Happy Life Philosophy from a unique 50lbs 16 year old–Smashing the Status Quo.

What’s a legacy?

A legacy is anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.  Do you ever ponder your legacy?

If so, here’s one to ponder: Sam Berns (23 Oct 1996–10 Jan 2014) a boy who suffered from progeria.   Progeria is a progressive genetic disorder that causes children to age rapidly.  As we all would imagine, it might be tough to have a positive outlook as a teen suffering from such a disease, but this wouldn’t seem the case for a leader like Sam.


HBO produced a documentary about this extraordinary young man titled Life According to Sam.  The film, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. It also won a 2013 Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. 

Sam possessed a unique outlook on life, and he summed it up on the TED stage about a month before his death (originally published 13 Dec 2013).

We spend a great deal of time in my work discussing leadership philosophy, and Sam’s philosophy just struck a cord with me. Something so simple, so pure– I just felt we had to post it.

Sam’s Happy Life Philosophy: 

1:  Be okay with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you can do

2:  Surround yourself with people you want to be around

3:  Keep moving forward 

4:  Never miss a party if you can help it

You can view his TEDx Talk here

Sam wraps the talk around some great quotes like “Around here we don’t look backwards very long.  We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things.”  -Walt Disney (Meet the Robinsons)

Sam also noted it is so important to have “something to look forward to… there a bright future ahead and it will get you through the difficult times.”  He felt it was important to have “a forward thinking state of mind.”

Sam also noted we should not “ignore feeling badly, let it in… and do what you have to do to move past it.

He wraps the talk saying, “I believe I can change the world…

We all need to ponder our legacy.  Sam left an amazing one in a very short period of time.  I think we all need to be a little more like Sam….


Notes on Sam: The talk was filmed just before his passing on January 10, 2014, Sam Berns was a Junior at Foxboro High School in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where he achieved highest honors and was a percussion section leader in the high school marching band. He also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease, at the age of 2. He is featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Life According to Sam, which premiered on HBO on October 21, 2013, 2 days before his 17th birthday.

Thoughts from Tim Ferriss:   “This video hit me really, really hard. I don’t know how I found it, and despite some tears, it was exactly the reset I needed. This kid is a total stud. Just watch and do not rush.”

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