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
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: You're listening to Yap, Young and Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha, and on Young and Profiting podcast. We investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life, no matter your age profession or industry.
[00:00:29] There's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex-FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, CEOs and bestselling authors.
[00:00:48] Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain influence, the art of entrepreneurship and more. If you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe [00:01:00] button because you'll love it. Here at Young and Profiting podcast.
[00:01:04] This week on YAP we're chatting with Ben Nemtin.
[00:01:08] Ben is recognized as one of the world's top motivational speakers. He's the number one New York Times bestselling author of What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? And he was the star of MTV's reality documentary series, The Buried Life. His most recent book is called The Bucket List Journal, and it helps hold readers accountable to their goals and ultimately achieve them.
[00:01:29] Ben and his message of radical possibility has been featured in major media outlets like the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, NBC, Fox, ABC and so many more. Ben has checked seemingly impossible things off of his bucket list, like playing basketball with President Obama, throwing the first pitch at a major league baseball game, and even having a beer with Prince Harry.
[00:01:54] But what makes his story extra special is that for every item that Ben and his team cross off the list. [00:02:00] They've helped a stranger cross something off theirs. Ben's message and experience is a great example of how life can be limitless and how the power of kindness and humanity can help you achieve your dreams.
[00:02:12] And this episode we'll hear from Ben on how one small decision can change the direction of your life. And he shares his battle with depression and how he's managed it. We'll hear his memorable and entertaining stories about the items he's crossed off his bucket list. And lastly, we'll get actionable advice on how to create our own bucket list. What to include and not include in our lists.
[00:02:34] And we'll hear Ben's best advice on how to get those seemingly, impossible items crossed off for good. I'd like to think of this conversation as an ode to life and all that's possible. If you wanna live a life with zero regrets, turn up the volume and enjoy my interview with one of the hottest public speakers in the world right now, Ben Nemtin.
[00:02:55] Hey Ben, Welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast.
[00:02:58] Ben Nemtin: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be [00:03:00] here.
[00:03:00] Hala Taha: 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 well.
[00:03:16] And 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.
[00:03:34] 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 before we get into it. I did wanna touch on your upbringing 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.
[00:03:51] So let's talk about your upbringing and how that influenced your adventurous spirit that you have today.
[00:03:57] Ben Nemtin: So my dad was actually a clown and [00:04:00] 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.
[00:04:23] So we had this really interesting upbringing where we would 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 taverna for a free room upstairs. So in Greece you have the bar and then you have a couple rooms above it.
[00:04:41] So they would play music pass around the hat and their payment would be free room and board. And so my parents have been in 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 still would do that thing where they would play music in the taverna and travel around like that.
[00:04:58] And so they would just bring me [00:05:00] 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 pick me up and off we'd go. And they put me in between them on their Vespa with a little hockey helmet and kind of travel around Greece.
[00:05:16] 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. It doesn't need to be pressure from our parents. It's kind of pressure from society.
[00:05:35] I think at an early age, subconsciously. I learned from them 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. It's not like we were scraping by, but he was a performer and my mom was an independent business coach for women and then did this and that.
[00:05:56] But what their life was so rich and they still to this day live like that. And [00:06:00] they have, we had a West Valley van where we travel around and camp, and to this day they drive down to Mexico every year in the van and play music and meet people and they have this very rich life. And so it's yeah, that's definitely what I learned from them growing up.
[00:06:12] Hala Taha: That's so cute. It's such like a unique little story, and considering how much you travel. Now I understand 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.
[00:06:36] 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 there?
[00:06:48] Ben Nemtin: I put so much pressure on myself to succeed in school, in athletics.
[00:06:54] I really wanted people to like me. Like I just for whatever reason I put I've always put a lot of pressure on myself. [00:07:00] 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 the field goal kicker.
[00:07:08] And you're the quarterback so there's a lot of pressure on that position. 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 our championship game in high school. And so I really didn't want that to happen again.
[00:07:23] And at that age, everything is so black and white and so life or death. Whether your friends like you, 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 I'm not even gonna remember that this happened on my deathbed.
[00:07:45] There's just no way I'm gonna remember that 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 [00:08:00] lack of sleep, this anxiety, this constant pressure, it all built up and I started.
[00:08:04] 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. And I was at a 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.
[00:08:28] So I was internalizing it and I just went down and down and it got really scary. And it ultimately, my friends actually 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 dropped outta school and I was forced to get a job. I was forced to start to do things on my own.
