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 700 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. I’ve done the past (see below), but this blog post has inspired me to start looking to the future…. (over-due Buried Life “to-do” List to come….)

    I’ll call this my “AWE” LIST…

    VERSION 4.0 – ADDITIONS & MORE DETAILS ADDED SINCE ORIGINAL POSTING (First version – February 26, 2009)

    A friend of mine has been bugging me to fill out one of those random list things that are floating around Facebook for some time, but I’ve been putting it off. I figure if I’m going to spend time compiling random facts, I might as well have a purpose for doing so.

    So…since details are already getting hazy from the “first half” of my life (going to college in Carbondale will do that to you) now might be the time to create a list of things I’ve Accomplished, Witnessed, or Experienced – “AWE” for short.

    I will use this to list things significant enough to come to mind when I look back on my life – basically just some of the good memories that I can still remember, and something to help me if I ever get around to writing an autobiography (although you can now purchase a book about a couple summers of my life at http://www.santasvillagegonewild.com). 🙂

    If writing a book about my life never happens (well, besides the Santa’s Village one), I figure at least maybe my current & future loved ones might be interested in reading this stuff in list form, and besides that, it’s pretty fun to think back to see what you can come up with.

    THINGS I’VE ACCOMPLISHED, WITNESSED, OR EXPERIENCED:

    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150286390954240

  2. Digging this big time. Thanks for the reminder.

    I’d love to take my kids on a year abroad for an immersion educational experience. We’d spend time on farms, wirh artists, speak with leaders and learn new languages – while doing service projects and making friends. All the best.

  3. One thing I want to do before I die:

    >> 1.Go to Space (the full enchilada: zero gravity experience, etc)

    I’d like to photograph the world from up there, because we all need to humble ourselves from time to time, and remember how small each of us truly are.

    Too often, we get much too caught up in how everyone perceives us in our own little box to step back and see the forest for the trees.

    Can’t wait!

    -Chase

  4. Whao,

    Tim Ferris will never seize to bring us something good. I mean i love this reading and it touches my heart. It goes far to show that almost everyone that believes in the beauty of their dream will surely accomplish it.

    Keep doing great things guys and hope you come up with another ‘crazy’ 100 things to do – No1: Meet Sheyi Shobayo (myself) in Nigeria.

    sheyi

  5. I’m now thinking of a variation on Richard Branson’s, “Screw it, let’s do it!”, which involves the work “bucket”.

    Here’s my list:

    1) Hear Herbie Hancock live

    Done! That was actually the only item on my bucket list at the time so it spurred me on to add new ones. Now I guess I should aim to duet with him.

    2) Meet Stephen Sondheim

    Done! And now I’ve been invited to NY to play him my songs.

    3) Help my girlfriend volunteer as an English teacher in Palestine

    Done! That was a tricky one. We had to borrow money so she could take an advanced TEFL course, and then had to get a lawyer to sue her employer for unpaid wages, but it worked! Now I want to help her set up an NGO there.

    4) Get my musical produced at the National or the Donmar (theatres in London)

    In the process of making it happen. It’s unheard of for a first-time writer to get produced at either of those two venues, but I think I can get there if I take it in steps.

    5) Create the world’s greatest music-learning tool

    I now have an experienced partner for my website and we’re aiming to get a minimum viable product out within 9 months.

    6) Donate $100,000 to Room to Read

    I’m pushing for our website to donate a percentage of its proceeds to Room to Read. Then we just need to generate the revenue.

    7) Write a guest post on Tim’s blog

    Well, I guess I’ll have to finish the website first. 😉

    And then there’s improve my piano playing, write an orchestral piece and get it performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, meet various people, etc., etc….

    Good luck to everyone!

  6. This does work. Two years ago I was 274 lbs, and wanted to do an Ironman. I’ve lost 84 lbs since then and will reach this goal next month at Ironman Texas!

    1. This does work. Two years ago I was 274 lbs, and wanted to do an Ironman. I’ve lost 84 lbs since then and will reach this goal next month at Ironman Texas!

  7. Hi

    I have recently purchased your books and find I can’t put them down… Absolutely brilliant!

    I have one question and would really be grateful if you could answer it or direct me to who can please…

    When you speak about the cheat day in ‘The Four Hour Body’, you say it’s for 24 hours… Would it still work if you started midday Saturday and finished midday Sunday? Thank you very much for any time you can spare me, on this question which is burning away at me.

