Playing B-Ball with Obama: 6 Steps to Crossing Anything Off Your Bucket List

Let us start with a quote, often misattributed to Goethe:

“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

– William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

If you want a lesson in boldness, and to cross things off of your bucket list, there is no better teacher than Ben Nemtin.

His story, and that of the entire Buried Life team, is amazing.

It started with a list of 100 things and a planned two-week roadtrip. Along the way, Ben has somehow managed to play basketball with Obama, throw the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, delivery a baby (not his), make the biggest roulette spin in Vegas’ history, and much more.

Most recently, they crossed off #19: Write a bestselling book. Their debut, What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?, just hit #1 on The New York Times, which will be announced officially April 15th. To celebrate? They’re sending a copy of the book into space.

It all seems unbelievable, which is exactly why I love this guest post from Ben.

This original content covers his 6 steps for crossing anything off of your personal bucket list. There is a method. Everyone needs a kick in the ass sometimes, and this did it for me.

Enter Ben

If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s being able to tell good stories.

Not because I’m a particularly good storyteller, but because I’ve been able to accumulate some amazing experiences in the last 5 and a half years.

It was 2006 when I first hit the road with my next-door neighbor, his younger brother, and a kid I knew from high school to accomplish a list we had created of 100 things to do before we died. We made a promise that for every item we crossed off, we’d help a total stranger do something they wanted to do before they died. To date, we’ve accomplished 81 items on our list and helped over 81 people.

In addition to those Tim mentioned in the intro, and among others, I’ve made a TV show, crashed the Playboy Mansion, streaked a stadium, been on Oprah, reunited a father and son after 17 years, made a $300,000 donation to charity, helped a girl find her mother’s grave for the first time, and am trying to help a college freshman find a new kidney (Need your help on this one: info here)…

Remember: 5 and a half years ago, I couldn’t tell any of these stories.

Our mission was supposed to be a two-week road trip. The four of us never expected it to be much more, and we certainly didn’t expect to be living it five years later. In the beginning, we didn’t tell our friends what we were doing because we didn’t know how to explain it. What we shared was really just a feeling: we were fed up and wanted something different. We decided to move forward without a real plan. A mechanic told us that the RV we’d borrowed wasn’t going to make it home; I had fabricated a wedding to get time off of work; and we pretended we owned a production company to raise money for a camera and gas for the RV. The only thing we knew for sure was that we would be taking two weeks off before going back to college. The plan: to try and accomplish as many items on our list as possible and help some people. We didn’t have a name for the project until Jonnie was assigned a poem in English 102 called “The Buried Life.” It was written 150 years ago but spoke to the same feeling we were having at the time: the desire to unbury our lives and do the things that were important to us, not what was expected of us. There were four lines that stood out from the rest:

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;

When I think back to this time now, I remember sitting on the curb beside our RV the night before we were supposed to leave. We were arguing about whether or not to cancel the trip, because if the camper broke down, we didn’t have enough money to tow it home. Five years later, I guess it’s safe to say we’ve gotten pretty good at accomplishing our dreams. I’d like to say that there’s something unique about us that makes us able to do these things, but the truth is the opposite. There is a formula and it’s simple.

The more items we cross off our list, the more we become convinced that anyone can do anything. The formula comes down to these six steps:

#1. Stop and think about it. Really think about it.

What is it that you really want to do with your life? Start a business? Reconnect with an old friend? Dive to the bottom of the ocean? Smoke a cigar with Castro? Forget what you think you should do, what excites you? What feels impossible? Be honest with yourself. Your answers don’t need to make an impression on anyone but you.

For many people, the four members of The Buried Life included, the impetus to make a life change only comes with crisis. The summer before we started The Buried Life, I was struggling with depression; Dave was struggling with his weight; Duncan had recently lost a close friend; and Jonnie was just plain angry and disillusioned with our generation (“No one protests anymore,” he used to say). The four of us were so beaten down that we had no choice but to reevaluate what was important to us. Our project grew out of that frustration. Sometimes it takes a debilitating low or a crushing loss to snap you back to reality, but don’t wait for it. Ferris Bueller put it well: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

#2. Write it down.

Simply put, it’s not real until you write it down. And by that I mean, take your dream and turn it into a project. Dreams have a funny way of staying dreams. But a project is something that needs to be done. Approach it as you would any other item on your daily or weekly to-do list. When you have a deadline— a presentation, a grocery list, a birthday gift you need to buy for someone–you find a way to get it done. Treat your dreams the same way. Add it to your list. You need to buy toilet paper. You need to spend the weekend in Paris with someone you love. When you write it down, you’ve taken the first step.

