Look at your calendar now. This is your “before” picture—what do you see? If it’s not full of valuable experiences, don’t expect them to appear out of thin air. You have to put them there. That’s what living intentionally is all about.
For example, in our Life Experiences Survey, thousands of people said that skydiving was one of the top three things they wanted to do in their lifetime. What’s interesting is that skydiving isn’t really very hard to do. Is it scary? Hell yeah. But it’s available in most places and only requires a few hours and a couple hundred dollars. Anyone can manage that, even if it takes a year to save up the money. But most people have it on their mental “someday” list, so they never bother to actually find out what it takes or make a plan to do it.
You already know that serving others feels good. But that warm glow isn’t in your imagination—it’s actually measurable in your body. When you give to others, your brain releases all kinds of feel-good hormones (just like novel experiences, but apparently even more). Giving is associated with lower stress and blood pressure, as well as less depression. One study found that seniors who volunteered tended to live longer, even after accounting for their age, health status, and lifestyle habits.
On the emotional side, researchers consistently find that giving leads to greater happiness and satisfaction. One study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology found that people who spent money on others reported higher levels of happiness than those who spent money on themselves. Another study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that people who volunteered had lower levels of depression and higher levels of well-being compared to those who didn't volunteer. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who performed acts of kindness for others experienced an increase in positive emotions and satisfaction, and a decrease in negative emotions.
My work focuses heavily on your life, but in the end, it’s about way more. The richer you are in experiences, the more you have to give to others. The more joy, love, and wisdom you cultivate for yourself, the more you spread in the world. You become valuable to others when you share your experiences with them, thus creating opportunities for them to build their own experiential wealth.
When you’re gone, the only thing that remains behind is what you’ve given to others. That’s how you can live forever: through the impact you have on other people. In the end, serving others is the most powerful way to feel your life is well spent.
Money is a means, not a meaning. Wealth influences a small variance in levels of happiness, and the pursuit of wealth itself doesn’t create happiness. Most importantly, you do not have to be wealthy to have an experience-rich life. Some of my most memorable and valuable experiences happened when I was flat broke.
This may sound like I’m just placating you. Don’t get me wrong—if someone said to me, “You don’t need to go on a safari—just go to the local zoo instead!” I'd probably want to punch them in the face. I certainly know that big, expensive experiences can be some of the most magical, and you should absolutely seek ways to plan and achieve them. For example, gorilla trekking in Rwanda wasn’t cheap—it took us a long time to plan and save for it—but it was an extraordinary experience.
When you were a kid, you needed permission for everything. Permission from your parents to watch TV, permission from the teacher to go to the bathroom. Raise your hand, get in line, wait your turn. Obviously, that goes away as you get older… but maybe not entirely.
Because many adults act like they’re still waiting for permission to do what they actually want, especially when what they want isn’t so easy to reach. They tell themselves they can’t, for all kinds of reasons. It’s not the right time, they’re not ready, they’re not good enough, it’s a silly idea, it’s not prudent. No one else around them is doing that kind of thing. It would be selfish or reckless or arrogant to try.
How would you feel if we said right now that you have permission?
Here it is, in black and white: your permission slip. You have permission to take an acting class, go to Bangkok, paint a mountain landscape, learn to make Ethiopian food. To ask for a promotion. To try something new. To change. Even to fail.
Today is the National Park Services Birthday! One of my life goals is to go to ALL of them - so far, I'm at 27/63 (43%)! Who wants to come for the rest?
NPS was created on August 35, 1916 to "preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations".
It's one of my favorite things about this country. All entrance fees are waved today! Get outside :)
6/7 World Wonders. ✔️🌏🇮🇳
Secondly I am proud of how no matter what, we have always had fun doing it. It has DEFINITELY not always been easy but it has been full of moments with the most hysterical laughter and joy I could’ve possibly imagined. Selling millions of products is cool, but enjoying the ride is FAR more important.