Adam Carter on Finding Life Advice in Unexpected Places

In Chapter 11 of 13 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, micro-philanthropist Adam Carter answers "At This Point in Your Life, Where are You Seeking Advice and Coaching?"  Carter finds good advice in a network of friends pursuing different field of work and study.  He finds the best advice often comes from the most unexpected places.  For example, in his micro-philanthropy work, Carter finds inspiration meeting and learning from local heroes in places such as the shanty towns of Rio. 

Adam Carter is a micro-philanthropist currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He is the founder of the Cause and Affect Foundation which raises small amounts of financing to provide direct-to-source project funding for individuals and communities in need across the globe.  To date, Carter has traveled to over 80 countries.  He earned an MA in International Development from George Washington University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan.


Erik Michielsen: At this point in your life where are you seeking advice and coaching?

Adam Carter: Luckily, I have a network, a lot of friends that are involved in various fields, fields of study, fields of work, and I’ve found that sometimes some of the most insightful information comes from the most unlikely of places. So I always try to keep myself open to those friends that I—sometimes friends that I really respect that have climbed up in whatever field that they’re involved in, but, at the same time, I’ve found that sometimes it comes from the people on the street, the people that you would never assume would be those to be giving advice, and in my philanthropy work, I’ve become so inspired by some of these local heroes that I’ve been working with, or just some of the people that I have come into contact with through these projects. The 85-year-old woman in Rio, in the shantytowns in Rio, We can see her living conditions are horrible. They’re sub-humane, so “we’re going to fix the roof. We’re going to get you a new mattress. What else do you want?” She’s like, “no, that’s great.” And we’re like, “okay, how about a new fan, you know, to get—“ she’s like, “well, that one still works fine.” “Okay, well, how about—“ and just that humility. Someone finally shows up at her doorstep to help her and she has the humility to say, “No, that’s great. That’s all I really need.” I mean, that’s incredible. We’re used to hearing about people that just want to take, take, take. So, I mean, sometimes it’s—as I said, people you would never expect to learn something from. You’re not even seeking advice, and all of a sudden you get this life lesson thrown at you. So that’s been one really rewarding aspect of receiving advice.