Today marks the start for Dscoop. Apart from innovation, Dscoop is all about inspiration. As one of the speakers, Yuval Abramovitz has the job of providing some of that inspirational spark this year in Tel Aviv. Six years ago he posted his dreams on a blog and through social media he not only fulfilled most of them but also discovered a formula for achieving goals. This is his story.
Everyone has goals and dreams in life. Some want to conquer Mount Everest. Others want to run the New York Marathon. One person wants to learn to play Für Elise on the piano whilst someone else wants to win Idol. Whether the goal is to go to the Moon or to learn more about red wine, some people always seem to succeed in reaching their goals whereas other people’s goals remain unfulfilled dreams.
In striving to understand why this is so, and how to achieve one’s dreams, the 39-year-old Israeli journalist and actor Yuval Abramovitz created in 2010 an “interactive experiment” using himself as the guinea pig.
“I started a blog where I wrote down ten things I wanted to achieve within 400 days,” he says. “I called my blog ‘The List’ and posted links on Facebook and Twitter. The response was huge. After one day I got emails from around the world – Australia, Norway, Rwanda, Israel. Everywhere there were people who wanted to help or encourage me.”
The experiment really got a flying start. Someone sent the email address to Oprah Winfrey’s producer, because one of Yuval’s dreams was “to meet Oprah Winfrey”. Personal trainers and gym managers contacted him and wanted to help him “get in shape and get a washboard stomach” and from Australia came offers for free accommodation so that his dream of “travelling around Australia without spending a single dollar” could be realised. The online desire to help was far greater than Yuval had ever realised.
“Everybody is like their own little Google or Wikipedia with experience of and knowledge about various things. Everyone knows someone who knows or can do something special. What I noticed was that people really like helping other people and they do it with love. That’s why you should dare to talk out loud about your dreams, both in ‘real life’ and on various social media. Help is much closer than you realise.”
As Abramovitz was taking his first steps to achieve his own goals, other people’s lists also started to pour onto his blog. First came hundreds, then came several thousand.
“I started to read the lists that came in and after a while I discovered a couple of different things about how to write your lists so that your goals are achievable. That’s one of the things I’ll be talking about at Dscoop and the audience will also get to write their own lists.”
What’s the most important thing to do when writing a list?
“First, it’s important to take the time to think of what goals and dreams you have. Write down everything you think of, even if they feel like fantasies. At the next stage you must choose and reformulate your goals so they suit you and are possible to do. For example, I’d written ‘get in shape’ on my list but nothing happened at first because it turned out that I hated training at a gym. So then I changed my goal to ‘find a type of training that I really like’ and after trying things like yoga and running, I decided on swimming. Now I’ve lost seven kilos and am satisfied with my body.”
After 400 days with his blog and studying other people’s lists, Abramovitz decided to write a book based on his newly won insights. Eighteen months ago it was published as The List – Shout Out Your Dreams and quickly became a bestseller in Israel. It is now on track to being published in another 20 or so countries.
“I’m so happy, grateful and proud that my book is doing so well and that I get to lecture around the world,” he says. “I don’t come from a rich or famous family but thanks to the internet the world has become far smaller and you can find help everywhere. My life has totally changed and the same thing can happen to anyone if they only dare to share their dreams.”
Did you manage to fulfil all ten of your dreams in those 400 days?
“No all of them but I’m getting there. In May I’m going to Australia and have been offered free accommodation by several people there, and since I’ll be lecturing there I actually will make a profit from the trip. I haven’t met Oprah Winfrey but that may come when my book is published in the US. I wanted to learn French but instead I’ve starting studying Arabic, which feels more important since I live in Israel. Really, what’s most important is not to achieve all your goals but to start trying. If you haven’t even tried you will definitely regret it.”
How to write your own list:
Yuval Abramovitz guides you to create the list that will help you achieve your goals and dreams.
Take 20 minutes for yourself without a computer or phone. Sit in a quiet, calm place and think about what you really want to do in your life.
Think like a child and write down absolutely everything you can think of. Children don’t think of limits or difficulties and nor should you at this stage. Believe that everything is possible.
Rewrite the dreams on your list and make them more concrete. Try to be as specific as possible. Don’t write “get in shape” but write “be able to run 10K in less than an hour” or “lose five kilos”.
Choose five or ten things you really want to do and set a deadline of about two years. That is a good length of time because it gives you a realistic timespan to achieve your goals but it is short enough that you have to start at once.
Share your list with as many people as possible: on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsup and in reality. Yuval himself invites his friends and family to “list dinners” at which they write lists and share their dreams. Then they can help and encourage each other, which is also a good way to get to know people even better.
See Yuval Abramovitz at Dscoop: The List, Shout out your dreams
6 April, 11.30–12.30 and 15.00–16.00
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TEXT: JOHAN FORSSTEDT PHOTO: RONEN ACKERMAN