    Cheers… Ian Ferguson

  8. Tim and Ben

    Thanks so much for this awesome post! It got my blood pumping and revived me from terminal boredom..

    Your ideas on realistic vs unrealistic goals really got me thinking and make so much sense to me and where I find myself in life right now.. It’s time to throw out the realistic lists of boring goals that barely spark a hint of excitement and start uncovering my ‘burried life’..

    One thing I want to do before I die is fly myself around the world in a small jet.

    Thanks for the practical tools and inspiration guys!

    Good luck everyone and I wish you all a life full of excitement

    Rock out

    Anthony K

  9. Hey Tim, what a brilliant story. I should never read your posts at night, I can never sleep after reading them, they give you a good kick in the ass. Cheers!

  10. I love this article. Thanks for passing it on, Tim.

    I have list that’s been in my head for years, but writing it down for the first time feels so liberating!

    1. Lose 25kg (Just started reading the 4 hour body which should help)

    2. Live and work in China (going for my first trip there next month)

    3. Create a series of ESL games that I will sell online and generate $5,000 a month income

    4. Buy my Mum and Dad a house

    5. Illustrate a childrens book

    6. Work with the Jim Henson puppetry team

    7. Design a series of collectible vinyl toys

    8. Write a book about my time living in Taiwan and Thailand

    9. Meet Louis C.K (comedian)

    10. Eat a bagel in New York and write poetry in a cafe looking out at snow falling on the street outside

    11. Marry my fiancee and bring her to Australia

    12. Build a school in Cambodia

    13. Give my cousin 50 thousand dollars to help with his missionary work in Africa

  11. I’ve always wanted to go to England and become a pro Drum N Bass MC. Thanks to Tim’s book, and thinking outside the box, I’m 75% of the way to making the big move, and I’ve already got a few potential gigs rolling in. This blog is also AMAZING! Thanks!

  12. Wow, what an inspiration!

    And so true — once you’re really out there doing your thing the craziest things happen.

    Some that can be explained (people pick up on your energy and vision) and many that can’t. The “coincidences” that happen are just too weird. 😉

  13. 1. Live in Italy for a year

    2. Be the person to announce “Live from from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

  14. Alright, first things first, if anyone knows the blood type of Richard Bland (the student who needs the kidney) please let me know so I can spread the word. My classmates have already gotten used to my change in attitude since readings Tim’s book, so asking if anyone wants to donate a kidney shouldn’t even be a “blip” on the radar.

    I had a vague idea of the things I’ve wanted to do before I bit the dust, but this has gotten me to write them all down and start honestly figuring out how to make them happen. The two most crucial items are: do/make something completely original and raise $1,000,000.00 for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation by October 21st, 2012.

    This is a truly awe inspiring kick in the ass. I can’t tell you how important I believe this kind of attitude is, and how absent it has become.

    To Buried Life: thank you for being you,

    To Tim: ditto and thanks for sharing.

  15. Ufff.. It was hard but it was worth it!!

    Here is my list:

    #1 Tell her “i love you”

    #2 Make art that has meaning in the world

    #3 Have exhibition in Mumok

    #4 Make a good movie

    #5 Had most popular blog in Poland

    #6 Speak at TED conference

    #7 Speak fluently in Swedish and English

    #8 Make comfortable money with small investment of time per week

    #9 Get driver’s licenses and buy a good car

    #10 Get my own apartment with my inner design that i like

    #11 Get new Dell XPS 15z i7 and iphone

    #12 Fix my health

    #13 Get shape like “David” by Michelangelo

    #14 Run 100km once

    #15 Dance in front of people i have been fully relaxed doing that

    #16 Spend one year without computer

    #17 Take AFF course

    #18 Buy one painting by Roman Opalka

    #19 Take LSD

    #20 Find the destiny

    I hope one day i will check this page and i realize that this list is outdated because everything has been done 🙂

    God give me strength.

    Piotr from Poland

  16. Really excellent advice! These lists are easy to make but much harder to complete. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Awesome post. I was so glad Tim shared the Obama story, I wanted to hear it! All of these steps work! I am actively living and pursuing my ever-evolving dreams every single day. The feeling you get when you walk the path of your own making is unlike anything else.

    Tim, I look forward to meeting you.

