You Are Probably Dead Already (79 Ways To Be Alive)

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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman, Theologian

You are probably dead already… most people are. 

You don’t really breathe the air that enters your lungs, you don’t really taste your food, and you don’t really kiss your lover.

You repeat the opinions of others and never think for yourself (although you think you do).

You add nothing valuable to our world.

You know this too. 

This is why you have started drinking 3 to 4 Budweisers a night, after your meal of lollipops for dinner (you call this a healthy meal though, because it says so on the box/bag/cable television). Then you settle in for a night of practicing your remote control skills… you are getting pretty good too.

The fact that this isn’t all your fault offers some comfort.

Every once in awhile you get pretty angry too, when you stop to think of how our parent’s generation was too apathetic and cowardly to take the actions necessary to hand us a healthy world.

Or hopefully you get even more angry when you contemplate the staggering amount of money that is spent to control how you think, how you feel, and what you do.

But… this isn’t such a bad life… right?

You can afford an SUV, daily lattes, and even a handful of apps every month for your smart phone. When the feeling of discontent gets to great, you remember to be thankful for the job you are lucky to have, when so many others don’t.

You can feed your loved ones too, when so many others can’t. Plus, your children don’t look anything like those fly-covered, huge belly kids in Africa… those kids are really fucked.

You should be grateful… right?

Or maybe this is how it has to be. The USA needs to fail and serve as an example to the world of how not live. Maybe millions of people need to be really, really unhappy to show the next empire that we better not just focus on buying. Maybe our families need to die, so others can prosper.

Maybe this suffering will create the needed incentive to design a society that works.

Is there a chance to change, before things get even uglier? Is there a chance to prevent a whole lot more people from extreme hardship?

Ahhh… you don’t have time to think about this though, because you have to get up early tomorrow. There is a big meeting.

One day when your body is shot, your painkillers wear off, and your virtual reality television experience breaks down, you will notice something strange. You will notice the most horrible feeling of regret creep through your body as you remember the look in the eye of the first beautiful girl that loved you. Or maybe you can even remember a day in elementary school, when you were sharing with the class how you would change the world.

Life seemed so full of possibility then. You understood what being alive meant.

And as you lay in your bed, if any part of you is still alive… you will cry.

I’m not sure when I was truly born.

When I learned to look around and see the world for myself. When I decided to question what I was told and to start the long process of learning to really think for myself.

Maybe it was working 120 hours a week telling at-risk teens the truth, so they would get their lives together.

Maybe it was sitting in countless pickup trucks, cars, minivans, and semi-trucks talking to Americans from all walks of life as I hitchhiked over 14,000 miles around the USA.

Or maybe it was when I made my first dollar doing what I have dreamt of doing my whole life… I can even do it from anywhere in the world.

I guess it doesn’t matter so much, when I came alive, it just matters that I am alive.

And that I wake up every day and make the choice to stay alive.

Being alive isn’t easy.

It is a daily battle to remember to think with my own mind, to breathe with my own lungs, to speak what I think and to enjoy every hug, kiss, conversation, and moment of this life.

It is a daily battle to remember that I can change the world and then do the work to make that happen.


Maybe my rant was a bit much, but it is tough sometimes to watch so many people plod through life. They are as dead as those that were killed in Haiti 2 years ago and they don’t even realize it.

If you made it this far into the post, there actually is a good chance that you are not dead though. Either way, we all need help staying alive and hopefully these actions can help.

Here are 42 actions that have helped me understand what it feels like to be alive and 37 more actions others have taken:

1. Take 5 minutes in the morning to sit, breathe, and do nothing.

2. Run at least one mile a day for over 1000 days straight.

3. Drive the speed limit.

4. Make friends with other alive people.

5. Read David Deida’s book about finding your deepest purpose in life.

6. Go on a 30-day raw diet.

7. Stop watching the news.

8. Quit your job.

9. Talk to people you admire on Twitter.

10. Set TED as your homepage.

11. Stop watching TV and watch videos on Vimeo instead.

12. When you see an advertisement, ask yourself: What psychological buttons is this ad trying to push?

13. Throw away your belongings until you only have 57 things.

14. Run a marathon while training less than 26 miles.

15. Jump off a bridge

16. Ride a mountain bike

17. Go on a dangerous hike

18. Cross the Mexican border on foot and take buses with the people, despite everyone saying you will get your head cut off.