When we first started the project, we put things on the list almost as a joke. We didn’t think about whether they could actually happen; we just pretended that anything was possible. “#53: Make a TV Show” was a dream we’d shared since we were young. We had no filmmaking background and no connections in the business. And we lived on an island in Canada. We decided MTV in the States would be the place to have a show because it was the biggest and best platform we knew of for reaching people like us. So we wrote it down. And then we started filming it, because that was just the next logical step. Every step led to the next. Four years later, we were executive producers and creators of our own show on MTV.

#3. Talk about it.

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone.

After you’ve come up with your list and written it down, start talking. Tell everyone you know. Tell your parents’ friends. Tell new people you meet. Talk to your cabdriver. Talk to your boss. You never know whose uncle’s wife may be able to help you. And don’t just talk about it, but talk about it passionately. Enthusiasm is infectious, and people want to help when given the chance. Help can show up in the most unusual places, oftentimes the least expected ones.

We didn’t come from money. We had an idea, we talked about it, and people showed up in incredible ways help us. Our first lawyer was our parent’s friend who had heard about what we were doing and offered to lend a hand; our first manager was my godmother; I met my first Hollywood contact while traveling in Mexico; we cold-called local companies in our hometown to raise money for our first tour. Help often came in strange places. In 2007 we were able to finagle a five-minute meeting with Jann Wenner, legendary founder of Rolling Stone magazine, in order to discuss what it would take to cross #15 off our list, “Get on the Cover of Rolling Stone.” The five-minute meeting turned into a 45-minute meeting (after Jann threatened to kick us out and asked his assistant for a knife), during which time we talked about everything from protests to Bob Dylan to the difference between our two generations. We told him about some of our most ambitious dreams, including “#19: Write a Bestselling Book.” Jann was later instrumental in helping us get our book published—introducing us to a company where we met the smartest, most talented, best-looking book editor alive (hi Lia), who eventually offered us a deal.

#4. Be persistent.

Most people give up just before they reach their goal. We all hear “No,” a lot, but we’ve come to realize that “No” usually just means “Not now.” Be creative in your persistence. Don’t piss people off by nagging them—think of innovative and clever ways to grab their attention. Be different, and never say die.

Last year, we broke into the Playboy Mansion. We rented a giant stripper cake and decorated it like it was for the Willy Wonka–themed party. Two of us dressed up like Oompa-Loompas and hid in the bottom of the cake, which was then delivered to the back door of the Playboy Mansion in a rented delivery truck. Security saw our homemade Playboy logo on the cake and allowed it to pass through the gates. After waiting inside the cake for six long hours (peeing in bottles and filming in night-vision), we hatched out unnoticed and partied at the Mansion all night with free rein. Security assumed we were just very rowdy employees.

Playboy had no idea we had been in and out, or that we had filmed our first episode. But when we went back a month later to ask for permission to air, they said, “If you air the episode, we’ll sue you and have you charged with breaking and entering.” We got ahold of the company’s vice president, and he echoed that sentiment. MTV told us to move on and film another episode. Our production company said there was nothing we could do. In a last ditch effort we decided to send Hugh Hefner a handwritten letter along with the rough cut of the episode. A week later, we received this response from Mr. Hefner himself: “You can air the episode. Just know I’m not very pleased with you boys.” I always thought that crashing the Playboy Mansion was my dream, but getting scolded by Hugh Hefner was way better.

#5. Be ballsy.

The majority of people don’t go after their wildest dreams because they think they’re unrealistic. Tim says it well: “Ninety-nine percent of people believe they can’t do great things, so they aim for mediocrity.” The level of competition is highest for realistic goals because most people don’t set high enough goals for themselves. But not only do you statistically have a better chance of achieving what may seem like an unrealistic goal, doing so fuels you. Once you feel the first high of accomplishing something major and seemingly unattainable, you want to go bigger and badder, and you force yourself to fulfill the need all the more. Even better, the technically smaller goals suddenly seem less daunting.

We put “#95: Play Ball with the President” on the list because it was literally the most unattainable goal we could think of. I remember Jonnie called me from his dorm room in Montreal in 2008 right after Barack Obama had been elected and Jonnie said, “We should add ‘Play Ball with Obama’ to the list.” I chuckled because it was so absurd and agreed. I found it humorous not only because the idea was so outrageous but also because I knew Jonnie was calling me from his “room,” a tiny space he was renting for $200 a month, which he shared with a washer and dryer. Of all people, we weren’t the best candidates for a pick up game with the leader of the Free World. Nonetheless, two years later we found ourselves shooting hoops with the President in the backyard of the White House. It’s a long, complicated story, and I don’t want to bore you with the details, but this is the kind of thing that the four of us chuckle about sometimes. It’s as if we have horseshoes up our butts, but it’s also happened too many times to be luck. When you dream big, you surprise yourself.

