The Five Phrases That Can Change Your Life: Adam Braun at TEDxColumbiaCollege

  • Published on May 18, 2013
  • Adam Braun is the Founder and CEO of Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization that
    has broken ground on more than 80 schools around the world and delivered over 3
    million educational hours in its first four years. PoP was founded with just $25 in October
    2008 using what Braun describes as a "for-purpose" approach to blending nonprofit
    idealism with for-profit business principles.
    Braun's passion for international education was ignited when he traveled to over fifty
    countries in his early twenties. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University,
    previously worked at Bain & Company, and was recently named to Wired's Smart List:
    50 People Who Will Change the World.
    This speech was given at TEDxColumbiaCollege in November of 2012, on the campus of Columbia University in the City of New York.
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 370

  • A Jen Nungshi
    A Jen Nungshi 4 days ago

    Marry me Adam. You're my dream goal 😂

  • Jonathan .Thompson
    Jonathan .Thompson 5 days ago

    Typical spoiled brat. Oooooo let me go be uncomfortable; Ima only use my iPhone 3 hours a day. Pardon me while I vomit

  • Blessed Ones
    Blessed Ones 10 days ago

    Why do Americans always go to other countries to help their people & economy? Instead helping the children of america

  • adriana jaramillo
    adriana jaramillo 12 days ago

    Conocer a alguien como tú es una inspiración que gran corazón dios debe estar muy orgulloso de un hijo asi

  • des895
    des895 15 days ago

    I have the same dream as yours, too big for me, and I just started to advocate at least. Now some people are listening. How preschool and parent interaction is a huge deal for a child's brain development. Or intentionally stimulating a child's brain. My goal is... Ethiopia and Eritrea.

  • Dominic Norris
    Dominic Norris 16 days ago

    I wonder if he has a school for the Palestinians?

  • Lynnette Allen
    Lynnette Allen 17 days ago

    So inspiring. I'm working with a non-profit that builds Tiny Homes for the homeless in Bellingham, WA. This talk by Adam Braun telling his story and successful experience of starting so many schools for kids in poor countries is exactly my dream for the low-income and homeless people here in Bellingham, the United States and the world. Thank you for voicing it so well!

  • Lance Lawhorn
    Lance Lawhorn 17 days ago

    Grow where God plants you! It doesn’t matter the effect YOU or this WORLD thinks you are having on itself.....Only GOD the TRIUNE is capable of judgment so go be inspired & live your best life for others because that is how you obtain ultimate happiness & also what Jesus taught!! It’s just a simple fact that I’m just now discovering at 48yrs old & sad I have lost sooo many happy opportunities & moments in life!!! Don’t be like hard for others!!!

  • Robert Santos
    Robert Santos 22 days ago

    ... a path to yourself... sounds like " a village in waiting" Peace Corps link...

  • Liz Mariela Escobar Candia

    I enjoy see 5 seconds of publicity.
    Disfruto ver 5 segundos de publicidad

  • Courtney Smith
    Courtney Smith Month ago

    Absouetlty incrediable heartfelt story ,what an exceptional life that changed for you by one choice that led you in your true direction! I will try to escape my comfort and hope im as fortunately driven and set into new ways of what My True Purpose is ! Thank you for this inspirational story, ur amazing and wonderful im happy for you that you made these choices and now spread your story, hopefully that sets change into mine! God bless you.

  • Max Lambrecht
    Max Lambrecht Month ago

    very inspirational!

  • burnblue
    burnblue Month ago

    Why is there aerial footage of the ship

  • Tall Dave
    Tall Dave Month ago

    Thank God you are still here

  • NoDestiny007
    NoDestiny007 Month ago

    1. Not sure how ipromise is finding qualified teachers in rural area?
    2. There are lot of other NGOs doing same stuff, there are other schools built by government. What is deciding factor for school with this branding?

  • Tamsin Rodgers - Taylor

    Every one of these people who speak to us through social media delivering great information through motivational speaking. God bless you all. We are one, I LOVE you ALL

  • Sonny Moon
    Sonny Moon 4 months ago

    What a beautiful human

  • Muriel LEBEAU
    Muriel LEBEAU 4 months ago

    Really inspirational man! Thank you to take the time to share you knowledge.

  • Fatima aamara
    Fatima aamara 4 months ago

    Great speech, wonderful experience, amazing work, wish you good luck

  • Back Country Pastimes
    Back Country Pastimes 5 months ago

    Now watch the ted talk “how to get what you want” it re-emphasises and goes deeper into the first quote about leaving your comfort zone, trust me. You can thank me later :)

  • Anna Maledon Children's Author

    Incredible project! I have my own plan now: I want to write a picture book and the profits from it will go to support his school building organization Pencils of Promise.

