When you challenge yourself by setting yourself goals outside of your comfort zone, what can happen? And what if those goals are simply the 100 things you want to do before you die?
Author of the book and TV host on ESPN’s series ‘100 Things: What’s On Your List?’, Seb Terry shared a beautiful conversation about how he followed his passions and now has found real purpose in his life helping people all over the world.
The Moment He Decided His 100 Things To Do Before You Die
After graduating, Seb felt lost with no purpose. He decided to travel, and while backpacking in Canada, he got tragic news that his good friend Chris had passed away at the age of just 24. Reflecting on Chris’ life and what a life well-lived and happiness could be like, Seb created a list of 100 things to do before he died, and went on a quest to complete them around the world.
This unfolded into a journey of publishing a book on his experiences, landing a TV series with ESPN, moving to LA from Sydney, and finding his true values, passion and purpose finally in life. It seems when you challenge yourself and focus your time and goal setting to do what interests you, magic can indeed happen!
Challenge yourself to find your true calling
Seb has now created an online peer-to-peer platform for giving called Kindsum, which is facilitating meaningful connections with people around the world and creating opportunities to help and volunteer to help people from simple to deeply life changing ways. He talks more about examples of its use in the show and how you can get involved.
Watch this interview to really understand what you can do to discover your purpose and why you should set your goals based on your passions.
- 100 Things – Seb Terry (a global movement to follow your passions in life and see what magic comes from it)
- Kindsum – the world’s best peer-to-peer platform for giving
Below is the entire interview conversation written out in text for those of you that are hard of hearing or want to scan through the content and skip to the juiciest bits for you. We include time stamps too so you know where to skip to!
Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Burn From Within. And on today’s show, I have a really inspirational man by the name of Seb Terry. Seb is a TV host and author of the book 100 things. He’s traveled the world and he’s now set up a peer to peer giving platform called Kindsum, which we’ll hear about later on in the show. But what really struck me about
Seb is that he’s, he’s actually living his life of passion and purpose and it all started from a significant event, but most of the people that I’ve interviewed in this series, some significant event change their life, change their perspective. And in Seb’s case it was the passing of one of his dear friends in Sydney Chris. So Seb, welcome to the show.
Hey how are you?.
Yeah, I’m great. Thanks. I’m great. Thanks for joining us. And so I talk on a sad note to start the show, but we’ll head up to more positivity later on. But I mean, you know, sad things in life actually do change us. And do, make us take action. And when you take yourself back to that time when you’re 24, I believe and you were backpacking around Canada and you suddenly got the news that your friend Chris had passed away. What was that like? What was that like at the time?
Well it was interesting. I mean at that point in my life I was just drifting, really drifting, just got a degree at that point. And I just happened to be in Canada. And at that moment, and I got a phone call late one night. And as you say, it was the news from a friend of mine telling me that Chris had passed away. And it was the middle of the night in Canada and I remember him telling me that. And then I didn’t really remember much of the rest of the phone call. And like Chris was, you know, we were super close growing up through school. And then after that university, I went to university, Chris didn’t, and we carried on with our lives. So, you know, we weren’t like the best mates hanging out everyday or anything like that. But at one point, Chris and I work what we used to row surf boats, play rugby and all that sort of stuff.
And it just made me reflect on life firstly on his, how he lived it and then on mine and I, to your point before, the sad moments generally are the things that allow us an opportunity to get closer to brighter moments and you know, through positive choice and yeah, that was it for me. I remember thinking particularly if Chris could live his 24 years again, would he change anything? Would he live the same way? And I came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t change anything. I thought, wow, he’s happy. You know, he did all the things…. He just lived as he was, he was authentically himself. And I thought that’s all that you can really ask. I mean, how amazing, you know, and then this notion of happiness just came in my head straight away and I thought, well, am I happy? And if I died today, would I change everything and having never thought about life from that perspective before, very quickly I realized I would change most things.
I was drifting through life. I had no idea who I was. I was a sheep. I was just conforming to all the things people had told me or things society had suggested I do. And I did not know who I was. I didn’t know how to be happy. I didn’t know my values, I didn’t know what lit me up inside. And, and then of course when I thought, well, let me run a list of things that would make me smile, cause I just want to be happy. I thought smiling was kind of like the, you know, the physical manifestation of being happy. So what’s going to make me smile? And that was the beginning of my list and it changed my life and I’m still going. And you know, it’s been a very interesting 10 years on more than 10 years. And it’s turned from a very personal journey to try and become happier into a very accidental kind of global movements. Around people sharing their lists with me. Everyone wants to be happy. It turns out, which is great. And then kindness is the lightest thing. Everyone wants to help each other out. And so it’s been completely on organized chaos and it’s been beautiful at the same time.
It’s amazing to have that clarity so early on in life about a goal, like what makes me smile and you know, think about, you know, very successful businessmen and celebrities who have all these other goals. But ultimately what is their end goal? And actually for all of us is to smile to be happy, but to have that pinpoint accuracy of that goal of right, what things can I do to make me smile and bypassing all of the other stuff that gets in the way of that. For me it’s inspirational, especially you know, watching your talk and reading your book how did you, how did you decide to make such a big change to start creating this list and then traveling around the world? Was that, was that something that was kind of really out of your comfort zone for you?
No, it was, this is the crazy thing. It was such a large contrast to the way I’d been living, but it was the easiest decision I ever made. And it was purely because in a moment of complete raw authenticity, if you will, I just realized I wasn’t happy and I just thought about it and it dawned on me ever so clearly it like you know, not to try and make this sound dramatic, but at the same time it kind of is. I just realized for me at least all I wanted was to be happy. That is it. That was it. And so yeah, I just made decisions that would allow that to happen. And so it was easy. I mean, it sounds drastic. I pulled myself out of a very normal way of living. I left Australia, I said goodbye to friends and family.
