My philosophy for a happy life: Sam Berns


Sampson Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014) was an American who suffered from progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease.He was the subject of the HBO documentary Life According to Sam.


Sam Berns is a 17 year old highschooler with progeria. The rare disease, which has affected only 350 people worldwide, causes rapid aging, tight skin, and heart disease. A while back Sam was interviewed by NPR, and  was asked, “What is the most important thing people should know about you?” His answer? “I have a very happy life.”

Sam says there are three tenants which he follows that help him live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Firstly, be ok with what you ultimately can’t do because there is so much that you can do. But it is possible to put things in the CAN DO category by making adjustments. Sam tells the story of how he very badly wanted to play snare drum with his school marching band. But the drum and rug weighed about 40 lbs, and he only weighed about 50 lbs. He and his parents worked with an engineer to design a custom rig that was only 6 lbs and ended up performing at half time.

Secondly, surround yourself with people you want to be around. Appreciate you family, your friends, and you mentors, as they all can have a very significant impact on your life.

Third, stay in a forward thinking state of mind. Sam says he always tries to have something to look forward to. He doesn’t waste energy feeling bad for himself, he just moves on.

Sam ends his moving, and well spoken talk by adding in a fourth tenant. “Never miss a party.”

4 thoughts on “My philosophy for a happy life: Sam Berns

  1. Pingback: Sam Berns' Philosophy to a Happy Life
  2. You may be gone Sam.. But your courage and inspiration will live on for a very long time. You have taught millions of us to be so very greatful for just how fortunate we are.. To your parents, I send my deepest sympathy for the loss of your courages and fun loving son Sam.

  3. As Billy Joel said, “Only the good die young”. Sam Berns was a man who didn’t let life and its limitations bog him down, and regardless of the aspects of his own life that complicated his dreams he still found ways to work around life’s complications in order to achieve what he dreamt. He lived each and every day with a purpose, and that purpose was nothing other than beneficence for himself and the world around him. Sam chose to focus on progressive tasks and challenges with which to keep himself always moving forward, but underlying every effort was his constant ambition of leaving the world a better place for all those in it with his focus on his family, loved one, and “bro’s”. He knew life was not about getting everything you’d ever want, and that life can’t ever be perfect, but he never let this hold him back from challenging himself to achieve what he set out for. His cup half full perspective came out clear and loud through this video, and I can only hope the world appreciates it as much as Sam appreciated the world for listening. My deepest condolences for his family, loved ones, and group of “bro’s”. The world lost an angel when it lost Sam, but his optimistic philosophy and and all those his mind and words touched throughout his life will remain.

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