These are some of the top Free Doers, past and present, who have set out each day of their lives to make a difference in the world. Each of them has taken bold action without worrying about any backlash from people in power, and has helped to make our world a better place.
1. Narayanan Krishnan
A man in Dehli, India who left his job as a chef in a 5-star hotel to care for the poor on the streets of India. With a focus and desire to help people every single day of his life, Krishnan drives around and picks up homeless men off the street, bathes them then feeds them. In a society where we tend to ignore homeless people around us, he has a never ending desire to help these people. He’s dedicated his life to making a difference to those that are neglected.
2. Russell Brand
Russell is waking up a great deal of people right now, through his comedy shows, tweets and public debates on the media around dismantling the current bi-partisan system which operates in most so-called democracies, and simply doesn’t work. Russell starting a revolution here.
3. The Monks of Tibhirine
French Christian monks living in war-torn Algeria, they were faced with a difficult choice: to stay where they were likely to be killed, or to leave and walk away from their loved ones and the village that depended on them. In the end they stayed and most of the monks were murdered. They chose to stay to represent love to the community around them, and to show tyranny that they would not step aside for anyone when their duty was to spread love and help people. One can look at these Free Doers and think that evil ‘won’ – however, their story and example remains with us and will for all eternity in the subconscious of every human being.
An inspirational motion picture was created about their story, ‘Of Gods and Men‘.
4. Ayrton Senna
One of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. At his core Senna believed that winning meant racing his car faster than his own previous best. He put amazing pressure on himself to keep improving, because he knew that becoming great would put him in a position of power to help the children of Brazil. At the time of his death, though he kept it quiet, he was donating a large part of his wealth to poor children of his homeland.
5. Bill Cunningham
A renowned photographer within the fashion industry, known for starting fashion trends with his photos in New York. Cunningham has devoted his life to shooting people in the street and identifying beauty within crowds of people. With all the glamour around him, he lives a humble life, wearing the same outfit most days, eating plain food, and living in a tiny apartment surrounded by boxes. His legacy is that of a man who finds and shows unique beauty within the world. He refuses to take money so he can continue to be a Free Doer, and has given his life for people to see this, so much so the fashion industry watches everything he does. More about him here.
6. Vik Muniz
An international acclaimed Brazilian artist, Muniz created a project where he went to the garbage pickers in Rio de Janeiro, working at one of the lowest PERCEIVED jobs in the world, and turned them into well-renowned artists, and changed their lives. What he didn’t expect to discover was the pride of some of the pickers. To these pickers, what they were doing was not trawling through trash, but instead, helping save the environment from plastic waste. He gave Tiao the president of the pickers, a platform to be one of the leading spokesmen of recycling in Brazil. Movie on this here.
7. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevera
From an Argentine doctor riding across South America providing medical aid to poor people, to becoming a communist in pursuit of creating a united America; which he believed was the way to create a more equal society where everyone would be looked after, rather than the capitalist system. At his core, Ernesto Guevera wanted to change the way that we the people were controlled by capitalism. He had one of the leading Free Doer attitudes: wanting to create a better society for everyone around him where everyone is equal and looked after. Though he went about it in a violent way as he saw no other option, if he was around today with the internet and the current social nature of the web, perhaps he would look at this approach in an entirely different way. He is the face of ‘revolutionism’ today and his energy drives millions of people to make a difference in the world.
8. Betty Friedan
A leading Free Doer known as “the mother of the women’s liberation movement”, Friedan created a major wave of feminism in the west through the 20th century through her writing, organising and speaking. She founded many women’s organisations, led equality strikes and marches, and eventually passed an equality rights amendment in the US constitution. She sparked the whole wave of equality for women across the world. Learn about her here.
9. Bruce Lee
Lee was a great Free Doer, inspiring millions of people through his athletic abilities. However, Lee was also a philosopher. His underlying message can be summed up as: knowledge is useless without applying what you learn. He believed that you should not follow any one person, as we are all made unique in our own ways, and that instead you should learn all the various techniques and styles in your chosen field and create your own unique style from this. Lee said that one must be like water, and feel one’s own unique style. His message continues to drive people around the world to live their most authentic life.
10. Dr John C Lilly
A physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, writer and medical researcher, Lilly dedicated his life to the relentless pursuit of the question: ‘What is reality’? From a scientific point of view this lead him to understand what makes up the mind. An unparalleled scientific visionary and explorer, Lilly has made significant contributions to psychology, brain research, computer theory, medicine, ethics, dolphinology, and interspecies communication.