I walked away from a business that had made no money at that point, but went on to make money for other people. Now I want, you know, I was 28 at the time when I actually left. I looked silly to most people, family, friends, everyone supported me and but I just knew it was a step towards happiness. It was the easiest thing I ever did and has been since which I mean, there’s so many things we could talk about. But I mean, I just think one thing, which is I’ve just been talking about this with friends recently, but this idea that, you know, there’s so much stuff spoken about in the world. You know, I live in Venice in LA and like, you know, it’s all about enlightenment and this and spirituality and all beautiful concepts by the way. But you know, concepts and realities.
But I mean, just life is so, it should be simple. If we could all boil down the thing that we just truly, truly want, and I dare say that being happy is ultimately what we all want. We just want to feel good. If we knew how to feel good and we knew what the steps were to get to that point, we will all do it. And it’s easy. You know, it just is. And so I, yeah, I want to be able to say, well, no, I’m special and I’ve worked out a formula on how to be happy. No, I didn’t. I just realized there was certain things I thought I could do to make myself smile more and I pursued them, the offshoot of that is of course that it’s had a big ripple effect. But in the first instance it was, it was just that. And so, yeah, I did very quickly found myself on the road backpacking with no money, with a list of a hundred things, just telling people when I’d meet people, what are you up to and say, Oh, I just put a list and I’m just trying to do these things. And it’s still kind of how I operate now, to be honest.
Yeah. I think one thing that kind of sparks my curiosity is you know, people kind of pursue money a lot and they do that and then want to have security and they often lose sight of passion. I interviewed someone recently who, who was a millionaire and he lost everything. He actually didn’t lose his money, but he went in a motorbike accident. His wife died and it took him years to rehabilitate. And then he actually became a yoga instructor and then it lives half of the year in India. And he said that one of the learnings I had from him was that actually he didn’t need all this stuff and all of these like kind of insurances and boats and cars and lake houses. When he, when he thought about it, it didn’t, none of that made him happy.
And he stripped down to the bare essentials. Now he lives in hostels in India and he has lots of money, but he doesn’t need it. And he realized, and it goes right to that point of what do I need to do to feel happy? And he’s like, minimize that and now he’s happy he’s actually ever been which is fascinating. So I guess my, my, the question I had for you is if you take yourself back to when you had that business and the business didn’t do well and then you, then you credit this amazing movement. What was the kind of difference between then when the business wasn’t working and now where you’ve kind of created a movement, if you come set up a lifestyle then in LA and doing talks all around the world, what was the biggest difference between you as a person, perhaps your identity or your purpose now and back then when you were struggling?
I think I’ve just learned to be me. I just think we’re told to be so many different things from a very young age, by parents, by you know, culture, by society, by business, by peer pressure, generational trends and all those things. And, and it’s very easy and it’s forgivable as well to, to see people as I was just going, okay, cool. And you sort of subscribed all the things and that you’ll allow that to influence you and you end up being a product or society. But I think in that the risk is that you completely lose yourself. And that’s what I had. I hadn’t even found myself. I was just drifting. I wasn’t doing anything. When I allowed myself permission, which is a really important word…
A lot of people are like, “How are you able to do what you do? Is it because you’re wealthy or was it cause you’re lucky or brave or like?”, No, no, no, no, no. I just gave myself permission to be happy and I, and I chose to pursue that. Anyway I kind of lost my train of thought. But yeah, it was a very simple decision to step away from that. And so the difference now is that this journey, and it’s kind of the irony is I’m known a lot for the things I’ve done on my list and crazy list. It’s abstract and it’s, I don’t know, and it is all those things. But retrospectively I’ve just learnt that the a hundred things list was simply a vehicle for me to get to know who I was better. And I dare say the secret to living a happy life, in my opinion, a life where on your final day on earth, you can look back and go, I wouldn’t change a thing is if you were able to A: figure out who you are, which in itself is a journey and it’s always changing by the way.
And B: just learn to be that person. Just unapologetically be that in every aspect, whether it’s business, whether it’s personal, whether you’re living in a city, whether you’re living in an ashram in India. You know, I’m really fortunate I could just speak to a lot of people as you have done, you know, doing, doing this series and this book and it’s yeah, I just keep finding the commonality between the people who sleep well at night, the people who would deem themselves successful in, you know, in the way that they would be it, financial, personal, whatever. They were all just being themselves and I think I know who I am at this stage in my life at least, and I didn’t at the beginning.
So it begs the question, who are you? If you were to look in the mirror and say to yourself, I am, what would you say right now?
Great question. Well, I am happy Springs to mind. Yeah. I’ve sort of started, I mean I don’t know if you’ve been to Venice here in LA and for anyone that’s listening, anyone who’s reading. There’s a lot of people talk from a spiritual perspective here at, you know, the sense of oneness, the sense that love is all, and I’m starting to say it more and more every day. So I think not to sound too weird, but I think I am love. I think I am you. I think you are me. I think we were all completely connected to each other and to some source of some kind that, I don’t know what that is, but I feel it and I’m exploring it. Yeah. But I am me. That’s sure. And I’m so happy to practice that every day.
Yeah. I mean, I noticed that on, especially your podcast interview with Kerwin Rae. You said a few times that, you know, if, if things don’t, if you don’t like something, you just don’t care. You just, it doesn’t bother you kind of do stuff that is important to you. And if, if things get in the way of that, you just don’t care if it’s not even on your radar. It’s something I’ve really kind of stood out for me and not interview. How have you always had that? That kind of a sense of I’m going to do what is important to me and everything else is secondary or is that something that changed on your journey?