[00:08:48] I've started build a little bit of confidence. I started talking about what I was going through. I started to find different types of people that were inspiring, right? As I said, when you're in high school or even college, you have this [00:09:00] Petri dish of friends, but you don't realize that if they're not your people, they are your people out there.
[00:09:05] It just takes time to find it. And so that was something that took a bit of time for me to realize and I started finding these people, that I realized gave me energy. These new groups of friends, they inspired me and they were doing all these cool things. They had already traveled, they had started businesses.
[00:09:21] 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 wouldn't be doing the things I am doing now if I hadn't consciously decided to try and only surround myself with people that inspire me.
[00:09:43] Hala Taha: I think it's pretty crazy how one decision can change the trajectory of your life. You've been on this mission for what it seems to be like 15 years now.
[00:09:52] Ben Nemtin: And I think that's a really empowering idea because it means that you can change your life at any time. And I think we all can think back to moments. [00:10:00] Where there was this pivot and it could be something very small 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.
[00:10:16] But these little moments, and I think it's a combination of you have to be aware and it jump on those moments sometimes. And it takes a little bit of awareness and it takes a little bit of this being proactive and you start to go down this path that you don't know will ultimately shift your whole life.
[00:10:34] So if you think about it, if anyways a golfer you hit a golf ball, one or two degrees off. It doesn't seem like much, but by the time that it lands, could be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 feet off center. 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.
[00:10:59] And I think it's [00:11:00] an empowering idea because it means that you can also make a huge impact in someone else's life. 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 effects that are hard to measure, but it's very real.
[00:11:19] So it goes both ways. Everyone has the power to create. Immense change through the ripple effect through your daily inter micro interactions. 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 sometimes by thinking about, Oh, I have to make this huge, massive shift to change my life.
[00:11:46] And 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.
[00:11:56] Hala Taha: I think that's super powerful. So something Ben, I was [00:12:00] 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.
[00:12:11] So I'm curious to know if you still suffer from depression and what you do to manage your highs in the lows.
[00:12:18] Ben Nemtin: I'm happy you said that because I still do get depressed. And I think that is something that is like a really just a great thing to talk about, that the people that you don't think struggle. Everybody struggles, every human will go through some mental health crisis in their life.
[00:12:34] And that's just through the research, right? It doesn't need to be from a 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's almost an empowering idea because it means that no one is alone and they're struggle.
[00:12:53] If someone is not struggling. They've been there before, they will go through it. I really believe when you speak things, [00:13:00] they lose their power. They're much scarier when they're in your head. And so that's what I found is by talking about it. I'm able to also process it. Like I can talk about, I can break it down when I'm talking about it in therapy or talking about it with friends.
[00:13:11] 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. Ideally, it's a professional and we can talk about therapy and we talk about the challenges with finding a good therapist and the stigma around therapy, cuz all that is there.
[00:13:29] But just outside of that, if you can find someone to talk to, I think it's the most important thing.
[00:13:34] Hala Taha: I have a therapist. I hope that stigma has gone by now, Ben, because I feel like so many people have therapists And therapy is really important. It's important to talk out your feelings. All right, so let's take it back to the summer of 2006.
[00:13:47] 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?
[00:13:57] Ben Nemtin: Yeah, so I came back from that summer away. I [00:14:00] was starting to feel back to myself, lifting out of this depression.
[00:14:02] 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 was Johnny. And I secretly had always wanted to make a movie. So I called up Johnny and I was like, Let's make a movie if I didn't know him too well.
[00:14:20] I was 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. We didn't know what it was gonna be about though at this point. And then serendipitously, Johnny gets assigned a poem in English class at McGill University in its first year English class.
[00:14:38] The poem is called The Buried Life. So it's an old poem written in 1852 over 150 years ago, and this poem strikes a chord in Johnny. And he sends it back to us. 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 [00:15:00] because the day to day burs them.
[00:15:01] Like we knew we had things that we wanted to do, but why hadn't we ever done them? It's cuz life got in the way. And we had 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.
[00:15:18] Let's call our film The Buried Life. 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 more we can think about death, the better.
[00:15:35] And we can talk about that, but just, we stumbled into this. This was by accident, but we asked ourselves. Question. Okay, We're, we realize, 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.
