1 | THE LIST THAT SAVED ME

    AT THE TENDER AGE OF SIXTEEN, MY LIFE AS I KNEW IT AND THE LIFE I HAD IMAGINED FOR MYSELF WAS OVER. AN ACCIDENT HAD FLIPPED MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. It all happened when I was working at a steakhouse as a busboy, clearing tables. The lowest in the food chain of hospitality jobs. I was saving money for all the things a boy my age would want - a driver’s license, new clothes and CDs. During one shift I was asked to bring a heavy barrel of pickles from the storage located next to the restaurant. In the parking lot, between the restaurant and the storage room, there was a small and extremely slippery puddle. It was a viscous trap of motor oil, cooking oil and detergent residue that was washed out of the restaurant on a daily basis. Two weeks prior to my accident, the owner of the restaurant had himself slipped on that puddle and broken his arm. Being a responsible boy, I had mentioned to him on several occasions that he should cover the slippery puddle with a wooden deck to prevent further accidents, but he chose to ignore my advice. Then, before two weeks could pass it was my turn. Flying through the air, I landed right on the sewage lid, pickles scattering all around me. To this day, I can still hear the cracking sound of my skull when it hit the cold concrete. I remember the feeling of my head being practically yanked off my neck and my brain shaking in my head from one side to the other like a ping-pong ball. The back of my now bleeding neck hurt so badly, that I was completely oblivious to the devastating injury in my lower back.

    Diners and restaurant workers gathered around me checking to see if I was conscious. I was lifted up by three men, while the owner, still wounded and in a cast, orchestrated the whole operation. People yelled out “Get up! Let’s see if you can walk!”. But I could barely stand. I felt dizzy and vomited twice. An ambulance arrived and I was rushed to hospital where I was immediately sent for X-rays and other medical tests. I notified the doctor at the E.R that I had no sensation in my legs whatsoever, but when the results came back showing no evidence of any spinal injury, I was sent home. The doctor’s instructions were simple - lie in bed for three days on a warm electric blanket and you’ll be as good as new in no time. The pain will be gone. And he was right. The pain WAS gone but so was any sensation in my legs. I woke up on the third day and couldn’t even get myself out of bed. I was completely paralyzed, unable to stand or walk. It was the strangest sensation, as if I was hallucinating. I kept saying to myself “Get up! Stand on your feet now!” But I just couldn’t do it. I pinched my legs, nothing. I scratched them with my fingernails, nothing. No sensation. I found a pen on the floor nearby and pricked my flesh with it. The leg bled but I couldn’t feel any pain. “Mom! I’m paralyzed… I can’t move!” I screamed out. She rushed to my room and started yelling orders at me: “Try walking! Try standing!” “It’s probably just pins and needles” she said trying to remain calm but I could see the panic in her eyes. She ran to the bathroom, grabbed a pair of tweezers and started pinching my toes, my feet, my ankles, quickly working her way up my thighs. I felt nothing.

    My mother went and called a neighbor who was kind enough to carry me down to his car and we drove to the nearest hospital. I was sent to the E.R for an initial diagnosis. A solemn-faced doctor examined me with a reflex hammer and diagnosed a complete loss of sensation in the right leg and 60% function loss in the left one. The suspected diagnosis: a spinal injury. Two hours later, I was sent to the neurological ward where I was again hit with a reflex hammer and had electric current run through my legs in the hope I would feel a tingle. The doctors were trying to determine just how far the paralysis had spread. Three doctors, accompanied by an intrigued group of interns, came by my room to see with their own eyes what had become the ward’s talk-of-the-day. They wanted to know if the paralysis had spread as far as my genitals. Luckily that area was unaffected, thanks for asking! After an exhausting night of test after test, the doctors were frustrated. The X-rays showed no fracture of the spine. There was no explanation of the reason for my paralysis, or an estimate of when, or if, my legs would ever function again. What they did notice was a slight movement of the lower vertebrae. After being hospitalized for almost two months, there was no change in my condition. When it seemed pointless to keep me there, I was rolled home in my wheelchair - my new set of limbs. It turned out the doctors had planned it so that my hospitalization period would become a sort of practice and preparation for my new life. The life of a crippled sixteen year-old. During my stay I could feel the doctors getting desperate, then losing hope in finding any cure for my condition. In a final effort to stimulate my nervous system they transmitted electrical currents through my legs right up until the day of my discharge. Then, declaring defeat put me in a wheelchair and sent me home to my new life. I did not return to the hospital, nor did I go back to school. I was an eleventh-grader whose only consolation was that, due to my new circumstances, I was exempt from doing homework or studying for exams.

    My bedroom became the new social hub. From 8am till midnight my room was filled with school friends who came by to cheer me up. Sometimes I would have as many as twenty people at my bedside. I remember these days being so joyful and full of shared experiences; watching TV and movies together, gossiping about anyone and everyone, and my favorite activity of them all, making prank calls. But after a while I’d had enough. The glamour of doing nothing and missing school expired and I had to look reality in the eye. Despite my efforts to ignore the fact that I was paralyzed - life was providing me plenty of daily reminders. My close friends were going for their driver’s license’s and planning their vacations. They were taking their final exams, falling in love, and their visits became more and more sporadic. I on the other hand, was drawn more and more into a world of sickness of physiotherapy sessions with geriatric patients who had broken their pelvises or suffered from heart diseases, patients who had lost their physical capacities and needed to re-learn how to carry out simple tasks again. If that wasn’t enough, the cortisone shots I was given had completely deformed my body. This wasn’t how I imagined my teenage years.

    SOMETIMES PEOPLE ASK ME IF I WAS FEELING DEPRESSED DURING THAT TIME. MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE - I HAD NO TIME FOR IT. I WAS TOO BUSY PLANNING MY FUTURE.

    Out of boredom - but mainly because I wanted to get back on my feet so badly, and wholeheartedly believed that it would happen - I took an old school notebook and titled it The List. I began writing plans for the following year, at the end of which I would turn seventeen.

    The page was filled with an endless list of goals, ambitions and dreams. To start with I began writing down ones that were directly related to my paralysis, but without noticing it I got carried further and further away in my imagination.

    - Complete my final theatre exam - Kiss for the first time - Get a new computer - Utilize my home stay to write a book - Travel to London with my grandparents - Perform in a musical by the time I’m 25 - Climb the Great Wall of China by the age of 30 [preferably with my grandmother, who had dreamt about doing it her whole life] - Work as a journalist and get my own personal column - Act in a TV show, similar to the American sitcoms I watch on TV - Establish an arts-related business

    Having filled out two full pages of things I wanted to achieve by the age of seventeen, I turned a new leaf and started writing down a new list for my eighteenth year. Then for my nineteenth year and so on, until I had reached the third and fourth decades of my life. In less than a week I had a notebook full of plans, dreams and goals to be accomplished and realized. Each time I had another idea for another goal, task or dream, I added it in the bottom of the relevant list. For example, on the ‘40-years-old’ page, I wrote ‘buy an apartment upfront’. Even at my tender age I understood that mortgage is a risky business so I had better start saving up! In three years I will turn forty, and I’m still working hard to achieve that goal I set for myself twenty years ago.

    One day a teacher came by for a visit. She saw the notebook with my scribbles all over and wandered what it was all about. I proudly shared my ‘list’ idea and handed her the notebook. She wanted to understand the motives behind each goal I wrote down. So I explained each and every one, but the more I let my imagination go the sadder she became. I couldn’t help but notice the moisture building up in her eyes and the expression on her face, as if saying; “poor kid, not only is he physically paralyzed, he’s now going insane too. He’s completely lost any touch with reality”. I must admit, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way towards me at the time. I got the same response from anyone who asked to read my notebook and found nothing in it but the unrealistic fantasies and pipe dreams of a young, disadvantaged boy. Clearly, anyone in their right mind understands that you can’t perform in a musical in a wheelchair (although ‘Glee’ has since proven us otherwise) or climb the Great Wall of China. Journalism is also a job that requires mobility and independence, and was therefore deemed unrealistic. With the kind of medical restrictions I suffered, I clearly couldn’t work, earn money, establish a business or pay upfront for an apartment (that one is hard enough standing firm on both feet but that’s another story). Deep down though, I wanted to believe that one way or another I was going to realize all of these dreams.

    Eventually, after 18 frustrating months of rehabilitation (including intensive and painful treatments) and long days of sitting in my wheelchair thinking and visualizing myself standing up again, and even giving interviews about my recovery story - I got on my feet and started walking. It wasn’t like in a Hollywood movie, where the war hero miraculously jumps out of his wheelchair and walks towards his one-true-love. It was a very long, exhausting and difficult process. I had to endure many pitying stares from total strangers who saw my friends pushing me around in a wheelchair. Gradually, and agonizingly slowly, I moved from the wheelchair to a walker cushioned with tennis balls, then onto crutches, until I was finally able to stand on my own legs and walk those first shaky steps.