No, it definitely changed and I still battle with it now actually. I mean, I’m very considerate of other people and I do often think about the ramifications and I don’t want to put people out. I don’t want others to. I put others first, which is a very nice thing to be able to say, but it also can be a little bit destructive. So I’ve worked on that. So I, yeah, before this journey, I used to not know who I was. Everything else was a PR. I wanted to make sure I looked okay there and I did the right thing by that person that they were okay. And the last person I thought about it was me. Now I know I’m a good person and the things that I want to do I’m good in nature.
In essence, there’s nothing destructive about them. And I know they’re important to me and I also have the philosophy that you need to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. I think it’s also crucial to then help others once yours is on. But I know that you have to be happy, feel fulfilled and certainly on the way to finding your passion or purpose, otherwise you’re not going to be as productive for other people in your world. And so yeah, there’s something that I think is very important that I do and it’s going to make me happy. I’ll do it in an okay. I don’t care. I mean, It’s not that I don’t care but there are time that I do. And you know, I mean, relationships are another thing altogether in which I’m still trying to get my head around that. But you know, how you compromise and how you make sure everything’s fine and balanced stuff. No, I think genuinely like, yeah, now I know what I need to be the best version of myself, which the ripple effect is having a very positive effect on others. So yeah, I’m not aggressive, but I’m a very steadfast and headstrong when it comes to doing the thing that I know will make me better.
Yeah. And if you use this metaphor of putting your oxygen mask on first before helping others several times
When, how do you know when it, when it is the point to help others where when you’ve got enough oxygen for yourself in life because there’s, you know, there’s some people that are, you know, chasing certain goals and they want to become wealthy or get to a set career level. And that, and then they start thinking about helping others or maybe they never do. And then there are other people who literally have absolutely nothing, but they’re just giving all the time. Hmm. Almost detracting their health but still helping. So how do you find that balance of when to when to give?
Yeah, well for me, I just knew, I just felt that I’d been doing my list. I ticked off whole, you know, I lived on a deserted Island and I delivered a baby and I did stand up comedy and I walked across the car, I did all the things. And then at one point a guy, Mark who since I’ve become friends with, emailed me and said, can you help me do something for my list? And I thought, wow, that’s odd. Interesting. I actually really feel like helping him and I, that was it. It was just a feeling I knew. And, and that, you know, sort of change the trajectory of my journey in a big way because I realized at that point that I’d focused on myself. I had my oxygen mask on. And then since then, it’s been mainly 90% about helping other people.
But you mentioned, you know, how do you know when to look at others, help others? When do you look at yourself? What I’ve seen and what I’ve observed is that people typically a one or the other, they’re either entirely selfish or entirely selfless and neither is healthy. You need to have balance. You really do. I mean, you need a solid foundation. You can’t fill anyone else’s cup until yours is full. There’s a million analogies. But then equally, although it sounds fantastic to go and help other people and be of service, I mean you can’t only do that. You need to look after yourself. So I get a lot of emails, I get a little correspondence with with parents, mainly mothers. And the general tone is I feel lost. I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve given all my energy to my family, my son, my daughter, and my children.
They’ve just flown the coop. Let’s say they’re 18 years old and they’ve left and I don’t know who I am. I’ve got no purpose. So yeah, it’s very important that people understand this sense of balance and that brings up another point. What is purpose? What a big overwhelming question. But you know, and certainly passionate is tied into that. But if you understand at least some of both, you know, definitely what you’re passionate about and you’re working towards your purpose, that keeps you alive. That’s your oxygen mask. And you can do that in unison to helping other people along the way. So yeah, it’s a bit of give and take and it’s a fine balance and maybe a bit different for everyone. But you got to do both.
Yeah. One thing I noticed from interviewing purposeful people is there, a lot of people had a shift when they started to do voluntary work or do some kind of charity work or start helping others. So for example, one of my guests Phil Evangely. He set up a charity in Africa because he’s, he was in Africa and he started just helping people out and started giving toys to the kids. And then he just thought, wow, this is making such a difference. And you felt it. He felt the actual physical experience of helping someone, in this case, helping kids in Africa. It changed him as a person. And I see that pattern in knew with when you were with Mark and, and you helped him out. He had deep conversations with him and eventually I think you, you pushed them down. Was it the Melbourne health marathon?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mark had Lymes disease, quadriplegic and bitten by a tick contracted Lyme disease, became a quadriplegic and he’s dreaming must have completed a half marathon. And you asked me to push him and I pushed him. So that was the first time I ever helped anyone yet.
And so when you had that experience of helping Mark how did it change you as a person? Cause because for me, I’ve noticed that kind of prompted you to do a lot more and actually start, start your journey of this charity, giving the phenomenon if you’ve, you’ve created concern and growing that. So how did it change you internally?
Well I interestingly, there’s a lot of science around this. So physiologically you do actually change for being timed, you know you live a long guy, your heart size increases, you’re healthier you reduce the risk of a disease. I mean it’s, it’s you sleep better, there’s pleasure chemicals fill your body. So there’s a lot of physical science to suggest or to prove that it’s good for you. But I mean on another level I just felt like I connected with someone and I’ve been connecting a lot myself, which is what my list was initially about. But no, the helping Mark and helping anyone. I did say it’s about the connection and it’s what I noticed is that I felt something I’d never felt before, which is I was being of service to someone even in a small way, but I was being of service.