19. Dance badly

20. Hitchhike

21. Make an art project that 100,000 people watch in a week

22. Start your own mastermind group

23. Host a traveler in your home

24. Stay in a local’s home when you travel.

25. Sleep under the stars

26. Talk to a kid that doesn’t speak your language

27. Say I love you to people you barely know

28. Make a time lapse video for 24 hours alone on your birthday

29. Wear only one pair of pants for 3 months.

30. Start your legacy project.

31. Spend your birthday alone and show your Mom & Dad how much you love them

32. Don’t kill mosquitos, brush them away.

33. Work with someone who is dying.

34. Spend the holidays alone.

35. Ride your bike through a foreign country without a map.

36. Quit your location independent business, because it didn’t provide value to the world.

37. Spend a week, alone, not talking, reading, or speaking.

38. Date five girls a week every week for a few months.

39. Quit Facebook for a week

40. Quit Facebook for a month

41. Unfriend a family member that gives you more stress than love.

42. Go skinny dipping in March with strangers

37 Other Ways To Be Alive (Or A Brief Introduction To The World-Changing Work Of 37 Alive People):

43. Give up alcohol for a year

44. Flirt with 100+ women in 2 weeks

45. Build a fail-proof business

46. Write your biography 40 years early

47. Learn Kanji in 2 Months

48. Get up at 4:30 am every morning

49. Bounce back from going bankrupt

50. Start an NGO

51. Experiment everyday

52. Question the gurus 

53. Run a marathon with no training

54. Make the best banana beer float in the world

55. Tell the truth

56. Build a 6-figure business in 18 months doing what you love

57. Travel for 5 years

58. Trade your job for guts

59. World-school your kids

60. Become an overnight success in 279 days

61. Make art and money

62. Sleep on a hill

63. Sell all your stuff on Ebay

53. Build a passive income website

54. Be willing to die

55. Attract 1,000 true fans

56. Grab life by the balls and cause a ruckus

57. Walk across the USA

58. Kill the Internet at your home

59. Hitchhike around the world

60. Take the chance of a lifetime

61. Travel full-time

62. Make a time lapse video of your trip around the world

63. Go to Burning Man

64. Make 50 friends in a month

65. Grow your beard for a year as you walk across China

66. Build a 6,000 dollar yurt in the hills of Idaho

67. Be an inspiration to your home health aide, despite having a terminal illness.

68. Adopt a hitchhiker as your nephew

69. Walk around the world

70. Hitchhike through the Axis of Evil

71. Ride a horse from Mongolia to Hungary

72. Climb an 8,000 meter peak in the winter, barely live, and film it

73. Try the Paleo lifestyle

74. Find the beauty in Oregon

75. Watch Tokyo in slow-motion

76. Make the profane greeting cards ever

77. Sit in Union Square, New York City with 2 chairs, 1 table and a sign that says, “Creative Approaches To What You’ve Been Thinking About”

78. Get a little lovin’ as you travel

79. Smash a world record by Dragon Boating across the English Channel


If you have read this far, then you are most likely alive. Awesome! Please help others by sharing what keeps you alive in the comments, an @message on twitter, or a reply on your own blog.

Your voice is important.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate what you are doing for everyone in our world. In fact, let’s be friends. Twitter is my spot now @ me up.

41 Responses to You Are Probably Dead Already (79 Ways To Be Alive)
  1. Danny @ Firepole Marketing
    January 11, 2012 |

    That’s an awesome list, Ben, and thank you for the mention. You’ve inspired me – today, I’m redoubling my efforts to be truly alive. :-)

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Thanks Danny. I’m inspired too. A lot of people are really killing it, eh? It is awesome to be a part of. Take care

  2. Ed UK
    January 11, 2012 |

    Thank you for this article Ben. It is always very refreshing to read something so life-affirming – I am always trying to get in the mindset that produces actions like the one’s in this list…it is very easy to deviate from that attitude but I always feel much happier and…alive really, when I do. Keep it up man!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      You too, Ed. I agree about being easy to deviate too. I have to keep reminding myself, “Am I Alive, right now?”

  3. Russ Henneberry
    January 11, 2012 |

    Benjamin, thanks for sharing this post. I may not grow a beard and walk through China but I am certainly more inspired to live it up!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Haha… We all have our different ways of being alive, which is what makes it so interesting… right?

  4. Vic Magary
    January 11, 2012 |

    I love this post on so many levels. Even once we have that taste of freedom – of being alive – the siren song of all of the modern paths of “comfort” can still beckon. The job you don’t really want but will allow some comfort… The beer and painkillers that provide the temporary of illusion of comfort… The reality tv and marketing bombardment that glamorizes comfort. This post I’ll return to when that siren bitch tries to sing her song in my ear. Thanks!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Poetic comment, Vic. I totally agree. Sometimes I want to go grab a 6-pack of beer, a blunt, and lay on the beach for a week feeling numbly happy… :) Keep rocking it.

  5. Cesar
    January 11, 2012 |

    Wow, this was a huge slap in the face.
    I’m working one of those dead-end jobs, hating my existence these days …
    This was one very inspiring post.
    Need to get off my backside and do something meaningful before it’s too late!

