Hey guys, my name is Ben thanks for having me today. I want to tell you a story about how my friends and I started this project about a bucket list and it changed our lives we’re going to start from the beginning. So this is my friends and I in college we grew up in Victoria BC and yep. You heard it big fan and you know we were going through what I think a lot of people go through in college. You know we were confused, we didn’t know what we wanted to do and we kind of felt this void and we started talking about something we could do to deal with it right.
We wanted to do something meaningful. We wanted to do something fun and all we knew is we had all these things we wanted to do and we weren’t doing them serendipitously. At the same time, my friend Johnny was in English class first year University and McGill, and he got assigned this poem called the Buried life. And there were four lines in this poem that he brought back to us. That I want to share with you, but often in the world’s most crowded streets, but often in the din of strife.
There Rises an unspeakable desire after the knowledge of our Buried life, and he was like guys. This poem is articulating the same thing that we can’t articulate it’s saying that we have these things. We want to do in our life, but we don’t do them because of schoolwork the day to day and they’re, buried and he’s like. Then this guy was 50 years old in 1850 in London and he felt the same way so clearly. This is not the first time that anyone’s ever felt like this, and so at that moment we took this name the Buried life and decided to call it.
You know we tried to call this product the very life, even though we didn’t know what it was so then we decided to ask yourself the question: what do you want to do before you die and made this list of 100 things to do before you die And we just kind of pretended that we could do anything we put things on like go to space like cover of Rolling Stone, kiss the Queen, like anything we’d ever really wanted to do. Well, I don’t know about that one and we just pretended that we we could, I mean literally, put stuff down as a joke, and then we decided okay for everything we do on our list, we’re going to help someone that we meet do something that they want To do so, we took two weeks off of work before we went back to school and we board an RV. We made matching t-shirts, we got a camera on eBay and we’re like we’re going to go after this list and we’re going to help people, and the first thing we crossed off was to be a knight for a day. Okay, so I got like in full Knights armor and went downtown. I immediately regretted it and I noticed that there was this little kid with a plastic sword and he let go of his mum’s hand and he didn’t say a word.
His eyes just went wide and he walked over to me and he just went like this and bowed his head. So, as Knights do I knighted him right and all these kids started coming around. I knighted all these kids and a photographer was there and the next day unbeknownst to us. We crossed off the second thing on the list, which is make the front page of the newspaper didn’t get matched up with the best headline, but you know nothing. You can do about that yeah, so the first person we helped was a guy named Brent.
Okay, Brent is 24 years old, he’d started a business. His business was relying on this truck and his truck had broken down. We talked with Brent. What we realized is that he had spent a third of his life in a homeless shelter, so we’re like man if we’re telling people anything’s possible, like we got to get to do the truck, so he went down to a used-car lot and we told the guy Brent story – and we said man, we have 500 bucks together, that’s all we have. What can we get and he gave us a $ 2,500 truck for 500 bucks and we surprised Brent with it and gave it to him, and this is the first time we’d ever really help anybody.
You know, and in that feeling that that day stuck with us and we started to feel this void, sort of fill up and from there we you know started getting these emails. People are like hey. I saw your list online like you want to write a bowl. My friend has a bull wrench, you can come write a bowl or like one of the things our list was to make a toast at a stranger’s wedding literally got invited to 12 weddings in two weeks, and then people be like hey. My dream is to fly an f-18 fighter jet, like can you help me or like I’ve, always wanted to sing a duet with Michael Buble like okay, who’s, Michael Buble, alright?
So over you know so that was nine years ago and that two-week road trip has basically evolved into a way of life. You know: we’ve been able to cross off a lot of list items, we’ve been able to help a lot of people and you know sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we fail. But when we succeed, we’ve noticed some patterns, some things that happen again and again, and we start to do the same things over and over again from start to finish, to accomplish something and people ask us, like I’ve, got something on my list. How do we cross it off, and so these are the things that we do.
I want to share them with you in case they might be able to help. The first thing is: what’s important, think about what’s important to you, not what your parents think not what your teachers think not what society thinks is important, but like listen to your gut in your heart and think about what it is you want to do if it Scares you that’s good if people say you’re crazy, that’s even better, but you have to like stop and think about it. There’S a great quote from Ferris Bueller. So life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
The second thing is write your list down I’ll, tell you a quick story: 2008 Obama had just got elected Johnny. My friend calls me he’s like super exciting, like Benny. Let’S put play basketball with Obama on the list, I’m like Johnny you’re, calling me from your friends. Laundry room that you live in, like you, are slit early spending $ 200 a month so that you can have a bed between a washer and a dryer, and you want to put play basketball with the present like we’re in Canada. We’Re not even in that country and he’s like yeah: let’s do it, I’m like all right man, so we wrote it down and in a funny way.
