Today, June 9th, marks not just my own birthday but also the birthday of 100 Things. Eight years ago today I boarded a plane in Australia armed with a backpack and a list of 100 Things that I wanted to achieve. My destination was the world and my goal was to simply pursue happiness whilst hopefully finding out more about who I was.
The journey so far has been incredible, far surpassing any expectations I may have had, and my life has changed. The interesting part though is that I’m not the only one who has benefited.
I currently sit here in a cafe in Venice, CA, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of what is an extremely busy town. I live here now. I moved three weeks ago. Usually on milestone days like this people would be surrounded by family and loved ones but I suppose my reality is slightly different. My family and majority of friends are thousands of miles away in Australia and the people who currently surround me are complete strangers. I don’t know them and they they too have no idea who I am, let alone it being my birthday (insert violin sound)!
Oddly though I know this is exactly where I need to be!
As you may know, 3 weeks ago I decided to move to LA to pursue a dream that’s been building in my head over the last few years. It’s the latest development of the 100 Things movement and it revolves around philanthropy. Essentially, I believe that there’s any opportunity to make the world a better place by connecting people around the world in a way that’s not be attempted before. For years I’ve been following my heart and so I moved my life to LA is because I need help building this technology and I believe that the right people and business culture to help cultivate this idea live here. Sure the people around me right now are complete strangers, but each one of them at this very moment is passionately writing, conversing and dreaming. They all have different agendas but the drive to create and collaborate here in this town is like nothing I’ve experienced anywhere else. Here lays an eco-system of creative minds, entrepreneurs, and change makers all working together and if there’s a place in the world that my dream can be realised, I believe it’s here.
So far, after only a number of weeks, I’ve seen this to be true and I’m stoked to say that the idea has progressed a lot so far.
Now I won’t bore you with details around what I’ve been up to exactly but what I do want to share is a simple message I received on Facebook just a few weeks ago. On a day that I like to sit back and gain perspective on what is I do, this message couldn’t have come at a more apt time. It’s from an American man who I don’t know. He saw my recent ESPN documentary which showcases the story of 100 Things and something happened to him that he chose to share with me;
This man chose not to take his own life because of what he saw through the documentary.
Of course I stopped in my tracks as soon as I read this man’s message and replied immediately. The ensuing conversation was one that I won’t share but I will say gave me a feeling of complete bliss, knowing that the flow-on effect of the very reason I’m sat alone here in LA is that someone chose life over death.
I never set out for 100 Things to be known by anyone, let alone save any lives, but I know now that this journey stands for something so much bigger than ticking things from a list. It stands for hope, purpose and connection. The above example shows that not just can it enrich and give meaning to life, but it can also save lives.
Knowing this, how can I stop? The answer is that I can’t. I won’t.
I’d love to be at home today giving my Mum a big hug and thanking her for bringing me into the world, whilst also sharing a few beers with my sister and all my closest mates but I know deep down that I need to be progressing what’s in my head and because of this I’m happy to be sitting here in LA.
This is where I need to be.
Thank you to all of you who have supported and followed the unfolding story of the 100 Things, whether you’re a recent follower or someone who had been on the journey for years. It means so much to me. I’ve already received so many messages of good will from friends and strangers alike and I feel very loved.
My promise to you is that I am trying my best to make an even bigger difference in this world and I will update you all on this very soon.
In the meantime I urge you to ask yourself one simple question and it’s something the gentleman above asked himself on a road that’s already looking brighter for him, simply;
What’s on your list?