[TIM: I prodded Ben for the details about Obama, and it’s anything but boring. Here’s how it happened. First off, Obama only plays when Reggie Love is on the court. Reggie Love is the President’s “body man” or, more formally, “special assistant and personal aide,” and this b-ball detail made Reggie the man to look for. The gents called everyone they could think of (senators, legislators, etc.) who could e-mail or otherwise contact Reggie. He ultimately liked the idea, but, when passed up the flagpole, it was vetoed by the White House press team. The Buried Life had to end the “Obama” episode on a disappointing “To Be Continued…” Then, the crazy part: The President is up late one night, flips on the TV and randomly sees the end of the episode. Soon thereafter, someone approached Reggie at the White House: “POTUS is pissed.” When Reggie asks POTUS what’s wrong, he replies: “Why haven’t I played basketball with The Buried Life guys?” Reggie explains that he ran it through the press team and they refused, to which Obama replies, “Let’s make it happen.” The next time the boys are in DC, Reggie invites them to check out the White House courts. While casually shooting around, the President strolls up and surprises all of them. After 20 minutes of hoops together, they ask the President, “What do you want to do before you die?” The answer? “Be an anchor on SportsCenter for a day.”]

#6. Help others.

We’ve crossed off more than 80 list items over the last six years, but the moments that stand out the most are the ones when we’ve been able to step into someone’s life and share something real with them. I’ve been surprised by how little it takes to impact someone’s life. Something as simple as asking the question, “What do you want to do before you die?” and taking the time to listen is often all it takes. If you’re feeling lost or depressed, you might find what you’re looking for in someone else. Into the Wild said it best: “Happiness is only real when it’s shared.”

The first person we ever helped was a guy named Brent. He wrote to us in broken English saying his biggest dream was to bring pizzas down to the nearby homeless shelter. Brent had himself spent three years living in that shelter and remembered fondly the days people brought in food because those were the times it felt like someone gave a damn. When we talked with Brent in person, we learned that what he really needed was a truck. He had pulled himself out of the shelter by starting a business that relied on his truck, but it had just broken down. We knew we needed to help him find a new vehicle, but we didn’t have the money ourselves. This is the very first video we ever made, trying to track down a truck for Brent.

#7. Your Turn.

Your dreams are closer than they appear. There’s nothing about us four guys that makes us more able than anyone else to accomplish our goals, other than the simple fact that we’ve decided to go after them. George Elliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Don’t wait. Why not start now? Post one thing you want to do before you die in the comments below.

The Buried Life is a community of 1,286,399 people answering the question: “What do you want to do before you die?”

How will you answer it?


Odds and Ends:

Tim Ferris TED profile – “Smash Fear, Learn Anything” If you have fears holding you back, as I did with swimming and language learning, this might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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492 Replies to “Playing B-Ball with Obama: 6 Steps to Crossing Anything Off Your Bucket List”

  1. You guys are so inspiring! I’m at different life stage from you, having already done a lot of amazing things like travel in Peru. I’m retiring early due to stress.

    My passion is Irish traditional music, and my dream is to travel in the west of Ireland and play music there. Also looking for the man of my dreams, and if he speaks Irish, so much the better. I will have to be really creative and persistent to make this happen– but you make me feel that it’s possible.

    Go raibh maith agat!

  2. Wow, such an incredibly inspiring article! Here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

    1. Play professional paintball

    2. Obtain the physique to have the opportunity to become a fitness model

    3. Help someone become completely debt free

    4. Meet and have long discussions with both Tim Ferriss & Eric Thomas

    5. Have zero debt

    6. Be able to support my lifestyle living purely off interest bearing $

    I’m definitely going to attempt the items mentioned in the article.

  3. I want to: gain 2 inches on my height

    …Unfortunately, I think some goals are actually impossible…and they’re often not as eye-catching as “play B-Ball with Obama” either.

    1. Hey Peter,

      i think there is a way to gain height…its in China…they break your legs…i think its painful and takes sometimes…but there are surely ways…


  4. Hello there,

    i would like to record my music and publish a cd, lp or whatever format…

    By the wa, very good post.


  5. Backpacking around Europe. Meet new friends there, share experiences, learn the unique and gorgeous languages, feel the love and share the love. I simply want to spread the idea of one love.

  6. Great Post!

    Very inspiring guys!

    My one thing? To never feel as though I fell short of being who I am meant to be.

  7. Great post. Never heard of the guys, but strangely enough I made my own bucket list half a year ago and started ticking off things. It’s really true that once you write it down you start thinking how to do it and even the most difficult things all of a sudden look and are achievable. Dreaming big is not only for young guys with no obligations. You can have it all if you really want it and, responsibly, act upon it. I am an example of this. Check out my bucket list:

  8. Very inspiring! I need to read this every day just to remember not to fall into a rut…

    I would like to:

    become a full-time affiliate marketer

    live near the ocean on a semi-permanent basis

    become a whale activist

    help my daughter make her dreams a reality

    get to know europe better

    start a non-profit

    open a photography gallery

    become a scuba diving master

  9. Dine with Danny DeVito, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Richard Simmons.

    Create art for the Venice Biennale.

