“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” -Benjamin Franklin
Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing my good buddie Karol Gajda from Ridiculously Extraordinary.
Karol helps people discover what he terms Ridiculous Freedom. He is an entrepreneur and minimalist and I am excited to have him on my site. Now let’s move onto our interview.
1. Karol, could please tell everyone a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Thanks Ivan. I’m 29, have been working for myself since age 19, and I inspire people to do epic shit.
2. Was there a tipping point for you, a moment where you decided to completely change what you where doing and how you where living ? What helped you get through this transitioning phase?
The tipping point was being in University and realizing how hard they were brainwashing me. I knew there was a better way and I did everything it took to find it. What helped me was I didn’t give myself a backup plan. I mostly stopped going to class and could barely program my way out of a box by the time I graduated. (I was a Computer Science major.)
3. For the past 10 years you have had the great opportunity of being your own boss. What are a few of the most valuable things you have learned on your journey of being an entrepreneur ?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that you have to trust yourself when others don’t. Nobody will believe in you until you succeed. And even then you’ll meet with a lot of resistance.
4. On your site you say that your mission is to help 100 people achieve extraordinary freedom. What does this exactly mean? Do you know how many people have achieved this ?
It means different things to different people. To me Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom means I get to do what I want and live whatever dreams I happen to have. I don’t know yet how many people have achieved this. I was just having a conversation with my mastermind group about how I need to figure out how to track this somehow.
5. A while back you wrote a free manifesto “The American Dream Is Dead”, could you tell us what it’s all about? Where do you see America headed in the next decade?
The full title is The American Dream Is Dead (Long Live The American Dream!) and it’s about how the American Dream many of us were sold is no longer. The home, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids was a dream that was decided for us, then forced down our throats, and it got us into a huge mess.
I don’t speculate where America is headed. I don’t live in the future. I know I’ll always be OK because I no longer blindly buy into what anybody tells me. Everybody is lying to us so we have to put trust in ourselves.
6. With the flexibility of your business, you have had the opportunity to pursue many of your hobbies. Could you share with us what they are and what have you learned by actively participating in them?
My main hobbies are playing guitar and reading. Owning my life means I get to do both of those things a lot. I also have the freedom to do them whenever and wherever I choose. 5 in the morning, 5 in the evening, or whatever the case may be. What I’ve learned is that I really enjoy seeking knowledge and I also really enjoy learning to sing/play silly pop songs.
Earlier this year I flew to India to learn how to turn blocks of wood into a beautifully playable guitar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jijSGNXH1vw
7. What books would you recommend for anyone looking to start a business or find their creative passion?
The first book I recommend is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr Robert Cialdini. It sounds much more sinister than it is. It’s really about giving people what they want, which in turn means you’ll get what you want. The rest of the books I recommend are listed here: 9 Essential Books For Bloggers and Freedom Fighters
8. Since my site is all about discovering inner and outer freedom, could you please share with us what “freedom” means to you?
My definition is very simple. Freedom to me is the ability to do what I want to do no matter what’s happening around me.
9. With your recent epic “3 day sales”, you have contributed a lot of money to entrepreneur’s through Kiva.org and enough to build a few water wells in Africa. Whats your main motivation for this? Do you have any success stories from the entrepreneurs you have helped?
The motivation is that I know what my enough point is and I have more than enough. Why not help others who don’t have enough yet? I don’t have any success stories. I’ve lent to 89 entrepreneurs through Kiva, but I don’t personally keep in touch with them.
10. Last question, you have already accomplished many amazing projects, what do you have in store for the near future?
I’m going to go to Michigan and spend some time with my family before putting together some epic quests. I haven’t officially announced what those will be so I’ll keep my mouth shut for the time being.
Once again, I just want to thank you for taking the time to be with us Karol.
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