Ben Nemtin: Badass Bucket Lists | E180
Ben Nemtin: Badass Bucket Lists | E180
What do you want to do before you die? Ben Nemtin, New York Times best-selling author and star of the MTV show The Buried Life wants you to answer that question… and act on it! In a journey that started off as a two-week trip and extended to an over ten year journey, Ben and his three friends, Jonnie, Dave, and Duncan, set off to knock 100 bucket lists items off their list and for every bucket list item they accomplished, they would help a complete stranger check something off their list. They called that list “The Buried Life.” And through that experience they have proven that no dream is too big to achieve. And it all starts by writing a bucket list. In this episode, Ben and Hala talk about everything Ben has learned about life and accomplishing goals along the way. They talk about Ben’s depression, how one small decision can change the trajectory of your life, how to make a bucket list and why you should, and Ben shares stories of bucket list items he’s checked off and stories of helping others accomplish their bucket list items.
– Ben’s early life – Ben’s struggle with depression in college
– How one small decision can change your life
– Does Ben still suffer from depression?
– The Buried Life
– Why it’s not selfish to have personal goals
– The ten categories of life – Stories of bucket list accomplishments
– What bucket list items they haven’t achieved
– Ben’s actionable advice – Ben’s secret to profiting in life
– And other topics…
Ben Nemtin is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? and a star of the MTV show The Buried Life. He is recognized as one of the World’s Best Motivational Speakers, as well as one of the World’s Top Organizational Culture Thought Leaders by Global Gurus (2020).
As the co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Ben’s message of radical possibility has been featured in major media including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, and more.
ClickUp – Sign up today at ClickUp.com and use codeUse code YAP to get 15% off ClickUp’s massive Unlimited Plan for a year! Shopify – Go to shopify.com/profiting, for a FREE fourteen-day trial and get full access to Shopify’s entire suite of features Faherty – Head to fahertybrand.com/yap and use code YAP at checkout to get 20% OFF! Constant Contact – Go to constantcontact.com to get started for free today Jordan Harbinger – Check out jordanharbinger.com/start for some episode recommendations
Ben’s Book: https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Nemtin/e/B00DX1XWOE
Ben’s Website: https://www.bennemtin.com/about/
Ben’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bennemtin/
Ben’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BenNemtin
Ben’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bennemtin/
Ben’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennemtin
Connect with Young and Profiting:
Hala’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/htaha/
Hala’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yapwithhala/
Hala’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/yapwithhala
Text Hala: https://youngandprofiting.co/TextHala or text “YAP” to 28046
Hala: [00:00:00] Hey, Ben, welcome to young and profiting podcast.
Ben: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
So for those of you who don't know Ben, 15 years ago, he created a list called 100 things to do before you die with his three friends. And he decided that for every bucket list item he would accomplish, he would help a complete stranger accomplish something on their list as.
Hala: What was supposed to be a two week road trip turned into pretty much a lifelong mission. Eventually leading him to an MTV show called the buried life, a New York times bestselling book. And today he's also a very in demand motivational speaker. In fact, I follow Ben on social and it seems like he speaks in a different city every day.
Hala: And so I can't wait for my listeners to hear all of your bucket list advice and all of your life changing stories. But
Hala: before we get into it, I did wanna touch on your upbringing
Hala: and talk about mental health for a moment, because you are an expert on this topic you grew up in Canada. And I read that when you were younger, you were always traveling with your parents.
Hala: So let's talk about your upbringing and how that influenced your [00:01:00] adventurous spirit that you have.
Ben: So my dad was actually a clown and he was like a theatrical clown. So he played music and he wasn't necessarily a clown that like does balloons at parties and stuff. He would do theater shows. So we would travel around to different kids festivals or different cities, and he would do a show and it would either be in a, some sort of exotic location, like in Africa or somewhere like Sweden, or it would be on a ski mountain.
Ben: So we had this really interesting. Upbringing where we would kind of travel with him to these cool locations. He played music. So what he would also do is like when my mom and my dad met, they would travel Greece and they would play music in the Tover for a free room upstairs. So in, in Greece you have the bar and then you have a couple rooms above it.
Ben: So they would play music pass around the hat and, and their payment would be free room and, and board. And so my parents have been to Greece 15, 16 times. They it's their favorite place to go. So when I was two years old, they brought me to Greece for the first time and they. [00:02:00] Would do that thing where they would play music in the Taverna and, and travel around like that.
Ben: And so they would just bring me with them and they would sit me on the bar as a two year old, and then they would leave and play music in the corner and they would just leave me on the bar and I would hang out. And then at the end of the night, they'd kind of pick me up and, uh, off we'd go and they'd put me in between them, on their Vespa with a little hockey helmet and kind of travel around Greece.
Ben: So I think from them, I learned. that there really wasn't any rules around how you had to live your life. I think subconsciously we either absorb that there's this expected route that we have to go on and we feel like that's what we should do.
Ben: It doesn't need to be pressure from our parents. There's sort of pressure from society. I think at an early age, subconsciously I learned from then there really were no rules and you could create your own life based on what made you happy. And they never really made very much money. We didn't have a lot of money growing up.