But yeah, that they usually think about helping someone is a two way street. It’s not that you’re helping someone and that’s it. They’re allowing you an opportunity to be good. And that’s what I think we here to do. We’re here to be good. We’re here to connect. And so by someone saying, Hey, I need help with, in his example completing a marathon, I need someone to push me. He creates an opportunity that never existed before for somebody that happened to be me to go, Oh, I want to help you because I want to connect with you. So I connect with him and he connects with me and it’s this beautiful circular thing. So yeah, I just felt good. I felt of service. I felt connected. And interestingly at the end of that race, there was a few of us starting starting the race, early Melbourne, very cold to do the half marathon.
By the end of it, there was like 10 or 15 people who were pushing it. And so complete strangers had started to join us. And it became very clear at that point for me very early on in this whole helping piece, we are all here to help. We all want to, we all have this innate desire and this innate ability to help other people out. And the issue for me is the issue that I see at least is that there’s a lack of opportunity. People just don’t know how to be good sometimes and it’s hard. If you see someone a challenge, Hey, be good to someone that I do an act of kindness, they wouldn’t really know where to go. And of course I wouldn’t talk too much about what I’m up to with kindsum, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. Creating opportunities for people we could to one another.
So I mean I actually, I was interested to talk a little bit about kindsum. Because I think what that started from, from this encounter with Mark and now it’s growing into something. And could you tell me a little bit about some examples of that the exchange that you’ve, that you’ve witnessed on that network, we’re not going to come out to you.
Kindsum is a matchmaking kindness platform. So peer to peer acts of kindness and introduced to people who want to help to people who need the help but non-monetary purely based on the fact that I can’t help everyone since I helped mock a lot of peoples that ask me for help. So I stopped my list at 72, started helping a lot of people which I’m very proud of and it was turned into a reality show and stuff coincidentally. And then what happens to every one person we started helping. There were many more that we couldn’t help. And I thought, well that’s not good. So people very naturally who were following my story online and social media or what have you, and began writing to me and asking if they can help me help people. And I thought that’s interesting cause I’ve now got this backlog of people who want to, I’m able to help on myself and I have suddenly this whole pool of people who want to help me.
Well I just need to introduce them. So that was the beginning of kindsum. It was a platform for those people to meet each other directly. So far, the stories mean so diverse, you know, from saving a dog on doggy death roads going to get put down in a populate a pound. We found that a new owner for, for him in a day two. Currently we are looking for a kidney for someone who needs a kidney. It’s a big one. Of course we just, we relocated a Wolf veteran who had very limited funds. Him and his family needed to drive across America to relocate and it was completely sourced and driven by strangers who came together to do it. What else? A lady in hospital last wish was to hear live music again. So there was a lineup of musicians who wanted to go and play for her.
There was a guy who knew who lost his eldest son and he wanted to commemorate him by building a tree house for his remaining kids. He didn’t know how to go to tree house. As we shared the story on kindsum and 20 volunteers over three days flew to bend Oregon in the U S and build a tree house for him. So it’s just, it’s plentiful. I mean, even, I promote, you know, a lot of these stories all the time. So today’s one is a, I, I’ve just provided this a few hours ago. A lady, a single leg amputee, I guess she, she’s in a wheelchair. She rescued a dog herself that was going to get put down in a doggie death row again in Texas. And now she wants to train the dog to become a therapy dog for people in hospitals, war veterans, all that kind of stuff. And so she’s asked for someone to help train the dog. So it stopped the, I mean, that story might not appeal to anyone, although I’m sure it’ll appeal to just someone and that’s all we need. Because given the opportunity, someone will want to reach out and help us. And that’s kind of the whole philosophy of this, you know?
Wow. That’s incredible. Incredible platform. And yeah, I mean, if there’s any way that we or the listeners can, can do to promote that, then, then
Yeah, I appreciate it. Well, I mean, look, I mean, one thing I always ask if there’s anyone listening who needs a help, needs an act of kindness, deserves an act of kindness or know somebody who they could nominate, go to the website and nominate them and share their story because there are people out there who would want to help them. And then we’re always looking for like kindness ambassadors, you know, people who want to find three people in their local area who need help and, and put them onto kindsum. Yeah. There’s a whole bunch of wise. So if anyone’s interested, we’d love to hear from them. Yeah.
And I mean, for people that are not used to helping or giving, for example, they might be stuck in their career and really don’t have much time to think, You know, helping others.
I’m reflecting on the benefits that the, I’ve had some of the other interviews I’ve had and you’ve had, in terms of helping Mark and the differences made to your life, what would you say to people that that are thinking about helping but are not making the time to help right now? Like why should they do it? Not, maybe not for selfish reasons, but how could, how could it make a difference to their lives as well?
Well, I think as much as it’s easy to say, Hey, go out there and be kind, I think kindness works both ways. You know, you can be kind to yourself too, if someone wants to be kind to somebody else and they know it, they just need to go and find the opportunity. As I said, there’s sometimes a block with that. It’s hard to find opportunity, but get in touch with me and I’ll give you some opportunities, you know? And also there’s this kind of like false understanding the to be kind. So it’d be of service to other people. You need to donate money and you don’t, you know, there were people on the website who are lonely and just want to talk to people. And again, smiling at someone, asking someone how the day is.
