Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

Compassion in Art

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Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
Important Distinctions Between Education And Evangelism

Education teaches people about different options. It publicly lays out possible pros and cons for courses of action.

In contrast, evangelism tends to go much further than either education or persuasion. In evangelism, an inherent part of the persuasion is a stated or implied threat that if you don’t agree, then negative or perilous consequences will happen to you.

Evangelism tends to suggest there is one right set of answers, and anyone who chooses an alternative is unchoice or will not be chosen. Evangelism is interested in inclusion and exclusion, being “in” or “out.”

I’m an educator. I spend my time and influence publicly advocating tolerance for alternatives. I show and describe possible benefits and detriments from unconventional paths.

If you don’t agree with my tolerances or intolerances, there is no grave consequence for disagreeing. I do ask that you don’t depend on me to do the work to promote the behaviors and ideologies I don’t agree with. “When you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.” ~ John Lennon

Courses of action create their own benefits and detriments. They don’t need faith-dependent, imaginary consequences to attempt to artificially effect their outcomes.

Both education and evangelism are public endeavors. Both put messages out into cultural conversations. Identifying and understanding their differences is important to evaluating their messages.

Be a better friend (read all 96 entries…)
What Would You Do If One Of The Kindest And Most Beautiful People You Ever Met Chose You To Be Their Romantic Partner?

What would you do if one the most beautiful and kind individuals you’ve ever encountered wanted you to be their partner?

How would you live in that reality?

How could you not take them for granted?

Think of the few people who you perceive to be the best people you’ve ever met. If you’re gender exclusive in your amorous affections, then focus on the few people in the one gender you consider to be the best.

What if one of those people chose you to be the primary focus of their long term romantic intents and affections?

Could you live a life worthy of such good luck and fortune?

Could you daily do the work and activities that might be sufficiently reciprocative of such attention and selection?

Think of the person you admire most. Could you practically and honestly facilitate the activities and lifestyle that might merit their personal association?

I’m not sure the human brain can deal with such privilege and realized opportunity.

What should you do if one of the best people in the world chooses you as their romantic partner?

I don’t know. Maybe, every day, throw yourself at the task of trying to live a life worthy of their time and association.

If nothing else, take on the unending tasks of trying to make the world a better place for both of you and everyone else.

live passionately (read all 131 entries…)
When You're In Heaven . . .

When you’re in Heaven, don’t spend too much time focusing on Hell.

When you’re in Heaven, don’t listen too much to those who would have you focus on staying out of Hell.

When you’re in Heaven, you don’t have to worry much about Hell. And the people who would have you worrying regularly about Hell create their own Hellish existences here on Earth.

When you’re in Heaven, don’t allow others to convince you to focus on some Hell that is out of sight.

When you’re in Heaven, don’t lose sight of the Heaven around you.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
An Often Misunderstood Characteristic Of Communication

It’s important to stay in regular communication with others, particularly those you love or are inter-dependent with.

Most people know that communication breeds understanding. Fewer people may understand that in the uncontrollable back and forth of conversations with diverse individuals, in that unfettered reality of communication, accountability increases and tends to improve.

When you stop communicating with others, that can be a red flag you are avoiding reality. Communication tends to promote accountability because we are constantly reminded of others’ perspectives, and we cannot as easily contain and control the scope and considerations of issues discussed.

If you’ve stopped talking with others, ask yourself why. Did they raise issues you didn’t want to face? What silenced you toward them or others? Was it them? Was it you? If it was a combination of both, then to what degrees?

When you throw up absolute barriers to communication, it can be for good reasons, but that is rare. Most reasonable people don’t have to create enforced silences. Most kind people don’t have to exclude others to create nearly absolute control of their social environments.

What makes you silent? What makes you exclude others? Look first into yourself to find those answers. When you’re willing to face what you keep from facing in yourself and what you try to keep hidden about yourself from others, you may find you don’t have to exclude others and live such a sheltered life.

If you find yourself selecting and dismissing friends based on whether or not they’re willing to agree to avoid discussing with you the things you don’t wish to discuss, that’s a red flag. If you only keep a small, exclusive group of friends because they’ve agreed to not discuss the elephants in your house, you can probably function in that limited existence. The choices are yours.

Having substantive conversations with many people is a reckless and dangerous endeavor. If you find yourself cutting off communications that challenge you, investigate why.

disarm fears, promote pleasure, and reduce suffering (read all 80 entries…)
Understanding Separations From Different Perspectives

It’s important to understand that when parents divorce and separate from each other, they likely no longer wish to perceive or define themselves as a “couple.”