    I will never forget that first day I was able to leave the house and visit a friend. It was the strangest feeling. I remember walking down my childhood streets, aiming my body forward but somehow I was only moving diagonally. My brain needed to relearn how to direct my legs again. I knocked on my friend’s door and when he opened it, we hugged, then went into his room as if it was a natural thing to do. It took him a minute before he realized I was actually standing on my own feet and he started screaming with excitement. When my doctors heard I was walking again they had no explanation for it. Some of them tried to attribute it to a medical phenomenon called ‘drop foot’, a kind of temporary paralysis caused by pressure inflicted by the vertebrae on the nervous system. Some doctors thought it a ‘medical miracle’, others believed it was the positive influence of oils and ointments that were massaged into my skin, or the religious charms and artifacts that were hung on my wheelchair. One way or another, during those first days of spring, almost a year-and a- half after the accident, I was back to a fully functioning life. Lacking a thoroughly convincing medical explanation for the cause of my recovery, I happily gave the same answer to anyone who asked me what happened -

    THE LIST I WROTE, WITH ALL THE DREAMS I HAVE YET TO MATERIALIZE IS WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO GET BACK ON MY FEET AND WALK AGAIN. IT PRESENTED ME WITH GOALS AND FILLED ME WITH HOPE THAT NOTHING WOULD PREVENT ME FROM STANDING ON MY TWO FEET AND ACCOMPLISH THEM. MY LIST IS WHAT HELPED ME RISE UP FROM DESPAIR.

    WHEN WE HAVE A DISTINCT GOAL WE ARE EAGER TO ACHIEVE, NO ROAD IS TOO LONG OR IMPOSSIBLE.

    2 | THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED

    When I meet new people and share with them the story of my accident, I get the same reaction almost every time - shock and pity. They pity me for losing two of my best teenage years, and are shocked at the hardships I had to overcome at such a young age. I always respond with a smile and share my outlook on that period, which I consider to be one of the happiest of my life: I was living every teenager’s dream not to go to school, and still enjoyed a very rich social life. I entertained myself with watching TV and reading books, but I mainly wrote lists. I had so much time on my hands to plan my future. It’s a privilege not many enjoy. Our fast-paced schedules prevent most people from even planning their next day.

    SO WHEN I LOOK BACK I CALL THAT PERIOD ‘THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED’

    Why do I call it a gift? Because at such a young age, I already understood something about the fragility of life, about fate, and how it can flip on us just like that. After all, one moment I was a vibrant young man with so many dreams and aspirations, and the next I was paralyzed and in a wheelchair with no clear future ahead. Today I know that these insights normally arrive much later in life, if at all. And although we are surrounded by death, illness and human tragedies, we do not really grasp the fragility of life until disaster knocks on our door. Sometimes we even miss the insights and mental gifts handed to us by our very own lives and circumstances. For example, I have a 45-year-old acquaintance who managed to survive two cancer strikes in ten years. Her cancers were so aggressive she was unable to do anything for months on end. But despite the fact that this woman is a cancer survivor and is also very respected in her field of work, she is never satisfied with her own achievements. It seems as though she has forgotten the hard times she has been through and goes on about her life in a constant state of discontent - a classic ‘the grass is always greener next door’ syndrome. If she spent less time observing and appraising other people’s gardens and invested more time in her own, I have no doubt in my mind she would have a forest there by now, and much more importantly, she would be a much happier person. During one of our conversations I said to her; “You’ve beaten cancer twice! Appreciate what you have managed to do!” She heard me but didn’t really take in the meaning of what I said. That’s when it dawned on me, every person has their own journey to walk. Sometimes in life we are dealt with difficult cards, but it is our call how we choose to play them. In my case, I learned at a very young age about how fickle life can be. When I was finally able to walk again, I looked at my notebook, which was carefully placed in my under-the-bed-secret-box-of-notes-and-loveletters and made up my mind. For as long as I’m here, I will strike while the iron is hot. I will make all my dreams come true. Yes, all of them. The little ones, the big ones, the grandiose ones. The obtainable ones and even the seemingly unobtainable ones. The overt as well as the secret ones. The serious and silly ones. The courageous and the mundane. The personal and the familial. The local and global. I decided that nothing was going to stand in the way of realizing my dreams - not other people’s doubts, not financial limitations and not the rejections I would most likely experience along the way. And I did, over the course of my career encounter plenty of those, as I’m sure you have too.

    I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO LIVE EVERY DAY AS IF IT WAS THE LAST OF MY LIFE I WAS GOING TO TICK OFF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE TASKS IN MY ENDLESS LIST.

    By the way I have already ticked most of these off:

    - I entered my first relationship as soon as I recovered (and of course, experienced my first romantic kiss!) - Just before my 18th birthday I flew to London with my grandparents and it was one of the most magical overseas trips I’ve had. The three of us enjoy looking at the photos of that trip again and again - I passed my final theatre exam in high school and played a paralyzed soldier. The examiners claimed that my performance was exceptionally believable. If only they knew how I prepared for the role and who was my source of inspiration… - After graduating from Drama school, I landed a role in a successful Israeli musical. - I started working as a reporter for a local newspaper. - With the money I earned at my new job I bought a computer. - I traveled to the Great Wall of China

    ‘The best gift I ever received‘ has bestowed many gifts upon me. In this book I am hoping to pay those gifts forward. With the help of this book, I am hoping to inspire you to embark on a mental and personal journey that will prove to be a defining moment for you. My wish is that this book will enable you to become more closely acquainted with an outlook on life that has helped me, as well as many others, come to realize our dreams.

    I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN OUR ABILITY TO CREATE OUR OWN REALITY, BUT THIS IS NOT A SPIRITUAL BOOK. THIS IS A PRACTICAL GUIDE THAT AIMS TO SHARE THE STORIES OF MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO HAVE WRITTEN LISTS AND REALIZED THEIR DREAMS, PEOPLE I’VE MET VIA SOCIAL NETWORKS - MAINLY FACEBOOK. OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS THEY HAVE SHARED WITH ME MORE THAN 5,000 LISTS. 5,000 INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND INSIGHTS. 5,000 LIVES. I CHOSE NOT TO INCLUDE ANY STATISTICS OR STUDIES THAT WILL INDICATE THE POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND THE IMPACT OF THE INTERNET. AFTER ALL, THIS KIND OF DATA IS PUBLISHED FROM TIME TO TIME AND CAN BE EASILY ACCESSED ONLINE. YOU MAY FIND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT IN RANDI ZUCKERBERG’S WONDERFUL BOOK ROAD TO NOWHERE. ZUCKERBERG IS AN AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMAN. SHE IS FACEBOOK’S FORMER DIRECTOR OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT AND SPOKESPERSON, AND THE SISTER OF THE COMPANY’S CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG. SO LET GO OF YOUR FEARS, PREJUDICES AND CYNICISM, BUY A NICE NOTEBOOK, AND LET’S START YOUR JOURNEY WITH THE LIST.

    You should scribble away on a notepad as you read the list. Highlight sentences on your Kindle, write lists, notes and ideas where and when inspiration takes you. Hopefully the book will empower and encourage you to follow your heart and accomplish the dreams you are destined to realize.

    It might also inspire you to write a blog or use social networks in a more effective way. Instead of just uploading pictures of yummy desserts or yammering about the weekend, you might become addicted to ‘listing’ or decide on a much needed career change or a trip around the world. But more than anything, I hope that by the time you finish reading the book (or maybe even before that) you will already be on the way to realizing at least one dream, if not more, from your forming list. The very decision to purchase this book, commit precious time, focus, and invest in yourself is the first step towards self-fulfillment and conquering your personal goals. You are giving yourself a wonderful gift.

    EVERY BIG JOURNEY STARTS WITH ONE SMALL STEP.

    3 | WHO AM I?

    At the time of writing this book I’m thirty-seven years old. I live in Tel- Aviv and am the father of two girls, the amazing six-year-old Shira, and our baby Noga who has a beautiful smile on her face. For the past twenty years I have written for various Israeli media agencies and am currently working as an interviewer for Israel Today newspaper. I have published two best-selling novels and my third book is due for release. As an actor I have appeared in more than 500 episodes of popular TV shows, performed in plays and musicals and anchored various radio programs. I own two décor stores and run a website that serves as cultural discussion platform. I also direct a writing school. I have travelled all over the world. I climbed the Great Wall of China, watched the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights), wandered the alleys of the City of God (Cidade de Deus) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and climbed all the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. I have dined with Bruce Willis, had lunch at Juliet Binoche’s house, taken a selfie with Jason Alexander and interviewed many Hollywood actors, from Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio. I have visited and stayed in castles, palaces and holiday houses of the rich and the famous all over the world and this is only a partial list. I recount these achievements not because I want to show-off or impress you, but simply because I have crossed off my list almost every dream I had while sitting in that wheelchair. And I’m still generating new dreams and doing everything I can to make them come true.