In fact, being present in the conversation is a wonderful gift nowadays, which sadly is rare. Normally people are precedent. Everyone’s on their phones. Well, I mean it’s crazy. But yeah pass that be kind to yourself. If you don’t feeling a sudden urge to be kind to someone else, that’s not bad. Just make sure you’re kind to yourself cause you’ll get to a point where you can be and being kind to yourself can be pro, you know, again, took baby steps, playing a song. You like eating a food, you like connecting with people, being healthy, making a healthy decision, maybe making an unhealthy decision. I mean it’s this thing of life is wonderful. There’s no set formula. I don’t think and kindness exists in many, many ways. But regardless of whether you’re being kind to yourself or whether you want to be kind to someone else, the common factor that without which you won’t be successful is action. You just need to do it. There’s no two ways about it. You just need to do it.
Yeah. I mean, talking about action, I think when you take yourself back to when you were starting these hundred things and then going on to do, you know, various things of being a TV host, writing a book a lot of people will have limiting beliefs about being able to do great things and do it and in particular doing their own thing, following their own path. Did you have that that sense of identity, if I can do this, because you mentioned that earlier that you know, a lot of your friends and family were like, especially when you were 28 said, what are you doing like this, you know? Yeah. Crazy. How did you battle through other people’s opinions of you doing around thing, but maybe more importantly your own self doubt. And perhaps limiting beliefs.
Yeah. Well I, yeah, really good question. I almost didn’t go on my trip, one of the things trip one way ticket to the US because my best mate said, you’re stupid. What are you doing? It doesn’t make sense. I’m glad I did. I used to care a lot more about what others thought of me and I think a lot less about that now. I don’t care really. So within a degree, I mean obviously there’s a little bit of residue there, but we’re all working on stuff. So but no, I mean, one thing that was really interesting with me is I didn’t really have a set outcome or an expectation. I just knew that I wasn’t happy and I wanted to try and find it. So I just went out and explored. So there was no real pressure.
There was no real, it wasn’t attached to making $1 million, making a million followers or whatever. I just wanted to go out there and try and be happy personally. So I didn’t mind that at all. I think that probably helped very much in the process. It was something that I’ve got a tattoo on my back which it’s from the little Prince which is a kid’s book and it’s in French. But the English translation is one could only truly see with the hearts, the essential things are invisible to the eyes. And I believe that, you know, I was just looking for something that was intangible. It was something that was invisible to the eyes, but it was very important. And so, yeah, I didn’t care what others thought and I, and I just knew that trying was the key.
Cause I mean, the other thing on that is I, back to your question is because I tend to get off questions a little bit. As a default, I tend to think that we completely underestimate ourselves as humans. We don’t think we’re capable and we are each as capable as one another. We each have, you know, our physical bodies, whatever they can, whatever they can’t do, that’s what we have. And we each have these amazing minds to dream. And think and to conjure up thought and aspire to do things. So none of us are different. Not one person is doing something because they’re more special than someone else. It’s just that they try and when you try just once on one thing, and it can be a very simple thing, I’d suggest it is a simple thing to start. And I guess I’m speaking to the people out there who always find themselves on the start line, but never take the first step.
Think of one simple goal and just go for it. Don’t care what happens, just try and you’ll surprise yourself and you’ll realize even just 1%, Oh, I’m slightly more capable than I thought I was. Continue that as a pattern and you’ll be at the finish line very quickly. I’m thinking the or vincible as I do. You know, within reason, I haven’t been Adventist that long, but I think I’m pretty invincible, you know, on the way to enlightenment, especially in Venice. I’m relating to sitting in the state right now. I’m just hovering above the ground.
I mean I think in terms of your life, you’ve done a lot of travel and now you’re living in LA. If you’ve moved from, from from Alice, from Sydney, what effect do you think changing your environment has on finding your purpose, finding out what you care about and life? Like? How has that helped you perhaps?
Well I think there are different stages of life, right? And you know, whether it’s they change every couple of months or whether it’s more over a couple of years or decades. I think the travel one point was very important for me cause it was exploration. My list was, you know, I tried to get, I lived a pretty sheltered lifestyle. I didn’t know who I was, so I wanted to explore and try and find that. So travel was a natural part of that. I wanted to try this particular thing in India. I wanted to, you know, I want to get a Bollywood movie in India. I wanted to marry a stranger in Las Vegas. I wanted to, you know, surf the Amazon river in Brazil. So travel is very much, it goes hand in hand with that stuff. So yeah, I think changing a physical environment is really healthy. I think it allows you to see, you know, different things.
It just expands the mind, different cultures, a different way of being. But I also don’t think that it’s wise to just continually do that. No, not necessarily. Like right now for example, having spent, you know, probably like eight years doing a list, now I’m in this process of building what I think is what I think is going to be a very impactful kindness platform and travel at the moment isn’t something that is massively appealing to me. I don’t want to go, I look at my home base is LA and I like being here cause I get to work on this and I don’t want to be traveling and gallivanting around. So I think travel is so incredible and can be so beneficial in parts of your life where you need to do that. And in others it’s not as beneficial as feeling somewhat anchored and having a base, which is where I’m at now. But yeah, you know, we’ve all heard that saying travel is the best education you’ll ever get. So I, you know, I dare say that travel is a very important piece of the pie when you’re talking about how do you develop as a human yeah. Travel with one part of that.
Sure. and I mean it sounds like you’ve got quite a busy lifestyle at the moment. You know, doing various gigs, speaking gigs, and like all over the world in particular, all over the States and back in all of this with such a hectic schedule. Where does you compare your life now to, to how it was when it was maybe much simpler. How do you find time for balance and what is balance for you? Maybe, maybe you haven’t got the balance yet. I don’t know, but where are you at with that?
