The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

As the new year is upon us, I have decided to share with you not merely my resolutions, but my life list. The definitive list of all the things I want to have done by the time my life is over. 

What are your reactions? What things should I add? Which things inspire you?  Which things surprised you?

Personal Mission Statement (Guiding Values):
I, Kendel Christensen, live to serve, inform, and be expansively useful to my fellowmen. I seek to personally develop and provide to others: 1) An informed perspective, 2) worthwhile skills, and 3) Examples of superior success in the face of justifiable reasons to expect averageness. I strive to be a force for good and inspire lasting change in others’ lives especially regarding their self-awareness, interpersonal relations, and sense of possibility regarding the outside world. My goal is to live an honorable life and leave a path others will be inspired to follow.
Reminder: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important
as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Goethe

My life goals, in no particular order:


1.               Become an Eagle Scout

-Done (2002)

2.               Type 50 wpm with 100% accuracy

3.               Teach a college course

a.         Substituted for a college class 3 times…

4.               Become a published author

-Done 4 times. (Link to author page)

5.               Publish an article in a nationally-renowned magazine. Almost

6.               Write at least 5 books

a.         Started 2 in Fall 2010

b.         One finished 2014

c.         Three finished, two published 2016

d.         2019 two more manuscripts created.

7.               Run a half-marathon for a good cause

8.               Do 100 pushups March 21, 2013

9.               Do 15 pullups June 25, 2013

10.           Swim 30 Laps/day for 90 Days

11.           Have my own website

-Done (2007).

11.           Have over 1 million hits on my website

-170,643 hits to date

12.           Hike a mountain that is over 10,000 feet in elevation

-Done (Mount Timpanogos = 11749 feet), Sinai ~7500 ft.

13.           Assemble a comprehensive family tree

14.           Solve the Rubik’s Cube

-Done (January 28, 2005)

15.           Make a transcendent change in the world*

  1. Dallin James Christensen, Born May 6, 2017

16.           Be interviewed for a TV program

17.           Be a guest writer/newscaster

18.           Invent something

19.           Create something that did not exist before, every year

20.           Be in a play

21.           Write a play

22.           Write an app

23.           Have over 1000 followers on my blog

24.           Do a stand-up comedy routine  April 20, 2013

25.           Have dinner with one of my heroes

-Done, (LGR, WD, ALWx2) more will follow.



26.           A) Learn 3 Languages, B) Be Conversational in 5. C) Know basic greetings/phrases in 10.

a.         2/3 done. (English, Spanish) 

b.         Know ASL alphabet,

27.           Be familiar with the great works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Twain, Tolstoy, Wordsworth, Kierkegaard, Kant, Mill, Marcus Aurelius, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Pascal, Thomas Paine, Emerson, Jung, Nietzsche, Rand, William James, Locke, Popper, the Dalai Lama, Chopra, C.S. Lewis , Weber, Levinas, Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Durkheim, Foucault, Mead, Stephen R. CoveyDale Carnegie, Cervantes, AesopHomer , Montesquieu, Bronte, Austen, John Donne, Emily Dickinson, Dostoyevsky, Maupassant, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Tennyson, Gerard Manly Hopkins, BorgesOrwellTolkien , Yeats,

28.           Learn about the lives of, to the point of being conversational with an expert: Einstein, Marco Polo, Helen Keller, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Augustus Caesar, Nicola Tesla, Winston Churchill, Raoul Wallenburg, Ghandi, William Wilberforce, SocratesAlbert Schweitzer, George Washington, Viktor Frankl, Alexis de Tocqueville, Mark Twain, Martin Luther King, Robert Baden-Powell, More…

29.           Become a certified computer technician

-Done (June 2004)

30.           Gain a basic understanding into the following topics: economics, European historyUnited States history, geography, memory, philosophysociology, psychology, business, human development, anatomy, political theory, world religions, ethics, statistics, Latin American history, teachingpedagogy, debate, communication

31.           Gain expert status in interpersonal communication and relationships*

32.           Organize, Review, Remember, and share what I learn*

33.           Become financially literate

1.            2013, Opened a well-researched checking and savings account; began stock market


2. 2016, Implemented a top to bottom financial system for all incoming and outgoing funds.

34.           Become an intelligent, critical consumer of media

35.           Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

-B.S. in Sociology, August 2010. All tuition paid via scholarship.

36.           Earn multiple advanced degrees

-University of Pennsylvania M.S. Ed., May 2013

37.           Earn an honorary degree

38.           Learn formal debate

39.           Learn formal logic

-200 Hours studying LSAT, 170 score

40.           Be able to appreciate great works of music and art

41.           Read 1000 worthwhile books and be able to recall the main ideas from each

-Over 160 and counting. Track my progress on

42.           Read at least one self-help or relationship-building book per month. (On track)

43.           Stay up-to-date on new technologies

-Thusfar done. Current method: subscribed to the RSS newsfeed of



44.           Be someone worth remembering.*

45.           Be a lifelong advocate for at least 3 causes

a.         “One day, all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”

b.         Promote a healthy family culture

c.         ________________________________

46.           Start a nonprofit for a cause of my own

47.           Learn how to take criticism and not take offense*

-Ongoing. Current way that helps me the most: realize that I am imperfect and need to continually learn from others—why not now? After thoroughly examining the suggestion, I can always choose to conclude that they are wrong and ignore it, thus, criticism does not intimidate me.