[00:15:53] 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 [00:16:00] to do anything. So our list was ambitious. It was like, make a TV show, play basketball with Obama, write a number one New York Times bestseller.
[00:16:08] Sit with Oprah, Have a beer with Prince Harry. Pay off our parents mortgage, Go to space, streak a field and get away. Ask out the girl your dreams. It was a very audacious list. And then we thought, every time we crossed something off our list. Let's help someone else do something on their list.
[00:16:22] And so that was the mission. We bought an rv, we bought a secondhand camera, and 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. 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 bull.
[00:16:43] I can help you cross off, get up in a hot air balloon. I can help you cross off, make a toast of stranger's wedding. 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 [00:17:00] over 10 years.
[00:17:01] And then the list items that we had written down in the beginning that we were convinced were completely unattainable over time, 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 figuring out why do some people achieve their goals and go after them, but most people don't.
[00:17:24] Like why are 76% of the people on the planet reaching their deathbed and regretting the things they didn't do, not the things they did. And 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.
[00:17:41] 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 joy, happiness. 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 goals.
[00:17:59] You [00:18:00] want to think about your, how do you wanna give back your relationship goals? 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.
[00:18:20] Hala Taha: Let's hold that thought and take a quick break with our sponsors. Young and Profiteers what would you do if you had one extra day a week, that's a whole 24 hours added to your week, and eight day week? Maybe you'd use it to hang out with friends because you're working so hard and you never have time to see your friends anymore.
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[00:23:47] It's so beautiful. And one thing that I really connected 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 intentions and you were just trying to be of service to the world.
[00:23:59] You [00:24:00] were 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. 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.
[00:24:17] 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. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
[00:24:27] Ben Nemtin: 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.
[00:24:31] 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. 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 fear, right?
[00:24:52] They're afraid of failure. They're afraid of what other people think. And that's ultimately what stops people. And that's through research student we [00:25:00] 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. But when you don't put it out there, no one can help you.
[00:25:12] 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, yes, 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.
[00:25:28] We're afraid of failure or afraid of what other people think. And then we just have a lower chances of succeeding because we're trying to do it in our head on our own. So I would say when you give someone a chance to be a hero, they usually take it. And so you experienced this when you started to put this, you took the leap, you moved through that discomfort of Oh shit.
[00:25:47] 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 towards it because you were doing it. From your true. It [00:26:00] came out of what you truly wanted to do. This is 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.
[00:26:13] Cause everything pulls you away from that. Social media pulls you away from that. 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. And we spend most of our life trying to be other people.
[00:26:28] 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 great reminders. What you saw is that when you were true to yourself and then you started to do this thing it was like this gravitational pull.
[00:26:45] And then you start to see this thing happening, and then you follow that momentum. And I think that sometimes we feel like we have this plan and we gotta stick to it. 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 [00:27:00] and what was easy for you.
[00:27:01] Not that it easy, as in it didn't take a lot of work easy and 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 next talk. And then some people asked me to speak, and I love doing it and I feel like it's easy for me to do and I work really hard, but I see that it's working.
[00:27:21] And so I thought, Okay, I'm gonna leave. 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.
[00:27:34] Hala Taha: Following the flow.
[00:27:35] So you came up with this bucket list, you were 19 years old. You're a little naive at the time. You didn't have that much life experience. So I feel like coming up with big, audacious goals when you're that young. Doesn't seem as frightening as if you were in your later twenties or thirties or forties.
[00:27:51] 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 [00:28:00] do some of the things that you always dreamed of. 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 list.
[00:28:12] Ben Nemtin: Yeah! Great point. So I think that it's not selfish to pursue your personal goals because you can't take care of other people 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.
[00:28:31] So there's this big tie between purpose and your mental health that I think a lot of people are missing. And when you are following the things that you love, that are important to you. That means something to you, that gives you a greater sense of wellbeing that contributes to your mental health and it energizes you.
[00:28:47] So I think that we need to flip our thinking around this idea that it's selfish to do these things, and I get it. Like I used to think the bucket list was selfish, considering all my responsibilities, everything that I had to do every day. [00:29:00] But then I started to notice that people around the world were going after their bucket list just because we were going after ours.
[00:29:06] Thousands, tens of thousands of people through the show, millions of people. And 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.
[00:29:22] And instead of being a doctor, because when you do what you love. You inspire other people to do what they love. Just like you starting this podcast, you probably can't even count the number of people that you 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 yourself.