Well, it’s a good point. I mean, look, I, I’m by no means sitting at the top thinking being able to say this is how it works out. By the way guys, there’s not that at all. I’m continually trying to work it out. Right. I probably don’t have, I think what did I do is give myself personal time. So I have a Christmas and new year’s. I went down to Mexico with a couple of friends but no reason other than I wanted to go and stuff down that I never really do anything for myself purely for my self, if that makes sense. And it probably doesn’t to people who don’t know me and just think I’m a guy who has a bucket list of things, you know? Cause essentially that is me doing the things that I want. But since that stopped, I pretty much work.
I travel, I need to go and do, you know, deliver keynotes on stages to corporates around the world, which is amazing. What an opportunity. But it’s, that’s why I travel. I never go, Oh, I’m curious about surfing in Mexico, which is why it was such a telling kind of trip for me. And I just got back a couple of weeks ago and I feel incredible. But no, I do think that’s important. I think balance, you know, balance is great. I now I’m grounded. I went and bought myself an infrared sauna a couple of days ago, which is super cheap by the way. And I, so it seems now that my morning routine is I’ll go for a surf, I’ll come back, I’ll jump in my sonar. It’s an inference unless you can work from in there. So I get my phone out and I do a few little bits and pieces.
I have my little cup of tea and then I just get stuck into some work and I, you know, the rest of the day plays out as however it does. But if I get the morning right, I feel that’s a good balance for me too. But yeah, everyone’s different. Some people are very homebound and other people love to be out there and, and you know, I’m just one of many different types of people, but for me, balance seems to come right now from being anchored to a spot and occasionally traveling. I’m fortunate I get to travel a little bit. Well, I moved to Boston in a couple of days for a really cool meeting and and then I’m back to Australia for a week in a week or two to do some talks and I’m back here and I’m taking a couple of trips this year through a hundred things. I think we going to go live with nomads in Morocco. So I’m looking for like 15 people to come with me if you’re interested. And then, yeah, so I’m fortunate that it, you know, I, I think I’ve got pretty good balance being at home and, and traveling and working on stuff, which is really important to me. And then also, you know, personal creative projects too. You just got to try it all. And I think everyone finds their own cadence at one point.
So, I mean, talking about working on stuff that’s important to you. I think a lot of people find it difficult when, when they get given jobs or tasks, either from their family or from work where it’s not, it’s not aligned with maybe who they are or what’s important to them. How would approach that issue if, say for example, you’ve got an offer for something, but there was something more important that you wanted to do. How did you find it? Easy to say no.
Yeah. Yeah, I do. Yeah, I think being able to be confident in making those decisions comes down to undestanding your values. Do you understand your values? Which by the way always change. But if you understand your values at that current time and an opportunity comes your way, you can just quite simply just see which, value it aligns with. And is it your top one? If so, go for it. If it’s not then don’t. Basically, it’s kind of like, ideally, a guy called Tim Brown told me this, he’s a meditation coach in Sydney. But when presented with a fork in the road go both ways. Well I take both. I think it was something like that. But the idea was you can usually do both. If you can’t, yeah, that’s when it’s important. You do values and values is the bedrock of a meaningful list.
I don’t like the term bucket list, but let’s just use it cause we know what it means. A bucket list shouldn’t be a sparatic kind of collection of things that you think are cool in one moment. A true meaningful bucket list should be a complete derivative from your values. So values are crucial in many, many ways. But if you know what your values are, you can very much be proactive to seek out things in your life that empowers those values. When I did my list to begin with, it was all about adventure, travel, liberation, breaking the shackles. And so my items were crazy. And now my values are changed 10 years on. And so to should lists, you know, your goals should change as your values change as you get older. So I don’t want to do a massive amount of the adventurous stuff right now. I kinda liked the idea of like grounding, working hard, creating something that really has a bit of a legacy and helps other people. So yeah. It’s, it’s yeah no is a very important word, which I only learned after starting this, this trip, you know?
Sure, sure. And I mean, another thing that’s a few people had mentioned to me about you is, you’ve kind of gone, you followed your passion and, and kind of made this a career like they talk to all around the world, TV shows, et cetera? Did you have a plan for all of that? Did it just kind of, did it just fall into place as you were following your passion? What, like what, what happened?
Yeah, just completely fell into place. I don’t even know how it’s funny exactly. Sending emails to move, like, Oh, how do you, how’d you get them to the Ted stage to speak? How do you get a TV show? How’d you be thinking about these things? And I have no idea. I mean, well, I started, I had kind of like a bit of a joke. Like I, I don’t, it was never a plan. I never ever thought about it. My first fall I got invited to do a talk once my very first talk ever to a school and I loved it. Do the little school and like all these little kids were like into it, talking about lists. And then I looked up and I saw that like the teachers were all into it too. And like some of the parents were like crying and stuff, but the concept of mental happiness and I thought, I’d like to do this more.
So I Googled and I was already kind of like three years into this journey, I Googled something like, can you be a professional? Or something like that. And I remember a calling an agency, I went inside who it was, but I remember calling a speaking agency or speaking Bureau in Australia and the guy who’s pick up the phone was like, it basically gave me a minute dialogue or monologue on like to be a speaker you’ve got to be, you’ve got to be the best in the world or something. You’ve got to be engaging, you’ve got to be funny, you got to be entertaining, you got to leave people wanting more, you’ve got all these things. And he said, do you know how many people call me up every week wanting to be a speaker? And I said, no. And he said, a hundred. And he said, do you know how many people get to be speakers?
