"The first list I ever made up was handwritten on the back of a brown paper bag....." - Phil Keoghan
Below we've selected several inspirational lists and stories:
I thought Id just email to say thank you so much for the opportunity that you gave me 2 years ago. I am 34, and live in good old kiwi land and up to now have lived a fairly non eventful life apart from the usual, married and 3 children situation.
A few years ago the programme NOW was screening here and at the end of one of your shows you said that if you have a thing about heights and want an opportunity to conquer that then txt your name to the show. My husband hassled me all night to txt because I have this crippling fear not so much of heights but that dropping feeling you get when you drop from a height…..so you would never get me on a roller coaster, did it once and swore that if they managed to peel my body from the seat then I would never do that again.
Anyway after about an hour of harassing me I just txted my name in so that he would shut up, after all nobody wins these things do they?! Ill never forget the next day when they rang to say I'd won a skydive. My stomach lurched and for the rest of the day I felt nauseas. I even considered not telling anybody and just forget about but when Karl came home that night he immediately asked what was wrong as I was looking a bit seedy.
Well, to cut a long story short it actually took me 18 months to psych myself into doing it. For a long time it was a definite no, I'm not doing it, then I logged onto the skydive company so I could look at the pictures and definitely justify not doing it. The opening paragraph talked about stop making excuses and not wasting opportunities put in front of us and it just hit home. So I went.
I felt sick all day and I early bailed at the last minute, the only thing that kept me going is my 11 year old boy saying just before I drove up to Auckland in February, “Just think mum, when you get home you’ll be a hero”. I just wanted to be a hero in his eyes.
I had a wonderful instructor who thankfully tricked me to go out the plane, he told me to just inch forward a tiny bit so he could get comfortable. Next thing I know he’s not stopping and we were out the plane. He must of known Id grab the sides of the plane given half the opportunity! The view was spectactular and one Ill never forget. The rush was amazing!!!
So thank you so much for the work you do and the opportunity you gave me. It has started a whole new adventure streak in me. I wrote a list and in 5 weeks Im crossing off 3 of them as I am helicoptering on Franz joseph Glacier and tramping down ( wanted to go in a helicopter and also see franz joseph glacier) and Im going to go whale watching (something I had the opportunity to do so 16 years ago and chickened out of at the time).
From now on there will be no opportunities wasted in this house!
Hi Phil and the team at NOW.
I recently purchased your book second hand through trademe in NZ and have to say WOW. I had not idea what the book was about when I got it as it was just one of a number of items that I purchased from a single person. All I can say is that it really made me write down all of the things that I had been thinking about doing, and the "do it NOW" idea has already impacted my life.
Face your fears.
I thought long and hard about this as I really am not particularly scared of anything. I ended up swimming with a shark as a 12 year old....in the ocean, without anyone nearby, no support boat.....just swimming in the wrong place at the wrong time, however I a few years back I saw a guy in LA walking down the street with a snake around his neck, and I walked well away from him. I guess I was scared of snakes.....true to the NOW philosophy, and since I was reading that part of your book the day before I went to Australia zoo, I am proud to say the first thing on my list was all taken care of prior to actually getting the list written. I now have a photo with me (and my family) with a 16kg python around our necks.
I love doing this, but find it really hard. I went for a walk from LAX to, well, I don't know. I just walked and walked and walked. I saw lots, heard lots, and then when I got tired I thought I would flag down a cab. I did so, and prior to me even saying one word, the Cabbie asked, "So are you from Australia of New Zealand?" New Zealand I answered, how did you know. He said "Well your a white guy walking in this area, and you tried to flag down a cab. I bet you just went for a walk from the airport huh?"
He was, of course, 100% correct.
I really don't have anything on this part of my list, I have thought long and hard about this, but I don't have an answer...yet.
Test your limits.
I am 110kg (down from 120+) and have just last week purchased a bike. In 18 months time I am going to complete the around Taupo cycle ride. This will test me beyond what I know I can do, and on the way will force me to lose more weight to allow myself to achieve number 4 which is going to be my reward.
Take a leap of faith.
OK, the higher the better, so as a reward for completing the around Taupo ride I am going to complete a tandem skydive. - I need to be under 100kg to do this, so this has to come after I have completed the ride.
Rediscover your childhood.
It seems strange that one thing leads to another, however as a child I used to love riding my bike. This is something I have just begun to re-discover.
Shed your inhibitions / express yourself.
I have a we problem with this....there is not really much that I wont do!!! I actually think the hardest thing that I have to do is to share this list, even writing up this email is forcing myself into some sort of commitment outside of myself. I hate the idea of a risk of failure, so sharing what I want to do with others is somewhat of a challenge to me. I am going to do this through speaking at my church and sharing about the NOW life, and my list (or parts of it anyway).
Break new ground.
I have suffered from a lack of friends over the years. Recently I heard to have a friend you need to be a friend. I am going to step forward with this and become a friend of at least one new person at church. On top of that I am starting a new men's group at church, aiming at having mostly a social time, and also hoping to spread more information about NOW tot he group.....all going well I intend to get a few more guys to go on the ride around Taupo with me!