    Hike the Appalachian Trail.

    Build a crazy castle orphanage.

    Build a music venue with a sunset view.

  10. What I want to do before I die…figure out my divine purpose and fulfill it 😉 And have as much fun as I possibly can along the way!

  11. I want to change the world with technology to make a smarter, better, more humane place to live for everyone.

  12. Wow guys. I didn’t know of your existence before today but I’m going to keep track of it now.

    Most people who want to do big things don’t have a constant and physically present support network like the four of you. How much of your ability to achieve is based on the fact there is four of you and that you all agree to achieve the same things?

    Obviously, nobody accomplishes anything alone but most people take an individual approach to crossing things off their “here’s what I want to do before I die list”. If you don’t feel like most of these things could be achieved individually what would you advise to the person who wants passionate partners to achieve the BIG things but doesn’t naturally have them like you do?

  13. I want to attain enlightenment and apotheosis through the rainbow body. To do: 1) Meditate 2) Vow awareness and compassion.

  14. Thanks for the stories of how you accomplished so many of your goals!

    I’ve always wanted to shoot for Vogue or Elle magazine. Now it’s time to get started on making that happen!

    1. Yes to that!!!!!

      I have always wanted to do that too! when you figure it out let me know!

      or vice versa!

      Closest ive ever come was a formula 4

      There are lots of driving schools out there that offer similar cars you can drive.

      and to reply to Marc list “cure your moms diabetes” I am the furthest thing from a doctor but Google marks daily apple and diabetes my dad is using his philosophies with great success and there and lots of people who have over come this disease with this approach give it a shot!! I hope all the best for your mother!

      peace and love

      you can contact me at

  15. I love your show 🙂 I did what I thought I should and ended up seriously miserable, but in the last couple years I’ve managed to pull myself together and take some of your advice.


  16. Great post, just what I needed to get me out of a stuck-in-the-mud type feeling 🙂 I have my own list of 100+ things I want to do before I die, but after reading this I’m thinking I need to raise the bar on a lot of the items on the list seeing as most of them are awfully… simple! I need to challenge myself more.

    Thanks Ben and Tim!

  17. Really got me thinking again. Outstanding post

    1-sail around the world

    2-sky diving

    3-riding the TDF route


  18. I want to create a massive monetary fund that creates enough interest to feed every starving child in the world. In todays world with todays technology there is ABSOLUTELY NO reason a child should die of starvation.

    Thanks for the inspiration guys!!!

  19. Beautiful guest post and so true!

    I’m been soon 6 months that my girlfriend and me, create a blog about crossing things off your bucket list and encouraging people to do so. But no way we can come to such a precise, inspiring and effective manual of how to do it.

    So to answer the question; “What do you want to do before you die?”

    Just complete and add more things to my bucket list. It’s just so much fun to do it.

  20. I’ve actually done everything on my list — pursued every dream, seen the world, reached my goals. Now I need to work on another list. Of course, this site is good for finding ideas for list 2. However, I don’t think of it as a bucket list, just a “keep like interesting” list.

  21. You guys rule! Way to go for being creative and perssistent and for sharing your story. I’d like to start a chain of not-for-profit stores and online business that only sells ethically made and paid for, natural, and when possible, organic products that are affordable to all and that makes it easy for people to hangs their consumer behaviours to positively impact the health of the world and humanity.

    Thanks for letting me share here.

    Appreciate any advice/help you can provide.

    Continued success and strength to you guys.


  22. That is not something to be proud about, though, I’m sure having drinks with Stalin would have been awesome as well.

  23. Great post!!!

    I dream to make a documentary about health and vitality in different cultures around the world 🙂

  24. Great post. Love it!

    My bucket list:

    1) Build SolSolution into a $B social enterprise. Students deserve it and our world needs it.

    I’m sure there will be others along the way. 🙂

    – Soren

  25. This is why I love this blog so much. Great. Just great.

    Ben, Tim or others, do you ever find that people react negatively toward you when you guys ask them deep questions off the bat? I’ve found Brendon Burchard’s idea about people living a “caged” life to be true sometimes. Even when being entirely genuine, people can distrust a question like “What was the best time of your life?” or your question “What’s something you want to do before you die?” Obviously a few sour people shouldn’t stop us from asking these questions, but it can be difficult to ask strangers (or even friends) questions like that.

    Again, great post. Tim and Ben, keep it up. Even the 1%ers that actually believe they can do something valuable need a push sometimes.

  26. My absolute dream would be to live abroad and become an internationally known artist. I’m currently in Berlin on holiday and find the art scene here so inspirational.

  27. This is absolutely awesome. One of the biggest things on my life is to positively impact the lives of over 1 million people. I’ll be taking my first trip out of the country with just a friend later on in this year and planning more traveling for the next year.