And I said like, no. And he said minus three. And I thought, Oh okay, I can’t, that’s too much for me. It wasn’t interesting anymore. So I hung up the phone. So it all, and now I have a very busy speaking schedule somehow. And I think probably the same goes for speaking. The same goes for the TV show, which I haven’t reached out to any of it. It’s just all come on to my white somehow is I’m just driven by my purpose. I love what I do. I wouldn’t change a thing, and I think when you’re in a position where you can say that, truthfully, I know the bullshit, you really are, the world conspires to support that and it sounds a little bit hippity Dippity but I’ve got no shadow of a doubt. That is the way that this has happened. With that said, there’s a lot of ways to get to a point where I am.
There’s a lot of people reverse engineer staff a little bit ago, right? I want to, and there’s a lot of workshops around this too. For anyone who is interested in reverse engineering stuff, can you just want to get another stage? It’s probably not that hard. You probably, I mean I think I teach you too. Pretend that you’re the person of influence in your space. Then create social media media accounts around that. Develop some kind of talk. I listened to a guy speak one time, he’d walked the length of India and I only got the back end of the talk. And I said afterwards, I was like, wow, I missed it. What was the context? It’s incredible story. And he said, well, I just wanted to talk on stage about something, so I thought I should do something. So I just walked across India and I thought, it’s interesting. So look, there’s a million ways to do stuff. I like the way I’ve done it. It’s been completely accidental and driven by the right ways and I’ll just say other ways aren’t right. But yeah, people can be very creative when they want to and which is a beautiful thing when it comes to pursuing your goal. But yeah, all has been a wonderful mistake.
Well, yeah, I mean, what a, what a crazy mistake to blossom into like an amazing life. And I think one thing that stands out from what, from what you just said was actually authenticity. You have a real authenticity about you. And I’ve noticed that other people kind of picking up on that as well. Where do you think that authenticity comes from?
And how can cause you also talked about no bullshit which relates to it, but how do you clear the way? So you’re so you can be purely authentic.
Hmm. Good question. I’ve never thought how to be authentic. So I don’t know how did it, let me try and give you an answer. Well, I think it just stems from that first thing I mentioned. Which was, you know, in grieving my friend’s loss, truly came to a conclusion through writing, just how I kind of deal with a lot of things. The happiness with the most important thing, but I want it in my life and I based everything off that every decision since has been that. How do I just feel happy either in this moment or longterm? How do I, from that try and find purpose that’ll support me smiling more. And that’s it. I just, I don’t see a need to think about anything else. And that’s been that and because of it, I, you know, I dare say that, you know, the people who are already living in that way know exactly what I’m talking about.
But as the world conspires to support you, I mean nothing but good people. Nothing but good things generally happen. And I, yeah, it’s wonderful. And I just talked about a lot of random things pop in my head, but I mean, it’s not the things happen that if things happen that don’t always work in my favor, but at the same time, you can’t control everything. And at the end of the day, nothing really matters. But you do get to control your response to things. So like, whatever the situation is, you lost your job. You don’t have money, you know you’ve experienced loss and grief in your life, all of those things even though against what you would ideally have, they are all ultimately opportunities for you to choose a response which aligns with who you are. And, yeah, I just think you know, we’re just pinballs going through life and you can bounce off. You can bounce off anything really. If you choose to. Yeah. So I’ve never really thought about how to be authentic, but I know why I’m doing what I do. I think about that every day.
If there’s one thing that motivates you right now, if you could give one word that motivates you, what would that be?
Mm, Mmm Hmm. One word that motivates me
Gets you out bed, makes you, gets you to take action to make decisions on something. What would that be?
Well, alright. For some reason
You can have a couple of words or more if you like, but I’m just trying to narrow your options so you really focus.
Yeah. Mmm. Well I got an email recently from someone who said they on the verge of killing themselves but didn’t because of the stuff that we’re doing with kindsum and under things. So I wouldn’t change anything in my life for billion dollars. And all I want to be able to do is create a platform where there are more people like that who are affected in the same way. Gaining inspiration or connecting with someone. So that’s it. So the one word I was going to say is now I just feel better like now it’s now and yeah, every, every day. I’m just focused on that. I’m in. I really am. Yeah.
Yeah. It’s interesting you say that. May not, I’ve asked some of the other interviewees. Well, what’s, and this is something I’m going to ask you now is well, if you consider yourself burning with, from within as in your like, you’re lit up from within. And you’ve already said that you wouldn’t change your life for $1 billion. So something within you is burning within, that’s making you happy. What is the one thing that is contributing to you burning with it?
Okay. I love your questions. They’re awesome. What is the one thing right now that well, Hmm. Well, look, I think everyone’s special. I think everyone’s got their thing. And I think if you’re able to tap down into it, that’s a life worth living. And the more I explore what and who I am and the more the I see that ripple effect getting bigger and bigger and more and more positive, I just want to bring out more of whatever it is that’s within me. And there’s some good stuff in there. And I hope that doesn’t come across in the wrong way, you know, this self loving, overly self-loving way. I just think that, yeah, there’s something happening which is very special and the natural byproduct is that lives are getting bettered and saved and that’s what I commit to doing.
So yeah, that’s what’s burning from within just more of what’s happening. Just, yeah, I’m in a really, I mean, not to make this too conversational as if I’m talking to just a friend, but I mean, right now, at the beginning of 2020, I’ve never been more fired up about anything and I’ve been pretty fired up about things for 10 years. I, there’s something happening right now, but it is incredibly special and I hope everyone else feels the same thing. But for me personally, there’s, yeah. I just feel like we’re on the brink of something really special and that, and I know it and I feel it and that’s what gets me out of bed. That’s what is burning from within. I hope that makes sense.