  18. Here are a few from mine:

    – Meet Miss Jolie (Angelina)

    – Make an album

    – Have my own photography showcase

    – Produce a film

    – Go to Brazil

    – Learn to Surf like a pro

    – Build a tower and resort

    – Build a school/orphanage

    – Work with 1 musician to launch their career

    – Build a beach hut

  19. I’d like to take cooking classes in Italy and France. I want to learn the languages, too. And if Dr. Wayne Dyer were in those classes with me, that would just put the icing on the cake!

  20. Produce and direct a short animated sci-fi series, based on Human’s first contact with Alien life in the form of a huge … ok I’m giving away too many details, I don’t have the copy rights yet. But you get the idea.

    Cheers anyhow, very inspirational read 🙂

  21. I really needed this. My various muses have not been performing, so I had re-opened the 4HWW to get out of my rut,(page 320…) which always helps.

    Still, what these guys have created is music to my ears. I’m invigorated by their action.

    I want to backpack Alaska with my son for 6 months, living off the land. The Buried Life has renewed my resolve.

    When you get to San Mateo, look me up.

  22. Hey guys, I discovered your show after reading this article. I’m already in season 2. You guys rock!!

    Goals:

    Having Colombia coffee with Shakira

    Go for a run with Lionel Messi

    Go to Barranquilla’s Carnival with Tim

    Shot a documentary on the evils of for-profit education

    Have lunch with Sir Branson

    Run the San Francisco color run with the Buried Life

  23. I started a project this year to receive letters from 20 states and 12 countries over the course of 2012 ( get it? twenty-twelve? XD) Anyway, I really want to travel the world and meet people, not just visit tourist attractions, and thought this was a good start for a highschool student! So far I’ve gotten letters from 20 different states and 10 different countries, in only 3 months! I’m still not finished though, I think all 50 states would be a good goal, and at least 20 countries!

    I love your story! It is so inspiring!

  24. One of your best posts Tim!

    The top of my bucket list I’m not currently working on:

    – Spend 6-12 months traveling Asia.

    – Own a successful business.

    – Write a best-seller.

  25. Hey Guys

    This is the first time hearing about your journey and it is immense. It’s a really cool way of fleshing out your dreams into something that can be shared across communities and all the people you meet.

    Inspirational for sure.

    Gonna refine and start upgrading my bucket list items from a difficulty of 6/7 to 9/10.

  26. GREAT post!!!

    I wanted to get a Backseat ride in a F-18 Fighter Jet since I was 5!!…

    I now live in San Diego, I see them on a daily basis!!! I need to get my tush into one of those things!!!

    Had the opportunity to pull some G’s in a T34 Mentor… it was a start but now its on the the REAL DEAL!!!

    Can anyone help!?!?!!!!!

    -L

  27. Great post as usual, very inspiring!

    One of my goals is to find what causes Stuttering and a way to prevent it, I’ve had it since I was 4 years old and it sucks ass. For years I’ve felt I couldn’t accomplish my dreams or be what I wanted because if it. Thankfully people like Tim and a bunch of amazing close friends made me realize how wrong I was. The limits are always inside our heads.

    I just started a project to crowd source the research and I’d love your help with it: http://www.iamsurewecan.com

    Another goal is find a way to become a legal resident in the US, current laws make no sense and are making this so freaking hard, anybody knows somebody that might know somebody that could help me with this??

  28. Have 8 children – check!

    Have 12 grandchildren – check!

    Have 9 foreign exchange students – check!

    Play the harp – check!

    Work as a fashion model – check!

    Compete in a triathalon with my 18 year old daughter – training now!

    Start my own multi-million dollar heavy construction company – check! (19 years in business and going strong)

    Send my accountant to prison for embezzling a million dollars – check 🙁 (That was never on my list but it happened in 2010, so I’m listing it anyway.)

    Spend 15 minutes with Tim Ferriss getting his opinion on the totally awesome book and software program I’ve developed to help small business and 4HWW followers protect themselves from financial fraud – NOT CHECKED YET, BUT I HAVE HOPE!

    Have an exciting, productive, worthwhile, imaginative day that contributes to good in the world every single day -STILL IN PROGRESS!

    Thanks for the inspiration, guys! Cheryl – aka the Pothole Queen!

  29. Fantastic post guys! Love this – 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.”

    Life’s truly a gift and we have no right to waste it! 🙂

    Keep the inspiration coming!!

  30. Like Tim these guys are a true inspiration. Stoked to meet them on April 10th in Toronto. It’s noteworthy to mention that TBL crew were totally off my radar until I came across this post…and now my wife and I are fans.