48.           Learn how to take a compliment*

49.           Be and be known as someone who is honest, efficacious, informed, and genuine*

50.           Stand up for what I believe in

51.           Be approachable, able to put others naturally at ease*

52.           Be a man whose opinion is sought more than it is dreaded*

53.           Never choose power, glory, or money over principle.*

54.           Keep in touch with friends*



55.           Read the major holy books of the world: Bible (Christianity), Qur’an (Islam), Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism), Dhamapada (Buddism), Tao Te Ching (Taoism), Confucius’ Analects.

56.           Know myself—including a healthy, objective perception of my weaknesses*

57.           Live deliberately/Develop mindfulness*

58.           Develop self-mastery, especially the abilities to delay gratification and subordinate the flesh*

59.           Be able to look at people and see them as God does

60.           Find balance between expecting the most out of people and just loving them*

61.           Serve a mission for my faith

-Done. (2004-2006 in Argentina)

62.           Know the bio for every person in my religion’s Holy Books (Known for more than just ‘begat’ing)

63.           Never be a blind follower, but rather someone who lives out of personal conviction*

64.           Be a person who does not need to be told all things, but rather sets my own standards based on principles.*

65.           Be perceptive to other’s feelings. Always look at things from the other’s perspective.*

66.           Be a self-corrector: continually evaluate performance and repent as necessary. Take responsibility and never live in self-deception.*

67.           Be forever teachable*

68.           Be continually grateful, and experience joy in life’s small pleasures*

69.           Seek and hold to Truth above all else.*

70.           Never lose hope in the goodness of humanity*

71.           Never be a worrier. Be accepting of the things I cannot change; Have the courage to change the things I can; And have the wisdom to know the difference*

72.           Learn to be content with little

73.           Learn to be forgiving and patient with myself*


Personal Development :

74.           Use exemplary grammar and understand the reasons behind the rules.

75.           Seek a mentor

76.           Be a mentor

-Ongoing. Current count (to my knowledge): 19 people.

77.           Keep a clean, organized personal space and household

78.           Learn to handstand

79.           Learn Photography

80.           Be a toastmasters prizewinner

81.           Learn 10 magic tricks

82.           Learn a dance that will allow me to twirl, then catch, my wife.

83.           Learn a new sport

84.           Learn to photoshop

85.           Learn to play 5 hymns and one popular song on the piano

86.           Take voice lessons



87.           Ride in a hot air balloon

88.           Scubadive, Great Barrier Reef, Fall 2019

89.           Go gliding

90.           Experience weightlessness

91.           Go on a safari (but don’t shoot anything)

92.           See a Broadway play

a.         Done. 2004 (Beauty and the Beast), 2010 (In the Heights), 2011 (Wicked), 2012 (Mary Poppins).  Hamilton, The Phantom of the Opera, Something Rotten, Lion King

93.           Attend an Olympic event

-Done. February 2002.


94.           England (Stonehenge, Winsor Castle, see a play)

95.           France (Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Louvre)

96.           Redwood Forest

97.           Egypt

-Done. May 14- 2010. Saw the Great Pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx, the Step Pyramids at Saqqara, the Colossus, Karnack, the Valley of the Kings, the Cairo Museum (including the King Tutankhamen exhibit), the Mosque of Mohammad Ali, and hiked Mount Sinai.

98.           The Holy Land (Israel/Palestine)

-Done. Saw every major site. Lived there April 28-August 12, 2010. Will return with my family.

99.           Italy (Coliseum, Vatican City)

100.        Petra

-Done. July 27, 2010. Saw the Treasury, the Monastery, the urn tombs, walked through Hadrien Gate, the theatre, and the slot canyons.

101.        Greece (Parthenon/Acropolis)

102.        Smithsonian Museum

-Done. Will go again.

103.        Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)

104.        Disneyland and Disneyworld

105.        Scandinavia

-Done, May 2011

106.        Washington, DC

107.        Visit 6 continents

108.        Visit over 50 countries.

-Current count: 12 (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Paraguay, Sweden, Syria, United States, England, Australia, Fiji, Chile)



109.        Get a world-class, exceptionally mind-opening, and well-rounded formal and informal education

  1. Lifelong, but foundation is solid as of 2013: BYU, UPenn, Classic literature and non-fiction exposure, varied life experiences, timeless essays, and online learning communities such as

110.        Give a major speech at a major university

111.        Leave a lasting, valuable contribution in my field*

112.        Run for public office

113.        Start my own business

114.        Do something for my career that

1.       Uses my God-given talents and related to my core characteristics

2.       Is intellectually stimulating: I will be continually learning things that are both fulfilling (help me see the world more clearly) and relevant (things that can be applied to better others’ worlds).