However, from their child’s perspective, their parents don’t necessarily disconnect from being a “couple,” a father and mother, a mom and dad. If the parents don’t force a cognitive break from that definition, the child may likely prefer to perceive and interact with them as a couple – their mom and dad.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)

Writing is the circuitry that keeps the world connected and functional. Without writing, civilization would fly apart in an absence of gravity.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
First, Do All The Profitable And Pleasant Things You Can Do For Yourself And Others, Then Relax

We live in a busy age.

We are constantly prodded to do a million things we “should” do.

Advertising, conventional wisdom, and social pressures continuously get in our face and tell us we should be doing more things.

Here is one more option to consider:

First, do all the profitable and pleasant things you can do for yourself and others.

Second, relax and consider if there are more profitable things you could do.

Third, if there’s no more profitable or pleasant things you can think of to do, then stop doing.

What do I mean by “profitable things”?

I’m not only talking about money. When I use the term “profit,” I mean the effect of your actions combined with whatever various other external factors, creates more benefits than detriments for yourself and others. The combination of your contributions with the external elements amounts to more benefit than the unimbued sum of the parts.

When you teach, do students feel pleased and enlightened?

When you have conversations, do your friends feel supported and encouraged?

When you work, do the things you create or do create a monetary profit or a pleasant outcome for yourself and others?

When you make love, is the person your with physically and emotionally intent and fulfilled?

When you exercise, does your body give you signals it is becoming healthier overall?

When you sleep, does your body let you know you’ve allowed it to restore itself?

When you interact with other things, are more benefits created than detriments?

If “You” + “Something Else” doesn’t lead to profitable outcomes more often than not, then consider stopping that course of action. Relax. Do less. Focus first, and maybe almost exclusively, on the activities where your contributions lead to pleasant and profitable effects for yourself and others.

Don’t busy up your life with all the work and social activities that don’t lead to profitable and pleasant returns. Don’t become unnecessarily anxious in inactive time slots. Rest.

Don’t just be busy because you feel guilty about being idle.

If you can’t do something profitable or pleasant, it may be better to do little or nothing at all.

Instead of busying your body and mind, consider using that time to evaluate the results of the few profitable and pleasant activities you are doing and look for other profitable and pleasant activities you’re not yet doing.

My father said to me yesterday: It’s not how long you do things that matters as much as the quality of what you do.

In life, as in business, there are very few things to do that prove to be significantly profitable in the long term. Most things that most people do are not significantly profitable in the long term. Yet, for reasons I can’t fully explain, we continue to busy up our time with benign, unprofitable, and unpleasant activities.

The answer is not simply to “do less.” Often, less is not more. However, prioritizing doing the fewer profitable and pleasant things may be a more profitable and pleasant path. Continue to try new things. Seek the good of others. And continue to regularly measure the effects of your actions.

live passionately (read all 131 entries…)
Do You Think The World Is Unpleasant?

You might be right. If you want to encourage others to be pleasant, start by first being pleasant to them.

If you think the world is unpleasant, then first examine how pleasant you’re being to the world. If you can’t clearly show the pleasures you regularly bring, then don’t be so fast to criticize others for their unpleasantness.

Bring it.

Be a better friend (read all 96 entries…)
If What Goes Around Doesn't Come Around . . .

If you do genuinely profitable things for people, then many people will often turn around and do similar or different, but comparatively valuable, profitable things for you and others.

If you do genuinely profitable things for a person, and they don’t return profitable things to you, then make note of their actions.

There are people who will work hard to return kindness, favors, and benefits to you in like kinds. Find, encourage, and nurture those relationships.

make a difference (read all 108 entries…)
You Are Often What You Have Done

You are often what you have done. And after years of not doing certain things, you can lose the ability to do those things, even though you’d like to do them again.

Sometimes what you regularly do is more important than what you have intent to do, but don’t do.

In the absence of doing, sometimes we lose the ability or opportunity to do certain things, even though we later develop the desire to do them.

Exercise and physical actions are area where this concept is particularly true.

make a difference (read all 108 entries…)
Deciding What Work To Do

Maybe the quesiton should not be so much: What work should I do?

Maybe the better question is: What is the best thing I can do to add value to others’ lives?

live passionately (read all 131 entries…)
Considering the "Level of Desire" with the "Frequency"

Yes, it’s true the level of desire for an elective activity is probably more important than how frequently it occurs.

But where there is a low level of desire for an elective activity, the activity usually occurs infrequently.

And where there is an ample opportunity for an elective activity, but it occurs infrequently, there is usually a low level of desire for that activity.

