What’s more I have been basically self-employed all my life and the pressure I would put on myself would be far worse. The belief that I have to flog-myself-harder into the ground because I am working for someone and the feeling that I “have to do something” rather than being motivated by “wanting to do something” (carrot on a stick).

        For some reason it seems easier with less pressure when I work as a contractor in charge of my own time.

        But $600,000.00 Grand! Hmmm that’s a big decision. I never got offered anywhere near that. Maybe I could have adjusted…

        Great insights John. Common sense, yet one that is easily overlooked in the heat of the moment.

        The Two List Approach is also a great tool for helping prospective clients (Couples, in face to face selling), to clarify their thinking and make a decision on the spot, while you are there with them!

  • Thomas Green says:

    I like this method. I will have to try it for my next big decision.

    The method I have used and will continue to use: (1) Make a decision in the direction you THINK you want to make it. (2) Sleep on it. (3) If you were able to sleep soundly, it is probably an OK decision for you. (4) If you tossed, turned, and/or generally had a poor night sleep, it is probably a poor decision for you.

    • John Carlton says:

      Nice, Thomas.

      I also have other, more advanced tactics I’ve used. One is to simply answer the question “How will you feel five minutes AFTER making this decision?”

      Most of us obsess on the angst and anxiety roiling around our heads BEFORE we make the decision.

      But life begins again immediately… and the consequences of your choice can kick in fast.

      So before making the decision… get into your own head in the future… 5 minutes AFTER you’ve made it.

      How do you feel? Relieved? Guilty? Scared? Empowered?

      You have to really know your own emotional system to pull this off effectively. But it’s a good tactic.

      Thanks for the note…

      • Marina says:

        The only thing I find difficult with this method, that is how you’d feel 5 min after, is that I know I’d feel great, but mostly our decisions are based on emotions and those are reliable but are often faulty. If I am buying a new course because I am afraid of failure, and in reality I may already have all the knowledge, then how is that the right decision? Doesn’t that just feed more into insecurity? Am I getting too psycho… Here?

  • aj says:

    I must say I had to take a second look. Even though this is very similar to a Ben Franklin approach to descision making, I like your technique allot more. It is so simple and fun. If you don’t mind I would like to leave a link to this post on my blog at so my readers can gain the benefits.
    Thank you.

  • Linda says:

    This type of listing of possibilities works in all areas of life. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Rick Witham says:

    From Dale Carnagie Sales Course NYC 1979, I learned this personal goal setting format. I found it complete and torturous to fill out…as it delivered joyfilled clarity on MY goals.

    Near Medium Long-term
    6 mos. to 5yrs. 10-20

    Peace & Thanks,

  • Martyne says:

    Thanks John. I’ve been using lists for years for what I want in the next boyfriend, what is the ideal task list for the next job, what type of clients do I want. Unfortunately, I forgot the don’t want (That would explain the impressive amount of men that just didn’t make the boyfriend cut)

    I’ve found that putting what I want in a list was like a garantee that I would get it… Of course, sometimes you get more. Now that I’ll add the don’t want, maybe the mores will be less anoying.

    Keep’em coming.

    Thank you


  • Jon Sollie says:

    Far too many people seem to fret over issues that need no decisions at all. When faced with situations that appear to require some sort of decision, I ask myself how important will this be next week, in a few days, or even five minutes from now?

    Your “Two List Approach” fits nicely with my “Keep It Simple Stupid” philosophy.

    Many thanks!


  • Jo Carey-Bradshaw says:

    Hi John,
    “First you need to know you CAN want something” – oh boy, that can be one of the hardest things to become aware of! And, as you say, ‘that you are actually allowed to GET what you want’. If we could but recognize that these two ‘things’ are often the whole reasons why we have indecision in the first place and get it sorted out, I reckon we could all surprise ourselves and everyone else around, with all we could then achieve.
    Thanks for your newsletter which got me here – I like that I get to peel a bit more of my onion from your words.

    • John Carlton says:

      Sorting it all out is a lifetime task… but most poor folks get stuck with the first layer and never go deeper.

      It’s all about the adventure, and enjoying the trip. Staying awake and confronting your demons, your joys, and your dreams just means you got on the better ride.

  • jocelyn says:

    Having 2 list sounds so simple but to implement it can be too hard if someone doesn’t really know what he/she wants. Or at least stand for.

    But it made sense to me now. Thanks for the post.

  • Dana says:

    Hey John,
    Ironically, I was watching part of one of the 42 Rocky movies and reminiscing with my kids how I saw the first one at the drive in theater.(Those were the days, I think we should rebuild drive ins all across America?)

    I love this approach. I’ve always written down or thought about what I want, but my actions have mostly gotten me what I don’t want. This will help me consciously decide what direction my decision/action is going to take me. I’ve made some crucial decisions in my life based on others input that was completely opposite of what my gut was telling me. Of course my gut instincts were much more risky, but I truly believe the ride would’ve been a helluva lot more fun, and more than likely I’d be living the outcome I’m currently chasing or at least a lot closer. However, now with the SWS program, I feel I’m just about to have my breakthrough.

