April 18, 2023

Ben Nemtin: Think Big for Your Bucket List and Don’t Take No for an Answer


Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn


Ben Nemtin

LAS VEGAS—Many of us have a bucket list, usually packed with things like visit Australia or climb Mount Everest. Ben Nemtin believes that’s fine, though he’d like you to think bigger.

“Think about your travel and adventure goals, but also think about how you’d like to give back. What are your mental health goals, your physical health goals, professional goals, relationships?” said Nemtin, who’s something of an expert in bucket lists. In 2006, he and some buddies set out to check off a few things from their bucket list.

“That two-week road trip—it ended up lasting over 10 years,” said Nemtin, host of the MTV series “The Buried Life” and co-author of “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?” a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.

Nemtin was the April 17 opening keynote speaker at Smarter Faster Payments 2023, where he talked about how his attempts to battle a deep depression led to that lifechanging trip and a quest to not only follow his own dreams, but to encourage others to follow theirs. He’s also a big believer in helping others achieve their dreams, which for Nemtin included helping a young woman obtain a robotic arm that now helps her do everyday tasks such as tying her shoes and styling her hair.

During his keynote, Nemtin stressed the need to be “relentless” to achieve what you want. For him, perhaps nothing underscores that message like his quest to play basketball with President Obama. For years, Nemtin and his friends were told to forget about it. Today, he proudly plays the video of them shooting baskets with Obama on the White House court. It underscores his message of perseverance to accomplish what you want out of life. And that’s not what others want for you, but what you want for yourself. 

“You can get one no, two no’s, five no’s, 20 no’s. Sometimes you’re just looking for that one yes,” said Nemtin. “You’re not done until you get your yes.”

Ben Nemtin’s keynote will be available during Remote Connect, May 8-10. Learn more at the Remote Connect website.