That was the first step. Writing it down. You know. Over the next three years, we basically made a bunch of trips to DC. We hustled essentially campaigned to play basketball with the president and we found ourselves in the White House courts playing ball with Obama.
So there’s this funny thing that happens when you take something: that’s an idea or a dream, and you write it down. Okay, it goes from something that’s intangible and it makes it tangible you’re, effectively, you’re, making it real. Okay, we have this sort of saying: there’s a difference between a dream and a project. A dream has a funny way of staying a dream, but a project. You can see the tangible steps to getting it done and writing it down and may seem small.
But that’s the first step. The third thing is talk about your list. If you don’t talk about it, no one’s going to help you. Okay, when we help people, we don’t come in with a bunch of money and like just give it to people to do things. We help people by other people, helping us help other people.
Let me give you an example. This is Tory. Tory was born without a right hand he’s from Ohio. She grew up. She plays basketball, she’s, a great group of friends and her dream is to have a bionic arm.
Bionic arms are very expensive and her friends knew this. So they started this hashtag on Twitter called hanford Tory. We saw this hashtag. We talked with hanger clinics, which makes the best Bionic arms in the world and they donated a bionic arm and we surprised Tory with it, and we were there when Tory did things that you and I take for granted for the very first time, curled her hair. For the first time and hugged her dad with two hands for the first time now, if you think about it, Tory talked about her dream.
Her friends talked about it, we talked about it and it happened. If you don’t talk about it, no one can help you and you’d be surprised people spring up and help in the most unexpected places be persistent. Another quick story, one of the things on our list is to crash the Playboy Mansion. Clearly so we wanted to go to this party at the Playboy Mansion. There was no tickets, so we had to get in.
So we thought the best thing for us to do is to build a giant prop cake, decorate it like the party and hide my two friends in it and deliver it to the Playboy Mansion and we found out what the theme of the party was is a Willy Wonka themed party, so okay, we’ll dress up our friends like Oompa Loompas and we’ll paint their face, we’ll give them wigs and everything will literally hide them in the cake and deliver it, and everyone thought this is a stupid idea like we were making a show For MTV at the time, because, like one of the things one of the things on our list is to make a TV show and MTV was like: no, you guys should not do this and we’re like it’s too late. We already bought the cake, so we delivered it, we rented a truck. We deliver it to the back door of the mansion at 6:00 p.m.
The day of the party my friend pretended to be like the guy that was driving the truck he’s like I don’t know what it is.
It just says it’s supposed to be here, pushed it up with my friends in it and like they didn’t know where to put it. So, just in the back of the driveway they’re in there for six hours, they have no idea where they are they’re peeing in bottles like Security’s. Coming up being like. Is this a joke or they’re people inside they’re, like 12 midnight they jump out, they rush in? They think they maybe have a couple minutes in the party before they get kicked out.
My friend runs right up on stage with Snoop Dogg he’s literally on stage and looking at the security waiting to get kicked out, but the security just kind of gives him the nod, and he realizes that because he’s dressed like an oompa loompa, they think he’s working. The party, so they have free rein to do anything they want and the night five hours later doing, a cannonball into the grotto everyone’s chanting, Oompa Loompa. The reason I tell that story is you’re gon na hear no a lot. I mean you’re going to hear it much more than you’re going to hear. Yes, no doesn’t always mean no, usually means not now, and I believe the simple truth that people fail just because they stop trying this is my favorite photo from that night.
She’S up found this on a party blog the next day that man has no business being in that party be audacious. So one of the things on our list number 19 is to write a best-seller. We somehow convinced a publisher that it was a good idea to let us write a book and we sat down with her the editor of the first meeting, and we said our goal is to write a number one New York Times bestseller, and it was just silent And she said in the nicest way possible that effectively the odds of us, his first-time writers, writing a number one New York Times, bestseller, let alone getting on the New York Times. Bestsellers list was very very low, so we didn’t tell her that our co-author and my friend Dave failed English. 11.
Okay, completely dyslexic cannot spell okay, so we didn’t feel like that. Would inspire confidence in our editor, but we worked our asses off. We put our heart and soul in that book and it debuted number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. Now 99 % of the world is convinced. They can’t do great things, so they shoot for the middle.
They shoot for realistic goals, which means that realistic goals are the most competitive place. To be, therefore, unreal, unreal istic goals are less competitive because no one’s going for them. Hmm, so don’t overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself you’re, probably better than you think. The last thing is help others, not just because it feels you in a way that doing things for yourself doesn’t but because, if you think about it, it actually helps you get things done if you’re out there in the world – and you can call it karma or You can call it common sense, but if you’re out there doing good things and people see you they’re more likely to help you there’s this great quote from into the wild the film it’s happiness is only real when it’s shared and we really believe that and when I think back about the adventures of the past nine years and the things that we’ve done is the things that we’ve done for other people. That, I know will stick with me until I die.
So the thing I want to leave you guys with is: what do you want to do before you die? Thank you.