    Traveling and living in different places for a few months is one of the other major things on my list.

  28. Great story. I’ve been doing those 6 things for a while now with not much luck, I think my goals and dreams are too big for most people. One thing that is a difference is that I was not willing to start my journey with a handful of lies as these guys have done.

    “I had fabricated a wedding to get time off of work; and we pretended we owned a production company to raise money for a camera and gas for the RV.”

    Which makes you wonder how much deception this lifestyle requires.

    Before I die I want to build a utopia or at the very least the building blocks for one.

  29. Nice post. It’s always worth stopping and thinking about it. I had a bucket list a couple of years ago and achieved a lot travelling around the world and building a ‘successful’ blog.

    I’ve become a bit boring since, and have different goals, but its still nice to be reminded that the big goals should get some concentration too.

    Now it’s time to take that photo to be published in National Geographic 🙂 My longest dream/item on bucket list so far.

  30. I want to do or create something that has a positive impact on at least one billion lives. Doesn’t have to be a huge impact but I want to leave this world better than i found it. For further inspiration I highly recommend the book “Abundance: the World is Better than you think.”

  31. I Discovered this miraculous show a few years ago when MTV was running a “Buried Life” mini- marathon. If you guys are reading this, i just want to say you are another wonderful reason for me to be a proud Canadian.

  32. Great story!

    my top 5

    1. Speak at TED conference

    2. Never again work a boss

    3. Visit a new country every year

    4. Slam dunk on Rucker park

    5. Write a book, which sells 10000 copies


    1. Agreed. =) Great post!! This really fuels my inner desire to do more and not let anything stop me.


  33. Love how you transformed you melancholic/”pissed off ness” into something amazing, with your mates. And that you wake up & help strangers do something on their list, awesome awesome awesome.

    My list

    1. Beat my visiting cancer

    2. Got a photo of me surfing a big fat barrel tube to pass down to generations of my line ahead to say you can do “this”, or whatever your” this” is, you have “this” juice in your veins.

    3.Get you guys a speaking gig in Australia, have your energy visit/stay @ my place overlooking the beach in Coolangatta, surf eat talk play table tennis, nourish you up for the next part of your adventure

  34. Very cool. I’ve been crossing stuff off my list. I’ve been able to check off Skydiving/Scuba-diving/motorcycling.

    I’d love to jump off a cliff with one of those wing-suits on. It looks terrifying and liberating.

  35. This is inspiring. What do I want to do before I die? No holds barred. Time to get started on that list…

    #1 – Finish the Disability Ministry Certificate

    #2 – Learn to speak Spanish fluently

    #3 – See the sunset on the Pacific Ocean

    There’s plenty more, but these are a good start.

  36. I want to create a social documentary, either about rural homelessness or a psychological disorder such as schizophrenia, alzheimer’s, Obsesive Compulsive disorder, etc.

    Now I’m currently in step #3 of my dream of traveling to all 50 states in a RV blogging and shooting a documentary about the lesser known side of America.

  37. Before I die, I want to: Earn $1,000,000 selling insurance for SunLife, within the space of 1 year.

  38. THANK YOU Ben & Tim! This story is just what I needed as I plunge into unfamiliar territory with the goals I’ve set for myself this year. Currently training for a marathon in June, and this summer will be volunteering as a counselor at a camp for kids with special needs.

    In the bigger picture:

    Travel- too many places to name but exploring where my ancestors came from in different parts of Scandinavia is at the top of the list.

    Keep participating in endurance sports to raise money for medical research and other causes. Should I just pick some ridiculous amount of money as a goal to raise over my lifetime, oh, lets say, 500k? Is a million just ape-crazy? I’m 26, I’ve got time!

    Learn how to fly a plane. I’m obsessed with planes/the history of aviation but oddly enough, also a fearful flyer. So I think it’s the biggest, craziest thing I could do for myself personally. That’s one that I didn’t even think of until this moment, so thanks for giving us the thread here to think out loud..

    Lastly, I’m an animator, I’ve worked on shows, commercials, etc. Pitching and winning my own show/project/film/whatever would be the ultimate. I’m wrapping up a pilot that my buddies and I funded through a Kickstarter, we’ll see where it goes!

    Thanks for the positivity, it’s a rare thing in this crazy world, and contagious.

  39. Inspired! After reading, I put pen to paper. I’ll dispense with the “Financial independence” stuff because that’s all pretty typical. Top 10 of the list, however is personal and eclectic:

    1. Have my daughters speaking with me again

    2. Flying in the Reno Air Races

    3. Earn a patent

    4. Get my seaplane rating

    5. Fly around the world in my airplane

    6. Be a TED speaker

    7. Dive the Great Barrier reef

    8. Launch my non-profit “Wings of Purpose” for disadvantages youth

    9. Laugh every single day

    10. Place 10,000 orphans in loving homes

  40. Tim,

    Great post, thank you. This could not have come at a better time. I have many goals I want to achieve, several are being worked on at the moment, such as:

    1) Learning Hungarian – My great grandfather brought my last name to America from Hungary. I would love to see if I can trace my roots back there/ find any possible long lost relatives. Also I’ve been to Budapest twice and fell in love with it. So I would also like to live there for a while.

