Ben Nemtin: On the Power of Change


takeaways from this episode:

  • How helping others is really helping yourself.
  • How doing something that inspires you - even if the initial ambition is small - can be the catalyst to your next great adventure.
  • The patience, persistence, and ultimately throwing in the towel that got Ben to meet President Obama. 


For The Curious,

That’s Ben Nemtin I’m looking at in the photo you’re looking at.

Ben always makes me happy. He always makes me happy because he always seems to be doing something uplifting.

A decade ago, Ben and three of his buddies turned a period of doubt, uncertainty and even depression into an expedition that came to be known as the hit MTV show The Buried Life.

The four came up with a list of things they wanted to do before they died and went on a journey to cross those things off the list. Along the way, they met other people and asked them about their bucket lists. And then they helped the people they met get their wishes.

My favorite episode is when they learn about a high school student named Torri who was born without a right hand. Ben and his buddies convinced Hanger Clinic, which makes prosthetic arms and legs, to create a bionic hand for Torri. The footage of Torri hugging her dad for the first time with her new hand is something that always brings me joy . . . and reminds me that we’re capable of so much more than we think.

The thing that I’m always surprised to learn is that even when Ben is achieving on a grand scale he can get unhappy. I had no idea that the work he was doing on the production company he’d started with his buddies had boxed him in. It actually reminded him of the depression that he’d gone through when he was in college just before he and his buddies went off to discover The Buried Life.

But he responded to that feeling in a powerful way. You can hear about it in this week’s episode of Big Questions. Now he’s doing what he’s passionate about and moving a lot more people.

There’s a quote I love from Winston Churchill that goes like this: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Ben’s newest move is a lesson and inspiration to anyone who feels stuck in life.

It makes me happy simply to bring the story to you.


Kevin HekmatComment