[00:29:39] 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. You're not taking time off work. You're taking time off for work so that you can come back, recharge. And you also come back maybe with a bigger idea cuz you've taken space, you have perspective.
[00:29:58] So there are so [00:30:00] 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 because one, you're gonna inspire other people by doing those things, but you're also gonna fuel, fuel yourself. Then you look at a, what are these goals that are important to you?
[00:30:17] And sometimes it's hard to think about, you look at a blank piece of paper and what's your list? And it's overwhelming. And that's why I think it's important, to separate your list into categories. And so I talked about the 10 Categories of Life. That's basically what my new book is based on.
[00:30:31] 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, how do you want to give back intellectual, financial, material goals? And then you start to move through the barriers that stop you from achieving your goals.
[00:30:52] So I mentioned there was fear. That's number one. The other big barrier is when these personal goals, you think about them, there's no deadlines [00:31:00] and that's a huge problem. That's why we push them. So you need to create accountability around the personal goals. That's why writing your list is important.
[00:31:07] 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.
[00:31:19] 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 help you.
[00:31:38] 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 waiting for the perfect time. And that inspiration just rarely hits. So you have to create your own inspiration through action.
[00:31:53] There was never a perfect time for you to start this podcast. You were never gonna have all your ducks in a row. You were never gonna feel [00:32:00] 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.
[00:32:13] So you're the architect of your own inspiration through action. And 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.
[00:32:30] It's a momentum. And so the journal is designed to create inspiration through action to create accountability and then to identify real fear and imagine fear.
[00:32:41] Hala Taha: I love what you're saying right now. It reminds me of something that Jeff Haden talked to us about the podcast called The Motivation Feedback Loop.
[00:32:48] And basically what it means is that, like you said, you gotta take action. 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 [00:33:00] 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 steps.
[00:33:06] Ben Nemtin: Absolutely. That's why most people don't. Cause the fear stops you from that first step.
[00:33:10] Hala Taha: Okay. I wanna get into some story time because you've got some really incredible stories. You've been doing this for 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.
[00:33:26] I don't wanna give away the story, so can you tell us about that?
[00:33:29] Ben Nemtin: No, it's great because you, I met you at speaking engagement, so you were able to see the talk. And so some of the atleast you know my story, which is cool. So Brent was the very first person that we ever helped back in 2006. So take you back.
[00:33:45] We're leading 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.[00:34:00]
[00:34:00] 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 shelter is cuz he had lived in that homeless shelter for a couple years, but he said when people came in with food to the homeless shelter. It felt like the best day because it felt like someone actually cared about him in a world where nobody really cared about him.
[00:34:30] 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. And so the four of us thought, we gotta figure out a way to get this guy a truck. Because when we asked him, is there anything we can do to help, he wouldn't ask for help around the truck.
[00:34:48] He would just ask for help to get the pizzas. So we thought that's pretty cool that this guy's in a tough spot and he is not even asking for anything for himself. And we didn't have much money at the time. We had a [00:35:00] $480 between the four of us Canadian. So it's less, Anyway, so that's like not much cash. So we went to an RV, no, sorry, a used car salesman.
[00:35:09] And we said, This is the story of this guy and your community. You know what? And the cheapest truck on the lot was $2,100. And he sold the truck to us for 480 and then he paid for the insurance and out of his own pocket. Like we're at the age, we didn't even know that you needed insurance. We just, this is all our money.
[00:35:26] And so anyways, he was so this idea of, 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 started to cry and he bear hugged me and didn't let go for a long time. And we hung out with him and his girlfriend that day and we all felt okay. This is what this is about and we have to keep doing this.
[00:35:49] And that was the catalyst to continue to do this again the next summer. You know this feeling that we had never felt before, which was helping a stranger, helping someone. We didn't [00:36:00] know and we hadn't done that before in our lives. We didn't, hadn't volunteered in high school or experienced that was very impactful.
[00:36:07] Hala Taha: 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 and you also played basketball with President Obama, which is pretty damn impressive. So what was your favorite story?
[00:36:26] Tell us like your favorite story and like the crazy things that you did to accomplish your goals.
[00:36:31] Ben Nemtin: There's a lot of crazy stories. I'll tell the President Obama story quickly and then there's, I'll tell another one after that as well. Very quickly, President Obama, we 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.
