Deadline in Less Than 7 Hours – An Important Bribe (Plus: Happiness Research for Economic Crashes)


Take 10 seconds today to fill up your karmic bank account. (photo: woodleywonderworks)

Part 1 – The Favor and Bribe

This two-part post is interrelated, so I recommend you read both sections. If you take 10 seconds to do the first part, it should — based on the research — make you a happier person.

The first part is simple. I want to give ten of you $150. More on this a little later…

There are less than 7 hours left to help 100,000 public school students get $1.5 million dollars in much-needed funding for their educations. A single click here is all I ask of you, and I sweeten the pot with a bribe below…

First, from the woman who convinced me to put up this post:

Where you grow up shouldn’t determine the quality of the education you receive. To help level the playing field, I propose giving 100,000 children in low-income communities the books, technology, and other materials that they need for a proper education.

The non-profit Donorschoose (who appear on the dedication page of 4HWW) only need 3,000-4,000 more votes to reach first place and receive $1.5 million dollars from American Express. As few as 500 more votes could lock them in for $500,000 (that means each vote is worth $1,000).

Earn some serious good karma and use this as your moment of Zen today.

You can make a difference in 100,000 lives with the click of a button. Please take these three simple steps to move from spectator to player in creating the world you want:

1. Vote here. If you don’t have an American Express Card, please forward this post to a friend and ask them to vote on your behalf.

2. Update your Facebook status, blog, twitter, e-mail or IM your friends either of these URLs: (Same URL shortened)

A short message like this should do the trick:

“One click here today can give 100,000 students $1.5 million for education. No joke and no exaggeration. Take a second and earn some karma!”

The Bribe

Just do the following no later than midnight EST tonight:

1) Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you spread the word on the Donorschoose voting.

For bonus points:

2) Describe in the same comment which teacher, class, or school project had the biggest impact on your life and why.

Prize 1: Next Monday, I and several judges will pick the the 10 best comment give each person a $150 gift certificate to Donorschoose. The staff at Donorschoose can pick projects for you, if you’d like, and you’ll receive handwritten thank-you notes and photographs from every classroom you help. How cool is that?!

Prize 2:
I will also invite the 10 winners to a private 30-60-minute call where you can ask me anything in the world that you like.

If you need some more solid reasons…

So why DonorsChoose?

Many non-profits sound great on paper and then fail in execution.

I’ve seen inside DonorsChoose, read their financials, and known the CEO for 15 years. They are streamlined like a Silicon Valley start-up, have helped more than 600,000 students with almost no resources, and they have superstars guiding them, including the Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, the founder of NetFlix, the co-founder of Yahoo, and Bill Bradley, among many others. Their corporate partners include Crate and Barrel and Yahoo. The Omidyar Foundation helped finance them. It goes on and on.

Why education?

Education is, after much research, what I believe has the greatest long-term potential to solve all of our problems: potable water, AIDS, malaria, racial discrimination, unfair trade agreements for developing countries, and all of the rest. DonorsChoose isn’t just about colored pencils — they’ve already directly helped in preventing teen pregnancies and getting future leaders out of low-income housing and on the path to college.

Adding people without adding the tools — education and confidence — can create more problems than it solves. Increased disease, famine, and war are just three examples. The US, for example, has no problem multiplying its population; it’s training those people to get along and build a better future that’s the challenge.

With $1.5 million, DonorsChoose can change the future of US education. I’ve seen them execute.

I don’t expect them to get everyone’s vote, but they get mine. Get involved and vote, whichever direction you go!

To reiterate:

Earn some serious good karma and use this as your moment of Zen today.

You can make a difference in tens of thousands of lives with the click of a button. Please take these three simple steps to move from spectator to player in creating the world you want:

1. Vote here. If you don’t have an American Express Card, please forward this post to a friend and ask them to vote on your behalf.

2. Update your Facebook status, blog, twitter, e-mail or IM your friends either of these URL: (Same URL shortened)

A short message like this should do the trick:

“One click here today can give 100,000 students $1.5 million for education. No joke and no exaggeration. Take a second and earn some karma!”

Let us bring power to the people, but let us also recognize that power begins with one simple tool: education.

Arm the masses. Click here.

Part 2 – The Latest Happiness Research – How to Smile During an Economic Crash

Psychologist Martin Seligman came at “happiness” (a problematic term that nonetheless fascinates me) from an unusual source: he’d previously studied depression and learned helplessness.