These general considerations are not always true, but they are often true.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
An Artwork

An artwork is something that tends to become more beautiful the longer and closer you study it.

Be a better friend (read all 96 entries…)
Relationships Are Exercises In Consideration

Relationships, as I understand them, are long term exercises in consideration.

The techniques that help promote long term relationships are different than the techniques that promote so many other pursuits in life.

The processes that build relationships are primarily not about winning, giving, or teaching.

They are about reading, reading the spoken, unspoken, and visual indicators of what another person wants and finding motivations and methods to want to provide those things for another person.

I’m not great at relationships. My reading and interpretive skills are blunt.

If you want to be in long term relationships, you’ll probably benefit from being intent on and capable at being considerate, finding out what is wanted and providing it, whether or not those things are the same things you want.

It’s nice when you share wants, but in the course of long term relationships, there will be many major areas where your wants will either not be the same or will be in conflict. In those frequent and to-be-expected places, you will find out how much you genuinely want to be “in relationship” with another person.

For as romantic as you may feel you are, and for as much as you think you want to be in relationships, if you don’t want to adapt your wants to be compatible with the many, regular things you probably wouldn’t want if you were on your own, then relationships may be a struggle for you to maintain for a long period of time.

There is probably no one on this planet who wants the things you want in just the ways you want them. And while you may be happy with one person because they want certain similar things, be assured that same person is going to also have many incompatible or conflicting wants. All people will come to you wanting many things that are in conflict with your wants. We humans are very complex.

When you don’t see the “value” of another person, ask yourself: Am I valuing them on what I want them to be? Am I valuing them based on criteria I want myself to be? Or should I value them more on the characteristics many people want them to be?

When evaluations are primarily measured by the wants of one person, yourself or your significant other, those evaluations may be too narrow and inconsiderate of your social community as a whole.

If your mottoes are: “No regrets,” “No fear,” “I did it my way,” or “I answer to no one but me,” then you may be an amazingly good person. You may be a perfect you, but chances are you will have trouble in long term exercises of consideration.

Good luck. I don’t know the answers. I hope you can find workable paths for you and yours.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
The Successful Methods To Profit Are Not All The Same As The Successful Methods To Build Lasting Social Relationships

The means to profit, the methods that are effective to gaining more resources via the exchange of a good or service, are not the same methods to building healthy social relationships.

In pursuing profit, you are seeking how to obtain more from doing less. And that type of focus or pursuit often does not work well in relationships.

In building desirous social relationships, it’s often better to seek giving as much or more than you perceive you receive – and that is not often a “profitable” process.

Some people are very successful at being profitable. Some of those same people are not good with social relationships. This may be in part because the pursuits may have opposing interests.

Abilities that lead to winning or excelling are often not the same abilities that lead a person to have pleasant and enduring social rapport.

Relationships are not about “winning” or “profiting” as much as they are about fair exchange. In pursuing profit, a person is pursuing advantage. In pursuing relationships, a person is more often pursuing balancing.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
Wrong Paths

You don’t get much praise or recognition for avoiding many wrong paths you could have taken or could be taking.

In that space and existence, quietly and internally remind yourself of the many good choices you’ve made and bad choices you’ve avoided.

George Lucas supposedly once said something to the effect of: It only takes one bad decision to negate 100 good ones. Unfortunately, he was right.

Sometimes it’s not important to climb every mountain. Sometimes it is a reasonable choice to take safer, less proud, and less glamourous paths.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
The Ability To Point Out A Problem

The ability to point out problems is annoying and common.

It is an ability taught in to us in school. It was the focus of most of our teachers’ efforts and thoughts – pointing out our mistakes.

The ability to find ideas and be a functioning, regular part of bringing solutions to pleasant fruition is rare.

Don’t be content with or proud of your ability to see problems, especially when you don’t know how to bring about the relevant, practical solutions.

live passionately (read all 131 entries…)
Don't Settle For Less

In the important areas of your life, begin your searches by writing a list of your minimum requirements. Adapt as you learn more. But in general, don’t start your process by settling for less than your minimum requirements.

live passionately (read all 131 entries…)
From Me, Beauty Will Come

From me, beauty will come.

This is one thing I can attempt each day, one thing I can choose and design to work toward.

Never stop learning (read all 222 entries…)
Do you enjoy interacting with people who don't have both an intent and ability to please you?

Do you enjoy interacting with people who don’t have both an intent and ability to please you? Yes? No?

Do you have an intent to please the people you’re interacting with If you don’t, then start by considering you may be a source of your social interaction problems.

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