Ben: It's not. We were scraping by, but we, he was a performer and my mom was kind [00:03:00] of an independent business coach for women. And, and then did this and that. So, but what they, their life was so rich and they still to this day live like that. And they have, we had a west valley van where we travel around in camp and to this day, they drive down to Mexico every year in the van and play music and meet people.
Ben: And they had this very rich life. And so it's, uh, yeah, that's definitely what I learned from them growing.
Hala: That's so cute. It's such like a unique little story and considering how much you travel now. Now I understand kind of where you get that from, because it's a very unique upbringing that you had. So you ended up getting a scholarship from my understanding of college, and you had an opportunity to play on the rugby team, which in Canada is a really big deal, but you ended up falling into depression, your first year of college.
Hala: So talk to us about that from an outside perspective, seems like everything was going great. You had great parents. You guys traveled, you got a scholarship. Why did you think that you ended up falling into depression? What happened
Ben: there? I put so much pressure on [00:04:00] myself to succeed in school in athletics.
Ben: I really wanted people to like me. Like I just kind of, for whatever reason I put, I I've always put a lot of pressure on myself. I was on the under 19 national rugby team and we were training for the world cup and I was worried about missing a kick cause I played fly half. So that's like a field goal kicker and you're, you're the quarterback kind of, so there's a lot of pressure on that.
Ben: And so I started worrying about, oh crap, what if I miss an easy kick at the world cup? And what if I blow this opportunity? And I had missed a kick in the end of a, of our championship game in high school. And so I really didn't want that to happen again. And you know, at that age, Everything is so black and white.
Ben: And so life or death, you know, whether you're friends like you or you don't, you're living in this little bubble of high school. So you really don't know that there's so much more out there. And that there, these things that you think are such a big deal, when you're younger in your high school years or early college years, you realize, well, I'm not even gonna remember that this happened on my deathbed.
Ben: Like, there's just no way I'm gonna remember that [00:05:00] this was something that I worried about. But at that point I was so worried about. Doing well on this team. And so I would worry about it at night and I felt this anxiety and this anxiety caused me to have trouble sleeping. And so this lack of sleep, this anxiety, this constant pressure, it all built up.
Ben: And I started to not be able to go to school and I started to not be able to go to rugby practice and I, then I couldn't leave the house. And so it just compounded, I never experienced anything like this, where all of a sudden I was crippled by this anxiety and depression. And I was a very happy go lucky guy.
Ben: And I was. Really, I was a type. I had a lot of friends that were also very supportive in high energy, but I really wasn't talking about what was going on at all. So I was internalizing it and I just went down and down and down and it got really, really scary. And it ultimately ha my friends actually kind of pulled me out of the house and convinced me and rallied me to come work with them in a new town for the summer after I'd dropped outta school.
Ben: I was forced to get a [00:06:00] job. I was forced to start to kind of do things on my own. I've started build a little bit of confidence. I started talking about what I was going through. I started to, um, find different types of people that were inspiring, right? Like, as I said, when you're in high school or even college, you have this Petri dish of friends, but you don't realize that if they're not your people, there are your people out there.
Ben: It just takes time to find it. And so that was something that took a bit of time for. To realize. And I started finding these people that I realized gave me energy, these, these new groups of friends, they inspired me and they were doing all these cool things. They had already traveled. They had started businesses.
Ben: And so I thought, okay, I'm gonna try and only surround myself with people that inspire me almost by necessity, cuz I needed that energy and that single decision completely changed my life. And it would lead me down this path that would ultimately bring me here. Speaking to you. I mean, I wouldn't be doing the.
Ben: I am doing now, if I hadn't consciously decided to try and only surround myself with people that inspire
Hala: Yeah. [00:07:00] I think it's pretty crazy how
Hala: one decision can change the trajectory of your life. I mean, you've been on this mission for what it seems to be like 15 years
Ben: Yeah. And I think that that's a really empowering idea because it means that you can change your life at any time.
Ben: And I think we all can think back to moments where. There was this pivot and it could be something very small, like something a teacher said to us, or the way a teacher showed up to us before us in high school or some way a friend supported us, or just happenstance when you ran into someone and then that led to your job, or just any number of things, but these, these little moments, and I think it's a combination of, you have to be aware and it kind of jump on those moments sometimes.
Ben: And it takes a little bit of, of, of awareness and it takes a little bit of, of. Being proactive. And you start to go down this, this path that you don't know will ultimately shift your whole life. So if you think about it, if you, if anybody's a golfer, you hit a golf ball, one or two degrees off, it [00:08:00] doesn't seem like much, but by the time that it lands it could be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 feet off center.
Ben: And so this little change. Can be a big change over time. And that's how I look at these small little shifts that you make, that you don't see them in the moment, but they can actually create this huge impact. And I think it's an empowering idea because it means that you can also make a huge impact in someone else's life.
Ben: So just by being there for someone in a moment when they need it, or by small gesture of kindness or helping hand, or even a compliment to a stranger, all these things create ripple. That are hard to measure, but it's very real. So it goes both ways. Like everyone has the power to create this immense change through the ripple effect through your daily inner micro interactions.