    2) Play guitar like John Lee Hooker – I’ve been playing guitar for many years , all different styles from punk to metal to rock n roll. JLH’s style is almost inimitable, but I’d like to come close.

    3) Build a successful internet based business (or businesses) that consistently pull $1000 a day. Something I can run from a beach in Thailand or a rented apartment in Prague. Failed with one idea already (well, not exactly failed, just didn’t really succeed, but learned A LOT!) working on the next muse.

    3a) If I am successful in this then I would like to help a small group of people to achieve this same goal.

    4) Go on tour with my rock band, this is in the works along with our album release.

    4a) Teach younger bands how to get their name and music out there in hopes of getting signed. My band is signed to a major label and while its easier to get your name and music out there, getting signed is tough these days.

    My biggest goal in life though is a trip around the world, but not by your typical methods. I would like to purchase a late model Toyota Land Cruiser and outfit it for a drive around the world. Something that can withstand everything from driving through the Darien Gap to rural dirt roads in Northern Laos.

    Thanks again Tim, you truly are an inspiration to those of us seeking to live more fulfilled lives.

    As they say in Hungarian: egészségére!

  41. I want to do two things before I die. Get a song i’ve written on the radio and find my four brothers who got adopted out of my family when we were all young.

  42. Hey,

    I’m Jordan & I’m 14 years old. My cousin showed me you guys a couple summers ago & I’ve been obsessed ever since. I have been so inspired that I’ve actually gone after things on my list. I’ve tried contacting people, make plans everything. It gives you an amazing “rush”, it makes you glow. Thank You for showing me to live for the experiences that make your heart pound faster.

    #66 Dance with Derek Hough

  43. What an awesome story.

    Some things are truly impossible. But many, many things are completely achievable, except that people never try.

    You’ve inspired me to start a bucket list. I’ve already been acting on long run plans, but I’ve tended to forget to include some dreams in them, too.

    By the way, Tim, I just noticed that your copyright notice is 2007-2010. I’m sure that matters not in the slightest, but thought you should know.

  44. My teenagers introduced me to your show and I was hooked! You guys are such an inspiration! I recently celebrated a milestone birthday and decided that I would create a list of 50 things I wanted to accomplish in my “Fantastic Fifty” year of life. I’ve checked some off the list like donating over 8 inches of hair to a non-profit organization that helps kids with hairloss, but I have many more items to complete in the next 7 months. I’ll use Ben’s six steps to help me get there. Thanks guys for kick-starting my mission!

  45. Thanks for this Tim

    I had never heard of these guys. V inspiring!

    I love the boys point of the power in taking it off the dream list & on to the to do list. I.e turning it into a project

  46. 1.) Shave my face with a whaling harpoon.

    This has been the number one item on my bucket list since I read Moby Dick back in high school. Queequeg is pretty much the most baller fictional character of all time.

    Right now I’m working on 21.) Climb Mt. Rainier.

    Bucket lists are awesome, and I started a group of friends that would meet every month as an accountability group for their life goals. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, and you can read about it at my website.

    Has it made a difference? Since joining, another member and I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, another friend has finished his novel, and two members who had on their list “Fall in love and get married” are now engaged to be married this summer.

    Hot dang, life is good.

  47. 1.Have more than 5 kids.

    2.Adopt an orangutan.

    3.Spend a month is France.

    4.Grow my hair out so it’s longer than my butt.

    5.Build my dream home.

    6.Own a purple challenger, orange charger, and lime green mustang.

    7.Be married in less than a year and a half.

    8.Find a doctor that can actually figure out what is wrong with me.

    9.Be financially stable enough to where I can buy what I want without having to worry about money.

    10.Be happy with how I look.

  48. While I admire their gumption, from the stories they tell, they lie, cheat, steal, and behave with no regard for the law to get what they want. Hardly admirable.

    So now that they’ve made themselves famous by questionable means, they have access to celebrities. Goody. Lovely role models.

    No thanks.

    1. think what you want– but these guys are truly amazing heroes.

      no disrespect to you but i believe these guys understand the true meaning of life & maybe some of us need to learn it. i dare you to make a bucket list, i dare you to try.

      1. Gutsy, YES. Heroes? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Citing them as heroes is a classic example of what’s wrong with people today. There is no higher purpose or noble goal to their shenanigans. They did it for selfish purposes and to attain fame. Based on their methods (and fame being the goal) their charitable acts were just ends to the same means.