    Thanks Tim!

    Just 3 things on my list:

    1. Meet the TBL crew (happening in 3 days)

    2. Cage diving with Great White Sharks (happening in October 2012 in South Africa)

    3. Meet and have a glass of wine with Tim Ferriss (am working on it…Tim want to help me out?)

  31. To create something like this for people of my generation (I’m 44). Not sure what form it will take yet, but putting out there makes me feel just that little bit closer. I’m excited.

  32. Great post! You guys have been a well needed breath of inspiration.

    -Complete a full Iron Man

    -Get my business to gross 100K/year

  33. I’d love to become a bad ass kung fu expert 🙂 Waiting for knee surgery before I can take classes…

    Awesome post, can’t wait to check out the show…

  34. This is my first post on this blog even though I read it all the time. Great F* post Tim! Inspired and fired up!

    1) Virgin galactic flight

    2) Open a veganrestaurant

    3) Have smoothies with David Wolfe

    4) Watch a super bowl game in the stadium

    5) Learn French, Italian, and Hebrew

    6) Have dinner with Taylor Swift

    7) SPEAK AT TED!!!

  35. I have an issue with my knees because my leg muscles are too tight. That’s preventing my to do any serious running.

    After reading this post and seeing the video I know what I have to do. Find a way to get this fixed and run my first marathon.

  36. Wow, what a great post. I have done pretty crazy things in my life. Yet here is what i want to do before i die. I want to race in the Dakar Rally on a Motorbike. (Have i mentioned i never sat on a motoX bike) Somehow, it will happen. Keep up the good work boys.

    Jurgen

  37. Quite an inspiring blog post. Funny though, after a lot of pondering I realized I only have one thing on my list and that is totally an inner goal. It has been my driving, inner fire since early sophomore year high school and I am 62 so that gives you an idea.

    To gain, not an intellectual but a deeply felt and lived visceral understanding/knowledge of “who and what I am” or “the meaning of life”, those phrases point to it pretty well.

    Everything else I have desire for I either already have or am doing, or don’t really care enough about to expend the energy directed away from “my mission>”

  38. Sad I haven’t heard of these guys till now, but glad I’ve heard of these guys now, thanks Tim 🙂

    The most important one for my in accomplish most of my big goals thus far is “Be Persistant”, you’ve gotta be striving for something you believe in, but once you are, just don’t give up and you’ll get it. I think Seth Godin calls this “the dip”

    “Ninety-nine percent of people believe they can’t do great things, so they aim for mediocrity.” Its sad that this is the case, but it is encouraging for us that are enlightened to move past it and shoot big. Our generation (millennials), despite our flaws, are an awfully Ballsy bunch and I think we’ll accomplish a lot in our generation.

    Can’t wait to check out this book.

  39. I enjoyed reading everyone’s goals. I have been so fortunate in my life to have already experienced so many adventures, enough to have completed ten people’s bucket lists. I lived in Hawaii as a child before it was a state, lived in Tangier, Morocco and graduated from high school there, travelled all through Europe, I married young (on my 19th birthday) to a Naval Officer and we moved to New Orleans were I got my first job as a Playboy Bunny. Then over a period of several years later I had two beautiful daughters, and we moved to Key West, FL in the early 70’s before it became a tourist trap. I became an accomplished artist in Key West, having many successful one-woman shows. As my daughters grew up, ready to leave home, I started having wonderlust again, and as a result my husband and I had a “friendly” divorce.

    I had a dream to sail around the world and walk on isolated pristine beaches where my footprints were the only ones in the sand. I painted scenes of those beaches and my dream was very strong and compelling. Not only did I write down those dreams I put many things into action to help me acieve the dreams. I took sailing courses and volunteered to be a crew member on several boats. I knew how to cook pretty well and had experience with international dishes, but studied books on maritime cooking and provisioning. I apprenticed at a sail loft without pay in order to learn how to make and repair sails and do canvasswork.

    Utimately I left Key West as a crew member on a Tall ship from New Zealand, heading for England, then as a second cook on another ship until finally I landed a job as as the Chief Cook on the BOUNTY doing the First Fleet Re-Enactment, sailing for eight months from England to Australia . Other Tall ship adventures followed in Polynesia, after which I travelled for several months in Bali, Java and treked deep in the rain forest in Borneo. I’ve been on safari in South Africa, climbed the highest peak that overlooks Machu Picchu, visited Mauritius in the INdian Ocean, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Rio de Janero, Capetwon, South Africa and Australia. From all my sailing experience I received a US Coast Guard 100 ton Captain’s license.

