Superhero Checklist


An episode of the podcast This American Life tells the story of Zora, an international bounty hunter who made a checklist to become a superhero.

“Ever since I was 10 or 11, I decided that was my goal,” said Zora. And at the age of 12, she started The List, a list of around 30 skills she needs to learn to be as close to a superhero as humanly possible. All these should be completed before she turns 23.

The List was written at the back of her diary and included items like Martial arts, evasive driving, and bomb diffusion, among others. Each time she would start a new diary, she would update the list and write it at the back of the book.

Zora accomplished almost everything in her list.

A superhero checklist. Who knew?

But it’s not just the checklist, we all know of New Year’s resolutions that don’t get past the first few months. How many people are as diligent?

How many people have the growth mindset needed to try a lot of new things?

I, for one, don’t.

As a kid, I tried a lot of things. But I started owning writing as my one true skill since it was the only thing I was named “best” at. In all the other things I tried, I was only second or third place. So young me thought, well, if I wasn’t best at math or drawing or extemporaneous speech, then it’s not worth doing at all.

Bad call, young me.

My fixed mindset seemed innocuous at first. But how many things did I give up on because I wasn’t an expert after the first couple of days? How many times have I beaten myself up for mistakes instead of learning from them?

How many times have I put myself in a box because I’m only “meant to do” a handful of things?

So I’m giving The List and growth mindset a try. I’m not ready to go public with my list yet. But have some lists from a cooler, more accomplished people:

Productivity expert and blogger behind College Info Geek Thomas Frank has his impossible list. This is not a bucket list, as it doesn’t get completed. Instead, it’s an “ever-evolving list of experiences that build upon each other, help others as well as yourself, and implore you to take action.” Check that here.

He got the idea from Joel Runyon who created the first Impossible List, check that here.



Psychology professor Carol Dweck discovered the fixed and growth mindsets. To read more about that, check this post from Brainpickings.

Photo from ErikaWittlieb at Pixabay. (Thank you!)



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