  49. My name is Dave Lansom.

    I read this post from a warship stationed in Yokosuka, Japan…sent it to some of my peers…highly inspirational!

    I am a college and gig trained bass player with 14 years of experience and what I really want to do is play bass in a kickass rock band in front of no less than 10000 people! Or more…TV would be best! And I want to do this by the end of 2013…

    I would also love to start an organization that provides musical instruments and instruction materials to orphanages worldwide. I had the oppurtunity to help out with some construction at an orphanage in Indonesia…the children had xylophones, drums, and melodicas…and they put on a show for us. Unforgettable.

    Good luck with your goals everyone and Thank You Mr. Ferris for building your empire…

  50. I had an epiphany at my last birthday, since I realized I had maybe 20 good years left, and decided I was not going to do anything that wasn’t fun or didn’t inspire me. I have a bucket list and am working on crossing things off.

    I am also ready to fall madly in love again.

    I applaud you guys for figuring out what’s really important at such a young age – some people will never get it!

    Can’t wait to read your book.

  51. Just read your book and it always puts a fire in my belly. You guys spread around hope. Watching your show inspired me to do what seemed crazy at the time and fundraise so that I spent my last summer, volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka. My ultimate dream is to travel around the world for a year, everywhere and anywhere. It’s on the backburner currently because I’m trying accomplishing another of my items:

    Become a veterinarian. I’m almost done with the second year.

    I want to run a half marathon

    Ride in a hot air balloon

    Touch someone’s life the way you guys have

    Hanging out with the Buried Life boys would also be a dream come true 😛

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  52. Thanks guys!

    I hadn’t heard of The Buried Life before. -Whether it is because I am in NZ or because I am too old I don’t know :oP

    But I found this post inspirational.

    The one thing I want to do before I die is to find a way to help 10,000 small business owners get what they wanted from their business when they originally started it.

    (Why 10,000? -That’s the biggest number I can concieve of right now).

  53. I love the thought that your goals don’t need to impress anyone else. Don’t aim for what you think you SHOULD do, aim for what’s in your heart!

  54. Goal:

    Work for the Chicago Cubs, in ANY official capacity, and contribute to them winning the World Series.

    Yeah, I aimed big.

    Great article and great outlook on life!

    Thanks Buried Life Crew and Tim for sharing it with us.

  55. Great article.

    My belief has always been that anything and everything is possible as long as you put 100% into getting it.

    Keep it up.

  56. I think the most overlooked step in the process is putting it on paper. As mentioned dreams tend to remain dreams but when you write it down and preferably view it on a daily basis you start to attract things to make it happen. Congrats to you guys and keep dreaming! Very inspiring.

  57. Wicked!

    I would want to pull off a sophisticated theft – I wouldn’t care to keep the item and would return it immediately somehow….similar to The Thomas Crown Affair…… but something more adrenaline packed like repelling down the side of a building while wearing night vision goggles and cutting the glass type shit – crawling through the duct work and bypassing the security system….high tech type stuff.

    I dont really care to steal anything…. just the thrill and challenge of getting past the watch of others.

  58. I didn’t want to leave this article without rising to the challenge of putting something down. Wow…this may not end up being THE one thing…since I will now start a bucket list for real. One of the items will be to visit every country in the world and help someone start their bucket list in that country. And now, onward and upward. 🙂

  59. I want to host a syndicated radio talk/call-in show which has a small business owner as the guest. Callers would give advice and talk about what has worked for them with the goal of helpimg the guest’s business to grow and employ more people.

  60. Hello Tim.

    Thank you for reminding us the only limits we have are the one’s we put on ourseves. I would love for you to speak at our North Bay Networking Group meeting. It would be an honor and inspiration for you to be our Keynote speaker.

    Greg Jones

    Founder of North Bay Networking Group

  61. Thanks for that post. It’s one of the most inspiring things I’ve read I’ve read in awhile. I need to go find old episodes of the Buried life now.

    Tim, thanks for getting Ben to tell the story about Obama. How that happened was the best part of the whole post.

  62. Very inspiring post. Just the shot in the arm I needed.

    My list probably looks less than hip to Californian technophiles-but would have to include:

    Play a Rachmaninoff recital on the piano like Valentina Lisitsa

    Conduct the Berlin Phil orchestra (the best orchestra in the world)

    Wow…actually, like Ben said, I’m going to have to really think about this one.

    Once you allow yourself to think big, I guess you really do have to think what you actually want, not just what seems possible…

  63. i want to be triliioneer….but iam villager,live at little village on developing country…could anyone give me advice how to first step?

  64. You know it’s funny that what is mentioned here I seem to understand in some way, that you don’t really understand how simple it is to have an impact on someones life. I figured this out by bringing happiness to someone else simply by helping them help me, it was a high I had never experienced, and furthers me on my continuous mission to help others.