Ben: But then it also means that you have the ability to change your life in any moment, because really a small change can lead to a huge change. And so I think we get overwhelmed [00:09:00] sometimes by thinking about, oh, I have to make this huge, massive shift to change my. I don't think that's true. I think that you can change your life just by doing a very small thing that over time will compound and you'll ultimately make a huge shift.
Hala: I think that's super powerful. So something Ben I was curious about was if you still get depressed today, because you seem so energetic, you always have a smile on and you don't seem like the type of person. That gets depressed. So I'm curious to know if you still suffer from depression and what you do to manage your highs and the
Ben: Yeah. Well, I'm happy you said that because I still do get depressed. and I think that that is something that is like a really, just a great thing to talk about that the people that you don't think struggle, struggle, you know, everybody struggles, every human will go through some mental. Crisis in their life.
Ben: And that's just through the research, right? It doesn't need to be from a [00:10:00] mental health illness, a mental illness. It can be from a divorce stress from losing a job bereavement from losing someone that you love. You will go through the crapper, like it's going to happen. And so I think that that's almost an empowering idea because it means that no one is alone in their struggle.
Ben: If someone is not struggling, they've been there before they will go through it.
Ben: I really believe, when you speak things, they lose their power.
Ben: They're much scarier when they're in your head. And so that's what I found is by talking about. I'm able to also process it. Like I can talk about, I can break it down when I'm talking about in therapy or talking about it with friends. So it's so important to talk about. So I would say if you are struggling right now, if you take anything away from this podcast, it's find someone that you trust to talk about what is going on.
Ben: Ideally, it's a professional and we can talk about therapy. And we talk about the challenges with finding a good therapist and if a stigma around therapy, cuz all that is there. But just outside of that, if you can find someone to talk to, I think it's the most important.
Hala: Yeah, I have a therapist I [00:11:00] hope that stigma has gone by now, Ben, because I feel like so many people have therapists and, and therapy is really important.
Hala: It's important to talk out your feelings
Hala: All right. So let's take it back to the summer of 2006. You were 19 years old. And you had the idea to gather up your friends, to make a movie called the buried life. So talk to us about how you got that idea and what was the premise of this movie?
Ben: Yeah. So I came back from that summer away, you know, I was starting to feel back to myself, you know, lifting out of this depression. I was like, okay, I met these cool kids in this new town. I want to continue to surround myself with more people like that. So there's one kid that came to mind and he was a filmmaker from my neighborhood and his name, uh, was Johnny and I secretly had always wanted to make a movie.
Ben: So I called up Johnny and I was like, Make a movie, if you, you know, I didn't know him too well. I was sort of going out on a limb, reaching out to him and we gathered two other friends. One of them was Johnny's older, brother Duncan, another friend, Dave. And we started talking about making this documentary.
Ben: We didn't know what it was gonna be about though at this point. And then serendipitously Johnny gets [00:12:00] assigned a poem in English class at McGill university in his first year English class. The poem is called the buried life. So it's an old poem written in 1852, over 150 years. and this poem strikes a chord in Johnny and he sends it back to us.
Ben: He says, guys, this poet is talking about the same thing we're talking about right now, which basically was this idea that we felt like we had all these dreams, but we never even tried to go after them because the day to day BES them, like we knew we had things that we wanted to do, but why hadn't we ever done them?
Ben: It's cuz life got in the way. And we have these moments when we're inspired, but then. We get less inspired because the day to day pushes them. So we thought, okay, we're not the first people to feel like this. If this guy wrote this poem in 1852, let's take this name, let's call our film, the buried life.
Ben: And our next task was to uncover these buried dreams. And the way we did that was through this question. What do you wanna do before you die? Because for us thinking about death actually made us think about life. And I'm a huge fan of thinking about death. I think the, the more we can [00:13:00] think about. The better.
Ben: And we can talk about that, but just, we stumbled into this.
Ben: This was by accident, but we asked ourselves this question. Okay. Okay. We're we realized, okay, we're gonna die one day. So if we're gonna die, which is probably the only thing we can count on in life, what do we wanna do with the time left? And that's where the bucket list came from.
Ben: It was our answers to the question. What do you wanna do before you die? And we pretended we had all the money in the world. We pretended that we had the ability to do anything. So our list. Ambitious. It was like make a TV show, play basketball with Obama, write a number one New York times bestseller sit with Oprah, have a beer with prince Harry, pay off our parents, parents mortgage, go to space, streak a field and get away, ask out the girl, your dreams.
Ben: You know, it was a very audacious list. And then we thought every time we cross something off our list, let's help someone else do something on their list. And so that was the mission. We board an RV, we bought a secondhand camera. We planned a two week road trip in the summer of 2006 in Victoria, BC, where we grew up in Canada and we hit the road.[00:14:00]
Ben: And as soon as we hit the road, unexpectedly, people heard about our road trip and then they started to email us and they looked at our list and they said, Hey, I can help you cross off ride a bolt. I can help you cross off, get up in a hot air balloon. I can help you cross off, make a toast to stranger's wedding.