Aim for the heart.
Along with the lines of the above I have already gained a new friend. This is someone completely outside of my comfort zone. He is a drug (prescription) and alcohol addict, has just broken up with his wife, has no money and needs surgery for an ongoing illness. I have committed to working with him and helping him through this time, and am more than anything just being a friend to him!
Well, that is my list....and while I have been typing this someone else has also just borrowed the book from me!!!
Kind Regards - here's looking forward to an exciting 18 months!
Dear Phil, I am writing to tell you about an amazing little boy, my 11 year old son Dustin.
My husband bought your book last year and we were reading it together as a family (husband Rob, myself, 13-year old daughter Robyn and our son Dustin). My husband would read a chapter a week ,we would discuss it and add to our list if needed. We were living the NOW life. We watched the excitement in our children's eyes and the way they approached everyday life.
That was until May 23, 2007 my son had an accident at home and lost his life... because of his age the police were called in to check the house and his room. On my sons bed they found his "list for life" with his entry he had added moments before his accident. The police questioned us about it and we explained you and your book the best we could. They were amazed that such a young boy was moved by your book.
My son's list differed from ours - you see, we had what we wanted to do or what would make us happy, but his list also included what would make other peoples lives easier and what he could do for others. This touched us because we had not made it to that chapter yet. My husband and I have decided instead of finishing our list for life we would try to do some of Dustin's list. We have since then moved and have did a room in his honor and I was wondering if I could receive one of your NOW flags so I could display it in the room. My son really did live the NOW life and I cannot think of a better way to honor my son than displaying the NOW flag next to his list.
Thank You for your time,
While I realize Phil won't likely see this email personally, I still felt that I had to write. After reading his book, I decided that this was the year I stopped letting worry and irrational fear deprive me of certain experiences. I am fortunate to live in Canmore, Alberta, one of the most beautiful places on Earth in the Canadian Rockies. Just down the road from my house is a wild cave system called 'The Rat's Nest.'
In Phil's book, he mentioned overcoming his claustrophobia by touring the same cave (unless there is another one in the world with the same name). Since I've always wanted to take that cave tour, and my claustrophobia is what has kept me out, I decided that enough was enough. Phil's warning about procrastination prompted me to say, "Now or Never."
I went on the tour yesterday and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. My claustrophobia reared its ugly head in the first tight passage we had to squeeze through, and I talked myself through it. After that, the descent into the cave was nothing but excitement and wonder, and I believe I left a large portion of my claustrophobia inside. I want to take that tour again, I enjoyed it so much.
Thank you for the inspiration. It is the next day and I still feel like a little kid full of excitement. I hope many people will read Phil's book and watch the show to find their own inspiration to live the life they've always wanted. I know I plan to from now on.
Phil, I just have to say, I have never had so much trouble reading a book in my life!! I can't finish more than 3 chapters at a time because I keep going to add something to my Life List, or going online to check prices on airfare to Sydney, Australia, or something equally unusual!! And it's all your fault!! I have finished at least 2 things on my list and I hope to finish about 3 more this year. Next on my plate is skydiving. Here in Northern Michigan, I can fly over the bay and then jump with a view!! I'm so excited! I actually started a business that is helping pay for my adventures and has become an adventure in itself and I'm really excited about it.
Basically, I just want to say "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart. My life has changed, definitely for the better. Can't wait to get to the rest of my list!
Petoskey, Michigan, USA
My sons and I watch THE AMAZING RACE -- not together, as they are both married and no longer live at home -- but we call each other and visit after each episode and for days thereafter. As the program ends, I usually hear my cell phone ring and know it's one of the boys. We pick our favorites, of course, and rarely agree on that, but it's fun to share the program together.
You are kind of like the glue that holds THE AMAZING RACE together -- we enjoy your input and especially your attitude of kindness toward the participants!
I am almost 65 years old (May 13) -- by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Phil! I don't consider myself very adventurous, but since I've been reading your book, I've decided that I will look for opportunities to live life in a more lively and energetic way. I'm going to start small -- I'm going to embark on a walking adventure -- not sure exactly how this will transpire -- but that's part of the adventure. Right now, I'm going to begin as I walk in my neighborhood -- doesn't sound too exciting, right? -- but as I walk, I'm going to watch for people to whom I might make a difference. I'm excited to see where this might lead.
Although my beginning isn't as exciting as, say, planning a walk to the North Pole -- but I'm not going to apologize for the size of my adventure -- just embrace it!
Blessings to you and your family.
I want to thank you! I recently read your book "No Opportunity Wasted," and as a result I have been moved into action!
I am a 50 year old woman who has not sought out a lot of adventure. I have had adventure happen TO me (I was in an airplane that suddenly lost alitutude over the mountains due to engine failure), but in terms of my facilitating adventures, I have only done so in my mind.