I came across some of his latest findings — all scientifically verified — in the most recent issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

There are three levels to happiness: pleasure, the delight you get from chocolate, fast cards, and sex; engagement, the feeling of “flow” you get when you’re doing something you’re good at; and meaning, the fulfillment you get from being engaged in an effort greater than yourself. Pleasure is ephemeral and contributes very little to real happiness… but meaningful engagement brings lasting contentment.

For classmates who are headed towards retirement, Seligman offers the following tip: “Material objects have almost no role in positive emotion. As you organize your retirement, spend it on meaningful engagement. Don’t squander your savings on boats and houses.”

It’s pretty simple, actually. Figure out what you’re good at. And then apply your strengths to a greater purpose. And don’t forget to cultivate optimism along the way.

More coming on investment soon…

Posted on: October 13, 2008.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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167 comments on “Deadline in Less Than 7 Hours – An Important Bribe (Plus: Happiness Research for Economic Crashes)

  1. Hey Tim,
    Jet Set Life has got you covered. Updating my Facebook status as we speak and encouraging all our Jet Setters to do the same! Good luck and we’re all proud of you and the work your doing!

    Rob and Kim


  2. Hi Tim, great cause, great initiative well executed as usual.

    I would have to acknowledge you as a great teacher and the lesson I believe most is to set unreasonable goals but plan small. Working hard to get that one right.

    However I don’t think that is what you are after.

    My greatest teacher was Mrs Newborn.

    Mrs Newborn taught us English and Drama, but she taught us all a lot about life.

    She taught us to step out and be vulnerable, no knocking, to cheer for others because it feels great when that happens for you. She taught us to honour creativity, that diversity was important, but above she taught us that life was a wonderful gift and how much you enjoyed depended on how much you lived it.

    No AMEX card but I did tweet your donor message.

    All the best, Dean.


  3. Hey there Tim! Another aspiring Four Hour-er here! The more I read your book the more I get amped up for the possibilities of finding my own muse and achieving my dreams! So, thanks a lot for your hard work and willingness to show others the way!

    I have retweeted on my own network, and attempted to have my sister Felicia Day (of The Guild internet series fame) raise awareness on her own blog and twitter feeds (no guarantees though!), which get much more visibility than my own! This is such a good charity. As I worked all the way through school, I know how hard it is to get a decent education when you don’t come from the most affluent roots.

    Although my degree itself was in Computer Science (UT Austin), I initially entered as a history major, completing my Senior Thesis on the Mongol Military system, before falling into the “You can’t make money with that crap” trap, and stumbling into an all-to-comfortable tech job.

    My Senior Thesis advisor, Dr. Lamphear, was and is an incredible man, and his guidance on my thesis was invaluable in showing me how to tap my inner creativity, work against deadlines, and from personal example, how to live a good life (as an Africanist, he was involved in many peace talks and political movements across Africa). Although he’s now retired from teaching, I do try and keep in touch with him from time to time.


    Ryon D.


  4. Hey Tim!

    Decided that this was too good an offer (to help and be helped) to pass up. My Facebook status has been updated (visible to over 1900 individuals) and I tweeted about it (visible to much less). There’s also a Facebook note in the works…

    As for the teacher that most impacted my life, I’ve got far too many to mention (my life’s gone down a number of different paths already, and I’m only 20). The one who most influenced the path I’m on now, though, is Charlie Keil, my first-year Cinema Studies professor. I joined the class on the recommendation of a friend, hoping to add “watching movies, especially film noir” to my otherwise more typical-Psychology-student life at U of T. But this prof was incredible — energetic, passionate, motivated (and motivating) — he led me to see films in a different light. He’s the only professor I’ve actually cared to reach out to during my three years at U of T, and I’m deeply thankful for how he opened my eyes to a “brand new” art form (which, ironically, has been a part of my life since before my earliest memories).

    Good luck, Donors Choose!


  5. Done. Tweeted to all my friends.
    Educations biggest impact on my life: College.
    It didn’t necessarily change my thinking academically or instill me with life changing knowledge. But the environment of free thinking and socializing with people that were interested in learning fundamentally changed me.

    Questions were answered and answers were questioned.

    It was beautiful to see the flow of information not be bottlenecked by closed mindedness. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn in that kind of environment.
    Everyone should be able to ask the question: Why?
    Everyone should have access to the world’s knowledge.


