The idea was simple, Sebastian Terry was a young man, stricken with grief, who made a list of 100 goals he thought would make him happy. Now his website, “100 Things” offers a place for people to post their own lists and begin the process of achieving them. From marrying a stranger in Las Vegas, to helping to push a man in a wheelchair in a half marathon, Open Colleges touches base with a modest man doing some very cool things.
By taking the time to consider what might make him happy in life, Seb has come up with an inspirational approach to life that has encouraged him and many others to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
OC: 100 Things is the blog of dreams! How did you come up with the idea?
I was 24, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was backpacking in Canada when I received a phone call telling me that one of my good mates from school had passed away. I asked myself, “Well, if I was going to die today, is there anything that I’d want to change up to this point?”
I simply started jotting down things that would make me smile. I looked at the list and realised that was the answer to how I wanted to live my life. I dropped everything and left.
Many of us experience points in our lives where we feel lost or uninspired. The decision to act on this feeling can come to us in a kind of epiphany, as in Seb’s case, or through building the confidence to make a change over time. With the list having had such resounding effect on his life, Seb is now encouraging others to take the same approach.
The website is now empowering people to come up with their own list of what they want do. Can you tell me more?
People use the website as a journal; to list their own achievements and to connect with others who have similar interests. Even though this started as my own thing, a lot of people found out about my journey and they saw a little bit of hope and inspiration for themselves. They started emailing me saying, “Thank you. You’ve allowed me permission to consider what I want to do.”
Some of the things on your list include placing $1000 on ‘black’ on Roulette and marrying a complete stranger in Vegas. Did you actually do those two things?
Yeah, I actually did those two things within a couple of hours of each other. I met an adult entertainer mud-wrestling, I proposed to her and she said “Yes”. She didn’t show up at the chapel so I ended up marrying my hostel receptionist. Needless to say, it didn’t work out!
What are some of the more inspirational and some of the more strange goals you’ve seen people list?
There are things that are very extreme, such as naked skydiving, setting yourself on fire, going to space, putting a million dollars on ‘black’. Other times it can be very risqué – which is fine too. Then there are things like wanting to help a stranger, volunteer in an orphanage or do something about climate change. The simple, humble things touch me the most, like the CEO that simply wanted to hug his dad.
Whether your goals are short or long term, for fun or work-related, it’s worth taking the time to consider what you want to achieve. The start of a new year is the perfect time to do this. Make a list of your goals and start working on a plan of how to reach them. Take stock every few months to monitor your progress but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remember, goals can change and develop over time.
What were you doing for a job when you decided to start your own company – and how did you feel when you took that step?
I had an inflatable movie business with a friend, but it wasn’t something I was passionate about. I quickly realised that even if the business made millions, I still wouldn’t be happy.
All this, plus losing my friend made me realise business was actually the last thing I cared about. I had a breakdown in the back of a cab – so I decided to run down to the shop the next morning, get a big map of the world and literally map out the list of things I wanted to accomplish. My family and friends didn’t necessarily understand at the time, but it was the best thing I ever did.
What’s the most rewarding thing about working for yourself?
I love that it’s grown way beyond me. It’s an idea that actually helps people.
What would you say to people who might want to start their own business in a similar field?
Understand who you are. Before you make any decisions, do a specific values test and give yourself permission just to consider what you want to do.
Once we decide that a change is required, it is worth taking the time to stop and listen to ourselves – to our needs and desires. Spend some time thinking about what you might do if time, money, commitments, etc. were of no consideration. This often reveals our hidden passions.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or received?
When you’re on a plane and they say, “In case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else out”, I think that’s really important. You need to have to have a solid foundation, your own ‘oxygen mask’, before you help others.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
You can’t force things, but as long as you have an open mind and you’re constantly asking yourself questions and checking in, everything will fall into place.
If there’s one piece of advice you could pass down to your children, what would it be?
Be yourself, but make sure you know who you are. Attack life with reckless abandon! And don’t be scared of not knowing things – naivety is sometimes a gift.
Seb is the perfect example of someone who has found success through realising their need to make a change. By taking the first, often rather daunting step, of seriously considering what might increase his happiness in life, he went on to construct a plan to make it happen and is reaping the benefits, following his passion and living a much happier life.
If Seb’s story has inspired you, why not check out his website https://100things.com.au and start making your own list.