I love lists.

But not all lists.

Most lists are good. But some lists are bad.  Here’s my list of bad lists.


To-Do Lists  

That contain too many items and equal cognitive overload.


Guest Lists  

Especially if you’re not on.

‘If your name’s not down, you’re not getting in’.


Play Lists

Remember when radio DJs were allowed to choose at least some of what they played? It’s now done by computer.


Bucket Lists 

What! Wait a minute, Michael. I thought bucket lists were brilliant?

Yes and No. Bucket Lists can be fun. But on the flip side, they can also take the lister away from the now. Have you ever met a person who is so focused on their bucket list that they forget about the beauty of the now?


Time to pause.


On Sunday evening we celebrated the 3rd Birthday of TEAM17. We had our regular DAY17 session and for the first time we welcomed guests*.

WOW! What a night.

Our subject was, ‘What brilliant people do that average people don’t’.

One that grabbed me from the group discussion was:

‘Brilliant people are comfortable to pause’.  


All pauses. Here’s a list:

Pausing before answering a question.

Pausing and taking in the moment.

Pausing to give thanks.

Pausing before making a decision.

Pausing to think deeper.


I’d love to know your thoughts on lists, pausing and anything that may be on your mind after reading this message. You can leave them below.

I’ll send a copy of the new edition of my book 17 : Your Ultimate Guide to a Better, Brilliant You (which was published on Sunday) to our favourite.

Be Brilliant!


  1. September 21st 2023 by karen steele

    I just found out I’m a pauser, BUT on the other hand I have to have a list made yesterday before i can start the day.

  2. September 21st 2023 by Marilyn Payne

    I have a ‘to do’ list every day, inside my diary. Why? I have Lupus which comes with brain fog. Without my lists I’d amble through the day, achieving nothing. My diary confirms appointments and outings with friends. Today my list says: dementia walk (Im walking a mile a day throughout September for charity) Writing (if it’s not written down, it doesn’t get done) and a hospital appointment at 2pm. I do enjoy non list days too, when I can totally relax and do nothing, or act on impulse, if the mood takes me.

  3. September 21st 2023 by Stuart Burton

    I sometimes pause when asked an interesting or difficult question but usually the question is repeated before I have fully thought through the answer. Here I say (Sometimes I like to make a journey of what I’m saying so it feels more like a destination when I get there) taken from another source but not mine. It deflects the question for me to formulate and present my answer.

  4. September 21st 2023 by Peter Vardy

    Hi Michael.
    One of the best speakers I ever heard was Rick Warren the pastor of a mega church. He was speaking at the Royal Albert Hall and answering several questions. He paused for what felt like 30 seconds but was only 10 before he answered the question. It was so unusual, but his answers were pearls of wisdom. Everyone else talked immediately after the question and worked their way round to an answer. He engaged his brain before his tongue. So powerful.

  5. September 22nd 2023 by Julia Goodfellow-Smith

    I love lists… preferably with 17 items on them! I have the long ‘to-do’ lists separate from my daily ones, which are shorter and more manageable.
    As for bucket lists – of course, I love them! But I do think they should be approached mindfully. In my book ‘Live Your Bucket List’, I talk about how to filter your list, how to plan, implementation and the importance of reflection when you’ve achieved your dream.
    Just living for the future or the past is certainly a bad idea, and surely having a bucket list gives you something to look forward to, too?

  6. September 22nd 2023 by Flo Kingfisher

    I find to-do lists very therapeutic when you cross off the actions on it. Very satisfying! On pausing, if I have a decision to make my impulsive side wants to jump in but I do pause and then follow my intuition and it works!

  7. October 3rd 2023 by Marietta Maidman

    I need to learn to pause more – I tend to react too quickly, offer too quickly, respond too quickly. The problem with that is that I can over commit, overreact or regret what I just said!! I do have ‘To Do’ lists but I try to follow your advice and list the five most important things that need to be done first the next day the night before. It definitely helps me sleep better!

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