    YOU CAN TOO.

    It is not just a slogan. I know many people who found out about the list method and their lives have changed dramatically.

    1 | THE LIST THAT SAVED ME

    AT THE TENDER AGE OF SIXTEEN, MY LIFE AS I KNEW IT AND THE LIFE I HAD IMAGINED FOR MYSELF WAS OVER. AN ACCIDENT HAD FLIPPED MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. It all happened when I was working at a steakhouse as a busboy, clearing tables. The lowest in the food chain of hospitality jobs. I was saving money for all the things a boy my age would want - a driver’s license, new clothes and CDs. During one shift I was asked to bring a heavy barrel of pickles from the storage located next to the restaurant. In the parking lot, between the restaurant and the storage room, there was a small and extremely slippery puddle. It was a viscous trap of motor oil, cooking oil and detergent residue that was washed out of the restaurant on a daily basis. Two weeks prior to my accident, the owner of the restaurant had himself slipped on that puddle and broken his arm. Being a responsible boy, I had mentioned to him on several occasions that he should cover the slippery puddle with a wooden deck to prevent further accidents, but he chose to ignore my advice. Then, before two weeks could pass it was my turn. Flying through the air, I landed right on the sewage lid, pickles scattering all around me. To this day, I can still hear the cracking sound of my skull when it hit the cold concrete. I remember the feeling of my head being practically yanked off my neck and my brain shaking in my head from one side to the other like a ping-pong ball. The back of my now bleeding neck hurt so badly, that I was completely oblivious to the devastating injury in my lower back.

    Diners and restaurant workers gathered around me checking to see if I was conscious. I was lifted up by three men, while the owner, still wounded and in a cast, orchestrated the whole operation. People yelled out “Get up! Let’s see if you can walk!”. But I could barely stand. I felt dizzy and vomited twice. An ambulance arrived and I was rushed to hospital where I was immediately sent for X-rays and other medical tests. I notified the doctor at the E.R that I had no sensation in my legs whatsoever, but when the results came back showing no evidence of any spinal injury, I was sent home. The doctor’s instructions were simple - lie in bed for three days on a warm electric blanket and you’ll be as good as new in no time. The pain will be gone. And he was right. The pain WAS gone but so was any sensation in my legs. I woke up on the third day and couldn’t even get myself out of bed. I was completely paralyzed, unable to stand or walk. It was the strangest sensation, as if I was hallucinating. I kept saying to myself “Get up! Stand on your feet now!” But I just couldn’t do it. I pinched my legs, nothing. I scratched them with my fingernails, nothing. No sensation. I found a pen on the floor nearby and pricked my flesh with it. The leg bled but I couldn’t feel any pain. “Mom! I’m paralyzed… I can’t move!” I screamed out. She rushed to my room and started yelling orders at me: “Try walking! Try standing!” “It’s probably just pins and needles” she said trying to remain calm but I could see the panic in her eyes. She ran to the bathroom, grabbed a pair of tweezers and started pinching my toes, my feet, my ankles, quickly working her way up my thighs. I felt nothing.

    My mother went and called a neighbor who was kind enough to carry me down to his car and we drove to the nearest hospital. I was sent to the E.R for an initial diagnosis. A solemn-faced doctor examined me with a reflex hammer and diagnosed a complete loss of sensation in the right leg and 60% function loss in the left one. The suspected diagnosis: a spinal injury. Two hours later, I was sent to the neurological ward where I was again hit with a reflex hammer and had electric current run through my legs in the hope I would feel a tingle. The doctors were trying to determine just how far the paralysis had spread. Three doctors, accompanied by an intrigued group of interns, came by my room to see with their own eyes what had become the ward’s talk-of-the-day. They wanted to know if the paralysis had spread as far as my genitals. Luckily that area was unaffected, thanks for asking! After an exhausting night of test after test, the doctors were frustrated. The X-rays showed no fracture of the spine. There was no explanation of the reason for my paralysis, or an estimate of when, or if, my legs would ever function again. What they did notice was a slight movement of the lower vertebrae. After being hospitalized for almost two months, there was no change in my condition. When it seemed pointless to keep me there, I was rolled home in my wheelchair - my new set of limbs. It turned out the doctors had planned it so that my hospitalization period would become a sort of practice and preparation for my new life. The life of a crippled sixteen year-old. During my stay I could feel the doctors getting desperate, then losing hope in finding any cure for my condition. In a final effort to stimulate my nervous system they transmitted electrical currents through my legs right up until the day of my discharge. Then, declaring defeat put me in a wheelchair and sent me home to my new life. I did not return to the hospital, nor did I go back to school. I was an eleventh-grader whose only consolation was that, due to my new circumstances, I was exempt from doing homework or studying for exams.

    My bedroom became the new social hub. From 8am till midnight my room was filled with school friends who came by to cheer me up. Sometimes I would have as many as twenty people at my bedside. I remember these days being so joyful and full of shared experiences; watching TV and movies together, gossiping about anyone and everyone, and my favorite activity of them all, making prank calls. But after a while I’d had enough. The glamour of doing nothing and missing school expired and I had to look reality in the eye. Despite my efforts to ignore the fact that I was paralyzed - life was providing me plenty of daily reminders. My close friends were going for their driver’s license’s and planning their vacations. They were taking their final exams, falling in love, and their visits became more and more sporadic. I on the other hand, was drawn more and more into a world of sickness of physiotherapy sessions with geriatric patients who had broken their pelvises or suffered from heart diseases, patients who had lost their physical capacities and needed to re-learn how to carry out simple tasks again. If that wasn’t enough, the cortisone shots I was given had completely deformed my body. This wasn’t how I imagined my teenage years.

    SOMETIMES PEOPLE ASK ME IF I WAS FEELING DEPRESSED DURING THAT TIME. MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE - I HAD NO TIME FOR IT. I WAS TOO BUSY PLANNING MY FUTURE.

    Out of boredom - but mainly because I wanted to get back on my feet so badly, and wholeheartedly believed that it would happen - I took an old school notebook and titled it The List. I began writing plans for the following year, at the end of which I would turn seventeen.

    The page was filled with an endless list of goals, ambitions and dreams. To start with I began writing down ones that were directly related to my paralysis, but without noticing it I got carried further and further away in my imagination.

    - Complete my final theatre exam - Kiss for the first time - Get a new computer - Utilize my home stay to write a book - Travel to London with my grandparents - Perform in a musical by the time I’m 25 - Climb the Great Wall of China by the age of 30 [preferably with my grandmother, who had dreamt about doing it her whole life] - Work as a journalist and get my own personal column - Act in a TV show, similar to the American sitcoms I watch on TV - Establish an arts-related business

    Having filled out two full pages of things I wanted to achieve by the age of seventeen, I turned a new leaf and started writing down a new list for my eighteenth year. Then for my nineteenth year and so on, until I had reached the third and fourth decades of my life. In less than a week I had a notebook full of plans, dreams and goals to be accomplished and realized. Each time I had another idea for another goal, task or dream, I added it in the bottom of the relevant list. For example, on the ‘40-years-old’ page, I wrote ‘buy an apartment upfront’. Even at my tender age I understood that mortgage is a risky business so I had better start saving up! In three years I will turn forty, and I’m still working hard to achieve that goal I set for myself twenty years ago.

    One day a teacher came by for a visit. She saw the notebook with my scribbles all over and wandered what it was all about. I proudly shared my ‘list’ idea and handed her the notebook. She wanted to understand the motives behind each goal I wrote down. So I explained each and every one, but the more I let my imagination go the sadder she became. I couldn’t help but notice the moisture building up in her eyes and the expression on her face, as if saying; “poor kid, not only is he physically paralyzed, he’s now going insane too. He’s completely lost any touch with reality”. I must admit, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way towards me at the time. I got the same response from anyone who asked to read my notebook and found nothing in it but the unrealistic fantasies and pipe dreams of a young, disadvantaged boy. Clearly, anyone in their right mind understands that you can’t perform in a musical in a wheelchair (although ‘Glee’ has since proven us otherwise) or climb the Great Wall of China. Journalism is also a job that requires mobility and independence, and was therefore deemed unrealistic. With the kind of medical restrictions I suffered, I clearly couldn’t work, earn money, establish a business or pay upfront for an apartment (that one is hard enough standing firm on both feet but that’s another story). Deep down though, I wanted to believe that one way or another I was going to realize all of these dreams.

