Occasionally, a debate flares up on the subject of whether to allow changes to the 101-in-1001 list or not. In this post, not only will I comment briefly on the changes I have done, but I will also try to provide some sort of rational ground for doing it.
First of all, let us consider the purpose of starting a list. I realise that different people have different goals, but my goal is making sure I do things which I want to do. For many years, I have been fascinated by this tendency of human beings to avoid doing things they actually like doing once they get started, and creating lists is one way of giving a decisive push in the right direction. In some ways, it might be regarded as attempting to lift oneself by one’s bootstraps, but since it seems to have practical effect, I am inclined to postpone the bootstrap debate until some other time.
I also think that it is much more enjoyable to finish something in its entirety rather than just partly, so I perceive an increased chance of finishing tasks on the list if a 100% success is still within reach. I regard failing with one task to be a catastrophe, but failing with two would not be very much worse, certainly not twice as bad.
That being said, what hinders me from changing all the difficult tasks into something manageable? Doing that would contradict the whole purpose of the list. I realise that writing a novel will take time and will be difficult, but it is something which I would like to do, and so the task remains. We have now arrived at the crux of the matter, I only keep tasks on the list which I want to do. The list was (before this update) rife with tasks I had not really thought about enough or tasks which are simply not relevant any longer.
For instance, when I first created the list, I was fairly into Tai Chi Chuan, which naturally led me to come up with a number of tasks related to that. Now, more than a year later, I have quit practicing because I have found other things to do in my spare time, which suit me better. Thus, two points were removed. However, I kept the “Do 4004 Nei Kung exercises, at least 4 each day”, simply because that is something I still think is worthwhile.
This means that I am not prepared to remove a task because it is too difficult or because it takes too much time, since that would, as I have already stated, invalidate the core idea with the list. I do not shy away from difficult or demanding tasks, but I do shy away from spending time on things which I no longer want to do. It seems stupid and counter-productive. Keeping such tasks on the list would create confusion, because I would have the goal of finishing the list at the same time as I insist on my being stupid in doing so (since it would involve spending time on things I do not enjoy).
Conclusively, let me say something brief on the update of the list. I have removed approximately ten tasks, added another ten to replace them and finally changed about twenty, in most cases with the intention of increasing preciseness of formulation and not of altering the intended task. In doing so, I also had to remake the numbering of all the tasks, and thinking that I might as well take the opportunity, I rearranged the categories a bit, making the list more navigable. So, feel free to visit my updated 101-in-1001 list and wish me good luck with the remaining 80 tasks. If you spot any mistakes or errors, please notify me.