Lilly’s interest in the nature of human consciousness led him to invent the isolation tank in the 1950s. The isolation or ‘float tank’, is now one of the most powerful tools for self exploration and that of the universe. His work on levels of consciousness.
11. Nikola Tesla
Was the father of modern electricity, wireless technology, the radio, and alternating current energy. Tesla’s work went head to head with Thomas Edison’s, which was more focused on direct energy with power plants. Tesla believed we didn’t need power plants, and put a great deal of pressure on Edison’s business model and capitalistic society. Everyone turned against Tesla because this was not a capitalistic path. Because of the technology that we all use today, his impact on the modern world is unparalleled. He wanted to make the world a better place through his inventions, and he has. Documentary on him here.
12. Napoleon hill
A leading thinker who devoted twenty years to interviewing the most successful people in the early 1900’s, including people such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Eddison, Tesla and Henry Ford. Hill also explored the mechanics of how to live a fulfilling life and live your destiny. His books are unrivaled in providing the blueprint on helping humanity strive for what we want within our own lives. Why his books are not compulsory reading within schools – that is something Free Doers need to change. Watch a full length interview on him here.
13. Muhammad Ali
Widely known for his success within boxing, Ali’s prowess goes well beyond the ring. By living the life as a Free Doer he has left a legacy as a champion, leader, social activist and humanitarian. During his fighting days he pushed the anti-war message, and continued this after his fighting career, along with philanthropic ventures and going to Iraq in 1990 to negotiate the release of 15 hostages. He lead a life which inspired millions to be better human beings. Here is an interview with some of his views.
14. & 15. Martin Luther King Jr & Mahatma Gandhi
Two men famous for non-violent protest, both King and Gandhi have pathed the way for modern day Free Doers, showing that the true fight is not through violence, but peaceful means. Only when we come from love will our light be an immovable force which will transform the world into a better place than we found it. These two men have created the blueprint for how the world can change.
16. Amy Goodman
Creator of the show Democracy Now, one of the first leading independent news shows in the US that focuses on the grassroots level of journalism which would not otherwise be included in the mainstream media. Goodman has had a major influence on the rise of independent, grassroots journalism across the web. Goodman on mainstream media.
17. Justin Amash
A Republican within the US who defies Washington and the establishment with his stance on NSA spying by the government. He has been the poster child for listening to the issues of the people on spying and bringing it straight to the government, with his anti-surveillance amendment, which the Obama administration didn’t want to pass. He is not worried about what enemies he makes in the Government as long as he defends individual rights to freedom. A great Free Doer. Here’s Amash’s speaking his views on the amendment.
18. Jeremy Scahill
On a mission to expose the dirty war that the US has led since the Bush administration, telling stories about real people surrounded by the wars and exposing what is really going on. Playing a dangerous game, Scahill continues to believe in his independent journalistic approach to get at the truth behind the policy that drives these endless wars. He’s truly put his neck out to tell this story.
19. Barbara Ehrenreich
An activist since the 70’s well known for her work exposing issues in health care, peace, women’s rights and economic justice. Termed a veteran muckraker by the New Yorker, Ehrenreich has spent the past 30 years exposing truth and pushing for worldwide change on these issues. Barbara on the darker side of positive thinking.
20. David Icke
One of the ‘thought leaders’ who believes that we are being controlled by Dark Doers and that the world around us is all an illusion. Regardless of his controversial rants and theories, his constant drive each and every day to show us that life on this planet is just a ride and what we perceive around us is not real; it’s a hologram of fear instilled in us and controlled by the corporations, the government, religious institutions and the media which keeps us in a constant state of ‘worrying about tomorrow’, having regret about yesterday and forgetting about ‘now’. Icke has pioneered the progressive alternative media movement. Icke on the expansion of consiousness.
21. Bill Hicks
A standup comedian, who was censored regularly by major TV shows due to his widely outspoken nature throughout the 80s on how most people are controlled to be Sheeple. His work encompassed a wide range of social issues such as religion, politics, philosophy, attacked consumerism, superficiality, mediocrity and unoriginality of the media and pop culture. He truly lead the way for many thought leaders today to get people to live a life as Free Doers. A Tribute to him here.
22. Pete Seeger
A legendary folk singer, Seeger earned recognition as one of the more important pioneers and innovators in environmental activism. He founded Clearwater a grassroots model for cleaning up the Hudson River, educating his seafarers about importance of a green planet and clear waterways. These adventures have sprouted a new generation of environmentally conscious leaders. He truly is leaving a legacy as a Free Doer.