  • Thumb Print
    Thumb Print 6 months ago

    Fantastic project. Love those little girls sitting at their desks. Perhaps the next step is for the countries where the schools are being built to examine their education models - different models suit different countries? Advanced countries are experimenting with nature schools. What models of education might developing countries find most beneficial?

  • wikwika
    wikwika 7 months ago

    Give me a husband like him please god!

  • Zahid H Khan
    Zahid H Khan 7 months ago

    Challenge your assumptions

  • Senyum Fortune Arifa
    Senyum Fortune Arifa 7 months ago

    I am in the verge of lost becoz founded my non profit foundation but now, in the state of status quo. What Adam Braun does bring back the positive suggestion for me to keep going. Thanks for sharing Mr. Braun.

  • ana ML
    ana ML 7 months ago

    We need to become more like this guy. Awesome person.

  • Cookie Monster
    Cookie Monster 8 months ago

    They should have called it:
    'The Five Phrases that can change your life smeared out over twenty minutes so no one ever watches the entire video'

  • Phuong Truc
    Phuong Truc 9 months ago


  • Alma shatri
    Alma shatri 9 months ago

    This guy was so cute and handsome and I got to see only his profile for the entire video!! Bad camera work!

    ANWAR HUSSAIN 10 months ago

    Kudos to You ! Ammmazzzing !!! Yes !! Education is The Key !!!!....& Children Our Future!! Thanks for Sharing & ' Giving Back ' !!

  • Anna Mather
    Anna Mather 10 months ago

    Somehow I knew you were a fellow scorpio! Happy Almost Birthday!

  • Lynne Iarume
    Lynne Iarume 10 months ago

    We hear the common phrase: everyone is born with a purpose in life. No matter where and how our lifes began, I believe in most cases, we shall end up doing what we were born to do. Thank you Adam for sharing your true purpose for living - we need more people like you!

  • jane smith
    jane smith 10 months ago

    « I asked a kid what he wanted most of all the things in the world ... and he said a pencil » ... That’s the saddest thing I ever heard & it shows how much we are brainwashed by our circumstances...

  • Patricia Kelly
    Patricia Kelly 10 months ago +1

    Well done. It’s so easy to get caught on a roundabout to no place. Working at jobs you hate and not realising that even if you have to work at thes jobs to survive, there has to be some time for you to get out of your comfort zone. It makes life worth living.

  • Water Ski Lake Austin
    Water Ski Lake Austin 10 months ago

    Congratulations! Great job! Continue success!

  • Vanessa Duque
    Vanessa Duque 10 months ago

    Great job Adam! Love what you’re doing

  • Agnieszka Jarmuła
    Agnieszka Jarmuła 11 months ago

    You've certainly heard about libertarian schools. Without benches from the 19th century. Open creative education, where children also look in their eyes, not just on the back ....

  • Bulletproof Diamond WINSTAR

    This is a really inspiring story and experience! I love traveling and hope to make an impact on the world too! I think non-profit orgs mean orgs that are not centered on profits which most businesses are. This is the precise reason why I'm interested in working in non-profits rather than businesses. They are centered on a purpose, but they happen to emphasize lack of profits more than for a purpose. I think he's kinda right that they should be called for-purpose orgs.

  • ryan lee
    ryan lee Year ago

    All I hear is him him him and his life and adventures. What's the point of this guy?!?

    • Lake Natron
      Lake Natron Year ago +1

      Maybe you need to improve your listening skills?

  • Adrian Alvero
    Adrian Alvero Year ago +2

    Thanks Adam, such an inspiration!

  • Ahlem Kmar
    Ahlem Kmar Year ago

    what are the 5 phrases

  • Mrm Trgt
    Mrm Trgt Year ago +131

    The Five Phrases That Can Change Your Life:
    1- Get out of your comfort zone
    2- Challenge your assumptions
    3- Speak the language of the person you seek to become
    4- Make the little decision in your head and the big ones with your hearth
    5- How can you create the most positive impact on as many lives as possible?

    • Ray Gamma
      Ray Gamma 7 months ago +3

      You guys missed a great talk.

    • lamlinhstyle
      lamlinhstyle 8 months ago +2

      Thank you so much. I feel like i need this thing for all the ted talks 😂😂😂

    • Cookie Monster
      Cookie Monster 8 months ago +3

      Mrm Trgt, thanks for summing up the 5 frases.
      Saves me 20 minutes of valuable time.

