Forsaking A Relentless Pursuit Of A Better Body: How To Find More Purpose & Meaning In “Fitnessing” & Make A Bigger Difference In The World.

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purpose & meaning in fitnessing
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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Three years ago, I read two life-changing books that completely transformed the way that I think about my own purpose and meaning in life, and whether I'm truly making a difference in the world or whether I'm simply engaged in a relentless pursuit of “fitnessing” without actually making an impact in anyone's life.

The books – titled “Unfinished” and “Hole In The Gospel” – were written by author Rich Stearns, the president of a company called World Vision – a global Christian humanitarian organization that partners with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Within just a few weeks of reading the books, my children and I had “adopted” a little girl from Ethiopia, who we send gifts and financial support to each month. We'd also begun volunteering more in our local community and doing a better job teaching others about the importance of purpose and passion in life, love and relationships, and belief in a higher power. These are all values I highlight in my article: “Five Quotes I Live By, Three Keys To Happiness, Two Questions To Ask Yourself & One Must-Do Thought Experiment.

Now, when it comes to helping care for and support others and equipping others on this planet to experience a more fulfilling life,  I'm about to take things to the next level.

How?

By supporting World Vision's bold initiative called the “THRIVE” Economic Empowerment program.

THRIVE is based on the fact that millions of people in the most impoverished parts of the world are smallholder farmers who lack access to the knowledge, capital, markets, technology, and information they need to build thriving businesses. World Vision’s fully integrated, proven approach to economic empowerment is designed to equip these hardworking men and women to move from surviving to – you guessed it – thriving. Ultimately, this helps hardworking families break the cycle of extreme poverty for good.

My guest on today's podcast, Christopher Shore, is the Chief Development Officer of this entire “THRIVE” Economic Empowerment program. Now in his 20th year with World Vision, Chris works on issues which contribute to the work of THRIVE – specifically building improved and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers. Chris began partnering with World Vision on microfinance issues while working for the Mennonite Economic Development Associates. He joined World Vision as National Director in Romania in 1997. He moved to California to lead World Vision’s microfinance and economic development work starting in 2001 and was largely focused on microfinance.

Chris founded VisionFund International in 2003 and handed leadership to Scott Brown in 2006. That same year Chris turned his attention to the non-microfinance aspects of economic development and began World Vision’s Natural Environment and Climate Issues group, which he led full-time starting in 2008. In 2011 Chris became one of the architects of Securing Africa’s Future in Tanzania – now THRIVE.

In 2013 he led that work for East and West Africa, and in 2015 moved to World Vision USA. Chris is Canadian, lives in Southern California, is married to Dr. Susan Shore, and is the father of Andrew and Katrina. He enjoys cycling, gardening, and woodworking.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-The shocking concept of generational poverty and how a vicious cycle persists from generation to generation in many countries in Africa, from Tanzania to Rwanda and beyond…18:15

-How THRIVE shifts mindsets to an understanding that every person has great value, and possesses the power and responsibility to move from dependency to dignity…27:30

-The “bank” that THRIVE then helps each farmer to create in their local community to create end-to-end business of farming…31:45

-The importance of natural resource management and how THRIVE helps farmers manage their on-farm soil, vegetation, and water management, and to manage and rehabilitate forests, watersheds, and grasslands…41:40

-How THRIVE teaches emergency and situational awareness and teaches the farmers how to manage investments and risks and needs information to deal with shocks, emergencies, and change around them…52:00

-The way that hardworking farmers finally have the ability to consistently feed their children nutritious food; send them to school; cover bills for basic healthcare; build a house made of brick with a metal roof instead of mud, sticks, and straw; and reinvest in their businesses…57:00

-How you can support this entire program and even visit Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and see the THRIVE initiative in action…1:04:30

-And much more!

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Resources from this episode:

The THRIVE Economic Empowerment program at World Vision

GetKion.com

The Christian Gratitude Journal

-The documentary Icarus

My interview with Joel Salatin, author of “Pigness of Pigs”

-Book: Hole in the Gospel

-Book: Unfinished

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Chris or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question


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22 thoughts on “Forsaking A Relentless Pursuit Of A Better Body: How To Find More Purpose & Meaning In “Fitnessing” & Make A Bigger Difference In The World.