    I also had a dream of living in Jamaica on a beautiful white sand beach. It became a reality. I had acquired a realtors licence in Florida and an associate in my realtor’s office had several hotel listings in Jamaica. I volunteered to move to Jamaica and be available to show her listings. I found a small beachfront cottage on 2 acres of land for $20,000 and was able to borrow the money, interest-free, from my ex-husband. After a few years of living in Jamaica, I sold my property (for triple what I paid) and decided to go back to sea for a few more adventures. It seemed that no matter what I set out to experience, the opportunity arrived. I felt that I could manifest anything. In my mid 40’s I decided to come back to the US and learn massage therapy and begin a “normal” career. I went to school, got licensed and openned my own alternative health clinic which I operated for five years

    The only thing I could not seem to achieve was to find a life-time loving mate. Somehow, with all the travelling, I thought I would meet my soulmate, but ijust like ships passing in the night, it just never happened. I had had lots of boyfriends and lovers and made some wonderful friends, but not someone to spend the rest of my life with. I even posted a personal ad in a Maritime newspaper Boat Lover’s section. I got 47 responses and met many of the men but nothing clicked, so after three months, I cancelled my ad.

    Then I discovered a small booklet by a New Age “reverend” named Roberta Hertzog called “A blueprint for a lifetime loving mate”. I was 49.5 years old and felt that soon I was going to reach my “sell by” date. Following the instructions in her booklet , which are possibly similar to the instructions from the Burried Life guys. Be concise and WRITE IT DOWN and believe.

    I made a list of ALL the attributes, physical, mental, spiritual, financial and so on of my perfect mate and read it out loud three times a day until one day I just “knew” that this person was coming into my life. Then I put the list away and did not dwell on how long would it take for him to show up. But three months later, well after my ad had run out, I got a single response from a man who was planning to retire in a year or two, wanted to buy a sailboat and sail around the world and needed and wanted a first mate in the full sense. We have been happily married since 1999.

    For the first five years of our marriage we sailed all through the Caribbean on our own sailboat that we named FULL MONTY. We had made the full commitment to our cruising life, having sold our house and cars. We spent years sailing up and down the Leewward and Windward Islands, several years in Venezuela, then went to the Western Caribbean to Rio Dulce in Guatemala, followed by Belieze and Mexico.

    We finally felt satisfied with our years of cruising life and decided to sell our boat and move to Arizona to be close to my aging parents. We bought land and built a home with our own hands. We paid for materials as we went along and did almost all of the labor, saving several hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are now mortgage-free and can easily live on our Social Security checks.

    So now at age 64, having accomplished and experience so many things I am going to write out my NEW bucket list. The first focus will be on writing a memoir of all my adventure travels, (perhaps trying to inspire others to try the life at sea) and several cookbooks based on some of my adventures. Luckily, I wrote everything down in journals and have lots of photos to jog my memory.

    I want to paint again and weave tapestries of the beautiful high desert landscapes that surround me. I want to end my years in my late 90’s as an outspoken eccentric old artist like Georgia O’Keefe. My new studio space is in it’s initial stage of construction. This time we are paying for more of the labor to be done by contractors as we felt we had done enough. Our home is small but well designed with very high cathedral ceilings and shaded porches all around and a small swimming pool with beautiful mountain views. We are almost totally self-sufficient, with solar electric, solar hot water that also heats our radiant floor heating, almost 10,000 gallons storage for rainwater for our organic veggie garden, graywater irrigation for landscaping and next year we’ll start raising six hens for our own free-range eggs. Life is good and making it simpler is really a joy. We are finding that less is more.

    But you can manifest your dreams. Write it all down and believe. And find out what is reallly important in your life, not just “stuff” – but love. Love yourself first and be a whole individual with something to give and to share and you will find a mate to share your dreams. It works.

    1. Karen,

      That’s a very inspiring story that you have there. I’m moving to Florida myself next month and this past year i traveled through South America. Life seems to only become getting sweeter with time.

      I wanted to leave you with this quote that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

      “The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all your faculties and powers become directed to that end.”Claude M. Bristol

    2. Thanks Karen, that is quite the story, very inspiring and passionate, wish I could see your artwork, looking forward to read your memoirs…

  40. I love this post! I feel so inspired and motivated to reach my goals.

    One project on my list is to write, publish a bestselling album in Norway, and the World. Which I am already good on the way with writing awesome songs, lyrics and melodies.

