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Thursday, May 12, 2011

30 DAYS TO A BETTER MAN DAY 12: CREATE YOUR BUCKET LIST

I’m sure I’m not the only man out there who hasn’t given much thought to all the exciting and fulfilling things he wants to do before he kicks the bucket. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who found Chris’ post really interesting, and then proceeded to do nothing about it. So today’s task is to turn our good intentions into something concrete by creating a bucket list and taking the first steps towards actually completing one of the items on the list.

Why Have a Bucket List?

As Chris pointed out in his post, when we were kids, we all had dreams of cool and exciting stuff we wanted to do when we grew up. I remember dreaming about going to Japan and learning karate. But something happens when we become adults. We become more cynical and start thinking big adventures aren’t prudent or reasonable. We think we’re too busy to do anything extraordinary. And we’re surrounded by ordinary people who aren’t doing anything special either. So we settle and stick with doing what’s safe.
Of course, no matter how deeply we bury our dreams, regret over their demise will still come bubbling to the surface. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back on my life wishing I would have done x, y, and z when I had the chance. I am convinced that all men are made foradventure. And when there’s no adventure in our lives, a little part of us dies.
If you feel like you’ve been in a rut or that you’ve become too boring, creating a bucket list is the first step to adding a little more excitement back into your life. A bucket list can act as a road map to a life of adventure and fulfillment.

Creating the Bucket List

Creating a bucket list is pretty easy. It’s just a matter of taking the time to actually do it.  But if you’re like me, it’s just one of those things that you never get around to and you keep living your life one dull day at a time. Today we’re going to change that.
Today’s task is to create your bucket list. Set aside about 30 minutes of your day and think about all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Then write them down. Writing creates a contract with yourself and makes you more likely to follow through with your dreams. The goal is to come up with at least 10 items for your bucket list. If you’re like me, this could take a lot longer than you think.
Don’t put down things just because you feel like you’re supposed to want to do them. If you’re not really excited about the idea of skydiving, then don’t put it down. People might tell you that everyone should backpack across Europe, but if you’re honestly not a person who enjoys travel, then don’t add it to your list. Really think about stuff that you yourself have dreamed of doing. The stuff that makes you happy just thinking about it. Think about where you want to be in 10, 20, and 50 years. Think about sitting in a nursing home at age 90 and looking back over your life. What is that old man wishing he had done?
If you’re having trouble coming up with items for your list, it might help to create categories such as these:
  • Travel

  • Relationships

  • Career

  • Financial

  • Entertainment

  • Education

  • Health

After you come up with the categories,  think of something for each that you would like to accomplish. For example:
  • Travel: Visit Greece

  • Relationships: Propose marriage to my girlfriend on top of a mountain

  • Career: Find a job where I can work at home

  • Financial: Become a millionaire by age 35

  • Entertainment: See Jimmy Eat World in concert

  • Education: Take a course in basic carpentry skills

  • Health: Lose 20 pounds

Pick One Item on Your Bucket List and Do Something to Set It in Motion

Now that you’ve created your bucket list, look it over and pick one goal as the one you next plan to accomplish. Pick the one that you can most reasonably complete this year. Then, come up with a plan on how you’re going to to accomplish this goal. Think through and make a list of everything you would need to do to make it happen. Then pick one task from the list and do it in the next 24 hours. For example, if your goal was to visit Greece this summer, you would make a plan like this:
  • Request time off from work

  • Buy travel book about Greece

  • Get passport

  • Figure out a way to make more money to pay for the trip

  • Start researching prices of airline tickets

You then might choose “buy travel book about Greece” as your first task, and head down to the bookstore to pick one up. The important thing is to do at least one single task that will move you closer to your goal.
Remember, a little bit of adventure is in the reach of every man. It doesn’t have to mean spending all your money or giving up your responsibilities. You can live like a happily ordinary guy 362 days a year, but just leave 3 days for doing something extraordinary, something that reminds you that you’re alive.

30 DAYS TO A BETTER MAN DAY 11: GIVE YOURSELF A TESTICULAR EXAM

Today we’re going to examine ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean our balls. Why, you may be asking, are we examining our bits and pieces today? Well, testicular cancer is the most common malignancy in young men between the ages of 20 and 34. It’s also is the number one cancer killer among men in this same age group. Who knew that the one thing two things that makes a man a man, can also be the very things that kill you?

The good news is that if detected early, testicular cancer is almost always curable. But in order to detect cancer, you need to know what to look for and also how to look for it.

Do I Need Regular Testicular Self-Exams?

Most health professionals recommend all men between the ages of 15 and 40 have regular testicular exams performed by a doctor. This is usually done once a year at your yearly physical.
If you have a history of testicular cancer in your family or if you had undescended testicles as a baby, it’s recommended that you perform monthly self-exams. Studies have shown that male children with a history of undescended testicles have about 10-40 times higher risk of developing testicular cancer. And here’s the kicker: both testes are at higher risk, not just the undescended one. If you don’t know if you had an undescended testicle, ask your parents.
The American Cancer Society doesn’t recommend that men who have no risk of testicular cancer perform regular monthly self-exams. But even if you aren’t at a high risk for testicular cancer, it doesn’t hurt to examine yourself every now and then. It’s fast, painless, and will give you peace of mind to know that everything is fine under the hood.

Today’s Task: Give Yourself a Testicular Exam

I’m sure that many of you are still trying to complete yesterdays task and are hard at work memorizing If. So today’s task is simple, straightforward, and quick. You’re going to give yourself a testicular exam. Here’s how to do it:
It’s best to perform the exam right after a hot shower when the scrotal muscles are warm and relaxed. You know… when your balls are saggy.
1. Stand in front of a mirror and check for any swelling on the scrotum’s skin.
2. Exam each testicle with both hands by rolling the testicle gently but firmly between your thumb and fingers. Don’t worry if one testicle feels larger than the other. That’s completely normal.Fast fact: A man’s left testicle is usually larger than the right one. While you’re rolling each testicle in your hands, look for hard lumps on the surface of it.
3. Don’t confuse the epididymis for a lump. The epididymis is the spongy, tube-like structure that collects and carries your sperm to the prostate. You can feel the epididymis on the top and down the back side of each testicle. This isn’t the sort of lump you’re looking for.
4. If you notice any sort of hard lump on your testicle, don’t freak out yet. Just contact your doctor immediately. Complete and accurate diagnosis can only be performed by a trained medical physician.
Other things to look for
In addition to lumps on the surface of your testes, be on the look out for these signs of other problems:
  • Sudden acute pain during the self-examination could mean you have an infection in the epididymis or it could mean the spermatic chord is twisted up and blocking blood flow to your testicles. If you feel pain during the exam, go see the doctor.

  • You feel a soft collection of thin tubes above or behind your testicles. It’s often described as feeling like a “bag of worms.” This may indicate a varicocele.

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