3.       Has an impact on people’s lives—their happiness, relationships, and way of being. Heavy emphasis on “minds & hearts” over physical/temporal things. I also desire the widest sphere of influence possible.

4.       Doesn’t have to yield a lot of money, but enough to support a family, and some extra for projects/causes.

5.       Has freedom: Rigid enough to give me a pattern/structure to work within, but flexible enough to let me mold things in a direction that I when I get ideas.  Ideally, can allow me to be fully independent once I know what I want to do and have an idea of the steps to take to get there.

6.       Engenders future job mobility.  I’m not learning something that is so specific that I’ll be locked into that type of job—or run the risk of becoming obsolete.  I want something that is as generally applicable and transferrable as possible.

115.        Become financially independent by age 40

116.        Earn $10,000 through the internet

117.        Earn passive/residual income

118.        Design a t-shirt


119.        Fall in love with someone who inspires me. Marry them, and be forever faithful.

120.        Have my wife know and really feel that she is the most important thing in my life*

121.        Have a large family (wife agreeing, ~8 kids)

122.        “Be there” for each of my kids*

123.        Have a relationship with each of my children such that they trust me and come to me with the important things*

124.        Have a loving, safe home environment where our family is completely open to share our feelings*

125.        Have an in-house library filled with the ULTIMATE curated collection of books (complete with a rating system for level of awesomeness, ages)

126.        Create traditions that will survive into the 5 th generation and beyond*

Random/Keep Myself from Taking Life Too Seriously:

127.        Go to a public place in the middle of the day in my pajamas

128.        Be the first one to raise my hand when a dignitary asks if there are any questions

Done. February 28, 2011 (SC)


129.        Learn a new word every day, for a year.

130.        Help found or be President of a club.

131.        Go without watching television for 200 days straight (save conference)

*To be judged candidly by my wife and immediate family after my death.




“I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.”

(Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Life’s Lessons Learned,” Ensign, May 2007, 45-47)


“As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

-Leonardo da Vinci


“It is necessary to prepare and to plan so that we don’t fritter away our lives. Without a goal, there can be no real success. One of the best definitions of success I have ever heard goes something like this: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never crossing the goal line.

Years ago there was a romantic and fanciful ballad that contained the words, “Wishing will make it so / Just keep on wishing / And care will go” (“Wishing Will Make It So,” lyrics by B. G. DeSylva). I want to state here and now that wishing will not replace thorough preparation to meet the trials of life. Preparation is hard work but absolutely essential for our progress.”

(Thomas S. Monson, “In Search of Treasure,” Ensign, May 2003, 19)


“It is not so much the major events as the small day-to-day decisions that map the course of our living. … Our lives are, in reality, the sum total of our seemingly unimportant decisions and of our capacity to live by those decisions” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Caesar, Circus, or Christ? Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [26 Oct. 1965], 3).


“I think of another kind of tragedy we frequently see, that of persons of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. They succumb to indolence. Lack of effort robs them of will.”

(Gordon B. Hinckley, “And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly,” Tambuli, Aug 1994, 3)


“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”

(M. Russell Ballard, Talk given to Salt Lake area young adults, October 18, 1981)


“Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. . . . Of Jesus’ preparation for his mission, the scripture states that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52.) This encompasses four main areas for goals: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?” asked the Master, and he answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27.) Now there is a lifetime goal-to walk in his steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as he has done, to seek his face, and to work to make our calling and election sure.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Nov 1974, 65)




18 Responses

  1. This is a great list, but being the editor I am, I need to let you know that you mention Pascal twice in your section of authors you want to be familiar with.

    Other than that, “Be accepting of the things I cannot change…” I’m not quite sure if I agree with that or not. There are many things that you cannot change, but should be changed. Is that really a reason to lay back and accept them? Maybe, maybe not. Like I said, I’m not decided on this; I want to hear what you have to say.

    As for your “be approachable” goal, from my one evening I spent with you, I’d say you’re pretty approachable. I was comfortable. Obviously, this is something that can change over the years, so it’s fine for it to be an ongoing pursuit, but I wanted you to know that you aren’t too far from your goal.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! This list partly serves as just a reminder of the things I want to stay up on, so I’ll continue to work on my approachability so that I don’t lose whatever it is that makes you use such kind words.

    For “things I cannot change”, I refer something more like the spirit of this talk by Elder Hafen:

    Among other things, that we always strive for the *ideal*, but recognize that life is also *real*–aka imperfect, doesn’t conform to what we’d like when we’d like it, etc. And we can accept that unresolution in our lives.

  3. Kendal,

    -For Lincoln, read “Team of Rivals.” A really great and definitive book on all of Lincoln’s life, but especially his political genius before and during his presidential administration.

    -I think you could probably cross out that you have a basic understanding of sociology, wouldn’t you? I mean a BS pretty much covers that.

    -8 kids!!!

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