Serfbliss started as a year long journey where James Beck set out to serve a family in every state for three days. Some were familiar faces while most were complete strangers. James met many of these people for the first time when they answered the door. The only thing he asked in return was that they ‘Pay-it-Forward’.
Starting on April 1, 2011 and finishing April 1, 2012, James traveled over 30,000 miles to give his time to help others. The tasks were usually a surprise. It ranged from the mundane to the physically taxing, from emotionally gripping to mentally exhausting. He did everything from farm chores to speech writing, helping victims of natural disasters to babysitting, revamping a small family business to cleaning homes. In Wisconsin, he helped plan a party for the 20th anniversary of a heart transplant. In Arizona, he served on the Navajo reservation. In Ohio, he took the sons of a deceased war veteran fishing, completing a promise unfulfilled.
Serfbliss was the first step towards creating a ‘Pay-it-Forward’ social movement. The project crosses religious, socioeconomic, and cultural lines. James served single mothers, elderly folks, bachelors, and young couples. People across America committed to participating. Those served range from atheists to Baptist ministers, Tea Party Advocates to left wing supporters, from farmers to business owners, from a Harvard professor to contestants from the NBC show ‘The Biggest Loser.'
Technology connects people in the virtual world, but it tends to disconnect us from human contact. Serfbliss was a yearlong test to see if a person could thrive in society by existing in a constant state of giving. Since it was a success, a few friends are reverse engineering the experience to grow practical applications from the concept that promote selfless giving.
This page is an overview of the SerfBliss Project and the Book 'Hey Dad, Remember me?
How do you summarize 25 years of work on a single page? Well, if pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth a million. This page contains links to different video playlists that address the nature and validity of my work. In a day an age where people write books that sensationalize hard times for a 'dysfunction for dollars' financial payout, I wanted to offer my story and prove it's validity for those that have reasonable skepticism. Please forgive the amateur nature of my videos and the sound quality. I'm teaching myself how to produce & edit.
This playlist has videos created during the first moments of my trip. There is a video of mom, dad, sister, and a few friends. It shows the type of people we are and the lives we lead.
When I told my dad about the SerfBliss idea, he said, “Bubba, don’t do it. I don’t see how it is possible for you to succeed. The road will test you in ways you can’t imagine. You will go hungry. You will face pain and discouragement at levels you have never known. You are a dreamer and your ideas live in a honeymoon fantasy. Marrying yourself to an idea and following through is much different. There are no guarantees. The work will be the hardest thing you will ever face. It seems romantic when you hear a story about adventure. I told you the fun side of my travels, but there is a dark side. The truth of the experience is difficult and ugly. Putting yourself in a situation where your only options are success or death is not wise. Do not do this.”
I responded, “Dad, there is nothing you can say or do to deviate me from my course. I have made my decision. However, if you have anything new to say, I will listen.”
After a pregnant pause, he replied, “Good luck.” His tone got somber and then he said, “The whole animal kingdom is set up to support the young and once you are old enough, you are kicked out of the family to start one of your own. This is no different. If you are going to do this, then you must do it on your own. I will not support you, nor will I be there to catch you if you should fail. If you want to know what it is like to face the world as a man, then you must do it alone. Only by succeeding alone can you become the man you wish to be.”
The last video contains the first time I saw my dad, after this conversation. This was the time I spent with my father as I launched out into the world working at began becoming the man I wanted to be.
The button above contains a video for each quarter of the journey 1.) before I left 2.) 25% finished 3.) halfway mark 4.) 75% finished and on national news 5.) the summary at the end of the year. It is the most comprehensive playlist in that it give my perspective timestamped in the moment. This is my favorite playlist! (Also, this was the original SerfBliss logo)
This is the latest speaking engagement I was fortunate to be a part of. I thought you might like to check it out.
This is my life's work. I've sacrificed everything in my world to provide it.
I hope it serves you.
This playlist contains the entire Wingman Day talk my father and I gave at March Air Reserve Base, on March 1, 2014. After the Col. (Spike) heard about the relational transformation my father and I had, he wanted me to speak to the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing. We shared how we broke the pattern of generational dysfunction and transformed a destructive relationship into a healthy one in hopes that it would serve the men and women that serve our country. Part of this talk is contained in links throughout sample chapter 1.
This is Melissa Karkowski, the woman I mention in my TEDx talk. After the SerfBliss journey, she is 'Paying-it-Forward' by creating a 5k that supports soldiers suffering from PTSD (www.milesformike.org). She inspired me throughout my journey and grew my heart for the military. The videos in this playlist are geared toward explaining how our connection grew. The first video contains the moments that impacted me. The second video is the audition video that I helped her create for ABC's Extreme Weight Loss (even though we intended it for NBC's The Biggest Loser - but both pull from the same casting people). I included the second SerfBliss service that I made while traveling so you can experience the moments I shared with her family. The TEDx talk shows how a simple act of service can change someone's life. I also include the two videos I sent my dad for Father's Day, to show to him the impact his relational work with me has spread to other people. Lastly, I conclude the playlist with the original Father/Son talk my father and I gave in 1999 so people see how everything fits together. This shows why staying with her family struck my heart as it forced me to deal with suicide through service. I was able to deal with the issues I struggled with as a child by helping Melissa's kids.
If you want to experience what life is like when you step off in a leap of faith, live on the road, roll with life as it comes, live in a state of giving, and take the adventure of a lifetime... then watch this.