Mark Danger Powers

drummer β€’ educator β€’ author

The 2011 ImpossibList

I’m a bit late in posting this year’s resolutions (and I know some people disagree about whether or not they should even be written in the first place). But I, for one, operate well and efficiently when I have clearly defined goals in place.

After a bit of a slump near the end of last year, I feel like I’m at an critical turning point in many areas of my life. As usual, my interests are varied and I continue to bite off more than I can chew. While that has been, is, and always will be, the case, I want to push myself this year. Although the following will hopefully not be the only things I accomplish in 2011, I’ve taken some time to set myself some very specific goals- a few of which will be rather difficult for yours truly. But I’ll be seeking some help, working my tail off and reporting back here on my progress!

So, without further adieu, and in the spirit of my friend, Joel Runyon’s, Blog of Impossible Things . . .

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My 2011 ImpossibList

Inbox Zero: I’m ashamed to say that I have become one enormous communication fail in the last several months. I know for a fact that some of you totally agree, as you sit there nodding your head right now. The first to admit that it’s 100% me at fault, I’ve allowed myself to become inundated with digital communication. Between email (currently at 134 unread messages), texts (which I also use as a mobile to-do list), voicemails and missed call logs (which I tend to ‘lock’ as I reminder to return), blog comments, messages via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other online sources, I’m in way over my head. I’ve been a slacker in everyone of the above. Well, I apologize, and swear that that’s going to change. While the feat of keeping each of these inboxes at zero messages isn’t at all realistic, I can stay on top of each of them with minimal effort. It’s simply a matter of deciding so and putting a plan in place to make it happen. Part of that plan is to apply Email Triage techniques and maintain an extremely small number of active messages on any given platform.

gain 10+ pounds: Now before you go ranting on me about how you wish you had my problem, hear me out. Although many have trouble losing it, I can’t gain weight if I try. I’ve been a scrawny punk my entire life and have always wanted to put on a few pounds, maybe a bit of muscle, and feel that I was in a little more fit physical state. I can hit the gym, do some lifting and see slight results. But it’s super difficult for me to maintain anything gained. And forget cardio. As much as I enjoy running, that leaved me a skin-and-bones beanpole in just a matter of a few workouts. Again, wish you had my problem? Well, I’m here to tell ya, it still sucks. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Tough Mudder: Last October, Steve Schob and I teamed up for a Muddy Buddy race. This year, we amp things up. Significantly! We’re takin’ on the Tough Mudder, considered one of the toughest endurance races on the planet. Referred to as “Ironman meets Burning Man,” the Tough Mudder is a 7-12 mile obstacle course that’s designed by the British Special Forces. It’s not a timed race; the goal is simply to make it through and finish. I’m in! But there’s one huge problem: I can’t swim [for any decent distance or length of time at all] and their site specifcially says that, “if you cannot swim, then you shouldn’t enter a Tough Mudder event.” The solution? It’s time for me to learn. Fast!

put Guerrilla Influence Formula to the test: My good friend Tyler Tervooren (from Advanced Riskology) just recently launched an awesome eBook package called Guerrilla Influence Formula. He designed GIF to help bloggers substantially increase their online presence, and has guaranteed a gain of 1,000 new subscribers. Hmm . . . I’ve been blogging for a year now. I’ve gotten some excellent feedback from those of you that swing by the site, and it would be great to find ways to grow my readership. I smell a challenge coming on! I’ve decided to personally take on Tyler’s GIF system and put it to the test. More on this soon, as well as a video interview with the risktaker himself, next week!

write 1.5 blog posts each week: With my gig/travel schedule, it’s quite difficult to meet even my small, once-a-week, blog post deadline. Also suggested by Tyler Tervooren, this year I am implementing a new writing requirement for myself: writing a post and a half each week, although only one will be going live. This way, I can create a backlog of posts that can be used to help cover any weeks that I am on the road and unable to get adequate time online.