23. Gloria Steinem
A journalist, social and political activist who created many organisations and articles which lead her to being a major leader in the feminist and abortion rights movement. She really embodied the spirit that we are all free to do as we please and we have the right to be respected equally as human beings. Some of her views here.
24. Cesar Chavez
Dedicated his life to to winning recognition of equal rights for agriculture workers in Mexico, where many at the time endured terrible working conditions. Through organisations, marches, strikes and boycotts, Chavez ultimately won by forcing exploitative employers to pay fair wages and benefits to the workers. A true labor rights Free Doer. Full length documentary on him here.
25. Harvey Milk
An extraordinary, courageous leader who fought (despite the constant threats on his life) to end the discrimination against the gay, lesbian and transgender communities in the 70s. Milk has lit the torch for many civil rights advances we are seeing today across the web and the world. He was also the first openly gay man elected to public office. A speech made by Harvey on hope.
26. Howard Zinn
A renowned historian, author, playwright and civil rights activist, Zinn extensively wrote about civil rights, labor history and anti-war messages. His most powerful message were for the young generations; to rethink American history and pave a better road for the world. Nothing better sums up his message than Matt Damon’s talk on Zinn’s supposition on the world: It’s time for citizens to be disobedient.
27. Saul Alinsky
An American community organiser and writer who helped improve the living conditions of dozens of ghettos across America. Renowned for his organising skills, Alinsky created a blueprint for the way community organising was done, followed by the counterculture-era organisers. The legacy he left: the alteration of democracy through his ideas written in the book Rules for Radicals, which is followed still to this day. Saul on being an outside agitator.
28. & 29. Holmes Wilson & Tiffany Cheng
Founders of FightForTheFuture.org one of the most successful activist campaigns of our times. This year alone they organized over 30,000 websites to fight CISPA and NSA spying, used the Internet to get a teenager out of jail and save free speech, raised over $1 million for Charity on Bitcoin Black Friday, and helped organize the largest protest against NSA surveillance in history where they delivered over 575,000 signatures to Congress. Wilson and Cheng are rallying more and more people to stand up against laws being passed internationally which restrict our freedoms.
30. Anthony Cymerys
For the past 25 years Cymerys has been offering his hairdressing services on a weekly basis to the homeless in exchange for hugs. In a world where we are judged by appearance, he gives homeless people the opportunity to feel good about themselves, be seen and have a sense of self. Cymerys receives more enjoyment cutting hair for free than when he was paid for it. His story here.
31. Paul Williams
A child protection officer in Sierra Leone (one of the most corrupt countries on earth) who filmed the lives of children placed in his care. He did this for the love of the children, to show the world how a war torn area seriously impacted the lives of these children. Six weeks after filming he died, the cause of his death has been subject to debate. Knowing the dangers of what he was doing, he did it anyways and forever left a legacy to expose the truth. See his story here.
32. Joe Rogan
A standup comedian, color commentator, writer and mixed martial arts broadcaster. He is waking up more young men than any other person on the planet today. With one of the most popular podcasts talking to UFC fans to creative individuals who look to expand consciousness with their daily endeavors. From running a floatation centre, I see the influence he has on many young men that come to using float tanks looking to change their lives for the better. Hear him in action.
33. Ronny Edry
An Israeli designer who wanted to show Iranian people they really do care for them and don’t want war. By creating pictures of himself and his family saying ‘Iranians we love you’ Edry started an avalanche of Iranians and Israelis on Facebook posting up their own pictures of themselves sending messages of love to the other side. This is taking action to change the world on a larger scale. Ronny on Israel and Iran: A Love Story.
34. Gary Yourofsky
Is an american activist on animal rights, who has been arrested 32 times raising awareness of the unethical abuse of animals and hypocrisy eating meat. He is currently doing talks across the US to students raising awareness and pushing ‘veganism’ to young people making them think about the impact eating meat does to animals and the world.
There are so many more people who are Free Doers who have inspired me and other Free Doers to make the world a better place. I most likely will create a page which I update with Free Doers who are making a continuous difference.
With the internet and the ability for people now to become aware of issues, create and become Free Doers, there are more sprouting up all over the place. This is one of the most exciting times EVER to be alive and to make a difference.
“To look is one thing.
To see what you look at is another.
To understand what you see is a third.
To learn from what you understand is still something else.
But to act on what you learn is all that really matters!”
~ Native American Wisdom
Who would you add to this list?
Who are the Free Doers who inspire YOU to meaningful action?