Zora’s List

I first heard the story of Zora Colakovic this past weekend on an old episode of NPR’s This American Life. To make the story short, Zora was a child when she started to become obsessed with her dreams of becoming a superhero fighting with guns, swords, and super powers. Without actual super powers a teenage Zora started to keep a list of skills to acquire that would enable her to be a super hero. She became determined to be her vision of a hero by age 23.

At age 13, Zora’s list of skills included Martial Arts, Chemistry, Hang Gliding, Metaphysics, Helicopter Piloting, Airplane Piloting, Parachuting, Mountain Climbing, Wilderness Survival, Evasive Driving, Rafting, Scuba-diving, Mountain Emergency Medicine, Body Building, Archery, Demolitions, Throwing Stars, and Knife Throwing.

As she grew older Zora would update the list and, incredibly, she mastered almost all of the skills she set out to learn. Her pursuit of becoming a super hero led her to graduate high school at the age of 15, get her BA at 18, achieve a Master’s degree at 20, and complete the coursework for a PHD at 21. After being deemed to risky and dangerous for a job at the CIA, Zora flourished as a bounty hunter and private investigator putting her skills to work.

I was blown away by Zora’s story and her dedication to her childhood lists. Like her, I wanted to be a super hero as a child but never had the logic of how to practically apply those wishes. I’m really inspired by Zora’s lists and the path she took to live her dreams. I begun to contemplate what, at this point in my life, is on my list to learn in order for me to be the person I really want to be.

After googling Zora’s name I didn’t come up with much aside from various announcements that a movie based on her life starring Jennifer Aniston was once in production (and it seems doomed to be stuck in development Hell). I was heartened to come across to this lone post that seemed to genuinely discuss her story. That blog’s author, like me, was contemplating what their own version of Zora’s list would include.

So my question to everyone is: What’s on your version of Zora’s List? To hear the This American Life episode featuring Zora Colakovic you can download an mp3 from this link (27.1 MB). The story is in the second act around the 20 minute mark. I’m working on my list, what will yours include?