  • Carlos Marin says:

    Simplicity is king, John.

    These are great insights that can help anyone determine the best path to take according to their passion and purpose in life. So many of us can get stuck when we have to make the hard decisions particularly with the issues that are closest to our hearts.

    This is a formula that creates true clarity and empowers people to make the right decisions consistently!

    Best always,

    Carlos Marin

  • Richard says:

    Geez I laughed F*** the job , man that was a pearler (as in pearl)shiny jewelery thing from oysters. Anyway, brilliant read and insight into the what I want not want somebody else wants scenario however the universe playing with our little specks on the space continuum. Get in while you live and breath and if shit happens that’s life.

  • Ellery Leung says:

    Today my favorite quote from you is:

    It’s like the universe was playing a game of hide-and-go-seek, without telling you. And as long as you didn’t seek, nothing happened.

    This quote just “wake me up”.

    Thank you John. 🙂

  • Mathilde says:

    Hi John,
    Kids are learning at school to make pro/cons lists, a method I found particularly useless to make decisions – I usually end up tearing up the list and decide based on gut feeling, which has worked pretty well for me until now.
    Your method is a subtle variation on it – it’s maybe the “fairy dust” the pro/con list needs to actually work, like many of the things you are teaching.
    Next time I have to make a big decision (and I have the feeling this time is coming soon), I will try for the fun to do both, the pro/cons list and the want/not want list. I wonder if the last one will coincide with my gut feeling…

  • Rich says:

    Love it and must be the name as I had a laugh as well with the F*** the job!

    Great post I am alwasy one for the KISS formula, so my girl says anyway!

    Also like the new design, had another chuckle with the comment about it sucking and to get a new one!

  • Liane Carmi says:

    I was stressing over a job offer I received earlier this week. Usually read your blog, but had so much going on, I skipped the email.

    My buddy Matt forwarded it to me again.

    Made the two lists and everything became super-clear.

    Took less than 4 minutes.

    Too easy.

    The mind knows what it wants. It’s just a matter of weeding through the emotions and the ego.

    Going straight to the source.



  • M.Hindawy says:

    Well, 1st of all its brilliant and very well said.
    but regarding the point of”we live in a rare time in history where you really can create your own path in life”
    What if my country’s policies, environment, etc. doesn’t allow me. what do you think I should do, A big bloody risk leaving all this here and starting somewhere else yeah???

  • Hal Hoadley says:

    Just when you thought the sky was falling, here comes Big John with something so simple and profound that it brings hope for us internet marketers. Whenever I start to have doubt about my ability to be the best at what I do I somehow find inspiration from an unexpected place.
    Last week I started asking potential clients, “What is the value of a new client in your business?” Now, you have given me more ammunition to get my clients thinking and me doing.
    Thanks John for this week’s rant.
    I’m stayin’ frosty

  • Hey John, I think you might be on to something with your immutable law about getting job offers when business starts to come together!

    Its like the universe is forcing you to make a personal choice, so that you knew that if you ever had the option, you’d be doing what you’re doing anyway.

    Regardless, its tempting in lieu of the prospect of becoming primo marriage material haha.

  • Mike Morgan says:

    As always John, an inspiring post.
    Love the structure, the pace, the lively and fun tone!
    All the best

  • Hi JOhn,
    totally agree that we need to have a ‘what not to do list’ as well as a ‘what to do list’. Sounds so simple but prevaricating around decisions is such an energy-sapper for many of us.

    Stay frosty lol!


  • Viviana says:

    Hello, John –

    Your 2-Step List blog appeared at the perfect time for me as I currently have to make several life-changing decisions.

    Your system has protected my sanity and stopped my comfort-food cravings (how’s that for a 2-Step Result?).

    I can now cope with the decision-making process, but Ben & Jerry’s takings will drop this month. I feel their pain.

    Many thanks for your advice, John. Wishing you well,


  • Simon James says:

    Great advice.

    I always add a 3rd column for my customers called “Don’t Know”. Then when they can’t decide which of the first two columns to put something in, I put it in the 3rd.

    Having taken the pressure off them for an immediate decision, I can then ask “What information do you need (or what has to happen) for you to be able to move this to one of the other columns?”. Usually you find that it is just fear, or they are unclear about their goals.

  • I’m still doing “pros and cons” lists. Maybe it’s an age thing…

    “Almost ALL my other clients (over my decades-long career as a freelancer) fussed and fought me and changed stuff to get back to their comfort zone… and it affected results dramatically (and almost always negatively).”

    …I hear you, and it’s a constant battle. Thanks for sharing yet another great post.


  • Hey John,
    I don’t know what to say except thank you very much for a timely post.
    Couldn’t have come at a better time.


  • Lisa says:

    For those of us who’ve spent decades suppressing our own wants to the point of not knowing what we want, the “don’t want” list is where you start, because that’s the best place to flip it and figure out what, in fact, you do want.

