In the mid 90s, I was reading a management book I had borrowed from a friend (Maverick, by Ricardo Semler - unconventional and excellent, by the way) when the author mentioned adventurer John Goddard.
It triggered some strange twist of memory as I recalled a story I had read as a child more than 15 years ago in an old Reader's Digest. I drove to my parent's place and started digging through old Reader's Digest issues in the basement. I remembered that the issue's cover featuring John Goddard was orange so I went through 20 years worth of old books and magazines until I found it.
The guy's story is just unbelievable.
At the age of 15, John Goddard wrote a list of 127 dreams.
#1: Explore the Nile
#21: Climb Mt Everest
#38: Visit every country in the World
#50: Dive in the Red Sea
#57: Visit Easter Island
#70: Swim in Lake Tanganyika
#75: Land on and take off from an aircraft carrier
#89: Learn Ju Jitsu
#97: Write a book
#104: Learn French, Spanish and Arabic
#111: Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Rousseau, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Talmage, Tolstoi, Longfellow, Keats, Poe, Bacon, Whittier, and Emerson
#114: Compose music
#125: Visit the Moon
At 16, Goddard had already explored the Okefenokee swamps of Georgia and the Everglades with his father. He owned a horse, drove a tractor and was practicing spearfishing.
At 20, he had dived in the Caribbean, Aegean and Red Seas. He also had become an airplane pilot in the US Navy with 33 war missions over Europe.
At 21, he had already visited 21 countries.
At 22, he discovered a Mayan temple in the Guatemala jungle and started preparing his exploration of the Nile River.
And so on, year after year.
In the process, Goddard has been bitten by a rattlesnake, charged by an elephant, and trapped in quicksand. He has crashed in planes, been caught in earthquakes, and almost drowned twice while running rapids.
So far, he has completed 109 of his 127 dreams.
If you're curious, here's the full list (with details of accomplishments).
The difference between John Goddard and the average Joe is that:
1. He took his life list seriously. This wasn't just wishful thinking.
2. He made a plan for each of his dreams.
3. He worked hard to reach each of his dreams, overcoming obstacles and never giving up.
To learn more about John Goddard, visit his Website: www.johngoddard.com
|Cover of the August 1984 Reader's Digest issue featuring John Goddard Story (p.82)|
|Inside the August 1984 Reader's Digest issue featuring John Goddard Story (p.82)|