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Few people have dared to chase big dreams. Even fewer have achieved them. Then there is Danny Dover who has done both!
He is an extraordinary man who has accomplished extraordinary feats from racing at Talladega to flying a stunt plane.
Just when I thought he couldn’t get any cooler, he let me interview him!
Welcome, Danny, to the Budget Life List’s: Asking For A Friend.
First off, can you tell us a little about yourself and where the idea of a life list started?
Thank you for this opportunity!
15 years ago, after reaching a low point in my life, I started asking myself the important question, Why are you here?
For a year, I chewed on that question and eventually decided to take that impossibly ambiguous question and give it a very specific answer – a Life List.
I asked loved ones what moments, adventures, and friendships were the most important in their lives. I took those stories and made myself a Life List of experiences that I wanted to fill my life with.
To make sure I took the challenge seriously, I tattooed a deadline, May 25, 2017, onto my butt and made the mission of my life to complete the entire 150 item list.
It spanned over 100 countries, extreme physical goals like living along in the wilderness for a month, hard mental goals like completing a marathon, tough financial goals like figuring out how the heck to fund the thing, and about 140 other specific goals. The whole list is here.
What was the hardest endeavor on your life list?
By far, the hardest item was figuring out how to pay for the projects.
I wasn’t born into money, and I have had to work very hard my entire life to earn every one of my dollars. Initially, this was through selling shoes, then it was through Search Engine Optimization consulting, and now through web development projects.
Do you have a favorite?
My favorite part of the project has very clearly been the people that I have met.
I’ve been lucky to meet interesting people worldwide, some of who have brought me into their homes and shared meals with me.
By far, my favorite activity is to enter a country I have never been to, meet some locals, and learn about their lives and perspectives.
Do you have any regrets?
I regret the time lost with loved ones while I explored the world.
I regret the many times I have ignored my physical health.
I regret not taking language learning and math more seriously in school.
I regret not learning about investing earlier.
I regret naming my project a Life List rather than a Bucket List.
And, I regret not learning the art of storytelling earlier in my life.
ASKING FOR A FRIEND: What advice can you give to people (ahem…me!) who are trying to crush their life list too?
Habits are the programming language of human beings. If you want to accomplish something hard, you need to focus on the systems/habits that will get you there.
Goals are not enough. (See James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits for information on this idea.)
During the Olympics, every athlete has the goal of winning a gold medal. The differentiation between gold medal winners and losers is chance and their training habits. Habits are the part you can control.
I think Felix Dennis said it well: Luck equals opportunity times preparation.
You have accomplished more in seven years than most have in a lifetime. What is your next adventure and does it include a list?
I won’t be doing another Life List, but I will certainly be doing more adventures and explorations.
COVID-19 has me temporarily grounded, but I’m slowly working my way through visiting every country in the world and I am making slow but steady progress at exploring space.
Where can peeps find out more information about you in a non-stalker way?
You can learn more about adding adventures to your life at my blog: A Bucket List Blog: Life Listed.*
Thank you, Danny, for sharing your time, wisdom, and advice!
Has Danny inspired you to make your Life List? Do you have any “Asking For a Friend” suggestions?
* Responses for Asking For A Friend were edited for clarity.