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ACEC News / Fall Conference

October 29, 2020

Fall Conference Keynote Speaker Stresses Importance of Pursuing Life’s Dreams

The path to overcoming severe depression and discovering a positive life direction has become a lifelong journey for Ben Nemtin, who delivered a keynote address at the virtual 2020 ACEC Fall Conference on Thursday.

Citing a survey of elderly people in which 76 percent of respondents said their major regret was “Not living my ideal self,” Nemtin urged Conference attendees to “prioritize and don’t forget the most important things to you in life. It is vital for your well-being, mental health, and those around you.

Author of the New York Times bestseller What Do You Want to do Before You Die?, Nemtin also co-founded “The Buried Life” movement and was named in 2019 one of the “TOP 30 Best Organizational Culture Thought Leaders in the World” by Global Gurus.

He described how a decade ago after overcoming depression, he and three friends set out to achieve their combined 100-item bucket list before they died. They posted the list to their website, catching the attention of strangers who offered help with specific bucket list items.

“That’s when I started feeling a purpose for the first time,” Nemtin recalled.

To date, the group has achieved 91 of the original 100 bucket list items, including being interviewed by Oprah, singing the National Anthem at an NBA game, having a beer with Prince Harry, and playing basketball with then-President Barack Obama.

“We were relentless. We knew there had to be a way,” he said. “And we were never done until we got a yes!”

During a second road trip, the group decided that for every bucket list item achieved, they would help a stranger achieve something on their own bucket list. One highlight was presenting a young Ohio teenage girl, born with half an arm missing, obtain a bionic arm.

“What began as a simple idea grew into a movement,” Nemtin recalled. “Our efforts had a ripple effect among people. It showed that kindness was contagious.”

Nemtin emphasized writing down goals and sharing them with others to keep them top of mind, while never ending their pursuit.

“Sometimes failure happens merely because you stop trying,” he said. “You can inspire yourself merely by creating action toward your dream.”

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October 29, 2020



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