[00:36:47] Didn't get us very far, but we started to send emails to people that we found. We just like contacted politicians offices basically. And we met with a couple lower level officials and they, and then we were, could convince them, to meet with their boss. And then we met with their boss [00:37:00] and we got all the way up to Secretary of Transportation and he put in the call to the White House and we were stoked.
[00:37:05] And then we got an official rejection letter from the White House. And then we were like, Okay, that's too bad. I guess we're gonna have to change our tact. And so we said, instead of going after the president. We'd go after the president's personal aid, cuz the personal aid to the president, he set up the basketball games with President Obama.
[00:37:20] And there was these secret gap basketball games that everyone was trying to figure out a way to get involved with. And so we found what we thought was the president's personal aids email, and we started sending him emails every day with a challenge to a basketball game. So we said, You and the president versus us tonight, seven 30 at the Y M C A, be there.
[00:37:35] And we'd show up at the Y at seven 30 and no present. We did the next day, no present. So we did this for a week. We pick it outside the White House with signs. We send 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 aid of the president.
[00:37:55] And he's What's this? I hear about you want to play basketball against the president? And I explain what we're doing and [00:38:00] he's 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.
[00:38:07] Calls me in two weeks. He's It's not gonna happen. And we're like, Oh, Jesus. Okay. So now he's 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 personally, to the president true to his word gives us a personal tour of the White House.
[00:38:24] 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, so we rented suits from a prom rental store, right? So we're like on the White House basketball courts. Manicured hedges, presidential seal on each hoop, one presidential basketball.
[00:38:41] We're shooting around 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 [00:39:00] president cuz he's the coolest man on earth.
[00:39:01] We were trying to hit shots. He wasn't hitting, we were trash talking. It was really incredible. And that was amazing.
[00:39:08] Hala Taha: What a great memory.
[00:39:09] Ben Nemtin: 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.
[00:39:18] I was like, this is hilarious that this is so impossible. Let's put it on the list. It was definitely and then to see him stroll on the court. I was like, wow, I guess I have no choice but to believe that anything's possible cuz I just. Prove to myself that this was possible, and I thought this was impossible, and now it happened.
[00:39:34] And so now I have no choice but to believe that these things can come to fruition. And I think that's a very common feeling, is that you don't know what's possible until you're doing it. , And that's really important. You don't know what's possible until you're actually doing it. You can't even imagine yourself achieving some of these things until you've achieved it. And then you prove to yourself, and everyone has the ability [00:40:00] to prove to themselves that these things are possible.
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[00:42:14] This episode of YAP is brought to you by the Jordan Harbinger Show. You may know that Jordan Harbinger is my favorite all time podcaster, so much so that I've willed him to become my podcast mentor and we literally talk every single day.
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[00:44:07] I wanna touch on this point because I 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?
[00:44:16] How did you become successful? And I always say 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 limits 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 and more of these goals.
[00:44:33] Tell us another one of your stories and then I wanna hear what's still on your list. What have you not yet accomplished?
[00:44:41] Ben Nemtin: 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 spent a night in jails on the list. So that was at least we crossed off one.
[00:44:50] Hala Taha: A double whammy.
[00:44:52] Ben Nemtin: One of the things on the list was ask out the girl your dreams at the time. The girl, my dreams was Megan Fox, who was back in the [00:45:00] 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. 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.
[00:45:21] Megan Fox coming up. She comes up right up to. I start interviewing her with this microphone, by the way, is not connected to anything. And I'm like, Hey, how you doing? My name's Ben. And she's Oh, my first boyfriend's name is Ben. And I'm like, 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.
[00:45:42] I failed. I didn't ask her out. And we did that on the show, by the way. And it was a complete, it was an embarrassment. So I didn't ask her out. But then the next season Duncan was like, I'm gonna redeem you. Which didn't good I guess, because he was like, I'm gonna ask out Taylor Swift. [00:46:00] That was his girl of his dreams at the time.
[00:46:01] 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. So we dressed them in all white handlebar mustache, cowboy hat, Boone Macau. Dave was his guitar playing partner named Patagonia. He had a big jacket with tassels, another mustache wig.
[00:46:22] I was the publicist so I was wearing like an earpiece and I was like, I was running alongside them because then we rented a big horse in Chariot and we were gonna just bu rush the music awards to try and get in. And we had, at that point it was season two and so we tweeted out and we had probably one or 200 fans come out and we made fake country music.