Ben: And then they would send us their dreams asking for our help. And so we struck this nerve. And we just were thought, let's keep doing this. And so this two week road trip ended up lasting over 10 years. And then the list items that we had written down in the beginning that we were convinced were completely unattainable over time.
Ben: They ended up falling off the list. And so we also realized that helping other people achieve their dreams meant even more than doing the big things on our list. And then along the way. Built this passion for like figuring out why do some people achieve their goals and go after them. But most people don't like, why are 76% of the people on the planet reaching their deathbed and regretting the things they didn't do?
Ben: Not the things they did. [00:15:00] And so. That's why I started to speak, cuz I was like, okay, we need to get more people in that minority of the population that actually go after the things and be true to yourself. And really a bucket list is just a reflection of your true self. That's the way I look at it. It's just a list of all the things that are gonna bring you join happiness.
Ben: So it's not just skydive and go to Europe. That's one of 10 categories of your life. So you want to think about your adventure travel goals, but you also wanna think about your mental health goals, your physical health. you want to think about your, how do you wanna give back your relationship goals?
Ben: Intellectual? What do you wanna learn? Financial professional. And so that's what a full bucket list is. But when we were on that road trip, we had no idea of any of that. We were just going out to tackle our dreams and help other people. And it sparked this lifelong learning journey.
Hala: Yeah. It's so beautiful.
Hala: One thing that I really connected with with your story was this idea that people went out of their way to help you. And that's because you guys had really good [00:16:00] intentions and you were just trying to be of service to the world. You're trying to make the world a better place. And I can relate because when I started young and profiting podcast, I had no intentions to make money.
Hala: All I was trying to do was just help people listen, learn and profit. And by months too, I had 10 volunteers who were just working for me for free in a slack channel, helping with the movement. And it's just funny how, when you wanna do good for the world, you just become magnetic and people wanna help because there are good people out there.
Hala: So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
The only way that we cross things off our list is through the help of other people. I just wanna be very clear on that. You know, we had no business or no ability to achieve any of the things that we have achieved, but people always stepped up to help us in unexpected ways because we shared our goals.
Ben: And I think that you had the idea for this podcast. 99% of people will have the idea they'll wanna do it, but they won't take that first step because of. They're afraid of failure. They're afraid of what other people think. And that's ultimately what [00:17:00] stops people and that's through research. And we can talk about like where that comes from, but that's the number one barrier when it comes to stopping people from achieving their personal goals.
Ben: But when you don't put it out there, no one can help you. You're on your own. And if you think about it, when you hit a challenge at work, typically, what do you do? You go to your leader, you ask for help go to a mentor. Hey, have you ever been through this? I don't know what to do. You ask a friend, but with these personal goals, we don't ask for help because of the fear.
Ben: We're afraid of failure of fear of what other people think.
Ben: And then we just have a, a lower chances of succeeding because we're trying to do it in our head, on our own. I always say, when you give someone a chance to be a hero, they usually take it. And so
Ben: you experienced this when you started to put this, this, you took the leap, you moved through that, that discomfort of like, oh shit.
Ben: Like, what are people? Is this gonna be good? What if it's bad? And it fails. And then you started to see that people were gravitating [00:18:00] towards it because you were doing it from your true, it came out of what you truly wanted to. This is your, a reflection of your true self. And I think that at the end of the day, that is the big goal is to be true to yourself in a world that is so hard to stay true to yourself.
Ben: Cause everything pulls you away from that social media pulls you away from that. You know, being disconnected, pulls you away from that. The fear pulls you away from that. But when you are true to yourself, you're, I think you're unstoppable You are the only person that can be you.
Ben: And we spend most of our life trying to be other people and. Anything you could do to remind yourself of who you are. And that's why I think a list is a great device to remind you friends that keep you accountable to these things are, are great reminders.
what you saw is that when you were true to yourself, and then you start to do this thing, it, it was like this gravitational pull.
Ben: Yeah. And then you start to see this thing happening and then you follow that momentum.
Ben: And I think that sometimes we feel like [00:19:00] we have this plan we gotta stick to it.
Ben: And I've done that a lot, but I've realized that you need to follow the energy and you need to follow what's easy.
Ben: And what was easy for you? Not that it is easy as in it didn't take a lot of work easy. And is, as in you saw there was momentum and that's what you followed. And so for me, that's been speaking, I didn't mean to be a speaker, but I did it to X talk and then some people asked me to speak and I love doing it.
Ben: And I feel like it's easy for me to do, and I work really hard, but I see that it's working. and so I thought, okay, I'm gonna leave the, I started a production company with the three buddies that we started the buried life with after the show. And I left that production company, which was very hard to do speaking because I could see that it was, that was more true to me.
Hala: Following the flow.
Hala: so you came up with this bucket list. You were 19 years old. You're a little naive at the time. You know, you didn't have that much life experience. So I feel like coming up with big audacious goals when you're that young.
Hala: Doesn't seem as frightening as if you were in your later twenties or thirties or [00:20:00] forties. I feel like as you get older, you feel like it's too selfish to accomplish personal goals. Like you feel like you've got all this responsibility and maybe you can't do some of the things that you always dreamed of.