read the Bible, cover-to-cover: I’ve started before, but never made it past Genesis. Lame, I know. But I’ve gotta be honest, all that “begat“-ing always puts me right to sleep. Just bought a brand spankin’ new NIV Study Bible. This time I’ve got a reading schedule written out (thanks, Bekka Scott!), am going to get through front-to-back, and am taking notes to ponder and discuss.

travel to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Uganda: Not necessarily in that order, but I’ve got to hit all three! I’ll definitely be catching La Fiesta de Santiago in Loiza, Puerto Rico in late July. I’ll also be taking several drum/dance lessons while on the island. Speaking of islands, I’ve got to get back to Cuba for some more research at least one more time before launching my newest school percussion program this coming fall! And, still in the planning stages, the Uganda trip/project will be happening at some point. I’ll be recording an album with local musicians and youth choirs there, in support of an awesome organization, Show Mercy, who connect people in the States with sponsor children in Uganda.

$500/monthly passive income: To make some of my future musical/travel goals more possible, I am exploring a couple of less music-related income generating options. I’ve learned so much in the last year about using the internet for profit. My Products page has been an outlet to distribute my own percussion CD, books and compositions. Writing articles on travel (and occasionally, music) for online webzines has brought a few extra dollars. But, it’s time to take that to the next level. As what I do requires me to be increasingly “location independent,” it’s becoming equally important for me to find methods of replacing some of my current income with more passive forms. It’s necessary for me to be able to travel, but without losing money in the process. I’ll be sharing more about the path I’m pursuing in coming posts! I have some friends who are way ahead of me in the passive income game. Although they’re telling me that six months is a realistic timeframe to get this ball rolling rather strongly, I’m going to set a more modest target of reaching $500/month passive income goal by the end of 2011. Not enough to replace my monthly income, but hitting that mark will prove to me that it’s possible, and will be a great start!

100 Things Challenge: Anybody who knows me, knows that I have a rather extensive world percussion collection. And that’s most likely not going to change anytime soon. Many of the instruments I’ve collected (and continue to) around the globe end up being used in performances and the educational programs I present. That said, no matter how many other ‘personal’ items I get rid of, I can never truly claim to be a minimalist. However, all music-related possessions aside, this year I am fully committed to taking, and conquering, Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge. I’ll be more mobile, less cluttered, much happier!

write and publish 2 [free!] eBooks: Two? What are they about? Well, I’m not entirely sure yet. I’ve got a few ideas and have actually started on two in the past . . . but they’re not so far along, really. I can say that one will definitely be focused specifically toward drummers. The other . . . who knows?! If I’m not sure, then why is this even on this ImpossibList? Because: a) I want to force myself to work on my writing skills, and b) I want to create some resources to share with the readers who support my site!

100 pushups: That’s right, 100 straight through, no breaks! During the initial test I took on the 10th of January, I was able to pound out 32 in a row, allowing me to jump to Week 3 of the program laid out at HundredPushups.com. I’ve been hitting it roughly every other day and haven’t fully passed that week’s workout requirements yet. But I will. Twitter buds Trever, Joel and Anh are also on a mission to knock out 100. [edit: . . . as are Steve and Ryan now, as well.] I’ll keep you posted!

Single Strokes, and the Mangini Experiment: In addition to other, less tangible, music-related goals (regarding gigs, practicing, etc.), I have set myself one crazy, assessable drum goal. My technical “chops” have not exactly been up to par recently, and I’ve got to do something about that. Enter, what I’m titling, the Mangini Experiment: putting an almost unrealistic practice schedule (developed by monster drummer, Mike Mangini) to the test, I am going to increase my single stroke speed by 150+ notes per minute! For you non-percussionists out there, single strokes are simply hitting evenly-spaced, continuous alternating notes (with drumsticks): Right, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left . . . Right now, I’m sad to say that, at last attempt (using a shnazzy little Drumometer), I only squeezed 742 notes in over the period of 60 seconds. The most recent local record is 855. By means of some serious dedication to my Mangini Experiment later this year, I aim to hit 900! More on this later . . . and hopefully I can snag an interview with Mike himself!