    Of course, avoiding this process is the best way to continue to blame other people and situations for your own life continuing to suck. Working through the process is taking responsibility for your own destiny.

    You said the universe doesn’t care whether you play or not, but actually we are all playing whether we know the rules or not. It’s either we do it consciously and deliberately, or unconsciously and by default.

    Once I finally started figuring out what I wanted, consulting the do want list frequently is what is making the difference. Spending too much energy on the don’t wants makes them keep showing up with disgusting regularity. In other words, after the process, FOCUS on what you want!

    Great post.

  • David Raybould says:

    Hey JC,

    Timely advice man. It’s been a while since I made a Want/Don’t Want list, will start a new one today.

    As for making tough decisions, I use a variation on the “five minutes after” model.

    When I’ve got an opportunity for a gig or partnership that I can’t feel my way around instinctively, I visualise what happens after I’ve said yes and hit a major home run.

    If that best case scenario isn’t enough to get my engine revving, I know it’s something I don’t want to be involved in.


  • pratik says:

    Exactly what I needed to hear right now. I seem to be spending too much time deciding how to help my clients move forward – oo many tools in the arsenal. Your 2 list system is going to help me move forward and enjoy it. Thanks.

  • Kirk Elliott says:

    Hey John,

    Your 2 list plan was so elegant in its simplicity that it made me stop and pour myself a single malt scotch…and drink it neat!

    Now I’m off to make 2 lists…Thanks for that Buddy!!

  • ken ca|houn says:

    Good approach re two lists; one additional one I like is Brian Tracy’s approach as he outlines in the book “Eat that Frog”, which basically teaches to make a list to identify the tough important thing to get done first thing in the morning, then a secondary list of all the ‘other’ stuff that has to be done.

    Lists really help, especially when they separate out the important from all else, to help gain clarity and focus.


  • Axl Midas says:

    Excelleny stuff John…

    About decisions and choices in life reminds me of a great tune entitled FREEWILL by a band called Rush. The chorus is:-

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that’s clear
    I will choose freewill.

    Cheers, Axl

  • Renato says:

    Hey john, I’m going to my 22 year of life and it seems to me now that the rest of it is going to be full of enthusiam, freedom and sucess. I just did the lists and boy…what a relief. I was struggling with my girlfriend telling me to get a job(cause she doesn’t know how to explaing what I do to her dad and his family) and all that…but now I’m going to be a lot more comfortable telling that everything is going to be fine and actually, I think SHE is going to be a lot more comfortable cause now I know what I want to do and what I don’t want. Thank you John and stay frosty.

    Renato from Brazil.

  • Martin says:

    Really, really cool process John.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Akin says:

    I really think I will benefit from your couching based upon what everyone is has been say from their blogs.

  • Question:

    I was hoping you’d address this point a little more, “I want to earn a fortune without working at all, so I can screw off for the rest of my days.”

    If that does sincerely describe someone’s motivation (wanting to have a lot of money without working), how would the exercise work. After all, “I want a $10 million net worth,” and “I don’t want to work more than 10 hours a week,” sound mutually exclusive.

    If someone thinks that way, how would your exercise apply?


  • Gregg Zban says:

    Carlton…dude….with everything else against us, now you announce that the universe is playin” god damn hide n seek with us too!

    I thought I could keep treading water and the friggin wave just went over my head.

    So… underwater and being dragged out to sea by the under current… I THINK I’LL SET SOME FRIGGIN GOALS.

    You have such a simple way of delivering a complex message… that, my friend…is why I return to read.


  • Martyna says:

    John, so simple!
    a great one,
    goal setting and clarifying your wants is so incredibly nice, visualizing the future based on what you already have inside you, and than playing the game with your own habits and the ever-changing world:)

    what I do is when I wake up, which is usually around 5 or 6 in the morning, I just write the goals, and see myself in the future, it just releases the tension, and you know, strange things happen- the comfort zones become the hitch-hikers

    I just did the two lists

  • Colin says:

    Hi John

    Always been in the game…podiatrist, crayfish farmer, manufacturer, martial arts instructor, blog editor etc

    For my 40th birthday received Open Heart Surgery for Bicuspid Aortic disease (around 4% of males)…

    Doctors comments after surgery “if you live one year you should live 10 years after that don’t know”.

    About to celebrate 45th Birthday in December so you could say…

    It’s Half Time

    Very useful tool for making the Do’s & Don’t List.

    Tai Chi Foot Dr

  • Love the advice! I agree that most people feel as though they can’t decide and control where their future goes. While there are some uncontrollable factors in life, I believe you can get yourself pretty close if you try and this little trick you’ve shared is a great way to get there! Thanks for the post!

  • I have already forgotten that it was the saying from “Wizard of Oz”, thanks for reminding! Yes, when we have to choose between something and something we almost never can decide what choice we should do and we are puzzled before making a decision!

  • Some great experiences of business, goals and how to approach life shared. Thanks!!!

  • >