Hala: So I'd love to hear your thoughts about why it's not selfish to have personal goals. And also how we can start to think outside the box when it comes to some of these things on our bucket
Ben: Yeah. Great point. I think that it's not selfish to pursue your personal goals because you can't take care of other people.
Ben: If you can't, if you don't take care of yourself, you can't do your job. If you don't take care of yourself, You can't be who you need to be. If you're not fueling yourself. And one way you fuel yourself is by doing the things that you love. So there's this big tie between purpose and your mental health that I think a lot of people are missing.
Ben: And when you are following the things that you love that are important to you, that mean something to. That gives you a greater sense of wellbeing that contributes to your mental health and it, it energizes you.
Ben: So I think that we need to flip [00:21:00] our thinking around this idea that it's selfish to do these things.
Ben: And I get it. Like I used to think of bucket list was selfish, considering all my responsibilities, everything that I had to do every day. But then I started to notice that people around the world were going after their bucket list, just because we were going after ours, thousands, tens of thousands of people through the show, millions of people.
Ben: To this day, they come up and say, oh, I saw the show. I was going to school. And I decided that I wanted to travel. And I met my husband when I was traveling. Now we have four kids and we live in Italy or I started a restaurant and instead of being a doctor, because when you do what you love, you inspire other people to do what they love.
Ben: Just like you starting this podcast. You probably can't even count the number of people that you ins have inspired. So it's not selfish, it's service because you are giving other people permission to do the same. And you also fuel your.
Ben: so I think it's the same idea around taking vacation. We sometimes feel guilty when we take vacation because we're taking time off work.
Ben: Well, you're not taking time off work. You're taking time off [00:22:00] for work so that you can come back recharged. And you also come back maybe with a bigger idea, cuz you've taken space, you have perspective.
Ben: So there are so many reasons why it's important to pursue these personal passions. And so the first thing is give yourself permission by understanding that it's not selfish.
Ben: Because one, you're gonna inspire other people by doing those things, but you're also gonna fuel fuel yourself.
Ben: Then you look at like, what are these goals that are important to you? And sometimes it's hard to think about, you know, you look at a blank piece of paper and like, what's your list and it's overwhelming.
Ben: And that's why I think it's important to, to separate your list into categories. And so I talked about the 10 categories of. That's basically what my new book is based on the bucket list journal, it just came out last week and effectively you write your list in those 10 categories, mental health goals, physical health goals, relationship.
Ben: How do you wanna give back intellectual financial material goals? And then you start to [00:23:00] move through the barriers that stop you from achieving your goals. So I mentioned there was fear that's number. the other big barrier is when these personal goals you think about them, there's no deadlines and that's a huge problem.
Ben: That's why we push them. So you need to create accountability around the personal goals. That's why writing your list is important. That creates a small bit of accountability because you take an idea that doesn't exist. You make it real. That's why we share our goals, but you share your goals so you can give other people the opportunity to help, but you also share them because then you feel accountable to the people you shared them with.
Ben: If I say on this podcast, This year, I'm writing a book. That's my number one goal. I'm writing a book this year and you say, great. And then I run into you six months later and you say, Hey, how's the book coming? And I think, oh, I better start writing that book. Right? when you share your goals, you feel accountable when you share them with your community and then they can, they can help you.
Ben: And then the third barrier, and I think we've all felt this is that usually with these personal goals, you're waiting to feel inspired to go after them, or you're kind of waiting for the perfect. [00:24:00] moment and that inspiration just, just rarely hits. So you have to create your own inspiration through action. Like there was never a perfect time for you to start this podcast.
Ben: You were never gonna have all your ducks in a row. You know, you were never gonna feel completely inspired to do it because the fear dampens that inspiration. So you have to just do it and create your own inspiration. And as soon as you started the podcast, you saw the reaction and then you started to feel more and more energy and more and more inspiration.
Ben: So you're the architect of your own inspiration through action. Sometimes we just plan too much and we forget that action is a plan. You don't need to know the plan. You'll figure out the plan after you start, you do the first step. You don't need to know the second step. You'll figure out the second step after the first, it's a momentum.
Ben: And so the journal is designed to create inspiration through action, to create accountability, and then to identify real fear and, and imagine.
Hala: Yeah, I love what you're saying right now. It reminds me of something that Jeff Hayden talked to us about. The [00:25:00] podcast called the motivation feedback loop. And basically what it means is that, like you said, you gotta take action.
Hala: And once you get those little wins, you get that little bit of motivation to take the next step and little bit of motivation to take the next step. But it all starts with action. You have to go out and do something to your point. You can't just sit there and plan and think you've gotta take those first
Ben: That's why most people don't. Cause the fear stops you from that, that first step.
Hala: Yeah. Okay. I wanna get into some story time because you've got some really incredible stories. You've been doing this for many, many years. You've helped a lot of people. So one story that really stuck out to me was about this guy named Brent, who told you that he wanted to deliver pizzas to a homeless shelter.