    Eventually, after 18 frustrating months of rehabilitation (including intensive and painful treatments) and long days of sitting in my wheelchair thinking and visualizing myself standing up again, and even giving interviews about my recovery story - I got on my feet and started walking. It wasn’t like in a Hollywood movie, where the war hero miraculously jumps out of his wheelchair and walks towards his one-true-love. It was a very long, exhausting and difficult process. I had to endure many pitying stares from total strangers who saw my friends pushing me around in a wheelchair. Gradually, and agonizingly slowly, I moved from the wheelchair to a walker cushioned with tennis balls, then onto crutches, until I was finally able to stand on my own legs and walk those first shaky steps.

    I will never forget that first day I was able to leave the house and visit a friend. It was the strangest feeling. I remember walking down my childhood streets, aiming my body forward but somehow I was only moving diagonally. My brain needed to relearn how to direct my legs again. I knocked on my friend’s door and when he opened it, we hugged, then went into his room as if it was a natural thing to do. It took him a minute before he realized I was actually standing on my own feet and he started screaming with excitement. When my doctors heard I was walking again they had no explanation for it. Some of them tried to attribute it to a medical phenomenon called ‘drop foot’, a kind of temporary paralysis caused by pressure inflicted by the vertebrae on the nervous system. Some doctors thought it a ‘medical miracle’, others believed it was the positive influence of oils and ointments that were massaged into my skin, or the religious charms and artifacts that were hung on my wheelchair. One way or another, during those first days of spring, almost a year-and a- half after the accident, I was back to a fully functioning life. Lacking a thoroughly convincing medical explanation for the cause of my recovery, I happily gave the same answer to anyone who asked me what happened -

    THE LIST I WROTE, WITH ALL THE DREAMS I HAVE YET TO MATERIALIZE IS WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO GET BACK ON MY FEET AND WALK AGAIN. IT PRESENTED ME WITH GOALS AND FILLED ME WITH HOPE THAT NOTHING WOULD PREVENT ME FROM STANDING ON MY TWO FEET AND ACCOMPLISH THEM. MY LIST IS WHAT HELPED ME RISE UP FROM DESPAIR.

    WHEN WE HAVE A DISTINCT GOAL WE ARE EAGER TO ACHIEVE, NO ROAD IS TOO LONG OR IMPOSSIBLE.

    L4A14_X-RLA
  • Digital Book

  • Written by Yuval Abramovitz and inspired by his celebrated ‘The List’ blog, ‘The List: Shout Out Your Dreams! (Motivation & Inspiration For Success & Happy Life)’ tells the author’s remarkable story of triumphing over paralysis, drawing up a list of life dreams and pursuing each one to success. But the book isn’t just a story; containing a lifetime’s inspiration for readers to plan out their own dreams and grab them with gusto. With 150,000 copies already sold, this is one international bestseller firing on all cylinders.

    While he is now a hugely-successful author, journalist, actor and an Israeli entrepreneur, Yuval Abramovitz was once sat in a wheelchair paralyzed, mapping out the dreams he wished he could accomplish. After defying all norms to walk again, Abramovitz set up the now famous ‘The List’ blog to make his dreams a reality.

    Within days, thousands of people flooded in from around the world to help. Some people offered travel to Australia, others their fitness training services and some just simple guidance that would later prove invaluable. This inspired Abramovitz to help others achieve the same and, having studied the lists of over 5000 people, he has recently penned a smash-hit bestseller that is truly life-changing.

    ‘The List: Shout Out Your Dreams! (Motivation & Inspiration For Success & Happy Life)’ urges readers to break the silence on what they want out of life….right now!

    Shout out your dreams – someone will hear you!
    Why do some people succeed where others fail?
    What makes some push past their financial hardships while others lag behind?
    Why not express our dreams right out loud?!

    Do you have a dream? Well it’s about time you make it a reality.
    All you need is a pen and paper, an internet connection and this book!

    Refreshingly honest, fast-paced and full of humour, The list is a practical, inspiring, and motivating account, based on the internationally renowned blog that has swept thousands of people across the world.
    Thought-provoking stories, tips, insights and techniques collated during a four-year research project, encompassing thousand of list-writers across the world. The book contains dozens of stimulating lists pages, as well as a priceless chapter on the ins-and-outs of setting up an Effective Crowd-Funding campaigns.

    The publication of this book was made possible thanks to an overwhelmingly successful crowd-funding campaign, in which nearly $100,000 were raised. The success of the book generated a new movement of list-writers, who are already on their way to realizing their dreams.

    “Its social networking that really makes all of this possible,” explains the author. “Anyone can now make their dreams known to thousands of people instantly who, in turn, can spread the word with people in their own circles. This can rapidly produce an unstoppable global journey. I teach the power of this in workshops I give around the world, as well as during my book tours.”

    Continuing, “Everything is designed to convey the power of the ‘virtual shout’, as well as show people how to achieve their dreams through crowdfunding. I know what I am talking about; we raised $100,000 for this book alone!”

    Naturally, the book has hit the shelves with critical acclaim. Ila Yaffe Talmor comments, “Just bought the book and read 30 pages and already I want to write a list and share it with the world. Inspiring book. Makes you want to swallow the world. Both exciting and funny.”

    Tammy Schmidt adds, “This book is easy to read, in fact, you might complete it in one sitting. You’ll feel capable of making your dreams become a reality. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to become a better self.”

    ‘The List: Shout Out Your Dreams! (Motivation & Inspiration For Success & Happy Life)’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1wc6yZ2

  • 1 | THE LIST THAT SAVED ME

    AT THE TENDER AGE OF SIXTEEN, MY LIFE AS I KNEW IT
    AND THE LIFE I HAD IMAGINED FOR MYSELF WAS OVER.
    AN ACCIDENT HAD FLIPPED MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.
    It all happened when I was working at a steakhouse as a busboy,
    clearing tables. The lowest in the food chain of hospitality jobs. I was
    saving money for all the things a boy my age would want – a driver’s
    license, new clothes and CDs.
    During one shift I was asked to bring a heavy barrel of pickles from
    the storage located next to the restaurant.
    In the parking lot, between the restaurant and the storage room, there
    was a small and extremely slippery puddle. It was a viscous trap of
    motor oil, cooking oil and detergent residue that was washed out of
    the restaurant on a daily basis.
    Two weeks prior to my accident, the owner of the restaurant had himself
    slipped on that puddle and broken his arm. Being a responsible boy, I
    had mentioned to him on several occasions that he should cover the
    slippery puddle with a wooden deck to prevent further accidents, but
    he chose to ignore my advice. Then, before two weeks could pass it
    was my turn.
    Flying through the air, I landed right on the sewage lid, pickles
    scattering all around me. To this day, I can still hear the cracking sound
    of my skull when it hit the cold concrete. I remember the feeling of my
    head being practically yanked off my neck and my brain shaking in
    my head from one side to the other like a ping-pong ball. The back of
    my now bleeding neck hurt so badly, that I was completely oblivious
    to the devastating injury in my lower back.

    Diners and restaurant workers gathered around me checking to see
    if I was conscious.
    I was lifted up by three men, while the owner, still wounded and in a
    cast, orchestrated the whole operation. People yelled out “Get up!
    Let’s see if you can walk!”. But I could barely stand. I felt dizzy and
    vomited twice.
    An ambulance arrived and I was rushed to hospital where I was
    immediately sent for X-rays and other medical tests. I notified the
    doctor at the E.R that I had no sensation in my legs whatsoever, but
    when the results came back showing no evidence of any spinal injury,
    I was sent home. The doctor’s instructions were simple – lie in bed for
    three days on a warm electric blanket and you’ll be as good as new in
    no time. The pain will be gone.
    And he was right. The pain WAS gone but so was any sensation in
    my legs. I woke up on the third day and couldn’t even get myself out
    of bed. I was completely paralyzed, unable to stand or walk. It was the
    strangest sensation, as if I was hallucinating. I kept saying to myself
    “Get up! Stand on your feet now!” But I just couldn’t do it.
    I pinched my legs, nothing.
    I scratched them with my fingernails, nothing. No sensation.
    I found a pen on the floor nearby and pricked my flesh with it. The leg
    bled but I couldn’t feel any pain.
    “Mom! I’m paralyzed… I can’t move!” I screamed out. She rushed to
    my room and started yelling orders at me: “Try walking! Try standing!”
    “It’s probably just pins and needles” she said trying to remain calm but
    I could see the panic in her eyes. She ran to the bathroom, grabbed
    a pair of tweezers and started pinching my toes, my feet, my ankles,
    quickly working her way up my thighs.
    I felt nothing.