  1. Craig Tatum says:

    Interested in more information on the Africa trip

  2. Dominic Onofre says:

    Would love to join the World Vision trip. I have sponsored a child there for 7+ years and do medical missions I Ghana Wes Africa annually. Would love to see World Vision in action since we have been apart of the organization for years!

  3. Danny Sleswick says:

    When you mentioned that you were recording this in 2017 I was thinking I missed my chance to join a trip to Kilimanjaro with yourself and world vision. Happy to see this podcast wasn’t uploaded that long ago as it sounds like an adventure I’d love to be part of.

  4. Ronan says:

    I’m also interested in the Kilimanjaro trip!

  5. Christopher Wissman says:

    I’m really interested in the trip.

  6. Joe says:

    Hey Ben
    You asked during the show if you could eat squirrels. When is was a kid in Pennsylvania we would shoot squirrels and I made squirrel pot pie from my Grandmothers recipe.

  7. Chrishon Moon says:

    I’m very interested in the volunteer trip and hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro? Please let me know the details

  8. Brian Klein says:

    One question I have about all of this. Are we just imposing what we think they need for economic development? You say they are subsistence farmers. How often is it that they cannot subsist in the way they are living? I completely support helping them with farming practices and getting them to restore forests ala Alan Savory, who has also done a lot of work in Africa. And also support educating them on how to prevent disease, give them clean water, etc. But for us to go in there and say to them: “Hey you can live with a lot more money!!” seems very Western, and perhaps not something they really need?

    It reminds me of a story I heard… I think via Tim Ferris, but don’t remember. I’m pretty sure it’s made up, but it fits the point I am trying to make. There’s a Harvard businessman who takes a trip to Mexico. He goes on a fishing expedition with a local fisherman, and finds that the guy is really good at fishing. He says, “You know, you could build this into a business, and make a lot of money. Let me show you how.” The Harvard businessman goes on to explain how through a lot of hard work and smart marketing he could eventually amass enough money to retire without worrying about anything. The fisherman asks him what he would do in retirement after all that work. The businessman responds: “Well, fish, I suppose?” The fisherman responds: “That’s what I do now every day of my life, and I love it.”

  9. Tyler Michael Buitenwerf says:

    I would be interested in an Africa trip

  10. Mallory says:

    I am interested in the Africa trip!!!!!

  11. Mallory says:

    I’m totally interested in the Africa trip. What a great experience! Keep me posted!!

  12. Bryan says:

    Would be interested!!!

  13. Teemu says:

    Africa, here we come!

  14. Tyler says:

    Definitely interested in the Africa trip!

  15. Libby says:

    Interested in the Africa trip:)

  16. Dave Pascoe says:

    Ben, were you aware that there’s a Team World Vision? It’s a team of marathoners and triathletes who run (and bike and swim) to raise money to build wells to provide clean water to people in Africa.

    More than 1,600 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water — that’s more than AIDS and malaria combined. Clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education are some of the most effective ways to prevent child disease and death.

    World Vision is one of the largest providers of clean water in the developing world, reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. Water continues to flow after we leave because communities have ownership of the water points and can maintain and repair them.

    I can’t tell you how excited I was as a long time fan of yours, to see that you are partnering up with World Vision too! Would love it if there was a way to introduce you to our team of athletes for inspiration!

    We just had a group return from Africa a few weeks ago. It would be awesome if we could get you to join us on one of our next trips!

    1. That'd be awesome Dave! Can you email details to ea@bengreenfieldfitness.com? thanks!

  17. David Willer says:

    Hey Ben. I’d be interested in the Africa trip- keep me posted!

  18. I’d be interested in the Africa trip!

  19. Jake says:

    Hey Ben – the trip to Africa sounds amazing. Keep me posted please!

      1. Bo says:

        Yeah, it sounds incredible; I’m interested to hear the details.

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