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The List That’s Better Than a Bucket List

In an innovation rut? In her new book, Ariana Ayu gives you a list of ways to snap out of it.


In her new book, The Magic of Mojo: The Creative Power Behind Success, Ariana Ayu teaches entrepreneurs and other high-achieving individuals to tap into your mojo for greater personal AND professional success.

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of a bucket list; it’s a list of everything you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” I like the idea of this with one caveat: If your goal is just to accomplish these things before you die, there is less urgency than if you make a list of things you want to accomplish now, within the year, or within another defined period of time. Can you climb Mount Everest this year? Maybe not; maybe that is something you’ll need years to train for. But if you say you want to do it before you’re 40, 50, or 60, then you have a specific time frame to start training. “Before I kick the bucket” is just too nebulous.

So instead of writing a bucket list, you’re going to write a Creative Discovery List. This is a very simple list that you can add to on an ongoing basis. Just be sure to start it now, because the upcoming chapters will spark more ideas that you will want to add to your list.

In just a moment, you’ll notice that there’s a step for you to add volunteer activities to your list. While these may not be strictly creative, they are activities that allow you to pull the focus off yourself and concentrate on someone else for a while. It is widely known that when you are feeling down and depressed, helping other people can actually make you feel better. When you’ve lost your mojo it’s nice to be able to stop thinking about your personal stress while you help others for a time. (This can also provide a much-needed social outlet!)

Here’s how to make and use your Creative Discovery List:

  1. Brainstorm and write down all of the creative things you have ever wanted to do.
    • Add any volunteer activities you’re interested in or think you’ll be good at.
    • Add any physical, interactive, or other exotic activities you’re interested in.
  2. Pick one activity each day or week (depending on your schedule and desires).
  3. Do the activity–even if you’re scared or think you’ll be terrible at it.
  4. Add to your list as inspiration strikes.

That’s it! Simple! Now, if you’re not used to doing creative things, you may initially have trouble coming up with activities. If so, start with writing a traditional bucket list and then decide which things you can start on now and use those to feed your Creative Discovery List. Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do, such as learning to paint, honing your baking skills, or taking horseback riding lessons. Whatever these things may be, if you write them down, you’re much more likely to actually do them.

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to run a marathon. Add that to your list and then start training. All too often, we make excuses about why we can’t do things now, or “at this time in my life.” The reason people need bucket lists to begin with is that they’ve started to believe their excuses are actually true! Think about the creative, physical, and interactive things you’ve always secretly wanted to do. Have you always wanted to take art classes or dance lessons? Do you want to write a book, learn to paint, go bungee jumping, learn a new language, or do an outward-bound experience? Do you want to go flying on a trapeze? (You can even take lessons for that and do it as a regular workout nowadays!) Do you want to go travelling? Do you want to take up embroidery, knitting, or flower arranging? Anything that occurs to you goes on your list.

Write down everything you can think of without censoring or judging it. I’m not going to be reading your list, your parents aren’t going to be reading your list, your kids and your third grade teacher aren’t going to be reading your list. Nobody has to read your list except for you. Just get the ideas down and create the opportunity for some new experiences. That’s what this phase is all about.

Do not put this off; pull out your pen and paper, your white board and dry erase markers, or even your iPhone, and get started on your list. (Yes, now! I’ll still be here when you get back.) This is your Eat, Pray, Love moment, so capitalize on it! It would be a terrible shame to waste it.


This article was originally published on in June 2015.
Ariana Ayu is the author of the Business Mojo column on (a website and magazine geared toward entrepreneurs) which was published between 2014-2016. Ariana is the CEO and founder of several companies, including Ayutopia International, LLC, which develops profitable collaborative corporate cultures, personal celebrity brands, and custom branded websites. Her press and media appearances include USA Today, International Business Times, ABC, CBS, CBS Money Watch, the CW, Eyewitness News, FOX, NBC, Newsday,Virtual-Strategy Magazine, World’s Luxury Guide,, Miami Herald, BlogTalkRadio, and Hollywood Industry, among others.

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