[00:46:41] 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 Boone t-shirts, we had all these so like country music television awards that they're happening. All of a sudden this white chariot in a horse with horses starts to just [00:47:00] run towards the entrance of the awards.
[00:47:02] 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 my I walkie-talkie and cops let us through. We go to the front of the red carpet publicists. Everyone's letting us through. The producers. And then someone recognized us and they're like, No way.
[00:47:22] Buried life. You're outta here cause CMT is the Viacoms MTV and this and the awards. And so they knew about us and they wrote, someone tipped them off that we were coming or something. And that's why we had to wear fake mustaches and stuff like that. Anyways, we didn't give up. I snuck in the back.
[00:47:38] 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. I said I was part of Kid Rocks crew.
[00:47:54] I got two passes. I came out, I gave one to Duncan. He got an all block. He went in the back, he [00:48:00] walked right up to Taylor Swift, who was sitting in her seat, passed her a note. The note was asking her out, and then he ended up actually going out on a date with her. So that was a success.
[00:48:08] Hala Taha: Wow! What a great story.
[00:48:11] And I love your tip about just wearing all black, pretending to be like a PR person. Get it anywhere. That's so funny. So I know that you guys have like other items on the list that are gonna be really hard to accomplish. I think you, you wanna go to space, is that right? What other items have you not yet achieved?
[00:48:28] Ben Nemtin: Go to Space, make a movie. I'd like to finish the Buried Life documentary that we started. We've 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, you can't handle the truth, but it has to be real.
[00:48:44] We've got invited to do it in to judges, but I think that, if we gotta be in a real courtroom and then I think Host Saturday Night Live is the last one, which would be probably the hardest. . Yeah, go to space is gonna be tough, but I think I'm gonna do that in 2024. I'm talking with this company called Worldview, which [00:49:00] is sending these capsules up to space and a big air balloon and it's eight people can go in it.
[00:49:04] That'll be probably 2024.
[00:49:06] Hala Taha: Awesome. 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 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. So my question to you is, what is one actionable thing our listeners can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?
[00:49:27] Ben Nemtin: Now, write down your goals. It seems simple, but it's a very big step to write down your goals. It makes them real. They're not ideas anymore, then 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 me or what I thought I should.
[00:49:52] 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 [00:50:00] being true to yourself is reflecting to understand. What you really want and make sure that you're not subconsciously doing things because you think it's what's expected of you.
[00:50:10] So 76% of people on their death bed, 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 wanted, not what others wanted for me. So no one should have that regret on their death bed. And 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.
[00:50:41] Hala Taha: 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?
[00:50:50] Ben Nemtin: Thinking about your death, and it sounds weird, but if you think about what's important in your life. You look at the top five regrets of the dying.
[00:50:58] Okay? And they don't [00:51:00] 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.
[00:51:18] So you need to 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 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.
[00:51:37] They embodied these values. And so these types of things 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.
[00:51:56] My dad died and everything changed. Why does it take a [00:52:00] traumatic experience to wake us up? 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. It sounds cliche, but that's the truth.
[00:52:17] Like best case scenario, you have another 50 years. But it's just interesting that if you see a 90 year old person, with a cane hunched over shuffling down the street. You never think that's gonna be me. You don't even think about it. The only thing you can count on is that will be you.
[00:52:33] 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 time. Because when you look at the research, that's the biggest regret that people have in their life is they wish they would've done the things they didn't do. So start now, a year from now, you'll wish you started today.
[00:52:52] That's the truth.
[00:52:53] Hala Taha: Yeah! I love that message and so many really successful people who have been on the show have a similar thought. Robert [00:53:00] 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.
[00:53:10] So I really agree with that perspective. Ben, where can everybody get the Bucket List Journal?
[00:53:15] Ben Nemtin: You can get it on Amazon if you search The Bucket List Journal should be the first thing that pops up. Or you can go to my Instagram, which is @bennemtin. And the link in the bio will send you to The Bucket List Journal website.
[00:53:29] Hala Taha: Awesome. Thank you so much for this eye-opening conversation.
[00:53:32] Ben Nemtin: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:53:35] Hala Taha: All right guys. So there you have it. My interview with Ben Nemtin and I wanted to wind down this episode with a quote that Ben said, One small decision can change the direction of your life. So remember, you don't have to make these huge life altering decisions.
