If you had $10,000,000 and the ability to do anything you wanted before you died, what would it be? Star in a television show? Play basketball with the president? Walk the Great Wall of China? Wes sits down with #1 New York Times best-selling author of “What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?”, star of the MTV show The Buried Life, co-founder of The Buried Life movement, and one of the World’s Best Motivational Speakers, Ben Nemtin, to help you unbury those dreams and prepare for creating the ideal bucket list by the time you finish this episode.
Ben opens up about his struggles with mental health, what he’s learned and how he’s attained self-worth through his projects. He also reveals that everyone goes through some sort of mental health crisis in their lives and why being true to yourself is important. Ben goes on to share the details of what went into creating The Buried Life along with the initial bucket list for the show, tips for how to generate your own bucket list, and why people regret their inactions more than their actions. Furthermore, Ben shares why accountability is effective for your accomplishments, talks through the categories in The Bucket List Journal that he created to help others, provides bucket list advice for retirees, and uncovers why he believes retirees have the power to change the world.
Read Show Notes From This Episode (click to expand and read notes from the full interview)
- Ben is finishing lunch and getting his mic set up. Wes asks if Ben’s story has been made into a movie, yet. He said it’s one of the remaining things on his bucket list.Wes asks Ben to go into his story – starting with anxiety and depression. Ben says he experienced his first feeling of anxiety in his Freshman year of college. He had been happy-go-lucky before that. He was on the rugby team and says in Canada it’s the 3rd biggest sport behind hockey and hockey. He started obsessing over “What if I blow a big kick in the world cup?” It would cause him to lose sleep. He had missed a kick in a big game in high school. Thought “I can’t do this again.” It slowly turned into a depression. He couldn’t function. Couldn’t go to practice. Got dropped from the team. Could barely leave his parents’ house. They finally made him leave the house for a 15-minute walk. Lasted for a couple of months. His friends came and dragged him out of the house to go work with them in a new town for a summer and he slowly came out of it.Ben was forced to do stuff for himself so he felt a sense of self-worth. Forced to talk about it. Realized his friends had some of it. Felt less alone. Now he knows this is the human experience. Everyone will have some sort of mental health crisis in their life.
These things we think are our weaknesses are actually our strengths. They can help us grow empathy for others.
Bucket list – those things that are going to bring you joy and fulfillment. This whole project is based on a poem from 1852 that talks about this. The day-to-day buries the things we want to do in our lives. We don’t realize that we don’t actually have as much time as we thought.
The Buried Life started with the decision to surround himself with people who would inspire him.
Ben wrote a list. Bucket list of things to do. Crazy things. Playing basketball with President Obama. Tell a judge “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” They hit the road to try to do them for 2 weeks. People started emailing them and offering them help to cross these things off the list. Have a beer with Prince Harry.
Cut to, 10 years later, they were still doing it. When they wrote the list they had to pretend they had $10 million in the bank and the ability to do anything.
With Prince Harry they got lucky. They were sharing a list with someone who was friends with Prince Harry. They wrote a letter and the guy shared it with Prince Harry. Some things are easier than you think. The Obama thing took a lot longer – 3 years. They got about a thousand “no’s” before they got a yes. The power of persistence. You actually don’t know what’s possible until you’re doing it. Sometimes you can’t think about what you’re able to achieve. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. All of the sudden you’re going to be doing it. That’s hopefully what Ben is going to instill in people. He says he’s no different than anyone else. Just start doing it. First thing’s first. Write it down. Make a list. Once you write them down they go from intangible to tangible. So as you get buried in the day, you’re reminded of what you really want. There’s accountability in that.
On a person’s deathbed, they don’t regret things they’ve done. They regret things they haven’t done.
“The Ideal Road Not Taken” is a good book about this.
Started “Buried Life” from 2006 to 2009. In Canada. They cut their own pilot. Flew down to LA to try to sell a show. Sold the show as Executive Producers to MTV. Then they wrote the book. A couple of years later he did a TedX talk. Then someone invited him to a conference. And that ended up inspiring him to do more.
Top 3 things stopping people from living true to themselves.
A bucket list is a great way to start. It’s powerful and easy. He looked at the science of achieving goals. Write them down in a place you can keep them and see them and share them.
Ben says sharing your goals with people makes you accountable because people will ask you about it.
Re: the fear of what other people think of you, Ben says “I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think other people are really thinking about you as much as you think they are.” Think about how much you think about other people? You’re too busy. You’re too busy worrying about what they think about you. Laugh. And if someone thinks you’re a loser for failing, you probably don’t want to be around them, anyway. It’s a good way to weed them out. Missing that big kick in high school was the biggest thing in his life and now he doesn’t even think about it. It seems like nothing.
Wes asks Ben about building the bucket list. How do we do it? What makes a good list? Starts with a belief that anything is possible. 100 things. But they laugh that with inflation they should bump it up to 109 things.
Slow down, be quiet. Give yourself the space to think about these things. Ben Nemtin uses “The Bucket List Journal.” Write your list in 10 categories of your life. It’s less daunting to put these things into categories. Make sure that your list is actionable and specific enough to actually cross items off.
Ben is still vulnerable to depression but now he can see it coming and he has some tools he can use to help prevent or lessen it.
By doing what you love you inspire other people to do what they live. People think it’s selfish to have a bucket list but it’s actually service because it helps other people go for it, too. If more people did what they love, the world would be a better place. Wes wonders if the hurdles for this could be “Do I want to do this? Or is this item frivolous? Which items should I buy? And then, what is too much of an item?” Ben says if it’s something you truly want, you can’t go too far. To figure out what are meaningful ones, not frivolous, takes some quiet time and talking to your loved one or partner about it. Climbing Mt Everest could be less important than spending 1 hour a week alone. It depends on what you want. Consulting your future self helps, too. Confront your 90-year-old self if you’ll regret not doing it. It’s not necessarily about the outcome. It’s about going for it and seeing how that makes you feel.
Be your ideal self, not your “ought” self. I “ought” to do this.
Wes talks about the “Plateau Effect.” You need stuff at first because there are basic needs. After that, it can become a burden.
Wes asks about how to get started on the bucket list so it’s not just writing down a bunch of fun stuff. Ben says when you start it is a blank canvas. Then, if you’re having trouble, go to those categories. Then imagine a genie appears and says you can only pick one thing but that will mean you can’t do any of the other things. That will help you identify the most important thing on your list. Then think about small action items you can hammer out.
Remember that “action” is a plan.
Wes brings up retirement – what advice would Ben give to go into retirement. Ben says, oh, it’s the best time to start your list. He’s heard that’s a difficult time for people because leaving their sense of daily purpose is scary. They have to find a new one.
His friend’s bucket list item was to ask out Taylor Swift. He did it!
Ben spends most of his time speaking. And now one of his bucket list items is to slow down.
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