Hala: I don't wanna give away the story. So can you tell us about that? No,
Ben: it's great because you, I met you at, uh, speaking, engage. So you were able to see the talk. And so some of the, at least, you know, my story, which is cool. So Brent was the very first person that we ever helped back in 2006. [00:26:00] So take you back.
Ben: We're leaving Vancouver island in Canada, we're heading to the mainland and we start to get in this RV and travel. Now there's some news starting to talk about. We would just camp out at radio stations and we wouldn't leave until they put us on the air.
So emails started coming and we got this email from this guy named Brent and Brent says, Hey guys, I'm 24 before I die, I wanna bring pizzas down to the homeless shelter. And so we're think finally, someone we can help, like, we don't have much money, but we can buy pizzas. So let's go interview Brent. And so we talk with him and we find out that the reason why he wants to bring pizzas down to the homeless shelters, cuz he had lived in that homeless shelter for a couple years.
Ben: But he said, when people came in with food to the homeless shelter, it felt like the best. Because it felt like someone actually cared about him in a world where nobody really cared about him. And we found that he'd actually pulled himself out of this homeless shelter by starting his own landscaping business and his landscaping business relied on his truck and his truck had recently broken down.
Ben: And so the four of us thought, we gotta figure out a way to get this guy a truck. [00:27:00] Because when we asked him, is there anything we can do to help he wouldn't ask for help around the truck. He would just ask for help to get the pizza. So we thought that's pretty cool that this guy's in a tough spot and he's not even asking for anything for himself.
Ben: And we didn't have much money at the time we had have $480 between the four of us Canadian. So it's less, right? So that's like not much cash. So we went to an RV, no, sorry, a used car salesman. And we said, this is a story of this guy in your community. You know what, and, and the cheapest truck on the lot was $2,100 and he sold the truck to us for 480.
Ben: And then he paid for the insurance. Out of his own pocket, like we're at the age, we didn't even know that you needed insurance, right. We just, this is all our money. And so anyways, he was so this idea of, you know, we gave him a chance to be a hero and he took it, like, they saw that so many times drive up to Brent, throw him the keys and he just sort of started to cry and he bear hugged me and didn't let go for a long time.
Ben: And we hung out with him and his [00:28:00] girlfriend that day. And we sort of all felt like, okay, this is. This is about, and we have to keep doing this, and that was the catalyst to continue to do this again. The next summer, you know, this, this feeling that we had never felt before, which was helping a stranger, helping someone we didn't know.
Ben: And we hadn't done that before in our lives. We didn't have hadn't volunteered in high school or experience that. And so, yeah, that was very impactful.
Hala: And so you went on to do a lot of bucket list items that are really impressive. You started an MTV show, you escaped a desert island, you had a beer with prince Harry, you even got on Oprah.
Hala: And you also played basketball with president Obama, which is pretty damn impressive. So what was your favorite story? Tell us like your favorite story and like the crazy things that you did to accomplish your goals.
Ben: There's a lot of crazy stories. I'll tell the president Obama story quickly. And then there's, I'll tell another one.
Ben: After that as well, very quickly, president Obama, we [00:29:00] had no connections to the white house, so we just drove there and started asking people on the street. If they knew anyone in the white house, which is not didn't get us very far. But we started to send emails to people that we found. We just like contacted politicians, offices, basically.
Ben: And we met with a couple lower level officials and they, and then we were, could convince them to, to meet with their boss. And then we met with their boss and we got all the way up to secretary of transportation. He put in the call to the white house and we were stoked. And then we got an official rejection letter from the white house and then we were like, okay, well that's, uh, too bad.
Ben: Uh, I guess we're gonna have to change ourt. And so we said to, instead of going after the president, we'd go after the president's personal aid, cuz the person, lady, the president, he set up the basketball games with, with president Obama and there was these secret gap basketball games that everyone was trying to kind of figure out a way to get involved with.
Ben: And so we found what we thought was the president's personal aids email, and we started sending him emails every. With a challenge to a basketball game. So we said you and the present versus us tonight, seven 30 at the Y M C a be there and we'd show up at the [00:30:00] Y at seven 30 and no present. We did the next day, no present.
Ben: So we did this for a week. We picked it outside the white house with signs. We sent letters and at this point, like no one is meeting with us anymore. So we just accept defeat and we leave. Then I get a block call a couple days later and I pick it up and it's the person later the. He's like, what's this, I hear about you wanting to play basketball against the president.
Ben: And I, and I explained what we're doing and he's like, you know what? I can make this happen. I feel good about this. Gimme two weeks. I just need to run it by the press team. They gotta sign off on everything. I'll get back to you in two weeks, calls me in two weeks. He's like, it's not gonna happen. And we're like, ah, Jesus.
Ben: Okay. So now he's like, listen, I'm sorry. I don't know if you're back in DC. Let me know. Maybe I can give a tour of the white house cut to three months later. We're back in DC person later, the present true to his word gives us a personal tour of the white. Walks us through the west wing, shows us his office next to the oval office, down the back steps of the white house, by the way, we didn't know what to wear.
Ben: So we rented suits from a prom rental store, right? So we're like on the [00:31:00] white house, basketball courts, manicured hedges, presidential seal on each hoop, one presidential basketball we're shooting around.
