Sunday, February 6, 2011


There’s a group of four guys trying to live a better story. . . sometimes. They make me laugh. I’ve only seen two episodes, but they’re funny. These four young men decided they would make a list of everything that they ever wanted to do -- whether asinine or inspirational -- and write it down. Then they set out to do every single item on their list. They filmed their journey and story as they did it. MTV heard about them and turned their story into an MTV TV series. It’s called “The Buried Life.” Have you heard of it?

What I love about this group of guys is that each episode, as they try to achieve an item on the list, they also make sure to ask people along the way “What do you want to do before you die?“ And they make sure to help one person they meet achieve one of her goals. So you follow this group of guys having a good time, doing silly stuff, and shooting for their goal while, at the same time, using their resources and energy to help someone achieve his goal. I love this part of the TV show.

The other great part about the show is that they don’t always achieve every item on their list. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. These four gentlemen also taught me that it’s not whether you achieve the goal, but it’s the fact that you tried that matters. One episode I watched showed them trying to play basketball with the President of the United States of America. If you have time, watch them on MTV or on you tube.
I would put a link here, but I’ll let the people who really want to watch them, find them. Ok, I changed my mind. Here’s a link to a trailer, but you’ll have to find an entire episode to watch on one of those episode internet stations.

“The Buried Life” Trailer

There are few more people who are doing work that reminds me of the toilet sprouting flowers in the communal yard, people who have taken it on themselves to be the change they seek, to be the answer to the problem they see.

I work in international development and there are tons of problems with giving money from one government to another (Official Development Assistance - ODA). And it has never been conclusively proven that the 60 years of international aid has been transformative (some countries have transformed but many believe this was not due to aid but other reasons). Given this, I’m always encouraged by people who are not discouraged but engage in work that is actually effective, efficacious, and effectual, though, it’s on a small scale, in one community, or in one life. Will you do me a favor? Will you read this article that illuminates what I’m saying through real examples. Here are people that inspire me, not because they’re superhuman but because they’re human. The author of this article calls it Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid. I like these people and what they have done. If you don’t have a free NYTimes e-account, get one so you can access it.

The NY Times article

There are examples of such life-giving and creative work all around the world. Here are a few of the people and groups of whom I’ve been learning, studying, and supporting. One of my favorites is the teacher who writes birthday cards.

Gift Card Giver

StoryCorps - Connecting people to share powerful and life-changing stories

Nuru International - Ending extreme poverty

Benched - Building a bench at a busy Atlanta Bus Stop

The Redemption of General Butt Naked - Story of a warlord turned Christian preacher and the question of Justice

A teacher making people feel special one letter at a time

Love 146 - Child Sex Slavery (Scroll down to see the video)

Story - Find your passion and shout it from the rooftops

Tell Your Story - Texas A&M Leadership Forum

Invisible Children -
Invisible Children Video
Another Invisible Children Video

Charity Water Video URL

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