Two more paragliding pilot ratings: Last year, I did not make nearly as much time as I would have liked for paragliding. I am currently a first-level P1 rated pilot. While I should have passed my P2 proficiency early in 2010, I didn’t. That may partially be because a bit of fear crept into the picture after I hit some powerlines, but it’s mostly due to my own lack of time management and drive to get my butt moving in the wee hours of the morning. No more excuses . . . as soon as it’s decent enough weather around here to start running off mountaintops and get back into the skies, P2 here I come. And instead of stopping there, look P3 as well! That third rating requires me to log a minimum of 30 flying days, a total of at least 90+ flights and a minimum of 20 hours of solo airtime. That means a ton of flying. Which equals a ton of fun! And it will get me on my way to future Tandem and Instructor ratings. Keep an eye on the sky- you’ll probably find me there!

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Anything on your 2011 ImpossibList?

Leave a comment below and share with the rest of us . . . there’s nothing like supporting each other in our crazy endeavors!

(photo by Tim Regan)

29 Comments

  1. Mark, this is such an inspiring list! I haven’t made my own “official” Impossiblist yet, but an unexpected curve ball definitely has me thinking about my next moves and how I can make 2011 rock!

    • Can’t wait to see what you put on your list, Robin!

  2. Great list Mark! I think you should add Indonesia to your travel list. I’ve got two big items on my list this year. First is to start my 1 year sabbatical. The second is to generate income from my photography. I too am wanting to read the Bible cover to cover. Check out the Bible app for iPhone by LifeChurch.tv (it’s free). They have reading plans and one of them is to read the Bible in a year. Many different versions and translations all on your iPhone.

    • I do need to work Indonesia in there somewhere. πŸ™‚ No iPhone for me, but I do have a weekly schedule written out . . . which I’m currently in the process of catching up on!

  3. Awesome stuff Mark! Good luck with your own impossiblist! I’m totally gonna dominate the 100pushup challenge. Just sayin’ πŸ™‚

    • You just keep thinkin’ that, Runyon- but Trever, Anh and I are on your tail! Well actually, we’re not even close to your 70 yet, but watch out!

  4. My list includes recovering my enjoyment of mountain biking. I took a major fall a few years ago and have had the “yips” about mtn. biking since. I have a new bike now and will be taking a few lessons from friends to get back out there.
    Next, career issues – time to re-evaluate and make some adjustments. New challenges – new energy.
    I could go on but appreciate your list and your desire make things happen.
    Maybe you can help me get on the musical stage, too.
    Good luck this year. I will be waiting to hear how it goes.

    • Hey, Jeff- thanks for sharing. Sounds like you’ve got some decisions and work ahead of you. But that means growth, so good for you! And yes, let’s get you jamming on stage sometime soon!

  5. Mark,

    I am really glad to see you have set some goals for yourself, and it’s really great to see some travel in there! Wow, 3 countries?! …If you accomplish all of these, I will be really impressed… Go for it man!

    P.S. Honestly, Bible in 1 year is not all it’s cracked up to be, at least for me… I did it a few years back, and I found that I was doing it as an achievement for myself, and not with a desire to have my life changed by a certain Person…

    • Hey, Ryan! I can understand what you’re saying about the Bible goal simply being about the goal, rather than the process. But this time around, I am taking the time to stop, think and jot notes to bring up with friends for further discussion.

      And there are [non-tourist] reasons for hitting each of the countries listed this year so, yep, all three! πŸ™‚

  6. One of my resolutions is to really work on my hand drum rudiments. I am planning on work through Ben Jacoby’s adaptions of Stone’s Stick Control as applied to Congas ( http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13026255/stoned0.pdf ).

    • Wow, that’s a very cool system he’s got there. You’re really going to be rippin’ it up in class! Thanks for passing this along, Ken!

