What do you want to do before you die? - Ben Nemtin

| 29 Apr 2020

Video edited by Azri Bahari

Canadian producer, writer, speaker and television personality, Ben Nemtin is best known for his epic bucket list. From playing basketball with Barrack Obama, drinking beer with Prince Harry, asking out the girl of his dreams, to spending a night in jail.

Other than ticking 100 items off his list, Ben and his buddies would also help strangers cross something off their list.

Believe it or not, this epic bucket list is STILL RUNNING! No dreams too big or too small to be on it. Just going through his list made me think, “are we living life to the fullest?”

Asia Advisers Network sat down for an exclusive interview with him and gathered his insights on life and the purpose of his journey.


No dream too big or too small

Most times, the biggest obstacle to a goal is really the person holding themselves back. “They think they’re not good enough or they think they can’t do it. And because I’ve experienced first-hand - I’ve done things that I never thought I could ever do - it’s important to know that you can do it if you really want,” he said.

His advice? “You don’t actually need to know how you’re going to do it. You just need to know the first step, then you figure out the second step, then the third. And before you know it, you’ve accomplished this dream that you thought was impossible.”

With an inherent belief that he can do anything he put his mind to, he wants everyone to understand that he’s no different than anybody else, and that if he can get past himself, everyone else should be able to get past themselves. Surrounding yourself with people who are inspiring and supportive would also provide the necessary encouragement to keep pushing on and never giving up.

He recalled getting rejected time after time to play basketball with President Obama back when he was in office. But one day, he and his buddies got a call to tour the White House, and the rest was history.

Living your dream is important, but “I don’t think the right thing to do is to just quit your job and go after your bucket list. But what I do think is important is that you take time to think about what’s important to you, and those things can be big or small. No dream is greater or less great than another dream”.


No regrets at the end

Figuring out what your heart truly wants is one thing. Making sure it doesn’t get erased is the other thing.

Ben said, “It’s best to write what you want down because if you don’t have something to remind you that those little things are important to you, they get pushed and they continue to get pushed.”

He added, “Research tells us that most people get to the end of their life and they regret the things they didn’t do - not the things they did.”

There’s a bonus to chasing your dreams (other than having accomplished your dreams), “When we do things that we love, we have more energy, we’re more alive, we’re happier, and we’re able to do our job much better when we’re in that state. We can perform better.”

He believes when one takes care of themselves, they can then take care of other people. “If you’re trying to take care of other people before you take care of yourself, you can’t do a good job of taking care of other people, and then your health suffers.”  


Picture yourself on your death bed

In a heart to heart moment, Ben revealed the internal demons he had been struggling with, and said “I never would have imagined that I would have been able to do these things. What happened was it was just slowly over time I realised that these things were possible.”

“And I think that if you feel stuck and you don’t know whether you should go after your goals or not, picture yourself laying on your death bed, looking back onto this moment and ask your future self – Will I regret not doing this when I’m on my deathbed?”

He continued, “If the answer is yes, you have to try. And that is the driving force, that you don’t want to end up like the majority of people that die regretting not living their true self.”


Making lemons into lemonade

Failures are incredible opportunities. “When you fail, you learn so much about yourself, and usually it forces a pivot for you to change directions.”

Ben also said, “I think we can all remember a time where we thought in the moment that we had failed. And looking back on it, we realised that things had to be done in that order to shift which ultimately led to success.”


Make your bucket list NOW

Steps to cross out your list:

  1. Write down your goals: Now they’re not a thought, they’re actually on paper. It’s a reminder that your goals exist and it makes them real. So writing down your goals is important.


  1. Start with small changes: You don’t have to quit everything and do this new life. Its small changes- making small incremental changes towards the things you want to do.


  1. Tweak your psyche: By picturing death as fuel to remind yourself of what’s important. Because ultimately, no one’s living forever, we’re faced with this mortality, and it’s a good thing. It means that every moment is precious.


  1. Sharing your goals: When you talk about your dreams, people can actually help you. If you don’t share, then you’re on your own. You’d have to get over the fear of what other people might think or the fear of, oh, what if I fail? People will know. If you can push through your fear, you’d have the support of friends and family, and you’ll never know who else is going to help you. 


  1. Giving back to others: When you help someone else, ultimately that comes back to you in some way, shape or form. When people see you out in the world helping other people, they will want to help you.

And it’s more gratifying than doing something on your own list. When you’re able to touch someone in a meaningful way and really help them in a pursuit that means so much to them.


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