Friday, June 17, 2011

Live to Give - Near or far

What do old sneakers, abandoned animals and marines in Afghanistan have in common? Usually, not much. But today, they are part of a formula that I believe can transform the world. I may be putting a lot of pressure on old sneakers but here goes...

It's been rumored that Albert Einstein once said that the greatest invention of all time was compound interest. He's also been quoted as saying compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. Whether he actually said these or whether they're an urban legend I will leave for you to decide. But let's take a quick moment to look at what compound interest is. The concept is simple - invest some money properly and over time your money grows because you earn interest and you even earn interest on your interest. So for example if you invested one dollar a day ($30 a month) for 66 years you would have invested a total amount of $23,760 dollars. However, if you earn 8% annually on your money then your investment of $1 a day will compound to be worth $1 million dollars. Greatest invention ever? Maybe. But I would like to share another investment strategy that just might top this one.

As regular readers may recall, I visited Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota in April. Admittedly, these places were not on my "must visit" list. However, 19-year old Stephanie, a former student, invited me to speak to several thousand high school students. With the help of some of her college classmates, they arranged all the details. I only spoke for 90-minutes and I focused my message on finding your passion and making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. At the end of the presentation, I announced a 37-day "Live to Give Challenge" in which students could work alone or in groups to utilize their talents and passions to make a positive impact for a cause they believed in. That's it. 90 minutes and a challenge, then I left town.

I encourage you to follow this link ( and watch the two winning videos to see for yourself what old sneakers, abandoned animals, and marines in Afghanistan have in common. More importantly, you will see why I believe we have a new formula to transform the world. Instead of the formula for compound interest I believe we've discovered a formula to compound human potential.

Passion + Purpose + Action = Change the World. Identify your unique passions - what would you do for free? What are you better at than most people? What do you absolutely love to do? Then think about your purpose in life. Why are you here? What greater good are you ultimately suited for? What social causes light your fire? Once you have even the basic idea of your passion and your purpose, think of ways to combine them and take some action, any action toward pursuing them. Start today. Invest now. Let the compounding effect of your actions slowly build over time. Everything you do matters, from the thoughts you think to the actions you take. We all have the power inside of us to live our dreams and positively improve the world.

I am humbled by what a 90-minute seminar inspired. I also realize that it took a 1-week seminar to inspire and empower Stephanie to go back home and conceive the idea and arrange all the details to bring me to her home town. Stephanie took part in the Ultimate Life Summit along with 100 other teens from around the world. Our next summit is July 2-9 at Walt Disney World. Over 80% of the participants require scholarships to attend. The event is run by volunteers including me. We are in the process of raising money for the Ultimate Life Scholarship Fund. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit

I hope you will take action today; by applying the message in this week's letter or by donating and empowering the future of a teenager at the Ultimate Life Summit. Either way, in order to compound human potential you may not need old sneakers, but you do have to make an investment.

Until next week...

Live Your Dreams!

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