  7. Wow! I’m challenged. I’m going to check out several of your links! Para-gliding? Is that as dangerous as it sounds? Cool!

    Mark- you continue to lead by example! Thanks for everything πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Steve! The paragliding isn’t nearly as dangerous as it may sound. Actually, just quite surreal!

  8. Wow Mark!!! this is a very impressive list.

    I like the fact that you took a chapter from Joel Runyon and set very specific targets (i.e.1.5 posts a week, $500 of passive income, 2 ebooks). A goal becomes so much more tangible when you give it a measurement.

    I look forward to following your progress and cheering you on along the way. After reading your list, I’m inspired to review mine and add a few items.

    P.S. Gain 10 pounds….really? I’m soooo jealous :O)

    • Absolutely- being able to measure the progress/success [in relation to that clearly defined goal] is vital, so that you can gauge where you are at along the way, and know when you’ve truly attained the desired result(s). I’d love to see what’s on your list! Thanks, Maria!

  9. Mark – make sure to take time to just * be *
    impossible = I’m possible
    in God’s time
    for whatever is meant to be.
    que sera

    • And I will do some of that, as well! But thanks for the beautiful reminder, Gretchen- I do have a tendency toward booking myself silly . . .

      • [coughcoughFLOATcough]

  10. I pursue my goals at a much slower pace than you do, my friend. =3 This year, after much procrastinating, I am going to actively pursue a different day job. That general statement is loaded — I have practically zero job-hunting experience, have no idea what my desired “different day job” even looks like, and am terrified of the unknown. But I have proven to myself in the recent past that I can work through such fears and achieve my goals in baby steps. This will be no different. Makes sense why it could easily be a year-long project, eh? =)

    Your Bible-in-a-year goal interests me. Like Ryan, I wonder at the why behind your choice… as I would also examine my own whys before embarking on this project myself. If you already have a reading schedule, then this is moot, but: if I were to read the entire Bible, I would not want to go straight through from Genesis to Revelation. I think I would better comprehend and be more receptive to the content if I did it in sections, broken up by theme or literature type. The Prophets are awesome (Ezekiel saw some crazy sh*t, man!), Jonah is not what we are taught it is, Ruth is the best love story EVARR, Ecclesiasties speaks to the plight of every young twenty-/thirty-something… and then there’s that Jesus guy; He was pretty cool. I’d break up the begats by taking them in small doses in between the stuff I find more fascinating. Actually, I DO want to have read the Bible in its entirety at some point. I just don’t see myself doing it all at once like you plan to do. Ugh, now I’m just rambling; I hope this is a fruitful project for you! The End.

    • Hey, Jillyn! Baby steps can be sometimes be the smartest way to approach things . . . and especially with a difficult decision like that. And I did look at several different ways of working through the Bible. In the end, I decided that, for me, cover-to-cover is best. We shall see πŸ™‚

      • I have no doubt that you know yourself well enough to make that call. =) I am interested in how this project plays out, should you be willing to share as it happens.

  11. Love this! I can’t wait to see you mark (no pun intended) each one off the list πŸ™‚

    • Very punny, Kenny . . . thanks for check-ing in!

  12. Mark, thank for turning us onto Guerrilla Influence Formula. I’m getting a ton of useful direction from the first chapter!

    I’m less excited about the 100 things concept,..but I probably need to head in that direction too! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Hey, Steve- glad you’re digging it! Today’s post actually features a video I just shot with Tyler, discussing several parts of his G.I.F. system!

  13. I dig your list. I did the hundred pushup challenge a while back – its pretty awesome. I’m going to check into that race, that really intrigues me. You should check out Tim’s Ferriss’ blog post about total immersion swimming to help you with form. Good luck!

    • Wow- very cool that you did the Hundred Pushups challenge! You made it all the way through? How long did it actually end up taking you? A few of us involved are realizing that it just ain’t happenin’ in 6 weeks πŸ™‚

      I have read Ferriss’ post about the TI method, and do need to look more into it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Nate- hope to catch you again soon!

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