My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic

My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic


Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Ariana Bleau Lugo Hello everyone. I’m Sam, and I just turned 17. A few years ago,
before my freshman year in High School, I wanted to play snare drum
in the Foxboro High School Marching Band, and it was a dream
that I just had to accomplish. But each snare drum and harness weighed about 40 pounds each, and I have a disease called Progeria. So just to give you an idea,
I weigh only about 50 pounds. So, logistically, I really couldn’t carry
a regular sized snare drum, and because of this the band director
assigned me to play pit percussion during the halftime show. Now pit percussion was fun. It involved some really cool
auxiliary percussion instruments, like the bongos, timpani, and timbales, and cowbell. So it was fun, but it involved no marching,
and I was just so devastated. However, nothing was going
to stop me from playing snare drum
with the marching band in the halftime show. So my family and I worked
with an engineer to design a snare drum harness that would be lighter,
and easier for me to carry. So after continuous work, we made a snare drum apparatus
that weighs only about 6 pounds. (Applause) I just want to give you some more
information about Progeria. It affects only about
350 kids today, worldwide. So it’s pretty rare, and the effects of Progeria include: tight skin, lack of weight gain,
stunted growth, and heart disease. Last year my Mom
and her team of scientists published the first successful
Progeria Treatment Study, and because of this
I was interviewed on NPR, and John Hamilton asked me
the question: “What is the most important thing that people should know about you?” And my answer was simply that I have a very happy life. (Applause) So even though
there are many obstacles in my life, with a lot of them
being created by Progeria, I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t think about
these obstacles all the time, and I’m able to overcome
most of them anyway. So I’m here today, to share with you
my philosophy for a happy life. So, for me,
there are 3 aspects to this philosophy. So this is a quote
from the famous Ferris Bueller. The first aspect to my philosophy is that I’m okay with what I ultimately can’t do because there is so much I can do. Now people sometimes
ask me questions like, “Isn’t it hard living with Progeria?” or “What daily challenges
of Progeria do you face?” And I’d like to say that,
even though I have Progeria, most of my time
is spent thinking about things that have nothing to do
with Progeria at all. Now this doesn’t mean that I ignore
the negative aspects of these obstacles. When I can’t do something like run a long distance,
or go on an intense roller coaster, I know what I’m missing out on. But instead,
I choose to focus on the activities that I can do through things
that I’m passionate about, like scouting, or music, or comic books, or any of my favorite Boston sports teams. Yeah, so —
(Laughter) However, sometimes I need to find
a different way to do something by making adjustments, and I want to put those things
in the “can do” category. Kind of like you saw
with the drum earlier. So here’s a clip with me playing Spider-Man with the Foxboro High School
Marching Band at halftime a couple of years ago. (Video) ♫ Spider-Man theme song ♫ (Applause) Thank you. All right, all right, so — That was pretty cool, and so I was able
to accomplish my dream of playing snare drum
with the marching band, as I believe I can do
for all of my dreams. So hopefully, you can accomplish
your dreams as well, with this outlook. The next aspect to my philosophy is that I surround myself
with people I want to be with, people of high quality. I’m extremely lucky
to have an amazing family, who have always supported me
throughout my entire life. And I’m also really fortunate to have a really close group of friends
at school. Now we’re kind of goofy,
a lot of us are band geeks, but we really enjoy
each other’s company, and we help each other out
when we need to. We see each other
for who we are on the inside. So this is us goofing off a little bit. So we’re juniors in High School now, and we can now mentor
younger band members, as a single collective unit. What I love about
being in a group like the band, is that the music
that we make together, is true, is genuine,
and it supersedes Progeria. So I don’t have to worry about that when I’m feeling so good
about making music. But even having made
a documentary, going on TV a couple of times, I feel like I’m at my highest point when I’m with the people
that surround me every day. They provide the real
positive influences in my life, as I hope I can provide
a positive influence in theirs as well. (Applause) Thank you. So the bottom line here, is that I hope you appreciate
and love your family, love your friends,
for you guys, love you Bro’s and acknowledge your mentors, and your community, because they are a very real
aspect of everyday life, they can make a truly significant,
positive impact. The third aspect to the philosophy is, Keep moving forward. Here’s a quote by a man
you may know, named Walt Disney, and it’s one of my favorite quotes. I always try to have something
to look forward to. Something to strive for
to make my life richer. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be anything from looking forward to
the next comic book to come out, or going on a large family vacation, or hanging out with my friends, to going to the next
High School football game. However, all of these things
keep me focused, and know that there’s
a bright future ahead, and may get me through
some difficult times that I may be having. Now this mentality includes staying
in a forward thinking state of mind. I try hard not to waste energy
feeling badly for myself, because when I do,
I get stuck in a paradox, where there’s no room for
any happiness or any other emotion. Now, it’s not that I ignore
when I’m feeling badly, I kind of accept it, I let it in,
so that I can acknowledge it, and do what I need to do
to move past it. When I was younger,
I wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to be an inventor, who would catapult the world
into a better future. Maybe this came
from my love of Legos, and the freedom of expression
that I felt when I was building with them. And this was also derived
from my family and my mentors, who always make me feel whole,
and good about myself. Now today my ambitions
have changed a little bit, I’d like to go into the field of Biology, maybe cell biology, or genetics, or biochemistry, or really anything. This is a friend of mine,
who I look up to, Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, and this is us at TEDMED last year,
chatting away. I feel that no matter what
I choose to become, I believe that I can change the world. And as I’m striving to change the world,
I will be happy. About four years ago, HBO began to film a documentary about my family and me
called “Life According to Sam”. That was a pretty great experience,
but it was also four years ago. And like anyone, my views
on many things have changed, and hopefully matured,
like my potential career choice. However, some things have stayed
the same throughout that time. Like my mentality,
and philosophy towards life. So I would like to show you a clip of my younger self from the film, that I feel embodies that philosophy. (Video) I know more about it genetically. So it’s less of an embodiment now. It used to be like this thing that prevents me
from doing all this stuff, that causes other kids to die, that causes everybody
to be stressed, and now
it’s a protein that is abnormal, that weakens the structure of cells. So, and it takes a burden
off of me because now I don’t have to think about Progeria as an entity. Okay, pretty good, huh? (Applause) Thank you. So, as you can see I’ve been
thinking this way for many years. But I’d never really had to apply
all of these aspects of my philosophy to the test at one time,
until last January. I was pretty sick, I had a chest cold,
and I was in the hospital for a few days, and I was secluded from
all of the aspects of my life that I felt made me, me, that kind of gave me my identity. But knowing
that I was going to get better, and looking forward to a time
that I would feel good again, helped me to keep moving forward. And sometimes I had to be brave, and it wasn’t always easy. Sometimes I faltered, I had bad days, but I realized that being brave
isn’t supposed to be easy. And for me, I feel it’s the key way
to keep moving forward. So, all in all, I don’t waste energy
feeling bad for myself. I surround myself with people
that I want to be with, and I keep moving forward. So with this philosophy,
I hope that all of you, regardless of your obstacles, can have a very happy life as well. Oh, wait, hang on a second, one more piece of advice –- (Laughter) Never miss a party if you can help it. My school’s homecoming dance
is tomorrow night, and I will be there. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 comments on “My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic

  1. 순수 Post author

    선천성 장애를 갖고 태어난 영혼들은 대부분 용감한 영혼들이죠

    그들의 힘든 삶을통해 각자 자신을 돌아볼수 있도록 우리에게 깨우침을 주는것 같습니다

    Reply
  2. Chris Swollenballs Post author

    Damn dude.. I'm a troll and even this got me right in the feels. Rest in peace Sam Berns.

    Reply
  3. rayhinto Post author

    and now we life an an world where it is acceptable to murder their own babies in the womb because of some disablity. oh i forget, it is legal to murder them because it doesnt fit the selfish plans of their responsible creators

    Reply
  4. aPs L Post author

    When I first watched this, I told myself that at least I'm not that guy so I should be happy. But that's the problem, why am I comparing? Next time I'm feeling down and out, Im only going to think what would Sam do to be happy. You were born 8 yrs after me yet you're an even older soul. Thank you for inspiring me and redirecting my energy. I look forward to meeting you someday. RIP homie.

    Reply
  5. logan Post author

    What a beautifully inspired soul trapped in such a cold world. Rest in peace, Sam and Family. You deserved more happiness than this planet contained.

    Reply
  6. Акоб Паганини Post author

    Светлую память не желать надо а добиваться её он сделал свой шаг остальное за нами

    Reply
  7. Maria Pripisnova Post author

    he was lucky to have loving parents, sometimes there is no support in live, that is how physically strong people become very weak spiritually

    Reply
  8. Vivian McClure Post author

    God promises restoration of all .. including us when we are raised from our graves and 'restored' to life… He will bring ALL to full health and well ness…

    Reply
  9. Jen Bell Post author

    Finding out that he died a month after this speech made me cry and sad. After hearing his dreams

    Reply
  10. heavy meddle Post author

    Sometimes I think I'm getting old. Maaaan, life's not always fair. Cruel but fair…Cruel but not always fair

    Reply
  11. CUCU CUCU Post author

    Jesus Christ is with him.
    Jesus Christ willfuly died on cross , had buried and raise from dead after 3 days, to we can be sabed,by His grace. It is Gift from God,we all are sinners,but by Grace by faith we can be saved,Jesus Christ take it all to Himself,He died for us to we can live with him forever.