    My mother went and called a neighbor who was kind enough to carry
    me down to his car and we drove to the nearest hospital. I was sent to
    the E.R for an initial diagnosis. A solemn-faced doctor examined me
    with a reflex hammer and diagnosed a complete loss of sensation in
    the right leg and 60% function loss in the left one.
    The suspected diagnosis: a spinal injury. Two hours later, I was sent
    to the neurological ward where I was again hit with a reflex hammer
    and had electric current run through my legs in the hope I would feel a
    tingle. The doctors were trying to determine just how far the paralysis
    had spread.
    Three doctors, accompanied by an intrigued group of interns, came
    by my room to see with their own eyes what had become the ward’s
    talk-of-the-day. They wanted to know if the paralysis had spread as
    far as my genitals. Luckily that area was unaffected, thanks for asking!
    After an exhausting night of test after test, the doctors were frustrated.
    The X-rays showed no fracture of the spine. There was no explanation
    of the reason for my paralysis, or an estimate of when, or if, my legs
    would ever function again. What they did notice was a slight movement
    of the lower vertebrae.
    After being hospitalized for almost two months, there was no change
    in my condition. When it seemed pointless to keep me there, I was
    rolled home in my wheelchair – my new set of limbs. It turned out
    the doctors had planned it so that my hospitalization period would
    become a sort of practice and preparation for my new life. The life of
    a crippled sixteen year-old.
    During my stay I could feel the doctors getting desperate, then losing
    hope in finding any cure for my condition. In a final effort to stimulate
    my nervous system they transmitted electrical currents through my
    legs right up until the day of my discharge. Then, declaring defeat put
    me in a wheelchair and sent me home to my new life.
    I did not return to the hospital, nor did I go back to school. I was
    an eleventh-grader whose only consolation was that, due to my new
    circumstances, I was exempt from doing homework or studying for
    exams.

    My bedroom became the new social hub. From 8am till midnight my
    room was filled with school friends who came by to cheer me up.
    Sometimes I would have as many as twenty people at my bedside. I
    remember these days being so joyful and full of shared experiences;
    watching TV and movies together, gossiping about anyone and
    everyone, and my favorite activity of them all, making prank calls.
    But after a while I’d had enough. The glamour of doing nothing and
    missing school expired and I had to look reality in the eye. Despite
    my efforts to ignore the fact that I was paralyzed – life was providing
    me plenty of daily reminders. My close friends were going for their
    driver’s license’s and planning their vacations. They were taking their
    final exams, falling in love, and their visits became more and more
    sporadic. I on the other hand, was drawn more and more into a world
    of sickness of physiotherapy sessions with geriatric patients who had
    broken their pelvises or suffered from heart diseases, patients who
    had lost their physical capacities and needed to re-learn how to carry
    out simple tasks again. If that wasn’t enough, the cortisone shots
    I was given had completely deformed my body. This wasn’t how I
    imagined my teenage years.

    SOMETIMES PEOPLE ASK ME
    IF I WAS FEELING DEPRESSED
    DURING THAT TIME.
    MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE – I HAD
    NO TIME FOR IT. I WAS TOO
    BUSY PLANNING MY FUTURE.

    Out of boredom – but mainly because I wanted to get back on my feet
    so badly, and wholeheartedly believed that it would happen – I took an
    old school notebook and titled it The List. I began writing plans for the
    following year, at the end of which I would turn seventeen.

    The page was filled with an endless list of goals, ambitions and
    dreams. To start with I began writing down ones that were directly
    related to my paralysis, but without noticing it I got carried further and
    further away in my imagination.

    – Complete my final theatre exam
    – Kiss for the first time
    – Get a new computer
    – Utilize my home stay to write a book
    – Travel to London with my grandparents
    – Perform in a musical by the time I’m 25
    – Climb the Great Wall of China by the age of 30 [preferably with my grandmother, who had dreamt about doing it her whole life]
    – Work as a journalist and get my own personal column
    – Act in a TV show, similar to the American sitcoms I watch on TV
    – Establish an arts-related business

    Having filled out two full pages of things I wanted to achieve by the
    age of seventeen, I turned a new leaf and started writing down a new
    list for my eighteenth year. Then for my nineteenth year and so on,
    until I had reached the third and fourth decades of my life.
    In less than a week I had a notebook full of plans, dreams and goals
    to be accomplished and realized. Each time I had another idea for
    another goal, task or dream, I added it in the bottom of the relevant list.
    For example, on the ‘40-years-old’ page, I wrote ‘buy an apartment
    upfront’. Even at my tender age I understood that mortgage is a risky
    business so I had better start saving up!
    In three years I will turn forty, and I’m still working hard to achieve that
    goal I set for myself twenty years ago.

    One day a teacher came by for a visit. She saw the notebook with my
    scribbles all over and wandered what it was all about. I proudly shared
    my ‘list’ idea and handed her the notebook.
    She wanted to understand the motives behind each goal I wrote down.
    So I explained each and every one, but the more I let my imagination
    go the sadder she became. I couldn’t help but notice the moisture
    building up in her eyes and the expression on her face, as if saying;
    “poor kid, not only is he physically paralyzed, he’s now going insane
    too. He’s completely lost any touch with reality”.
    I must admit, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way towards me at
    the time. I got the same response from anyone who asked to read my
    notebook and found nothing in it but the unrealistic fantasies and pipe
    dreams of a young, disadvantaged boy.
    Clearly, anyone in their right mind understands that you can’t perform in a
    musical in a wheelchair (although ‘Glee’ has since proven us otherwise)
    or climb the Great Wall of China. Journalism is also a job that requires
    mobility and independence, and was therefore deemed unrealistic. With
    the kind of medical restrictions I suffered, I clearly couldn’t work, earn
    money, establish a business or pay upfront for an apartment (that one is
    hard enough standing firm on both feet but that’s another story). Deep
    down though, I wanted to believe that one way or another I was going to
    realize all of these dreams.

    Eventually, after 18 frustrating months of rehabilitation (including intensive
    and painful treatments) and long days of sitting in my wheelchair thinking
    and visualizing myself standing up again, and even giving interviews
    about my recovery story – I got on my feet and started walking.
    It wasn’t like in a Hollywood movie, where the war hero miraculously
    jumps out of his wheelchair and walks towards his one-true-love. It
    was a very long, exhausting and difficult process. I had to endure
    many pitying stares from total strangers who saw my friends pushing
    me around in a wheelchair. Gradually, and agonizingly slowly, I moved
    from the wheelchair to a walker cushioned with tennis balls, then onto
    crutches, until I was finally able to stand on my own legs and walk those
    first shaky steps.

    I will never forget that first day I was able to leave the house and visit
    a friend. It was the strangest feeling. I remember walking down my
    childhood streets, aiming my body forward but somehow I was only moving
    diagonally. My brain needed to relearn how to direct my legs again.
    I knocked on my friend’s door and when he opened it, we hugged, then
    went into his room as if it was a natural thing to do. It took him a minute
    before he realized I was actually standing on my own feet and he started
    screaming with excitement.
    When my doctors heard I was walking again they had no explanation
    for it. Some of them tried to attribute it to a medical phenomenon called
    ‘drop foot’, a kind of temporary paralysis caused by pressure inflicted
    by the vertebrae on the nervous system. Some doctors thought it a
    ‘medical miracle’, others believed it was the positive influence of oils and
    ointments that were massaged into my skin, or the religious charms and
    artifacts that were hung on my wheelchair.
    One way or another, during those first days of spring, almost a year-and a-
    half after the accident, I was back to a fully functioning life. Lacking a
    thoroughly convincing medical explanation for the cause of my recovery,
    I happily gave the same answer to anyone who asked me what happened –

    THE LIST I WROTE, WITH ALL THE DREAMS
    I HAVE YET TO MATERIALIZE
    IS WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO GET BACK ON MY FEET AND WALK
    AGAIN. IT PRESENTED ME WITH GOALS AND FILLED
    ME WITH HOPE THAT NOTHING WOULD
    PREVENT ME FROM STANDING ON MY TWO FEET
    AND ACCOMPLISH THEM.
    MY LIST IS WHAT HELPED ME RISE UP FROM DESPAIR.

    WHEN WE HAVE A DISTINCT GOAL WE ARE
    EAGER TO ACHIEVE, NO ROAD IS TOO LONG
    OR IMPOSSIBLE.