[00:53:51] You don't have to take up a massive amount of time right away to achieve your goals. You can start small and build momentum from there. You can change your life at any [00:54:00] time. You're never too old, you're never too young. All of those are just excuses. Limits that you put on yourself. You can do anything at any time.
[00:54:10] You can accomplish your goals and have the experiences that you've always dreamed of. And remember, I always say this, life is limitless. I want you guys to truly believe that your life will change, when you truly believe that you can attain anything you set your mind to. And one of my bucket list items that I've recently been able to cross off my list is having my first ever real paid public speaking event.
[00:54:34] I got to speak at MIT for the Gathering of Titans event. It's where Simon Sinek got his first big break. I actually replayed my speech on the podcast a couple weeks ago. I'd love for you guys to check it out and let me know what you thought. A lot of people felt very inspired and motivated. It's basically my whole life story and a lot of detail.
[00:54:51] Detail I've never shared before. That was a huge moment for me, but it didn't happen overnight. It was lots of [00:55:00] small little steps leading up to that and despite the odds. I made it happen independently with very little investment, and I fully believed that I was able to accomplish it because it was something that was.
[00:55:13] On my mind for years, and something that I was actively working towards subconsciously, because I had written it down. I had said it out loud, and I trained my brain to look out for those opportunities, right? I did the networking that I needed to do. My client, Darius is the one who got me that opportunity, and he got me that opportunity because I had guested on his podcast.
[00:55:39] And he was really impressed with my story. And that led to a speaking engagement. So it was like a small action that I did guesting on a podcast, networking with someone who eventually became my client. Who knew about me, who knew that I wanted to get into public speaking, and he connected the dots and helped me make that happen.
[00:55:59] [00:56:00] And so that's just one example of how you can achieve the things that you want by taking small steps. So with that in mind, today's action item for anybody who's still tuning into this podcast is to identify one bucket list item that feels like a stretch. And I want you guys to think big, right? My big goal that I'm gonna announce today on the podcast is that one day I wanna be a number one New York Times best selling author.
[00:56:26] That is definitely gonna happen. One day I wanna be a TEDx speaker. That is definitely gonna happen. And the other thing I wanna be is the number one female podcaster in the world, The undisputable number one female podcaster in the world. Those are my three bucket list items that I am. Putting out to the world right now and I want you guys to all think about yours, think big and Ben said, the biggest regret of people on their deathbed is the things that they didn't do.
[00:56:55] So there's no better time to start now. A year from now you're gonna wish you had started today. [00:57:00] And so I wanna see what you have on your bucket list items, whether you thought of one or three like I did, and go ahead and join our text community and send me your bucket list items that you thought of.
[00:57:10] You can text YAP to 28046. That's where you can reach me at any time. I read those messages every single day. It's actually me going in there and replying. And we have a new ask Hala anything series and a lot of those questions that you guys text in are gonna be used on that show. We did a couple episodes, pretty funny.
[00:57:27] We've been releasing them on Friday. So check that out. And if you guys enjoy this episode and find value in the podcast in general. Please take the time to subscribe and drop us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Apple Podcast is really meaningful to me. So if you can take a moment to drop us a five star written review on Apple Podcast, I'd really appreciate it.
[00:57:49] And you guys can also find me on Instagram @yapwithhala. I'm on Twitter @yapwithhala. You can find me on LinkedIn by searching my name. It's Hala Taha. Thanks again for listening to another incredible episode [00:58:00] of Young and Profiting Podcasts, and thanks to my Young and Profiting team. Man, sometimes I look back about how we started as a volunteer team.
[00:58:08] When I first started the podcast by I think three months in, I had 10 volunteers who were working for Free for Young and Profiting Podcasts. This has never just been a podcast. This podcast has always been a movement, and people were attracted to the show because we had pure intentions. We wanted to help people listen, learn and profit, and level up their professional and personal lives.
[00:58:31] It was just a pure mission with great intentions that people were so attracted to. And now we have a team of 60 paid employees and we are still leveling up people's lives with the Young and Profiting podcast. Now we have many other podcasts that we manage, many other influencer profiles, and we help so many people, millions of people every day.
[00:58:54] And I'm just so proud of this team. I'm so proud of this movement. YAP, Young and Profiting. It's been [00:59:00] a dream. So with that said, I hope you guys accomplish your dreams. I hope you guys think big, accomplish your bucket list items. And with that, this is your host Hala Taha, signing off.
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