Ben: And then all of a sudden I hear my friend go, oh my God. Oh my God, it's the president. And president Obama walked on the court and he totally surprised us. And we were totally awestruck. And so we met the president. We shot around with him for 15, 20 minutes immediately forgot he's the president, cuz he is the coolest man on earth.
Ben: We were trying to hit shots. He wasn't hitting, we were trash talking. It was really, really incredible. That was amazing because it was what a great memory. Yeah, it was, it was definitely the most impossible thing I remember writing down. I remember when we came up with that idea for the list, it was, I laughed cuz it was so impossible.
Ben: Right. I was like, this is, this is hilarious that this is so impossible. Let's put it on the list. It was definitely. And, and then to see him stroll in the court, I was like, wow, I guess I have no choice. But to believe that anything's possible because I just proved to myself that this was. [00:32:00] and I thought this was impossible and now it happened.
Ben: And so now I, I, I have no choice, but to believe that these things can come to fruition. And I think that that's a very common feeling is that
Ben: you don't know what's possible until you're doing it.
Hala: Mm-hmm and that's really important.
Ben: You don't know what's possible until you're actually doing it. You can't even imagine yourself achieving some of these.
Ben: things Until you've achieved it. And then you prove to yourself and everyone has the ability to prove to themselves that these things are possible.
Hala: I wanna touch on this point because I really, really resonate with it. I always tell my listeners. And when I'm getting interviewed on other podcasts, people are like, what is your secret to life?
Hala: How did you become successful? And I always say like, you have to believe that life is limitless. And I feel like once I really believe that that's when everything started to happen, once you really believe that there's no limit.
Hala: To your life. And so that's really awesome that you had that mindset shift and I'm sure that's helped you achieve more [00:33:00] and more of these goals.
Hala: So tell us another one of your stories, and then I wanna hear what's still on your list. What have you not yet accomplished?
Ben: Okay. One quick story is we tried to streak a field and get away. We didn't get away. We ended up spending the night in jail, but spend the night in jail is on the list. So that. At least we crossed off one, a double whammy.
Ben: one of the things on the list was ask at the grill, your dreams. At the time, the grill of my dreams was Megan Fox, who was back in the transformer movie days. I snuck onto the red carpet at the premier of the transformers film. Pretending that I was working for us weekly. So I had a spot on the red carpet.
Ben: I had a microphone and the cord of the microphone was just going into my pocket. and I had a camera guy with me because we were filming and I snuck onto the red carpet in the, in the press line, Megan Fox coming up, she comes up right up to me. I start interviewing her with this microphone, by the way, is not connected to.
Ben: and I'm like, Hey, how you doing my name's Ben? And she's like, [00:34:00] oh, my first boyfriend's name is Ben. And I'm like, uh, and I start to get super nervous and I start talking about something and then her publicist pulled her away and I completely blew it. I failed, I didn't ask her out. And we did that on the show, by the way.
Ben: And, and it, it was a complete, it was a, an embarrassment . So I didn't, I didn't ask her out, but then the next season. Duncan was like, okay, I'm gonna redeem you. Which didn't is good, I guess, because he was like, I'm gonna ask out Taylor swift, that was his girl of his dreams at the time. So we dressed up Duncan like a fake country, music star named Boone Macau, cuz we knew that she was gonna be at the CMT awards, country music, television awards.
Ben: So we dressed him in all white handlebar, mustache, cowboy hat, Boone, Mac MCCA. Dave was his guitar playing partner named Patagonia. He had. Big jacket with tassels, another mustache, uh, wig. I was the publicist. So I was wearing like an earpiece and I was like, well, I was running alongside them because then we rented a big [00:35:00] horse and chariot and we were gonna just BU rush the music awards to try and get in.
Ben: And we had, at that point it was season two. And so we tweeted out and we had probably like one or 200 fans come out and we made fake country music. I forget what the magazine is, but like basically Duncan's face on as Boone Macau on the cover of this magazine we had iHeart boon t-shirts we had all these, so like country music, television awards that they're happening.
Ben: All of a sudden this white chariot in a horse with horses starts to just run towards the entrance of the awards. There's cops everywhere. And as soon as it happens, all the fans are around the entrance and they start going crazy. And I'm running along with my earpiece on and. Walkie talkie and cops led us through, we go to the front of the red carpet publicists.
Ben: Everyone's letting us through the producers. And then someone recognized us and they're like, no way buried life. You're outta here. Cause CMT is, uh, the, uh, Viacoms [00:36:00] MTV and, uh, this and the awards. And so they, they knew about us and they were someone tipped them off that we were coming or something. And that's why we had to wear fake, uh, mustaches and stuff like.
Ben: Anyways, we didn't give up. I snuck in the back by the way, if you ever wanna sneak in anywhere, just wear all black and hold a walkie talkie. You basically look like a roadie. If you have a clipboard that's even better and you can pretty much walk in everywhere. So I walked in the back and I ended up nagging nabbing, two passes.