  • 2 | THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED

    When I meet new people and share with them the story of my accident,
    I get the same reaction almost every time – shock and pity. They pity
    me for losing two of my best teenage years, and are shocked at the
    hardships I had to overcome at such a young age. I always respond
    with a smile and share my outlook on that period, which I consider to
    be one of the happiest of my life: I was living every teenager’s dream
    not to go to school, and still enjoyed a very rich social life. I entertained
    myself with watching TV and reading books, but I mainly wrote lists. I
    had so much time on my hands to plan my future. It’s a privilege not
    many enjoy. Our fast-paced schedules prevent most people from even
    planning their next day.

    SO WHEN I LOOK BACK I CALL THAT PERIOD
    ‘THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED’

    Why do I call it a gift? Because at such a young age, I already understood
    something about the fragility of life, about fate, and how it can flip on us
    just like that. After all, one moment I was a vibrant young man with so
    many dreams and aspirations, and the next I was paralyzed and in a
    wheelchair with no clear future ahead. Today I know that these insights
    normally arrive much later in life, if at all. And although we are surrounded
    by death, illness and human tragedies, we do not really grasp the fragility
    of life until disaster knocks on our door.
    Sometimes we even miss the insights and mental gifts handed to us by
    our very own lives and circumstances. For example, I have a 45-year-old
    acquaintance who managed to survive two cancer strikes in ten years. Her
    cancers were so aggressive she was unable to do anything for months on
    end.
    But despite the fact that this woman is a cancer survivor and is also
    very respected in her field of work, she is never satisfied with her own achievements.
    It seems as though she has forgotten the hard times
    she has been through and goes on about her life in a constant state of
    discontent – a classic ‘the grass is always greener next door’ syndrome.
    If she spent less time observing and appraising other people’s gardens
    and invested more time in her own, I have no doubt in my mind she
    would have a forest there by now, and much more importantly, she would
    be a much happier person.
    During one of our conversations I said to her; “You’ve beaten cancer
    twice! Appreciate what you have managed to do!” She heard me but
    didn’t really take in the meaning of what I said. That’s when it dawned
    on me, every person has their own journey to walk. Sometimes in life we
    are dealt with difficult cards, but it is our call how we choose to play them.
    In my case, I learned at a very young age about how fickle life can be.
    When I was finally able to walk again, I looked at my notebook, which
    was carefully placed in my under-the-bed-secret-box-of-notes-and-loveletters
    and made up my mind. For as long as I’m here, I will strike while
    the iron is hot. I will make all my dreams come true.
    Yes, all of them. The little ones, the big ones, the grandiose ones. The
    obtainable ones and even the seemingly unobtainable ones. The overt
    as well as the secret ones. The serious and silly ones. The courageous
    and the mundane. The personal and the familial. The local and global.
    I decided that nothing was going to stand in the way of realizing my dreams
    – not other people’s doubts, not financial limitations and not the rejections I
    would most likely experience along the way. And I did, over the course of
    my career encounter plenty of those, as I’m sure you have too.

    I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO LIVE EVERY
    DAY AS IF IT WAS THE LAST OF MY LIFE
    I WAS GOING TO TICK OFF EACH AND EVERY ONE
    OF THE TASKS IN MY ENDLESS LIST.

    By the way I have already ticked most of these off:

    – I entered my first relationship as soon as I recovered
    (and of course, experienced my first romantic kiss!)
    – Just before my 18th birthday I flew to London with
    my grandparents and it was one of the most magical
    overseas trips I’ve had. The three of us enjoy looking at
    the photos of that trip again and again
    – I passed my final theatre exam in high school and
    played a paralyzed soldier. The examiners claimed that
    my performance was exceptionally believable. If only
    they knew how I prepared for the role and who was my
    source of inspiration…
    – After graduating from Drama school, I landed a role in
    a successful Israeli musical.
    – I started working as a reporter for a local newspaper.
    – With the money I earned at my new job I bought a
    computer.
    – I traveled to the Great Wall of China

    ‘The best gift I ever received‘ has bestowed many gifts upon me. In
    this book I am hoping to pay those gifts forward.
    With the help of this book, I am hoping to inspire you to embark on a
    mental and personal journey that will prove to be a defining moment
    for you. My wish is that this book will enable you to become more
    closely acquainted with an outlook on life that has helped me, as well
    as many others, come to realize our dreams.

    I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN OUR ABILITY TO CREATE OUR OWN
    REALITY, BUT THIS IS NOT A SPIRITUAL BOOK.
    THIS IS A PRACTICAL GUIDE THAT AIMS TO SHARE THE
    STORIES OF MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO
    HAVE WRITTEN LISTS AND REALIZED THEIR DREAMS,
    PEOPLE I’VE MET VIA SOCIAL NETWORKS – MAINLY
    FACEBOOK. OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS THEY HAVE
    SHARED WITH ME MORE THAN 5,000 LISTS. 5,000
    INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND INSIGHTS. 5,000 LIVES.
    I CHOSE NOT TO INCLUDE ANY STATISTICS OR STUDIES
    THAT WILL INDICATE THE POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKS
    AND THE IMPACT OF THE INTERNET. AFTER ALL, THIS
    KIND OF DATA IS PUBLISHED FROM TIME TO TIME AND
    CAN BE EASILY ACCESSED ONLINE. YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
    INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT IN RANDI ZUCKERBERG’S
    WONDERFUL BOOK ROAD TO NOWHERE. ZUCKERBERG
    IS AN AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMAN. SHE IS FACEBOOK’S
    FORMER DIRECTOR OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT AND
    SPOKESPERSON, AND THE SISTER OF THE COMPANY’S
    CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG.
    SO LET GO OF YOUR FEARS, PREJUDICES AND CYNICISM,
    BUY A NICE NOTEBOOK, AND LET’S START YOUR JOURNEY
    WITH THE LIST.

    You should scribble away on a notepad as you read the list. Highlight
    sentences on your Kindle, write lists, notes and ideas where and when
    inspiration takes you. Hopefully the book will empower and encourage
    you to follow your heart and accomplish the dreams you are destined to
    realize.

    It might also inspire you to write a blog or use social networks in a more
    effective way. Instead of just uploading pictures of yummy desserts or
    yammering about the weekend, you might become addicted to ‘listing’
    or decide on a much needed career change or a trip around the world.
    But more than anything, I hope that by the time you finish reading the
    book (or maybe even before that) you will already be on the way to
    realizing at least one dream, if not more, from your forming list.
    The very decision to purchase this book, commit precious time, focus, and
    invest in yourself is the first step towards self-fulfillment and conquering
    your personal goals. You are giving yourself a wonderful gift.

    EVERY BIG JOURNEY STARTS WITH ONE SMALL STEP.

  • 3 | WHO AM I?

    At the time of writing this book I’m thirty-seven years old. I live in Tel-
    Aviv and am the father of two girls, the amazing six-year-old Shira,
    and our baby Noga who has a beautiful smile on her face.
    For the past twenty years I have written for various Israeli media agencies
    and am currently working as an interviewer for Israel Today newspaper.
    I have published two best-selling novels and my third book is due for release.
    As an actor I have appeared in more than 500 episodes of popular TV shows,
    performed in plays and musicals and anchored various radio programs.
    I own two décor stores and run a website that serves as cultural
    discussion platform. I also direct a writing school.
    I have travelled all over the world. I climbed the Great Wall of China,
    watched the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights), wandered the alleys of
    the City of God (Cidade de Deus) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and climbed
    all the stairs of the Eiffel Tower.
    I have dined with Bruce Willis, had lunch at Juliet Binoche’s house, taken
    a selfie with Jason Alexander and interviewed many Hollywood actors,
    from Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio. I have visited and stayed in
    castles, palaces and holiday houses of the rich and the famous all over
    the world and this is only a partial list.
    I recount these achievements not because I want to show-off or impress
    you, but simply because I have crossed off my list almost every dream I
    had while sitting in that wheelchair. And I’m still generating new dreams
    and doing everything I can to make them come true.

    YOU CAN TOO.

    It is not just a slogan. I know many people who found out about the list
    method and their lives have changed dramatically.