    Thanks, man!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Thanks for having the balls to say so, Cesar (I’m betting most would have just turned on the TV). Let me know if you need help as you do it.

  6. Cesar
    January 11, 2012 |

    I need LOTS of help.
    Any suggestions?

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Check out the list below, Cesar. Choose one that fits with you, that you most want to do. Then do it at this very minute. (so choose an easy one) See how that makes you feel. Set this as your homepage if you need to for awhile and just keep reading this list and doing them. Every day.

      • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
        January 11, 2012 |

        If you find one of those people in the links below that you really like their stuff, then sign up to them too. I have to read inspiration all the time.

  7. billydelaney
    January 11, 2012 |

    I guess I’m out of step with the new trends.
    I have lived all of my life alive.
    Some of things you don’t mention but eventually get to come to you:
    Dance with you wife when you know she may die of cancer!
    Be a caregiver instead of having someone else give it.
    Raise a granddaughter because your daughter isn’t equipped for the task.
    Change your career because you see that it has no future.
    Start all over again just because you can.
    Learn what Why? is all about then spend your life explaining How! why works.

    I’ve lived on three continents before I was 24.
    I’ve sailed oceans while still in my teens.
    I graduated school when I was fifteen.
    I made friends with girls instead of dating them just to do date them, and I made friends of guys because they were interesting instead of macho.
    I’ve sat all night and looked at the stars, slept on beaches around the world. Danced under the moon, and in the rain. I’ve pulled the leaves over me for a blanket and eaten the morning sunshine for breakfast amongst the villagers of a dozen different countries.
    That’s for starters.
    This is all true and I have lived my life on full tilt forward, and still do.
    best regards to you if you are among the living.
    Billy Delaney

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Your comment means a lot, Billy. Really thoughtful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
      I can’t say if being the walking dead is a new trend, as I’m sure that this was the case in the past as well. But in my experience, technology is really confusing a lot of people, the messages our society tells us is confusing people, and most don’t realize that they can live as you have.
      I hope that changes because I’ve met a lot of folks like you and believe everyone can have such a full life. Take care and stay in touch

      • billydelaney
        January 11, 2012 |

        I can stay in touch if you want to. I seen another site The Edge of David, where another young guy was fed up and wanted to dance with the wind, smile at the sun, and laugh while walking in the rain.
        Been doing these things all my life. One thing you will find that you are not looking for is sorrow, loss, and loneliness somewhere along the way. Also you will definitely get to the point where you want to swallow the anchor and park the bus. It will hit you hard kid, when it happens. But, everything you left America for, was always really right there in the county you were born in. Age helps you find it under the tree in your back yard, in the smile from a neighbor, and so on…
        You can go to and mark my or follow me. I will do the same for you. Billy

        • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
          January 12, 2012 |

          You are wiser than me, Billy. I agree too about it being in our backyard. Similar to the Paulo Coelho book, The Alchemist. Although I believe we have to go find that out for ourself. There is no short cut to our back yard. I’ll check out social tango, when I can. I’m always looking for inspiration. Take care

  8. Lukas Cech
    January 11, 2012 |

    Thanks for this post Benjamin, another drop (well, this one is a bucket load) of inspiration.

    There are many such things we can do, but we’re too busy making sure that our lives are comfortable and secure and planned. There’s always something to worry about, to save money for, but rarely do we stop and just watch the world open in front of us, notice all the quirky things we don’t normally see and think about the things we actually care about, not things that the society tells us to sort out.

    Hey, I’m on a good way, I grew a beard in last few months. I eat my food without trying to read emails and watch the TV at the same time. I stopped watching the TV completely. I make eye contact with strangers on the street and smile.

    and it feels good :)

    Looking forward to ticking off the things you listed here or reading all about them!


    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 11, 2012 |

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience here. I’m not worried about you Lukas.

      You made me realize that the cool thing about being alive is that it doesn’t take years and years to get there. You can do it right now. Just do one thing and you feel it.
      Your journey won’t be the same as mine or anyone’s. Your alive journey is only yours and once you get the hang of what the feeling of aliveness is, you can keep steering yourself there.

      Happy to hear from you as always

  9. Mike Spalsbury
    January 11, 2012 |

    My favorite poem … it seems appropriate to your mission and cause:

    ‘Layers’ by Stanley Kunitz

    I have walked through many lives
    some of them my own,
    and I am not who I was,
    though some principle of being
    abides, from which I struggle
    not to stray.

    When I look behind,
    as I am compelled to look
    before I can gather strength
    to proceed on my journey,
    I see the milestones dwindling
    toward the horizon
    and the slow fires trailing
    from the abandoned camp-sites,
    over which scavenger angels
    wheel on heavy wings.