    I remember coming across The buried life series when it initially aired, it automatically got my attention. I followed these guys for their two seasons, and loved every bit of it! What these four guys have accomplished is nothing short of amazing and is truly inspiring, I now own their book and it is every bit inspiring!

    I have found a place in my life now where I am living out a passion and a dream that has become reality.

    I hope with and answer to the famous question: “What do you want to do before you die?” , more people will truly start living as well!

  65. Wow, what an amazing story indeed, the book is on my to-do list for sure. What a beautiful way to live – think big, think positive, and help other people to achieve their dreams too – wow! Truly inspirational!

  66. Tim,

    Thank you for continually reminding me of the important things in life, helping me to slow down and occasionally raising the hair on my neck with a piece like this.

    What life is all about. Carpe Diem.


  67. Great stuff guys (Tim, thanks for sharing!). Been a huge fan since first seeing the trailer on MTV (and all the episodes thereafter). Love what you all are doing and how you’re changing lives. It’s definitely inspired me to pursue a dream and encourage others with my new business.

    Keep positively impacting the world around you and people in it!

    1. And as far as what do I want to do before I die?

      1. Encourage another to compete for the life they have and remind them it’s worth it.

      2. Visit New Zealand.

      3. Encourage.

      4. Build the next “Life Is Good” and the first Compete Every Day.

      5. Change lives for the better.

      Keep hustling for a better tomorrow guys, all of us are pulling for you!

  68. I want to star in an action movie. I want to be a multi-millionaire. I want to help people feel good about themselves. I want to live in Brazil. I want to be on the cover of Oxygen magazine. I want to meet Tim Ferriss 🙂 LOVED this post TIM!!

  69. 1. Have a tour at Silicon Valley.

    2. Have a tour at Harvard University.

    3. Be fluent in Mandarin.

    4. Have a Kindle Fire loaded with 300 bestselling books.

    5. Be an author of a bestselling book.

    6. Launch a forum website for Filipinos.

    7. Be a great table tennis player, better than those high school representatives.

    8. Go to a Disneyland and have fun there.

    9. Learn how to swim.

    10. Have 2 online stores and 20 offline stores.

    Got to copy this list and add some more privately. C:

  70. One thing I really want to do before I die (and in fact in the next year) is go to Africa with Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite group and be with teens and talk to them about understanding the great potential they have within themselves and whatever they want to do with their passions they can. Have them really understand that no matter what their circumstance they can make a big difference in the world, for their families, their communities. I want them to realiz how powerful they are.

  71. I would like to meet Tim Ferriss and spend some time bounceing some of the crazy ideas I have off of him.

  72. I thought it was interesting when I read this post. I work as an ESL teacher in China. This week I taught my students a lesson about Bucket Lists. I spent the class trying to pump them up to accomplish their own dreams, then went back to my office to continue monotony and wonder why I’m unhappy. I show them a short bucket list that I never really put much thought into actually accomplishing. Now I’m going to extend it to at list 50 things and start actually getting it done. Number one: Have coffee with Ewan McGregor and Jude Law.

  73. Years ago I read the Dalai Lama was speaking at Central Park. I wanted to jump on a plane and go. Problem, no cash. So I put it on the list. A few years later to my astonishment I read he would be speaking right near my house. Amazing.

    On my list:

    Work at a flower shop and blog or have a column about the stories.

    Be an artist, painter

    Live in Mexico, have condos in Park City & Vegas with pools and hot tubs.

    Study massage in Thailand.

    Find an incredible designer who will do all the illustrations and graphics for my Pinterest book, free of charge.

    Get invited to that ultra swanky Italian looking hotel behind a hotel in Vegas, just off the strip.

    Watch my husband win a huge jackpot (to get the invite listed above)

    Play ping pong competitively.

    Have a personal assistant slash nanny

    And the list goes on

  74. I want to sail around the world. Sailing lodged itself in my mind at a very young age. It is dangerous, difficult, and romantic. What could be better? For over 20 years I never learned to sail because I get seasick. This year, at 33, I decided that seasickness was a ridiculous obstacle standing in the way of learning to do something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. So I joined a meetup group here in Portland, OR and last Tuesday was my very first time out on the water in a sailboat (complete with wrist bands to keep me from getting sick). I had an incredible experience out on the Colombia river. I met a really warm and generous group of people. The only problem…no wind! We were under diesel power the whole time. Despite that small detail, I’m hooked and what I want now, more than anything else in the world, is to sail around the world. It has been my dream since I was a boy. I’m on my way…but I could use some help.

  75. Wow! Great article!

    Would I like to do before I die.

    1. Publish an awesome childrens book!

    2. Travel to the seven wonders of the world

    3. Climb Mt. Ararat, where Noahs Ark., may or may not be.

    4. Start my own animation interactive game company

    5. Start my own publishing game company

    6. Learn French and live in Paris for a year in a house!