Here’s one of the most inspiring TED Talks you will ever have the pleasure to watch. It is the fascinating legacy of a boy who was one for the ages.

That’s a term used to describe Abraham Lincoln and after you watch today’s video-share, with its happiness secrets, you’ll know why we chose that moniker.

Seventeen-year-old Sam became the spokesman for a genetic condition called Childhood Progeria, also known as “the aging disease,” and it’s aptly renamed indeed.

Without getting deep into specifics, progeria causes people to age rapidly, which is why young Sam looks older than his parents.

Yet… he was cheerful; positive; even jubilant about his life.

Take a look at Sam’s incredible TED Talk, in which he gives us all the secret to true happiness, even when we face adversity.

Yep. We were speechless after this, too.

You may know that on January 10, 2014, having had only a teenager‘s taste of life, Sam Berns passed away. But today’s video-share feels as bright and relevant as it ever has.

Maybe we can come out the other side of that knowledge feeling positive and radiant. We do that with every article here at Ever Widening Circles.

Are you just discovering EWC? We are a growing global community from 190 countries sharing solid, positive news about the thought leaders in every field and the wonder that we are not hearing about enough. Our aim is to be the polar opposite of the negative 24-hour news cycle: here you’ll find story after story on amazing things to be celebrated (just as Sam’s legacy reminds us).

Sam’s parents are doing their part with several projects. Sam’s mother, Dr. Leslie Gordon, is working on a team that has discovered the exact gene responsible for Progeria!

Sam’s parents have also expanded his legacy beyond this amazing TED Talk and his happiness secrets. Sam’s philosophy of life is living on through the good work of the foundation his parents created called the Progeria Research Foundation.

Image: Sam Berns and his parents, The Progeria Research Foundation.


Here’s what they have to say on that website:

In the summer of 1998, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns found out that their son Sam, who was then 22 months old, had been diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (“Progeria”), commonly referred to as a “premature aging” syndrome. It quickly became apparent to Sam’s parents that there was an enormous lack of medical information and resources dedicated to Progeria. They recognized that there was no place for these children to go for medical help, no place for parents or doctors to turn for information, and no source of funding for researchers who wanted to do Progeria research. This inspired Sam’s family, together with their friends and colleagues, to launch The Progeria Research Foundation, Inc. (“PRF”), the only non-profit organization in the world dedicated to Progeria research. 2

Good to know!

Here’s a lovely tribute from ABC News to go out on today that makes Sam seem like he may be right there beside us… just out of reach:

Via: ABC News 3
One last thing to consider: Why does Sam Berns’s TED talk and memory make some of us a bit teary-eyed?

Is it just that we know the planet lost one of the wise and joyful ones? Or is it that we have some regrets for not living our more fortunate lives with more joy?

Image: Sam Burns playing the drums in the band

Source: NPR

When we first shared this video on our original EWC website, my former web developer, Chris Dugan, wrote the following thoughts about this talk:

This TED Talk always makes me feel a sense of empowerment about being able to start anew. Even if I haven’t lived with much gratitude or joy, Sam reminds me that at any moment that I choose I can start. If I get it right for a while and then stumble back to my old ways, I can start again anew. And I can do that over and over again until the day comes when I can walk tall, in Sam’s light, as a matter of habit.

Well said, Chris!

Now, when I watch Sam’s video (and I do from time to time, just as a refresher course) I don’t cry; I walk a little taller and cast a lot more light on the world around me.

Thanks for dropping by Ever Widening Circles today. Scroll down to the bottom of this page if you’d like to see another article that will put a spring in your step. Or, you can check out this one right here:

7 minutes

Thankful for the Little Things

What are you thankful for? Sometimes celebrating the small thing can be the easiest way to spread happiness and appreciate this amazing world!

Read More

Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

Want to explore more amazing ideas?

We’ve curated a whole bunch of TED talks for you to dive into them, check it out!

TED talks on EWC

If you’d like to stay up to date with our articles, just subscribe, and we’ll send you a quick email whenever we publish!

Support us on Patreon!       Check out our library!


  1. Berns, Sam. “My Philosophy for a Happy Life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic.” YouTube. TEDx Talks, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <>.
  2. “Our Story.” Progeria Research Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <>.
  3. Remembering Sam Berns.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 11 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <c>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!

In this Circle

Sam Berns and His Happiness Secrets

17 minutes

[ Curators' Best ]

By Dr. Lynda

Have you heard 17 year old, Sam Berns' secrets to a happy life? I watch this TED Talk periodically as a refresher course, no matter how busy I am - and maybe because of that. See why!
Read More

Cultural Beauty: Before They Pass Away

24 minutes

[ Books ]

By Dr. Lynda

World renowned photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to 35 isolated countries over a few years and documented what he calls "The Most Beautiful People." Learn how his story proves the value of noticing "happy accidents."
Read More

Generosity: To Give Without Reason

23 minutes

[ Food ]

By Dr. Lynda

Generosity can be joyously large, or it can be breathtakingly simple and personal. Today we look at Narayanan Krishnan, a man who inspires us to give for no reason other than to lift the spirits of others.
Read More

What 83,000 Brain Scans Teach Us!

16 minutes

[ Curators' Best ]

By Dr. Lynda

What if we were able to treat anxiety, depression, or ADHD by looking inside of our brains? This form of diagnostic imaging is now a reality, and it is helping doctors treat patients more effectively than ever before.
Read More

Practicing Practical Compassion with the Shoe That Grows

19 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Have you seen The Shoe That Grows? This genius idea is changing lives across the globe and it didn't come from a millionaire or a world-renowned inventor but a real person just like us! Here's his story!
Read More

The Power of Giving People a “Lollipop Moment”

9 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Dr. Lynda

Heard anything about "Lollipop Moments"? Here's an amazing metaphor to remember how easy it is to fundamentally improve someone's life with just a simple turn of a phrase!
Read More

Turning Apples into Ears: Creativity in the Lab

20 minutes

[ Art ]

By Dr. Lynda

What if we let creativity and play mix with science? Here's a lab that is doing just that, and in doing so coming up with incredible discoveries, like the ability to turn apples into ears...
Read More

Can We “Fix” the Problem with News?

22 minutes

[ Business ]

By Dr. Lynda

How does the "news" effect our biases, or vice versa? Can we create a better world if we are all in our biased corners? Here's a way forward...
Read More

The Ocean Cleanup Project

23 minutes

[ Conservation & Sustainability ]

By Dr. Lynda

At only 19 years old, Boyan Slat of the Netherlands developed an ocean cleanup array which has removed over 7 million tons of plastic from the ocean. Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup Project and how you can help in today's important feature.
Read More