    Oh, I have made myself a tribe
    out of my true affections,
    and my tribe is scattered!
    How shall the heart be reconciled
    to its feast of losses?

    In a rising wind
    the manic dust of my friends,
    those who fell along the way,
    bitterly stings my face.
    Yet I turn, I turn,
    exulting somewhat,
    with my will intact to go
    wherever I need to go,
    and every stone on the road
    precious to me.

    In my darkest night,
    when the moon was covered
    and I roamed through wreckage,
    a nimbus-clouded voice
    directed me:
    “Live in the layers,
    not on the litter.”

    Though I lack the art
    to decipher it,
    no doubt the next chapter
    in my book of transformations
    is already written.
    I am not done with my changes.

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 12, 2012 |

      That poem is really special. “Live in the layers and not the litter.” I love that Mike, thanks.

  10. Adam Gunnis
    January 11, 2012 |

    Benjamin, thanks heaps for sticking the campfire under our rear ends and getting people motivated to do something with their lives.

    I remember always being told that feeling alive can be as simple as ‘doing one thing every day that scares you’. It’s a simple philosophy, and sometimes it gets hard to follow, but this one simple sentence has led to a lot of reflective thinking for me and many exciting experiences. I’d love to recommend it for your list! (*though I’m certain your scary experiences could fill novels ten times over).

    I’m also glad that five minutes of peace also made it onto your list. It is amazing how being calm and open first thing in the morning can impact your focus for the day.

    The only other one that I can suggest is ‘go out of your way to speak to someone you don’t know/haven’t spoken with in a long time about something meaningful as often as you can’. Keeping in touch with others is alright, but having a conversation you become invested in really kicks your brain into overdrive and challenges you to think with new perspectives. I know that makes ME feel alive.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. I’m actually crossing some of these numbers off the list as we speak, partially inspired by these videos. Did an ’8′ at the end of last year, currently doing a ’13′ as we speak and getting ready to try my hand at a ’57′, for as long as I can make it happen.

    From Australia with love,
    Safe travels,


    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 12, 2012 |

      I’ve heard that doing one thing that scares you quote too. In a song awhile back I believe. It is good. Happy to hear you are rocking and rolling.
      The conversation idea is the perfect add. I forgot that one. The people in your life are the most important. There is infinite “bandwidth” with them. A good conversation blows a blog post away any day. Take care!

  11. Kenation
    January 11, 2012 |

    This is the best post that I’ve read from you yet. It was deeply moving for me. The world needs you, man.

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 12, 2012 |

      Thanks Ken for your support. It makes me happy to hear that it hit you too.
      The world needs us all, buddy. :)

  12. Karen
    January 12, 2012 |

    if it wasnt for you, i would have given up on my plan to travel a long time ago… but i have now saved 700$ in 4 months and am well on my way to going for it… so thank you :)

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      January 16, 2012 |

      Hey Karen, thanks for sharing and taking the action. It means a lot to hear from you. Keep me posted too!

  13. Mike's Road Trip
    January 13, 2012 |

    Good stuff…I like it! Well done!

  14. [...] — Wow. I love this quote that starts off the latest post from AdventureSauce and leads to 79 great examples of ways to come alive. What are you waiting for? Cancel [...]

  15. Roy Marvelous
    January 19, 2012 |

    Love it. I’m a big proponent for dancing badly. People actually and come up to me and tell me I’m a terrible dancer and I always reply “Thanks, isn’t it great??” Most people will actually say they are impressed with how uninhibited I am. Because end of the day, it’s all about self-expression!

  16. Jason Fonceca
    February 5, 2012 |

    O M G.

    Epic expression, Benjamin. I love it.

    I love it all. The quotes, the references, the video, the copy, the call to action.

    Most especially, I love that you know Deida!

    Way of the Superior man is incredible at helping people feel alive, I don’t even know what to say.

    I just shared a 175mb .zip file of Deida works I’ve collected over the years with Matt Horwitz (of – I can link it here if you’re interested.

    Either way, so glad I found this (Danny Iny sent me :D )

  17. Jason Fonceca
    February 5, 2012 |

    Also when I commented it gave me an error that said “Mailing List Not Active, Please Notify The Owner”

    Just a heads up.

  18. Davide
    March 22, 2012 |

    What psychological buttons is this page trying to push?? :D

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      March 22, 2012 |

      Great question, Davide. But I’m not sure… hopefully spurring action to be alive.

  19. [...] the courage to even think about embarking on, when so many others her age are just TAKING IT and becoming dead inside little by [...]

  20. [...] I Woke Up and started living, I was doing everything that I SHOULD be [...]

  21. [...] at Adventure Sauce says you are probably dead already (79 ways to be alive). Read it. Love it. Live [...]

  22. […] You Are Probably Dead Already (Adventure Sauce) […]

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