Definitely. Definitely. But, and just the final question just to follow up to that you, I mean, it seems like you’d have a lot of natural talents. Do you have a kind of gift the way you connect with people in some way? And you, I mean, even just watching your Ted talk there was definitely a lot of emotion. I was kind of checking up on some of the things you, you said you know, how you’ve helped people. What, I mean, were you aware of your, of your natural talents before you started this journey? And if not, or if so, how have you leaned into them so that you say you’re fulfilling this potential and this purpose of yours?
No, I didn’t know myself when I first left, so I had no idea. And I think I’ve forgotten a lot, just generally more confident as I’ve grown over the last 10 years. But I’ve certainly learnt a lot of things about myself, which, you know, I’m really proud of. You know, for me. So thank you for the nice words and yeah, like I really enjoy storytelling. I really enjoy communicating with the people on things that I think matter. I really seem to be a conduit for positive connections between people. And I also have some odd is there, it’s not a skill, but this thing where people very much open up to me and I feel very blessed for that to be a thing. And equally because of the kind of person I’m learning, I am, I also like to try and do what I can for that person, either myself or connecting to them elsewhere. So, yeah. Long story short. No, I had no idea. I had no idea about myself and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. I do a lot of these workshops on lists and how to create and pursue lists and stuff and one of the segments in that I just think is crucial and it’s probably quite a dumb thing. I don’t really know, but it’s strengths. People find it very hard too. If I, let’s do it now, if you don’t mind. What are three of your strengths?
I’m a good listener. I I love making deep connections with people and I love building communities.
Awesome. That’s great. And to do what you, I mean, what you’ve just done that it’s quite hard for the majority of the people. It’s almost seen as you know, it’s a bit arrogant if you no, what it is you’re good at. And the truth is you have to use your skills. And this is something I’ve learned more recently, but it’d be stupid if you didn’t use whatever natural gifts that you had in order to get to a place where you think you’ll make an impact. Like if you think of Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, let’s say. And you know, he was brilliant in and out of the ring and he had fast hands. He was a gifted thinker. He get out smart people. He could get people psychologically beaten before they went in the ring, through his being funny and stuff. So he just used all those things. He wasn’t ever like the most powerful hitter. He wasn’t anything other, you know, he was, he was what he was. And so we trained on, but he used his best assets so that he would get the furthest. And that happened to be the greatest ever. So yeah, it makes complete sense. You should be able to look at yourself and go, I’m good at this, this, and this. Therefore I’m going to use those things to move forward.
And it also helps you to discover more of who you are. That big question you, you talked about a little beginning of, well, I lost myself and I didn’t know who I was. And the more activities you do, the more challenges you do, the more you get out of your comfort zone, the more you realize your strengths and then the more you realize actually who you are and what you’re about.
100%. That, and back to your question, that’s why traveling’s important. That’s why different experiences are important. That’s why getting out of your comfort zone is crucial because we tend not to, we like to be comfortable. We know what we’re capable of in this small environment, but outside of that, who knows? So if you step out there suddenly and you perform on some level that you never realized you could, what a great, fine. So getting any comfort zone is crucial.
Sure. Thank you. Seb. Thank you so much. So many nuggets there. From this interview and I’ll provide a summary to you and the listeners watching. And obviously this is going into, into the book as well. Where can people find you and connect with you?
Well anywhere, really.
Helping shops in Venice.!
Yeah. Yeah. Most coffee shops in Venice. So Kindsum for kindness-related stuff. K, I N D S U M Instagram handle with @kindsum, kindsum.com. And then for the 100 Things, stuff lists related, pursuing goals, dreams, happiness, purpose 100 things, 100things.com.au or @Seb100things . Yeah, find me, find me and chat and all the good things.
Perfect. Awesome. And what’s, what’s, what’s the plan for, for this year? What’s next for Seb?
Well, so one thing I’m not good at, it’s also good to identify things you’re not fantastic at. One thing I’m not fantastic at is business strategy and all that sort of stuff. So with Kindsum, with 100 Things, there are essentially two quite big brands and I’ve never really done anything with them cause I just been very happy doing these things. More recently I’ve realized that because I’ve limited the growth of these things you know, in relation to how, how many people know about them, et cetera. The impact’s not as big as it could be. So I want to grow them. And so I’m toying, that’s why I’m going to Boston actually, I’m toying with the idea of getting somebody on board as a partner who is business-minded to look at this and say, right, to make the most amount of impact.
This is what we need to do from a strategic viewpoint. Let’s do it. And there’s never a conversation I’ve had, so that’s next for me. Growing this growing Kindsum, Kindsum is going to be, I believe, I dunno, a real big, I hate using cliche terms. I think it’s going to be a bit of a game changer when it comes to kindness, you know, both in the public form. And then also I think it can do a lot of really good stuff for corporations. So yeah, that’s it kindsum, growing this, taking that next proper step into a world that I’m not really sure about, out of my comfort zone, but I just know it has to happen. So that’s it. It’s a I’m, yeah. So I’m taking my first step as we all are.
Awesome. Said. Well, I mean, I wish you the very best of luck with that and I’m going to be using Kindsum straight after this and anyone watching this, you know, start using the platform, start getting into the habit of giving. And I’d also ask you for help if you need to and see how that changes your life and it changes other people’s lives in that it’s a stepping stone for great things. And I think with anyone that has good intentions in terms of the actions that they take you know, you’ll get help, and that’s what Kindsum is all about. And yeah, thank you so much. I’m very, very grateful for, for your time and this interview. And yeah, if anyone, if anyone can help Seb to grow Kindsum, maybe potential partners, then feel free to message me or message Seb, and let’s get this thing really going this year even more!
You’re awesome, Matt. Best of luck with everything you’re up to as well.
Thank you. Awesome. Have a great day. Yeah, thanks. Thanks.