    A thousand thanks for posting this, I am so inspired to keep going, and reaching higher goals and dreams

  41. My name is Benny Mailman, and I ride the rickshaw. The tricycle version. I have done so for over 11 years. I have rickshawed in Las Vegas, Orlando, NYC, Long Beach CA, and currently Denver, CO. I will be working the Coachella festivals starting this week. A girl started making a film on me, but the funds are not there. My dream would be to travel cross country and give free rides to kids who otherwise would never have the chance, due to money or location. I often give free rides to families with no money, and the homeless. Rickshawing has become spiritual for me, great positive energy flows from it. I also want to write a book on it all. Other peoples happiness makes me happy. I have a BA in communications, and I am a former Marine, honorably discharged in 1992. I have pursued stand up comedy for 10 years. I have not seen your show because I have not owned a television since 2004. I have no idea what to expect, but I love what you have done, and continue to do. Peace and Love,

    Benny Mailman

  42. 1. Own and operate a live music venue.

    And if I’m supposed to be ballsy and aim high, whilst I’m at it; get Bruce Springsteen to play at said venue. This may prove difficult being I’m in Australia and The Boss doesn’t come here too often but that just adds to the challenge

  43. Well, what can I say! You guys figured out something so very important, on my part, I will spread the message, and I do hope that everybody reads this stuff+your book, this is really inspiring, keep it up guys!

  44. I want to learn how to wind surf! I moved from the USA to India to start my own online company marketing to India. It has been hard but it is coming together. Thanks for the internet woman tips and groups. Looking into them now. 🙂 Thanks Tim for always inspiring me. Your blog is my homepage!

  45. My husband and I, both from a cold climate, wanted to spend a winter somewhere without snow or shovels. To accomplish this we used many of Tim’s ideas in the 4HWW.

    We recently returned from a winter in Hawaii where we snorkeled, swam with dolphins, parasailed, visited a volcano, learned to surf, and swam with manta rays. Were it not for Tim and his book and posts with how-to’s and inspirational stories, I’m not sure we would ever have accomplished this dream.

    We are now developing plans for our Next Big Adventure.

  46. I have always wanted to play the bag pipes. This was such an inspirational post. I hope to follow in your footsteps, helping others while accomplishing goals. Thanks

  47. INCREDIBLE!!!! Thanks for the inspiring story. What do I want to do before I die?

    Go on a month long sailing trip around the British Virgin Islands.

    Attend world cup soccer game.

  48. thank you tim and thank you guys for this positive story.

    1) grow training business and stay self employed

    2) start a tim inspired internet muse business

    3) see C ronaldo play in spain!

  49. What an excellent article, really provokes some thoughts about what I want to do with my life. Here’s my short list:

    1) LIve and work in Japan

    2) Start my own business

    3) Fluent in Japanese

  50. Hi guys, thank you for the inspiring story.

    I want to be one of the best dancer in the world, to travel with a spaceship and to be a excellent chef so that i can cook in an 5 Star restaurant for one day ;D

    Best Wishes

  51. Tim. Way fucking cool post. At over 40 I find myself inspired by almost everyone of your articles. Keep it up please. I hope to buy you a beer and shoot the shit.

  52. Thank you guys! Very inspirational. Love that Coldplay song in your video (“Fix You”)—it often gets me feeling like I can do anything. There are many things I feel a calling to do before I die but there’s one at the top of the list and when it happens, I’ll know all the others must have too. My biggest dream is to design and open a spiritual amusement park. A place with the most creative, fantastical rides ever imagined that allow people to come together from all over the world and live out their dreams while having the most fun they’ve ever had while doing it.

  53. I want to nurture the souls of Creators and Communicators…And be the go-to person for that. Hoping to give away ebooks in May. I want to help people.

  54. Although I’ve reached one of my goals (running my own business) it has taken over and need to re-balance with some cool stuff like this. Way to go fellas.

    In fact, I’d just read of another guy who did something similar, although his starting point was slightly different. Have a look and get some ideas…

  55. Absolutely inspiring post! Thanks guys!! The one thing I just added to my list:

    Engage/motivate sports fans to collectively start cheering on the home team when they are losing (as opposed to ‘booing’ them!) and witness the home team get so pumped up, that they win because of it!! Maybe make use of the big screens to start the cheering or something motivational!