Your book literally spoke to me! On April 22, 2006 I began writing my List for Life. On April 26th, I had my dear friend Kathy witness my list. Some of the items are not that daring, some I will likely never accomplish in my lifetime, but I am comitted to making an effort to do as many of them as I can. On June 25, 2006, I checked off the first item on the list - I went skydiving! Phil, I know that I am preaching to the converted, but OH MY STARS! It was THE BEST!!!! I had the most amazing time. And the best part is that a friend of mine who came to watch and support me in my first jump decided at the last minute to live her most adventurous life and she joined me! I was so thrilled!
When I got home, I couldn't come down off the high (again, I know you know what I am talking about so I apologize for the redundancy!), and I added another item - I hope this doesn't continue, cross off an item, add an item! Could end up being a VERY long list! Anyway, I decided to do like Shane in the book and add shark diving. That terrifies me, and I don't know when I will be ready for it, but it is on my list and I plan to attempt everything on there.
Thanks again Phil! YOU ROCK!
Audrey Ravndahl, Vancouver, Canada
I wanted to let you know that your book changed my life. I had been unhappy with my job of nine years, yet fearful of making any drastic changes. I was non aggressively looking for a new job when I saw you on Oprah and got your book. You made me realize that it was the fear of change and failure that was keeping me in my current position.
I started to make my list for life in late August, 2005 and #1 on that list was to teach in a foreign country. I was a Jr. High School History and Geography teacher at the time, but I wanted to see the world and not just teach about it. I started to apply for overseas teaching positions AGGRESSIVELY the day after reading NOW. I did not go back to teaching at my former school in the fall despite having no job in sight. I took a LEAP OF FAITH that I would find something I wanted to do.
By January 18, 2006 I had moved from my apartment, sold my car and all of my furniture. What I did not sell I donated to charity. I came to see that it was all stuff and was not making me happy. I now have a little corner of my parent's garage holding my remaining possessions because with 2 suitcases and a backpack I moved to Japan to teach English.
I am loving it here. I wish I had done it sooner. #1 on my list is done and I am one step closer to visiting all of the continents - #2 on my list. Every day I explore my new city by bike or take a train to the next town just to see what is there. No real plan. I just GET LOST as you suggested in your book.
I wanted you to know that you do make a difference in people's lives. I packed pretty light for a year, but my well worn copy of NOW made it into my luggage as a must have.
Thank You again,
Ube, Japan (formally of Suburban Chicago)
Dear Phil, I saw you on the Oprah show today and want to thank you for giving people the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and move forward for something that they want in life.
I always wanted to be a police officer. At age 42 I decided that if I didn't go for it, it would never happen. I had been with my husband for 20 years, had gone through a divorce and was a single mother of two teenage girls. During my marriage my husband (also a police officer) told me that if I pursued the career that I dreamed of he would divorce me. Not wanting that to happen, I stuck with the marriage until I reached a point where I realized that I was never going to be happy with this man. (He and I are good friends today)
I moved on and at 42 began applying and testing to be what I always wanted to be. I worked very hard, because the physical agility tests are difficult and I couldn't even run 1 lap of the track or do a single pushup when I started. I never failed a standard police physical agility test once I started testing. After 2 years of testing with various departments I was finally offered positions with two departments at the same time. I attended the police academy at age 44 and was the oldest cadet in the class. At graduation I was given the highest achievement award for the class. I have been employed as a police officer in a 60 officer department for almost three years now and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job! It was scary to step out of my comfort zone and begin testing, but I was determined.
Giving the people an opportunity to do what they want without handing it to them is such a fabulous way of impacting lives in a positive manner. Thank you for all of those you touch.
Officer LuAnna Brook
- Christina Smoorenburg
Hey Phil! I saw the segment of your show on Oprah a few days ago and it inspired me to make a List for Life , like the ones I've seen on your site. Some of this might seem a little stupid , but I'm only sixteen! (Maybe that means I'll have more time to cross things off the list , then!)
Thanks a lot for the show , Phil , it's really giving me stuff to work towards!! You rock! (When I finally get to the stage , I'll call you. You better come see me!)
- Monique, 16. - Ontario, Canada
- Claire Overbeck - Havertown PA.
- Karen Emerson
- Anna Giddings
"Having lived in beautiful New Zealand for two years, my NOW list includes a number of Southern Hemisphere dreams that I hope come true!"
"Thanks, Phil, you have become my favorite television personality, kiwi, and inspiration to assure that No Opportunity is Wasted!"
- Sandra (Sam) Gershenfeld - California
"I really want the last one to happen! Phil, get your show down under!!!!!! Or even better have it against the Kiwis although we know who would win!"
- Cassie White - Sydney, Australia. April 2005
- Denise Brennock - New Zealand
- Richard Dawson (Cancer Survivor) - Los Angeles, California - 03/07/2005
- Wynn McCormick
- Mark Hill - Ottawa, Canada - List before I'm 50
- Chrisopher Fridley
- Andrea Burnett - List of retirement dreams
- Connie D Sacripante - Portland, Maine - 1/9/05
- Gabe Cohen - Chicago 10/10/2004
- Jason Reagan 10/6/2004
- Katie - Adelaide Australia 10/2/2004
- Steve McCarthy 9/29/2004
- Jessica Marek 9/22/2004
Things I would love to do:
Wellington NZ 10/25/2011