My mission is that everyone with a disposable income takes time out from their careers, at least once in their life, to ask themselves one question every day:
If this were the last day of my life, would I spend it doing what I am about to do?
Answering this question invariably leads to people finding what they love doing, finding themselves and making a significant contribution to mankind.
And leading a life that they love.
It also give people the chance to really consider what their role is in the world - we all have a role in the world - and to think about what they can do to help mankind.
Because right now, mankind needs a great deal of help.
Nelson Mandela said: 'Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.'
All that is required is action - that is something I truly believe.
More than a billion people have less than $1 to get them through the next 24 hours. In that same time, 28,000 children will die from preventable health problems.
How long do we have to listen to these statistics before we take action? Why is it taking so long to change the world?
It's because we are all too busy serving ourselves to make the necessary commitments. Too caught up in our ridiculous western cycles of accumulation. It is not money, or pressure, or awareness, that will reverse the sorry mess this planet is in. It is the actions of each and every human being.
We can all change the world. All that is needed is to take time out from looking after 'me', and get involved in helping 'we'.
Taking a year out sound so nice doesn't it? But it is so much more than that. It is an opportunity to really turn things around - by ensuring that just for one period in our lives, the hours that each of us have in our day have the maximum possible impact on this incredible planet we live on.
And as if changing the world wasn't enough - the bonus is we re-claim the joy of living as we go.
In the same speech, Mandela continued: 'Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Make poverty history. Then we can all stand with our heads held high.’
I'm doing whatever I can to make this generation great. Please join me.
30 year old writer and social entrepreneur living in west London. Took a year out in January 2007 to launch Cycle 4, a non-profit online networking platform that connects western professionals with people in the developing world. Aspirations to live a long life of love, contribution, innovation and vitality.
Visit www.cycle4.org to read about Ben's non-profit community project.
Take A Year Out - key quotes:
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
‘Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times, that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. While poverty exists there is no true freedom. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Make poverty history. Then we can all stand with our heads held high.’
'Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.'
'If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.'
'We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. Our primary duty is not - ultimately - to our family, to our job, to our country, but only that which calls us to do or to be.'