Daily Ritual – Part 4: The “Ten Things” List

Some point, not long after cave paintings were developed into words, someone (probably! – I’m just riffing here of course!) developed the first list. A series of things, one below another, with a shared reason for being written in the same place at the same time. Things to buy at the local grocery store(/grocery cave…or maybe just things to hunt!). The first to-do list was probably created not long after and the rest is (ancient) history.
So lists are great, yes!




Are they disciplines?


A recent daily ritual that I have started doing is the “Ten Things” List. The idea being that you write a list of ten things and, while sometimes lists are tools to remember things for shopping or what to do, these lists are closer to an experience in mindfulness and a development of your creativity.  Which, like many of these daily rituals I’m sharing, can contribute to a very balanced and focused start to the day.


The best example of these that you might have heard of or even already be doing is the gratitude list. It forces us to find things to be grateful for. I have since extended them beyond not just gratitude but into things like problem solving and getting things off my chest (a sort of journal entry but as a list) ten things that bother me.


Regardless of the question on the list, the first four or so are usually easy but then by the ninth one you really have to stretch to find the final couple of list items. This forces you to sit with the problem and be very present. And while you might normally dismiss some ideas that could go on the list you find yourself allowing other voices in your head or ideas to pop up.


Here’s how to do it…


Allow your mind to wander to what’s important to you at that time.


Something will pop up and you write down ten things that tie in with that. Sometimes these things can be more relevant to your life, like the examples below, and other times they can be just random opportunities to expand your awareness and creativity. For example, “ten reasons why juice is good for you” or “ten reasons why a road was built right here out the front (out of all the places it could have been built)”.


Because there are so many possibilities, here are some examples below to start you off…
  • For absolute beginners, write down ten things that you’re grateful for.
  • For novices, write down ten people that you will show love, gratitude or affection for today. Or, for the more business minded, ten new product ideas.
  • For those with a little bit more self-awareness or ability to creatively express, ten ways to let go of anger and anxiety today. Or ten ways to develop your network/market to new communities.
In the past I have used
  • Ideas for more talks/workshops
  • First date ideas
  • Ideas to relieve stress
  • Ways to make money immediately
  • Ways to meet a certain type of person
  • Gift ideas for a friend who is hard to buy for
When you put the more personal ones on the list (eg: to do with releasing anxiety) really get a quick perspective on all the silly little bothers that are holding you up right now and where your life is at – and relief from any pain that might there.
For the more business questions, by the ninth question you have exhausted all the “good” ideas you have had recently and are now into the new meatier ideas, the ones out of left field.


The ones where the real gold can be found!


Try it for a week and see! I’d love to read your thoughts! Did it give you a deeper sense of awareness and presence to your day too? Email me!


PS This idea is courtesy of one of my mentors and coaches Wally Salinger of the Alpha Potential. He’s an awesome guy and a great coach! You should check him out!


For more ideas on Daily Rituals, check out my previous article here and if you want to stay in touch for when I post the next one, click here to go to my Facebook page.


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