    Ultimate goal: for people to understand that they can impact the players/game by their energy, So may aswell use it well!

    After this post, I also added to meet the Buried Life….and then learned they will be in my home town tomorrow, so it may happen!

    Thanks Tim for this post!

  56. Great Post – thanks guys!

    Continue traveling the world, meeting amazing people and saying YES! to all the fabulous opportunities that show up AND inspiring people to go after whatever their heart desires!

    Have a beer with Tim!

  57. I’ve heard of The Buried Life, but due to not having cable I haven’t ever watched it and I don’t know much about it. This is an amazing story though! It really proves the quote, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right,” to be very true. It’s awesome to see people out there with goals they want to achieve. Especially when those people have the passion and drive to make those dreams come true.

    As for me, my long term goal and dream is to become a professional screenwriter and act in my own movies. If I’m going to set the bar I want it to be high…really high. As for a big dream that I have currently, I really want to work for Ellen DeGeneres.

    Ellen is one of those people that stands up for the things I believe in, which are human rights, equality and the joy of dancing for no reason. I’ve always wanted to work in the television/film industry and I think I could really do good things somewhere like The Ellen DeGeneres show. I’ve created a website to get Ellen to hire me. If you’re interested you can check it out via my Twitter: Hello_Crystal G I’d really appreciate spreading the word or even just any kind of feedback. Thanks & I hope everyone’s having an amazing day!

  58. Great post! One thing is missing though, and it should be step one: “Become friends with people who share your goal”. I’m sure the Buried Life guys will admit that they couldn’t have done it alone.

    That is my one wish before I die- to become best friends with someone who shares my passion.

    They said it bes, sometimes your frustrations cannot be put into words…it’s just a feeling. Knowing someone who “gets this”, without being cynical or practical would be awesome.

  59. Love it !This trailer and article made my day. It’s good not to feel alone when you want to explore the true magic of life!!

  60. Cross one more bucket: hel[ing people you did not intend to help but were touched by your action. I am in the middle of something psinful snd need to decide what am I going to do. I had not so healthy ideas and were about to carry them, until by serendipity, I read this artucle.

    I am still speechless, I have read this article ,many times and a lot of insights came up to me. To make things shorter but juicer I will say with commitment:

    A) Its never too late to become what I meant to be

    B) Your 7 principles will be on the walls of my office and my house.

    C) You are not better than me and viceversa, therefore there is no reason why I shouldn’t do many projects, some of them very ambitious, but hey, what is life for?

    For me there are 2 birth days, August 29 1957 and April 10 2012, when I read this and had many insights….I was reborn

    Thank you

  61. With regards to your trying to help a college freshman with a kidney problem. Let me bring your attention to one of the side effects of soy as causing kidney stones, this can be located at the webmd website under, drugs and supplements, vitamins or supplements, soy, side effects. So it should be avoided. If he is unable to find a donor at least he knows what can make it worse and what hopefully might improve it. As I have read elsewhere on blackcurrants possibly improving kidney function. My mother had such a low kidney function in her late 70’s. Increasing water intake has helped make quite a difference to her kidney function. Not necessarily for every one as some people are discouaged from increasing fluid intake beyond certain amounts in specific cases. But it is important to stress that a person should always consult their specialist before taking up any of the above suggestions. But if after checking with a specialist, it helps in some way then why not. If nothing else turns up.

  62. I want to become a public speaker, and I’m taking a term off of school in the fall to make that a reality.

    1. Your local toastmaster meeting can be a start. The trick is to consistently give speeches on regular basis. Personally I do not recommend a cram session. Because the public perception will be “that person talks a lot but what does he/she have to back it up?”. Even tim ferriss speeches get really boring if you listen to it consecutively over and over again.

  63. Awesome! This is inspiring and has moved me to update my dreamlining template with excitement: I’ve added motorbike racing in the Egyptian desert as one of my dreams.

    Tim, a request: please add something about creating kickass gluten/wheat free pizzas in your upcomming book. I’m dying for my staple food but don’t want to derail my health with wheat and specifically gluten. With the access you have to people at the top of their professions, I’m sure you could hack the pizza to produce a slow-carb gluten-free pizza (or bread — I’ll take things from there).

  64. Transform education worldwide. Step #1: Build a multi-generational community in Santa Barbara including a school, innovative sustainable land use, and as a retreat/meeting/learning center for academics, educators, corporate leaders, spiritual teachers, activists and artists.

