The Impossible List and how to make the most of it

Effective Faith
6 min readSep 20

I think having goals is important. It is because of this that I want to write more about the impossible list and how to make the most of it. Now, when I say goals, I don’t really mean that vague sense of having goals in life that comes up when someone says to you, quite critically … “you don’t have any goals in life”. I don’t mean that. I mean something much more specific. A target you are shooting for and something specific you want to achieve. You can read this blog post for more of my thoughts on it but in short I think that having goals will help keep you focussed. It helps you ‘fence in’ what is important to you and turn it into something concrete. It helps you to be proactive in using your time and not reactive.

The trouble is that most goals don’t really go anywhere and so we easily can get discouraged as when we have achieved whatever goal it is we have set we kind of end up with nowhere to go from there. At the end of the blog post above, I briefly mention something I discovered that seeks to help with this. The concept is ‘The Impossible List’ and I picked it up from Thomas Frank. I must be honest, I consider this to be a concept that is both incredibly helpful and potentially very unhealthy but we will get to that.

What is ‘The Impossible List’ and why it is impossible?

In its most basic form, the impossible list is nothing more than a list of goals to achieve. But it is impossible because every goal on the list has a next goal, a follow up that expands upon what you have already achieved. It is impossible because it is constantly growing. Let me give you an example from both my impossible list and Thomas Frank’s (I borrowed this from his list!). When I began my YouTube channel in February 2023, I had no idea really what I wanted to do aside from 10 videos on UpNote I had planned to make. The channel grew a little bit and so I set a goal of growing it to 100 subscribers. But, at the same time, I had a goal to grow it to 250 subscribers. Which was followed by 500 and then 1000 subscribers and so one. Currently my channel has 413 subscribers.

The point is, every goal is followed and super-ceded by a next level goal that raises the bar.

Effective Faith

How to live effectively as a Christian in the 21st Century

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