Seven Ways


Hello my friends,


Today is the seventh of December and it is the perfect day of the perfect month to publish a book.


The seventh is the perfect day because the book is called Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket.


December is the perfect month because now you have the perfect holiday gift for a friend or for a relative—or for yourself.


Now, even for a recovering perfectionist like me, that’s enough perfection for one day. Let me share a bit of confusion as well. I’m sending this message to a wider group than I usually do.


Some of you may be expecting an end-of-year message. Others may be expecting my almost-annual Arithmodigmaphilia effort. Some with long memories may even be hoping for the promised return to the Learnings newsletter that I started back in the 1970s. And the rest of you are new friends—so you don’t know what to expect.


So my intention is to throw in a bit of arithmodigmaphilia at the end, but first—instead of sharing seven learnings as I would in a typical Learnings newsletter—I’m going to share seven titles


My good friend George Simons and I have been working on this book for almost three years. During that time we have tried out lots of titles. While working on this message, I came across a draft title page which lists seven options. This sequence of titles may help explain what our book is about—without giving away all the surprises.


1. Before the Bucket List

When George and I were young, the questions were simple: What do you want to do when you grow up? Who do you want to be when you grow up? George is now in his late 70s and I’m only six years behind. Although some of our friends still wonder when we are going to grow up, the question for people who look as old as we do has now changed. 


It happened in 2007 when Justin Zackham invented a term that now feels as if it’s been around forever. Rob Reiner’s film of Zackham’s screenplay starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List.


2. Beyond the Bucket List

Early in September 2012 I went back to the US for half a dozen different reunions with friends 

and family—all surrounding my 50th high school reunion. All of those reunions seemed to include a discussion about the questionthat had not existed before 2007: “What’s on your Bucket List?”


After the umpteenth time someone asked that question, a rhyme without reason in the back of my mind finally popped out.


Sitting in the basement bar of the Wooster Inn with several of my friends on the planning team for our College of Wooster 50th reunion in June 2016, I said: “I’m tired of hearing about what people have on their Bucket List.”


3. The . . .ucket Lists

And since there are lots of things that rhyme with bucket, I started imagining other lists. When I shared this with George, we came

up with seven lists. And that’s the framework of the book.


The first list is the Chucket List. You make a list of things that you no longer need or want. Then you take that stuff and chuck it in the nearest bin. Or if it’s still worth something to someone else, you recycle it or give it away.


The Chucket List seemed an obvious place to begin—and George and I both started doing more chucking out of stuff while we were writing that chapter.


We put our focus on clearing the bucket, because it’s easier on the toes to kick an empty bucket. 


We even created the Ducket List to remind us to duck things that other people think we could or should do—in their kind attempt to fill up the bucket we’ve been busily emptying!


4. Got a Whole In My Bucket

We also created lists to clear the feelings that clog the bucket of life. For me that includes serious stuff like guilt and resentment. This is far more difficult to clear, but it makes an even bigger empty space in the bucket. 


And that leaves a hole for making me more whole. (That bad pun is not in the book, but there are lots of others that are even worse.)


5. What Colour Is Your Bucket?

With a nod to Dick Bolles (and his annual What Color Is Your Parachute?) we realised that an emptier bucket gives us space and time to do what we really want to do and be who we really want to be. That led to the Plucket List—plucking a few choice fruits to enjoy before we kick the bucket.


6. Seven Lists to Lighten—and   Enlighten—Your Life

Eventually we had our seven wonderful lists that we could summarise with poetry—but we chose doggerel instead:


Before the bucket you kick

Empty out what’s crappy

And from what’s left then pick

The things that make you happy


Then we went beyond the lists. As we wrote more about what we were learning from using the processes that emerged from each list, we realised that we were talking about ways as well as lists. A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die. Our book is a guide to ways to live before you die. And that’s the seventh title:


7. Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket

Now that the book has a title, it only needs readers—like you!


Seven Ways to get Seven Ways

The first three ways are especially easy if you are in the UK; the others are available worldwide.


1. Direct from our publisher at http://www.libripublishing.co.uk/products/seven-ways-to-lighten-your-life-before-you-kick-the-bucket


2. From Word-Power Books



3. From Waterstones at



4. From Barnes & Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-ways-to-lighten-your-life-before-you-kick-the-bucket-walter-painter-hopkins/1123035982?ean=9780993000287


5. From Amazon.co.uk at https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_25?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=seven+ways+to+lighten+your+life+before+you+kick+the+bucket&sprefix=seven+ways+to+lighten+you%2Caps%2C172


6. From Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Ways-Lighten-Before-Bucket/dp/0993000282/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449453833&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+ways+to+lighten+your+life


7. Or ask your local bookshop!


For those of you who wanted a number pattern to satisfy your arithmodigmaphilia for the year,

look at the title date again. I used the sequence for computer filing: Year-Month-Day.


So today is 15-12-07. When I stare at it long enough I see that it’s 1 x 5 + 1 x 2 = 07. Or, saying it aloud: “One five and one two—Oh, Seven!” 


Remember, if you don’t want to read more messages like this, you can put us on your Chucket List and unsubscribe. Or you can stay with us and share more learnings.


Meanwhile, enjoy whatever ways and days you celebrate as the solstice approaches.