    Reply
  12. Smoll One Post author

    Ну и жуткая кукла на сцене! До чего развилась робототехника.

    Reply
  13. Vivek Dahiya Post author

    I ended up crying.
    Everyone one dies but not everyone lives.even though he had so many problems he lived a wonderful life full of dreams and possibilities that even some sound people don't live like.
    RIP you were wonderful.

    Reply
  14. Laura Montagner Post author

    He sounds better spoken and adjusted than many 30-40 plus year old people.
    I will strive to be the same

    Reply
  15. Eric Norman Post author

    I saw a women playing with a basket all in a nursing home. She looked 80 but was 10. Freaked me out.

    Reply
  16. Mr P Post author

    What a wonderful speaker. I have save this to show my kids because the message is so powerful especially for young generations. Thank you to this amazing speaker. Wherever he is, may God be right next to him. God bless.

    Reply
  17. Lucid Post author

    This guy is so lovely… I admire him and at the same time I just want to goof off with him or simply give him a hug.

    Reply
  18. Nurah h Post author

    Узнала что он умер через месяц после этого выступления…

    Reply
  19. Radhe Shukla Post author

    This man and his way of motivation is amazing man, people always remember and respect you….Love from India ♥️

    Reply
  20. Phoenix Kuan Post author

    He is lucky still have family and friends supported, if he born in a bad environment, it will be easy to make him give up.

    Reply
  21. Shaleir Khalel Post author

    Well I feel ashamed as I scroll down in the comments and read his death news makes me sad and I’ve been locking my self for 2 months now because of a simple heart break rip and thanks brave one

    Reply
  22. Gigi D.M. Post author

    I keep coming back to this and it just inspires me so much. What a wonderful human being. I cry nearly every time.

    Reply
  23. Andrew Richards Post author

    My lord, this young man is an inspiration. I did not know he passed away. That breaks my heart.

    Reply
  24. Stephen White Post author

    Profound sadness after reading comments. A brave and beautiful soul. This young man is the definition of perfection in humanity which transcends everything else.

    Reply
  25. nerium oleander Post author

    Mucha gente dice que descubrir que murió al poco tiempo es deprimente. Creo que no han entendido nada. La muerte no te llega por tener una enfermedad, todos estamos expuestos a ella en todo momento. Sentimos pena de los que se van como si nosotros fuesemos inmortales, como si tuviesemos algún tipo de acuerdo con la muerte para que esas cosas solo le pasen a otros.
    Este chico vivió más vida con 17 años que muchas personas a lo largo de toda su larga vida. Se enfrentó a cuestiones muy importantes cuando sólo era un niño, no sólo a aspectos de salud o enfermedad, también a cuestiones como aceptación y rechazo social, autoestima y superación de enfermedades mentales como la depresión o la ansiedad hasta poder decir a pleno pulmón que se sentía feliz. No conozco a nadie excepto a él y al Dalai Lama (con una vida mucho más fácil que la de Sam) que sea capaz de decir eso de verdad, sin objeciones, sin miedo, sin sentirse culpable. No conozco a nadie que diga que es plenamente feliz con su vida imperfecta.
    No sientan pena.
    Aprendan.

    Reply
  26. nerium oleander Post author

    Many people say that discovering that he died soon after is depressing. I think they have not understood anything. Death does not come to you from having a disease, we are all exposed to it at all times. We feel sorry for those who leave as if we were immortal, as if we had some kind of agreement with death so that these things only happen to others.

    This boy lived more life with 17 years than many people throughout his long life. He faced very important issues when he was only a child, not only aspects of health or illness, but also issues such as acceptance and social rejection, self-esteem and overcoming mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety until he could say fully I felt happy. I don't know anyone except him and the Dalai Lama (with a life much easier than Sam's) who is able to say that for real, without objections, without fear, without feeling guilty. I don't know anyone who says he is fully happy with his imperfect life.

    Do not feel sorry.

    Learn

    Reply
  27. Sergio Irazoque Post author

    Sometimes I feel down about myself, but to listen Sam, I can see he was so brave and happy with the life he had, because he enjoyed as much as he could, the most important things. Sam all my RESPECT to you, hope you are in a wonderful place enjoying everything you have.

    Reply

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