    • Aleksandar Ruseski
      Aleksandar Ruseski 10 months ago +1

      thank you

  • dhes Guevarra
    dhes Guevarra Year ago +2

    You are a beautiful soul Adam. Kudos.

  • Anat Katz
    Anat Katz Year ago +2


  • JulianaHereOnEarth
    JulianaHereOnEarth Year ago +3

    Wow. It was so touching to me when Adam returned to Guatemala to thank Joel. Adam is an extraordinary person

  • Julie Olsen
    Julie Olsen Year ago +2

    Love this!!!

  • Alva D.
    Alva D. Year ago +2

    What a wonderful human being!🙏🏻

  • bikinggal1
    bikinggal1 Year ago +2

    You are an amazing human. Thank you!

  • wanda roberts
    wanda roberts Year ago

    I am guessing .that your parents were in there 70 when you were-born?

  • wanda roberts
    wanda roberts Year ago

    at what age was your mother and father as holistic survives. To my understanding that was more then 50 years age. ..exactly how old was your p[parents when it was over? Too me this is very important.

  • Hanine Sanae
    Hanine Sanae Year ago

    Very inspiring, I wonder if it's possible to implant the project in Morocco?

  • MoMo Rosner
    MoMo Rosner Year ago

    "Every person is a revolution being carried within a vessel" Powerful words

  • Judy Childs
    Judy Childs Year ago

    That wave, is called "The hand of God"😊

  • Mỹ Châu Nguyễn

    thank you a lot. It's really meaningful ! thank of you and other , the world will become better

  • Gabrielle Wallbridge

    You are truly inspirational..... Thank you..

  • CeeJay B
    CeeJay B Year ago

    Random vaguely positive shtick statement.

  • Jenny May
    Jenny May Year ago

    Amazing. Congratulations on what you have and will achieve.

  • Jay Em
    Jay Em Year ago

    Great inspiration! Great phrases. For -Purpose instead of non-profit. I love that shift! Thanks!

  • Darrin Flippo
    Darrin Flippo Year ago

    Genuine speech and thank you for sharing. Every person should always speak of their ideas and dreams because every being matters.

  • adam braun
    adam braun Year ago

    Good job bro

  • Toshio T
    Toshio T Year ago

    Get away from your comfort zone.

  • Sima Goel
    Sima Goel Year ago

    Love what you stand for and how you continue to impact the world by educating the children.

  • Petar Nikolovski
    Petar Nikolovski Year ago

    interesting points ,if anyone else wants to discover how do you cure tennis elbow try Renkarter Elbow Formula Report (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my friend got great results with it.

  • Manish Goyal
    Manish Goyal Year ago

    Adam, you are so inspiring.

  • Andrijana Bilbija

    Wow, so inspiring. This makes me question everything.

  • Scott Brown
    Scott Brown Year ago

    Great job Adam, keep up the amazing work. Truly inspiring and gives me great hope for the future. Always lead with your heart... the universe will fill in the details.

  • S Amelie #
    S Amelie # Year ago

    What a great Story

  • Ana
    Ana Year ago

    Adam Braun -> Scooter Braun -> Justin Bieber

  • vsleboss cacakaka

    Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  • claud maximus
    claud maximus Year ago +2

    these exotic stories of taking a privaleged westener into poverty striken 3rd world neighbourhoods and implementing some improvements
    for what purpose?it seems a lot has got to do with his own ideals and satisfaction.What research did you do to think you can assist here in a positive way? what happens when the other people find out charity is given out in just a few areas and it creates conflict because it isnt available to them?
    sure we feel good when we think we are helping others,I would focus on the bigger picture

    • Thumb Print
      Thumb Print 6 months ago

      Claud, I understand your point but what would you do? Is it better then to build nothing, do nothing? What is your approach?

  • Jazzmin Earthling

    I remember the film BEFORE SUNSET talking about a pencil organisation just like that..

  • Davida Lawson
    Davida Lawson Year ago

    I Love This Video Because He Reveals Some Great Ideas About Life.

  • Sharon Kinsella
    Sharon Kinsella Year ago

    Adam, you're an inspiration!

  • WeirdWorld
    WeirdWorld Year ago +1

    where should one consider a child to likely starve in the usa or somewhere else

  • Eduardo Molina
    Eduardo Molina Year ago

    Traduzcan la conferencia porfa vor