  65. Truly AMAZING stuff guys! This is just what I needed to find after being awakened to my own buried life a year ago after my mother’s sudden passing. Before I die I’d like to run a route and catch a ball against my football idol, Deion Sanders!

  66. Hi Timothy,

    I just wanted to drop a quick note to say “thank you!!!!!” for writing The Four Hour Workweek. It has inspired me to start a blog and focus on doing what I love.

    Thanks again!!

    Jamie Falahee

  67. Create a new word for women that let’s them embrace their sexuality as comfortably as men without being judged for sleeping with whomever and how many ever people they want.

  68. TIm once again thanks for opening our eyes to something great. Congratulations Buried Life – amazing effort.

    One of the things I do, because I love it and on my list, is teach. I teach high school & college courses now (use to teach law school). Buried Life you inspired me. We have spring break next week, and in midst of various things in classes on business, marketing, accounting and business law.

    I am going to give all my students a new assignment today and tomorrow. I am going to first show the video, then have them read this blog. Then, their assignment this week and over vacation, will be to make their list, and then make a plan. I always talk about importance of goals and writing them down to classes, but honestly few do it – same as general population. Buried Life’s video, blog post and actions for last 5 years, is the perfect for driving home the importance of this.

    If I can get even a small percentage of kids to embrace the importance of this, it will be more important in their lives than any lesson we cover in business, marketing, accounting or law! Thanks for providing an inspiring story.

  69. Go around the world, hitting places where I can make a difference. I’ve already helped Caye Caulker School in Belize. Now I’m headed to Costa Rica on an eyeglasses for schoolkids project. I want to be a monk for a month in Thailand (Google it), and volunteer in India. And write all about it as I make my way about our planet.

    I’m doing this!

  70. Go Skydiving

    Get my Scuba Open Water License

    Complete my BA & Go on to Complete an MBA

    Record and Release my own Album

    Travel the Globe as a Public Speaker

    On the BA, need to study for tonight’s exam lol :p

  71. You only live once! I’ve been living by this moto for the past 5 years or so, and so many good things have happened.

    You just have to go for it, and it always works out in the end ( the worst that can happen is you learn something new ) !

    The Buried Life boys have been an inspiration to me, and it was great meeting them last week at their talk in Vancouver. They are really inspirational guys, and I was glad I could be there with them to cross of #19 – Write a bestseller!

    Keep at it boys!

    -Andrei

  72. Lovely posts. One of many dreams of mine is: attend a small party where Bjork is spinning the records. Would be amazing.

  73. I want to help people (possibly coach, thru blog/website, or both) figure out how they can best help humanity and at the same time become financially free doing their passion.

    Learned a TON from Tim’s book and hope to put my plan together soon.

    [RONALD]

  74. Own a Pastry Shoppe, Travel all over the world, Become an amazing illustrator, Have a beautiful family. You guys are amazing and have totally pushed me into action, I have to believe in myself and others and strongly stand up for everything I want to do, and be in this life–because we only get this one (depending on your beliefs, of course) and what else can you do? Definitely not waste it.

  75. This post is so beautiful.

    Here’s the beginning of my list.

    1. Travel to do the research for my next book in Europe and the USA before the end of this year.

    2. Go to the Frankfurt book fair 10 -14 October 2012.

    3. Publish all my book ideas and have everyone of them a best seller.

    4. Travel to Tibet.

    5. Be financial free from working for other people.

    6. Help other people publish their stories and get them out there.

    7. Spend Christmas in Germany in a castle.

    8. Build a beautiful house for my family.

    9. Build a beautiful Rachel Ashwell style B&B retreat and run it as a business in Australia.

    10. Run Rich Dad’s Cashflow Game clubs in high schools throughout Australia.

    11. Go on a yoga retreat.

    12. Learn to play the violin.

    13. Make a documentary / TV show.

    14. Have my own personal assistant / housekeeper.

    15. Spend a week on a beautiful beach swimming and canoeing

    16. Walk the Abel Tasman in NZ.

    17. Live in Prague for 3 months.

    18. Walk into a playground and hand out random gifts to all the mums and dads there with their kids from tickets to the moves, $2000, a new car, books, gift vouchers, no criteria just random big gifts.

  76. My comment got censored. why did that happen?

    I thought it was a valid point of view or criticism of this post.