Awesome Bucket 2016

The few things that matter most this year

Grad school consumed the first half of 2016.

After graduating, I took a trip to China and then decompressed (read: plummeted into a pit of boredom) for a few weeks.

Now, we return to the surface to start a new chapter and finish 2016 strong. Here’s what I’ll be working on for the next six months.

My one thing: Go Ultra – complete a 50-miler

After a couple years buried in books, I need to get back into shape and pursue an epic finish line. It’s time to go ultra and hit the trails. I read the book Unbreakable Runner and will follow a training methodology similar to the Crossfit Endurance plan I used to dominate Ironman Arizona in 2013. I’m aiming for the McDowell Mountain Frenzy on December 3, and will document the journey on my triathlon blog: Tri for Les.


  1. Create a functional binder of MBA work. I don’t want to forget – or miss an opportunity to apply – all the great stuff I learned over the past two years of grad school.
  2. Learn how to speak Mandarin. Inspired by my recent trip to China.
  3. Practice lucid dreaming. In this state, you are aware you’re dreaming, while you’re dreaming – and sometimes you can control yourself, work on real-world problems and maybe even dunk from the freethrow line. I’ll use some tips from Tim Ferriss, like writing down dreams and constantly asking myself during the day whether I’m dreaming or not. Should be cool, or terrifying.


  1. Publish two stories a month

“…Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now…” — Ira Glass


  1. Explore three cities in China: Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai (done and done). Do you ever write down tasks after you’ve done them, just to cross them off the list? This goal falls in that category.


  1. Guide an Achilles International runner in a race. I’ve volunteered with this group a handful of times over the past couple years, but have never been able to guide anyone in a race. I hope to make that happen this year.
  2. Land a standing back flip. This carryover from 2015 should be attainable in the process of tackling the next goal…
  3. Take one month of parkour training classes. I will learn how to run up walls and safely jump out of buildings.

“I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It doesn’t matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Compare this list to previous Awesome Buckets from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Photo Credit: Aaron Strout