  • The List Facebok page

1 | THE LIST THAT SAVED ME

AT THE TENDER AGE OF SIXTEEN, MY LIFE AS I KNEW IT AND THE LIFE I HAD IMAGINED FOR MYSELF WAS OVER. AN ACCIDENT HAD FLIPPED MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. It all happened when I was working at a steakhouse as a busboy, clearing tables. The lowest in the food chain of hospitality jobs. I was saving money for all the things a boy my age would want - a driver’s license, new clothes and CDs. During one shift I was asked to bring a heavy barrel of pickles from the storage located next to the restaurant. In the parking lot, between the restaurant and the storage room, there was a small and extremely slippery puddle. It was a viscous trap of motor oil, cooking oil and detergent residue that was washed out of the restaurant on a daily basis. Two weeks prior to my accident, the owner of the restaurant had himself slipped on that puddle and broken his arm. Being a responsible boy, I had mentioned to him on several occasions that he should cover the slippery puddle with a wooden deck to prevent further accidents, but he chose to ignore my advice. Then, before two weeks could pass it was my turn. Flying through the air, I landed right on the sewage lid, pickles scattering all around me. To this day, I can still hear the cracking sound of my skull when it hit the cold concrete. I remember the feeling of my head being practically yanked off my neck and my brain shaking in my head from one side to the other like a ping-pong ball. The back of my now bleeding neck hurt so badly, that I was completely oblivious to the devastating injury in my lower back.

Diners and restaurant workers gathered around me checking to see if I was conscious. I was lifted up by three men, while the owner, still wounded and in a cast, orchestrated the whole operation. People yelled out “Get up! Let’s see if you can walk!”. But I could barely stand. I felt dizzy and vomited twice. An ambulance arrived and I was rushed to hospital where I was immediately sent for X-rays and other medical tests. I notified the doctor at the E.R that I had no sensation in my legs whatsoever, but when the results came back showing no evidence of any spinal injury, I was sent home. The doctor’s instructions were simple - lie in bed for three days on a warm electric blanket and you’ll be as good as new in no time. The pain will be gone. And he was right. The pain WAS gone but so was any sensation in my legs. I woke up on the third day and couldn’t even get myself out of bed. I was completely paralyzed, unable to stand or walk. It was the strangest sensation, as if I was hallucinating. I kept saying to myself “Get up! Stand on your feet now!” But I just couldn’t do it. I pinched my legs, nothing. I scratched them with my fingernails, nothing. No sensation. I found a pen on the floor nearby and pricked my flesh with it. The leg bled but I couldn’t feel any pain. “Mom! I’m paralyzed… I can’t move!” I screamed out. She rushed to my room and started yelling orders at me: “Try walking! Try standing!” “It’s probably just pins and needles” she said trying to remain calm but I could see the panic in her eyes. She ran to the bathroom, grabbed a pair of tweezers and started pinching my toes, my feet, my ankles, quickly working her way up my thighs. I felt nothing.

My mother went and called a neighbor who was kind enough to carry me down to his car and we drove to the nearest hospital. I was sent to the E.R for an initial diagnosis. A solemn-faced doctor examined me with a reflex hammer and diagnosed a complete loss of sensation in the right leg and 60% function loss in the left one. The suspected diagnosis: a spinal injury. Two hours later, I was sent to the neurological ward where I was again hit with a reflex hammer and had electric current run through my legs in the hope I would feel a tingle. The doctors were trying to determine just how far the paralysis had spread. Three doctors, accompanied by an intrigued group of interns, came by my room to see with their own eyes what had become the ward’s talk-of-the-day. They wanted to know if the paralysis had spread as far as my genitals. Luckily that area was unaffected, thanks for asking! After an exhausting night of test after test, the doctors were frustrated. The X-rays showed no fracture of the spine. There was no explanation of the reason for my paralysis, or an estimate of when, or if, my legs would ever function again. What they did notice was a slight movement of the lower vertebrae. After being hospitalized for almost two months, there was no change in my condition. When it seemed pointless to keep me there, I was rolled home in my wheelchair - my new set of limbs. It turned out the doctors had planned it so that my hospitalization period would become a sort of practice and preparation for my new life. The life of a crippled sixteen year-old. During my stay I could feel the doctors getting desperate, then losing hope in finding any cure for my condition. In a final effort to stimulate my nervous system they transmitted electrical currents through my legs right up until the day of my discharge. Then, declaring defeat put me in a wheelchair and sent me home to my new life. I did not return to the hospital, nor did I go back to school. I was an eleventh-grader whose only consolation was that, due to my new circumstances, I was exempt from doing homework or studying for exams.

My bedroom became the new social hub. From 8am till midnight my room was filled with school friends who came by to cheer me up. Sometimes I would have as many as twenty people at my bedside. I remember these days being so joyful and full of shared experiences; watching TV and movies together, gossiping about anyone and everyone, and my favorite activity of them all, making prank calls. But after a while I’d had enough. The glamour of doing nothing and missing school expired and I had to look reality in the eye. Despite my efforts to ignore the fact that I was paralyzed - life was providing me plenty of daily reminders. My close friends were going for their driver’s license’s and planning their vacations. They were taking their final exams, falling in love, and their visits became more and more sporadic. I on the other hand, was drawn more and more into a world of sickness of physiotherapy sessions with geriatric patients who had broken their pelvises or suffered from heart diseases, patients who had lost their physical capacities and needed to re-learn how to carry out simple tasks again. If that wasn’t enough, the cortisone shots I was given had completely deformed my body. This wasn’t how I imagined my teenage years.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE ASK ME IF I WAS FEELING DEPRESSED DURING THAT TIME. MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE - I HAD NO TIME FOR IT. I WAS TOO BUSY PLANNING MY FUTURE.

Out of boredom - but mainly because I wanted to get back on my feet so badly, and wholeheartedly believed that it would happen - I took an old school notebook and titled it The List. I began writing plans for the following year, at the end of which I would turn seventeen.

The page was filled with an endless list of goals, ambitions and dreams. To start with I began writing down ones that were directly related to my paralysis, but without noticing it I got carried further and further away in my imagination.

- Complete my final theatre exam - Kiss for the first time - Get a new computer - Utilize my home stay to write a book - Travel to London with my grandparents - Perform in a musical by the time I’m 25 - Climb the Great Wall of China by the age of 30 [preferably with my grandmother, who had dreamt about doing it her whole life] - Work as a journalist and get my own personal column - Act in a TV show, similar to the American sitcoms I watch on TV - Establish an arts-related business

Having filled out two full pages of things I wanted to achieve by the age of seventeen, I turned a new leaf and started writing down a new list for my eighteenth year. Then for my nineteenth year and so on, until I had reached the third and fourth decades of my life. In less than a week I had a notebook full of plans, dreams and goals to be accomplished and realized. Each time I had another idea for another goal, task or dream, I added it in the bottom of the relevant list. For example, on the ‘40-years-old’ page, I wrote ‘buy an apartment upfront’. Even at my tender age I understood that mortgage is a risky business so I had better start saving up! In three years I will turn forty, and I’m still working hard to achieve that goal I set for myself twenty years ago.

One day a teacher came by for a visit. She saw the notebook with my scribbles all over and wandered what it was all about. I proudly shared my ‘list’ idea and handed her the notebook. She wanted to understand the motives behind each goal I wrote down. So I explained each and every one, but the more I let my imagination go the sadder she became. I couldn’t help but notice the moisture building up in her eyes and the expression on her face, as if saying; “poor kid, not only is he physically paralyzed, he’s now going insane too. He’s completely lost any touch with reality”. I must admit, she wasn’t the only one who felt that way towards me at the time. I got the same response from anyone who asked to read my notebook and found nothing in it but the unrealistic fantasies and pipe dreams of a young, disadvantaged boy. Clearly, anyone in their right mind understands that you can’t perform in a musical in a wheelchair (although ‘Glee’ has since proven us otherwise) or climb the Great Wall of China. Journalism is also a job that requires mobility and independence, and was therefore deemed unrealistic. With the kind of medical restrictions I suffered, I clearly couldn’t work, earn money, establish a business or pay upfront for an apartment (that one is hard enough standing firm on both feet but that’s another story). Deep down though, I wanted to believe that one way or another I was going to realize all of these dreams.

Eventually, after 18 frustrating months of rehabilitation (including intensive and painful treatments) and long days of sitting in my wheelchair thinking and visualizing myself standing up again, and even giving interviews about my recovery story - I got on my feet and started walking. It wasn’t like in a Hollywood movie, where the war hero miraculously jumps out of his wheelchair and walks towards his one-true-love. It was a very long, exhausting and difficult process. I had to endure many pitying stares from total strangers who saw my friends pushing me around in a wheelchair. Gradually, and agonizingly slowly, I moved from the wheelchair to a walker cushioned with tennis balls, then onto crutches, until I was finally able to stand on my own legs and walk those first shaky steps.