  6. Tim,
    I have been a strong believer in Donorschoose and while i am not a cardmember because I am a poor starving student who has stayed debt free, I do have several friends who read my blog and should GOTV for donorschoose. I also updated my facebook status with the Karma line and have had two friends already comment and vote on it.

    David Baker


  7. Hi Tim!
    This is a good initiative, I didn`t see it before now!!!
    We don`t have American Express cards here in Norway.
    Still, I will do EVERYTHING I can in making a viral impact on this, it seems very likely to be meeting these goals by doing an Effort!
    I will push this forward to all the people i met at FoWA past week as well as social medias, hope it makes a difference!

    By the way, the “Future of web apps” event hosted by Carsonified in London the past Week was Amazing! and heavy on startups. But still i thought it Lacked your presence / T4HWW mentality presented on stage with an important message to all the startups. Don`t get me wrong, the speakers were excellent as well as the event…just missing some elements.

    We`ll see you there next time right? :)

    Best wishes.
    Bendik L.


  8. Tim, I am amazed in the differences in quality of public edu. available even in the small town where I live. I sure hope this word gets out. I updated my twitter status (which updates my facebook status) Great. Idea!

    One teacher, Mrs Geary, in my High School changed my life through her encouragement and belief in my talents as an artist. I would not be who I am today without her impact on my life.


    twitter account


  9. Hi Tim,
    I had already voted in the American Express Member Project, and this post persuaded me to change my vote (I previously agonized over which of the final 5 would provide the greatest and longest lasting benefit). I agree with you that education may be the best way to permanently change the course of the future for the better, and I have passed the word on to all of my friends.

    The single greatest impact that education has had in my own life has been the guitar lessons that my grandmother paid for when I was young. It could have very easily been a passing fancy for me, but she always believed in my ability. To this day, it continues to be a source of spiritual strength, creative exchange, and an instrument of social change for me.


  10. I have added the link to both my business and personal Twitter account, as well as my Facebook and Myspace profiles.

    I would have to say the teacher that has impacted me the most was a college professor of Media Philosophy at RIT named John A. Ciampa. Quite often, the lecture would take place with the 10 or so students (very low enrollment for the class) walking through the woods, or over a beer or two at a local bar. The class would begin with a question, and John would allow the students to debate back and forth what the best resolution would be. Answers were generally never wrong, because the best answer may come from two or three off the wall ideas. John would only chime in when he thought the discussion was moving too far from the central theme. At the end of class, he would neatly sum up what we discussed, and then give his opinion on what he thought the best answer to the question would be.

    I believe John impacted me most by showing that answers are never concrete. What may have worked in the past may not work at this point in time, or in the future. Fluidity must be accepted in thought and decision at all times. A very hard lesson to teach, and one I have to constantly remind myself of.


  11. Hi Tim,

    Done, done, and done. Glad to help out! I voted on the Amex site as well as updated my LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles, that’s notice to somewhere around 900 or so people. . .yeah!

    Biggest educational impact of my life? Well, there are two actually. . .and since you didn’t specifically say which “single” experience, and neither were my teachers, I’m gonna run with it. . .both play into one another, though as you’ll see. . .

    The first impactful event took place when I was a freshman at Southern Illinois University. For whatever reason, a number of us freshman were crammed in the basement of our dining hall to hear a few folks give us the low-down on what life was going to be like in our new home of Carbondale, Illinois. Several people spoke that day. . .but I remember only one.

    He was a tall, and powerful lookin’ guy. . .someone you knew you wouldn’t want to mess with. . .and someone who looked even more menacing from my seated position on the floor, kinking my neck to get a good look at this man that was well over 6 feet tall. He was also wearing a suit — when we were all mostly clad in shorts due to the August heat in Carbondale — he was definitely a “presence”.

    I don’t recall his whole talk, but one aspect of a story he relayed to us changed my life forever. He mentioned that when he was a student himself some decades earlier, he got a bit sidetracked at one point, had a bit too much fun, and found himself on the opposing end of the university’s Registrar. In other words, he was asked to leave school for awhile to sort things out. . .

    . . .and yet while this disappointment was embarrassing, and no doubt, a blow to his ego, it gave him the greater resolve to come back and finish his education. And he did just that. He finished. AND, he finished with Dean’s list honors on top of it.

    However, despite this achievement, that’s not really the highlight. Nope. The highlight is that this towering gentleman many years my senior, decked out to the hills, and noticeable successful, was now an administrator at the same school that asked him to leave many years earlier. Wow, talk about a turn of events.