Ben: I said, I was part of kid rocks crew. I got two passes. I came out, I gave one to Duncan. He got an all black. He went in the back, he walked right up to Taylor swift who was sitting in her seat, passed her a note. The note was asking her. And then he ended up actually going out on a date with her. So that was a success.
Ben: Ooh. Wow.
Hala: what a great story. And I love your tip about just wearing all black, pretending to be like a PR person. Get it anywhere. That's so funny. Yeah. So I know that you guys have like other items on the list that are gonna be really hard to accomplish. I think [00:37:00] you, you wanna go to space, is that right?
Hala: What other items have you not yet achieved?
Ben: Go to space, make a movie, right? I'd like to finish.the buried life documentary that we started been filming for the, all those years on the road, through the show and everything. So it's a really cool story to tell there, tell a judge, you want the truth?
Ben: You can't handle the truth but it has to be real. We've got invited to do it in to judges, but I think that, you know, if we gotta be in a real courtroom and then I think host Saturday live is the, is the last one, which would be probably the hardest . Go to space is gonna be tough, but I think I'm gonna do that in 2024.
Ben: I'm talking with this company called worldview, which is sending these capsules up to space and a big air balloon. And it's like eight people can go in it. So that'll be probably 20, 24. Awesome.
Hala: Well, I can't wait to see you on SNL. I think it's definitely gonna happen. So Ben, we're gonna wrap up the interview.
Hala: Now I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions that we always ask our guests, and then we'll talk about where everyone can find the bucket list journal. My question to you is [00:38:00] what is one actionable thing our listeners can do today to become more profitable
Ben: tomorrow. Now, write down your goals. It seems simple, but it's a very big step to write down your goals.
Ben: It makes them real. They're not ideas anymore than they're a reminder that they exist. It also forces you to slow down, to think about what's important to you and in a world where 76% of the population, their biggest regret on their deathbed is I wish I would've lived for me, not what others expected of.
Ben: or what I thought I should do. It's important that we slow down to think about what's important to us. Again, it's all coming back to being true to yourself and that's one step to being true to yourself is reflecting to understand what you really want and make sure that you're not subconsciously doing things.
Ben: Because you think it's, what's expected of you, right? So 76% of people on their deathbed, their number one regret in their entire life. And this comes out of research from Cornell, their number one regret. I wish I would've lived my ideal self, the life I [00:39:00] wanted, not what others wanted for me. So no one should have that regret on their death bed.
Ben: Basically the bucket list journal is hopefully designed to solve that problem for you so that you identify what your goals are. And then you start to build accountability, build inspiration through action and move through the fear so that you don't end up on your deathbed, regretting the things that you didn't do.
Hala: I love the journal. I've been starting to use it. So thank you so much for giving me an advanced copy. And Ben, what is your secret to profiting in life?
Ben: Thinking about your death? And it sounds weird. if you think about what's important in your life, you look at the top five regrets of the dying. Okay.
Ben: And they don't have much to do with money. The top five regrets of the dying are, I wish I would've lived for me. I wish I would've told people how I really felt. I wish I would've worked less. I wish I would've let myself be happier. And I wish I would've stayed in touch with my friends. Okay. So those are the top five regrets that people have at the end of their life.
Ben: So you need to [00:40:00] remember that your time is finite. To put things in perspective. So yes, you wanna make money. Yes. You want to be successful. But when you do an, a eulogy for a friend, you don't usually talk about how much money they had. You don't usually talk about how successful they are. You talk about, they were a good friend, they embody these values.
Ben: And so these types of things, and, and if you just look at the five regrets, you wanna make sure that you can Keep death close to. you So it reminds you how that your time is limited so that you live with intention and you hear this all the time. I had a near death experience and everything changed. My dad died and everything changed.
Hala: Why does it take a traumatic experience to wake us up?
Ben: How can you keep that perspective without going through that trauma or without it being too late? And that is, I think the big goal is. To remind yourself every day that this could be your last, I mean, it sounds cliche, but that's the truth. Like best case scenario, you have [00:41:00] another 50 years, but it's just interesting that like, if you see a 90 year old person, you know, with a cane hunched over shuffling down the street, you never think that that's gonna be me.
Ben: You don't even think about it. Well, the only thing you can count on is that will be you best case scenario. You might die in a week and we just don't think about, we think we have all this time. You don't have the. Because when you look at the research, that's the biggest regret that people have in their life is they, they wish they would've done the things they didn't do.
Ben: So start now a year from now. You'll wish you started today. That's the truth Yeah,
Hala: I love that message. And so many really successful people who have been on the show have a similar thought. Robert Green, Matt Higgins, Donald Miller, everybody that I've talked to lately seems to always talk about how you need to use death as a motivator and death can be your life's greatest motivator.
Hala: So I really agree with that perspective, Ben, where can everybody get the bucket list
Ben: journal? Uh, you can get it on Amazon. If you search the bucket list, [00:42:00] journal should be the first thing that pops up or you can go to my Instagram. Which is at Ben Eton and, uh, the link in the bio we'll send you to the bucket list, journal website.
Hala: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for this eye opening conversation. Thank you so much
Ben: for having.
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