I will never forget that first day I was able to leave the house and visit a friend. It was the strangest feeling. I remember walking down my childhood streets, aiming my body forward but somehow I was only moving diagonally. My brain needed to relearn how to direct my legs again. I knocked on my friend’s door and when he opened it, we hugged, then went into his room as if it was a natural thing to do. It took him a minute before he realized I was actually standing on my own feet and he started screaming with excitement. When my doctors heard I was walking again they had no explanation for it. Some of them tried to attribute it to a medical phenomenon called ‘drop foot’, a kind of temporary paralysis caused by pressure inflicted by the vertebrae on the nervous system. Some doctors thought it a ‘medical miracle’, others believed it was the positive influence of oils and ointments that were massaged into my skin, or the religious charms and artifacts that were hung on my wheelchair. One way or another, during those first days of spring, almost a year-and a- half after the accident, I was back to a fully functioning life. Lacking a thoroughly convincing medical explanation for the cause of my recovery, I happily gave the same answer to anyone who asked me what happened -

THE LIST I WROTE, WITH ALL THE DREAMS I HAVE YET TO MATERIALIZE IS WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO GET BACK ON MY FEET AND WALK AGAIN. IT PRESENTED ME WITH GOALS AND FILLED ME WITH HOPE THAT NOTHING WOULD PREVENT ME FROM STANDING ON MY TWO FEET AND ACCOMPLISH THEM. MY LIST IS WHAT HELPED ME RISE UP FROM DESPAIR.

WHEN WE HAVE A DISTINCT GOAL WE ARE EAGER TO ACHIEVE, NO ROAD IS TOO LONG OR IMPOSSIBLE.

2 | THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED

When I meet new people and share with them the story of my accident, I get the same reaction almost every time - shock and pity. They pity me for losing two of my best teenage years, and are shocked at the hardships I had to overcome at such a young age. I always respond with a smile and share my outlook on that period, which I consider to be one of the happiest of my life: I was living every teenager’s dream not to go to school, and still enjoyed a very rich social life. I entertained myself with watching TV and reading books, but I mainly wrote lists. I had so much time on my hands to plan my future. It’s a privilege not many enjoy. Our fast-paced schedules prevent most people from even planning their next day.

SO WHEN I LOOK BACK I CALL THAT PERIOD ‘THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED’

Why do I call it a gift? Because at such a young age, I already understood something about the fragility of life, about fate, and how it can flip on us just like that. After all, one moment I was a vibrant young man with so many dreams and aspirations, and the next I was paralyzed and in a wheelchair with no clear future ahead. Today I know that these insights normally arrive much later in life, if at all. And although we are surrounded by death, illness and human tragedies, we do not really grasp the fragility of life until disaster knocks on our door. Sometimes we even miss the insights and mental gifts handed to us by our very own lives and circumstances. For example, I have a 45-year-old acquaintance who managed to survive two cancer strikes in ten years. Her cancers were so aggressive she was unable to do anything for months on end. But despite the fact that this woman is a cancer survivor and is also very respected in her field of work, she is never satisfied with her own achievements. It seems as though she has forgotten the hard times she has been through and goes on about her life in a constant state of discontent - a classic ‘the grass is always greener next door’ syndrome. If she spent less time observing and appraising other people’s gardens and invested more time in her own, I have no doubt in my mind she would have a forest there by now, and much more importantly, she would be a much happier person. During one of our conversations I said to her; “You’ve beaten cancer twice! Appreciate what you have managed to do!” She heard me but didn’t really take in the meaning of what I said. That’s when it dawned on me, every person has their own journey to walk. Sometimes in life we are dealt with difficult cards, but it is our call how we choose to play them. In my case, I learned at a very young age about how fickle life can be. When I was finally able to walk again, I looked at my notebook, which was carefully placed in my under-the-bed-secret-box-of-notes-and-loveletters and made up my mind. For as long as I’m here, I will strike while the iron is hot. I will make all my dreams come true. Yes, all of them. The little ones, the big ones, the grandiose ones. The obtainable ones and even the seemingly unobtainable ones. The overt as well as the secret ones. The serious and silly ones. The courageous and the mundane. The personal and the familial. The local and global. I decided that nothing was going to stand in the way of realizing my dreams - not other people’s doubts, not financial limitations and not the rejections I would most likely experience along the way. And I did, over the course of my career encounter plenty of those, as I’m sure you have too.

I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO LIVE EVERY DAY AS IF IT WAS THE LAST OF MY LIFE I WAS GOING TO TICK OFF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE TASKS IN MY ENDLESS LIST.

By the way I have already ticked most of these off:

- I entered my first relationship as soon as I recovered (and of course, experienced my first romantic kiss!) - Just before my 18th birthday I flew to London with my grandparents and it was one of the most magical overseas trips I’ve had. The three of us enjoy looking at the photos of that trip again and again - I passed my final theatre exam in high school and played a paralyzed soldier. The examiners claimed that my performance was exceptionally believable. If only they knew how I prepared for the role and who was my source of inspiration… - After graduating from Drama school, I landed a role in a successful Israeli musical. - I started working as a reporter for a local newspaper. - With the money I earned at my new job I bought a computer. - I traveled to the Great Wall of China

‘The best gift I ever received‘ has bestowed many gifts upon me. In this book I am hoping to pay those gifts forward. With the help of this book, I am hoping to inspire you to embark on a mental and personal journey that will prove to be a defining moment for you. My wish is that this book will enable you to become more closely acquainted with an outlook on life that has helped me, as well as many others, come to realize our dreams.

I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN OUR ABILITY TO CREATE OUR OWN REALITY, BUT THIS IS NOT A SPIRITUAL BOOK. THIS IS A PRACTICAL GUIDE THAT AIMS TO SHARE THE STORIES OF MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO HAVE WRITTEN LISTS AND REALIZED THEIR DREAMS, PEOPLE I’VE MET VIA SOCIAL NETWORKS - MAINLY FACEBOOK. OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS THEY HAVE SHARED WITH ME MORE THAN 5,000 LISTS. 5,000 INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND INSIGHTS. 5,000 LIVES. I CHOSE NOT TO INCLUDE ANY STATISTICS OR STUDIES THAT WILL INDICATE THE POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND THE IMPACT OF THE INTERNET. AFTER ALL, THIS KIND OF DATA IS PUBLISHED FROM TIME TO TIME AND CAN BE EASILY ACCESSED ONLINE. YOU MAY FIND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT IN RANDI ZUCKERBERG’S WONDERFUL BOOK ROAD TO NOWHERE. ZUCKERBERG IS AN AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMAN. SHE IS FACEBOOK’S FORMER DIRECTOR OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT AND SPOKESPERSON, AND THE SISTER OF THE COMPANY’S CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG. SO LET GO OF YOUR FEARS, PREJUDICES AND CYNICISM, BUY A NICE NOTEBOOK, AND LET’S START YOUR JOURNEY WITH THE LIST.

You should scribble away on a notepad as you read the list. Highlight sentences on your Kindle, write lists, notes and ideas where and when inspiration takes you. Hopefully the book will empower and encourage you to follow your heart and accomplish the dreams you are destined to realize.

It might also inspire you to write a blog or use social networks in a more effective way. Instead of just uploading pictures of yummy desserts or yammering about the weekend, you might become addicted to ‘listing’ or decide on a much needed career change or a trip around the world. But more than anything, I hope that by the time you finish reading the book (or maybe even before that) you will already be on the way to realizing at least one dream, if not more, from your forming list. The very decision to purchase this book, commit precious time, focus, and invest in yourself is the first step towards self-fulfillment and conquering your personal goals. You are giving yourself a wonderful gift.

EVERY BIG JOURNEY STARTS WITH ONE SMALL STEP.

3 | WHO AM I?

At the time of writing this book I’m thirty-seven years old. I live in Tel- Aviv and am the father of two girls, the amazing six-year-old Shira, and our baby Noga who has a beautiful smile on her face. For the past twenty years I have written for various Israeli media agencies and am currently working as an interviewer for Israel Today newspaper. I have published two best-selling novels and my third book is due for release. As an actor I have appeared in more than 500 episodes of popular TV shows, performed in plays and musicals and anchored various radio programs. I own two décor stores and run a website that serves as cultural discussion platform. I also direct a writing school. I have travelled all over the world. I climbed the Great Wall of China, watched the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights), wandered the alleys of the City of God (Cidade de Deus) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and climbed all the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. I have dined with Bruce Willis, had lunch at Juliet Binoche’s house, taken a selfie with Jason Alexander and interviewed many Hollywood actors, from Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio. I have visited and stayed in castles, palaces and holiday houses of the rich and the famous all over the world and this is only a partial list. I recount these achievements not because I want to show-off or impress you, but simply because I have crossed off my list almost every dream I had while sitting in that wheelchair. And I’m still generating new dreams and doing everything I can to make them come true.

YOU CAN TOO.

It is not just a slogan. I know many people who found out about the list method and their lives have changed dramatically.

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דואר אלקטרוני

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