    Now, I can’t remember exactly his position, but my fuzzy memory has always put him near the top. . .a board member. . .or someone in the President’s office. . .something like that. I can’t recall exactly, but he was. . .SOMEONE. . .and he was telling us to never give up. To never surrender our dreams, and to never let anyone else tell us we cannot accomplish something we set out to accomplish.

    It was one of the most amazing lessons I ever learned, and I really wish I knew the name of this gentleman so I could thank him for influencing my life in the way he did.

    The irony, and second part of this story, is that when I too faced this same problem, not too many years after that little lecture in the basement of our dining hall, I remembered his words, and they stuck with me. So when I met with my adviser on my way out the proverbial door of the university, she turned to me at one point and said directly: “I don’t think you’ll be back”. I have never forgotten those words, and I THANK her every day of my life for saying them to me.

    I’m not sure whether she really thought I wouldn’t be back, or whether she was trying to light a fire under my rear, but I saw it as a spark and it ignited in me the wake-up call I needed to turn things around.

    So when I did get that chance to redeem myself not long after that fateful meeting, I too performed much better, graduated, and later went on to get a second degree (go figure) from the University of Minnesota where I scored a number of Dean’s list recognitions of my own and. . .GET THIS. . .even went on to become an academic adviser, sharing with panicked students also in the last weeks of their tenure as official students and soon-to-be “probationers” my story about what really matters: dusting yourself off and getting back on the horse.

    I loved sharing that lesson in humility with students, and now (gulp!) many more, and it made me as their adviser much more human as a result.

    Even the great Michael Jordan has acknowledged that without failing he could never succeed in the way he does. What a great lesson.

    Good luck with the attention-getting fund drive!



  12. Hey Tim!

    Updated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is a great project, I hope it wins!

    Mr. Malone was the one teacher that stands above the rest. He was my first teacher in America at Jupiter Elementary School. He helped me with my english and overall confidence. I will always be thankful for the great job that he did.



    P.S. After reading your book, I was inspired to start Elementz Nutrition, I look forward to sending you some product! We’re launching in January.


  13. First, this is an awesome project! My mother is a completely creative public school teacher and she has spent so much of her income to make learning interesting. Can you believe the only supplies she was given one year was 1000 sheets of copy paper!

    I posted this on my facebook status, because word of mouth from a person you trust is always the best way to get people to take something seriously. I live in the south where this still works:)

    I have had a number of amazing learning experiences but one of the best was in the class of Robert Gallagher. He changed the way I thought about how a class could be taught. I think he had ADD and he had to sustain his interest which sustained ours. First. he never lectured for more that 10 minutes and he let you know exactly how long he would so we could concentrate on his efficient lecturing style. Second. He made us apply everything we learned in the lecture immediately through group work. It could be a discussion, it could be artistic, dramatic, pretty much any way to make us meditate on the ideas. Third. He put every worksheet or reading we were going to need for the entire class in one book. What a fantastic idea because he and we always had everything we would ever need for any activity with us–super efficient. Third. We were always rewarded with a party. Even if it is 10 minutes in 50 you will work really hard for 50 minutes for 10 minutes of fun!


  14. I clicked, I contacted my colleagues (who all carry firm sponsored AMEX cards) and asked them to spread the word. Even a small % take-up of a 60,000+ firm should make a difference.


  15. Hi Tim!

    Thanks for posting that – I updated my facebook status, tweeted all my friends and sent an email round, all of us Sydney-siders are just waking up : )

    Hmm the teacher who influenced my life the most is not a college professor nor was she probably a certified teacher, but she made such a massive impact I will never forget it.

    My family and I ran away from Russia during the fall of the soviet union in 1991, I was about 5 and did not speak a word of English when we landed in NYC. The first school I went to was a tiny brick mess of a school in Brooklyn, there an elderly teacher/aid took me under her wing.

    While all of my designated teachers where mean and frustrated by me smiling and nodding at everything they said, she would sit with me in an empty classroom for hours teaching me English and comforting me. She also sparked an intense love of reading and writing in me that has never left to this day! Though I left the school after 3 years I will never ever forget her.

    Everybody deserves to have a teachers like her – somebody who believes and supports you no matter what, and no matter the resources or the frustration doesn’t give up on you.

    I hope this project wins, no child should ever be denied knowledge and resources.