The Sad Reality of the Human Condition (and a Plea To Unsubscribe)


While most bloggers want more people reading their sites by any means necessary, I want more of my right people and less of my wrong people reading my site. By any means necessary. Even if that means asking you to unsubscribe and stop reading. The goal is to lose 1,000 readers this week. Is it you? I don’t know yet.

Last Thursday I attempted an experiment that I thought was going to be a blast. I was going to say “yes” to every request that came through online and offline for 7 days.

My first mistake is that I had expectations. I expected people to be civil. You know, use my name, say please or thank you, show respect.

What I got was over 200 requests within 36 hours (probably over 300 total since I still get 20/day – even though the experiment ended Friday night), a majority of which were, very sadly, in the “I say jump and you ask how high” realm. You can see some of that in the public requests, but it’s the private requests that did me in.

I used to be very cynical. I don’t know what happened over the past couple of years, but I lost most of that cynicism. Which is good, of course. So when I had the idea for “yes week” I didn’t expect that the majority of requests would be rude, insulting, and try to take advantage of me.

Most People Need Authority

You know I’m generally anti-authority. But this experiment made me realize that most people need authority. Most people need to be told what to do. Most people need American Idol, and WalMart, and XBox, and Burger King, and “duuuuude, it’s the weekend, let’s smoke weed and get wasted, yeah!”

What most people don’t need is free reign. What most people can’t do is control themselves when given great opportunities.

This is good.

I’m not looking for most people to read this site. This site is for a very small minority. I didn’t realize just how small until this week. But it’s small. And I’m happy to give my all to that small minority.

I’m also happy to say “fuck off” to everybody else. Everybody else: I don’t need you. You don’t need me. Let’s part ways now, yeah? Unsubscribe is at the end of every e-mail and in your feedreader. Click, click, click … thank you. ;)

How Would I Conduct A Request If I Knew Someone I Respected Would Say Yes?

It’s easy. “Hi Mark, thanks for doing this. Could I please meet with you (via phone or in person) for 5 minutes? I have 1 specific question I’d like to ask regarding [fill in the blank].” Mark being Mark Cuban, of course. :) And hopefully he’d say in person is cool so I could fly to Dallas and meet with him. hehe

My right people know I believe in the 5 Sentences Rule so the request would be short and to the point. Respectful.

The goal would obviously be to make an impression in that 5 minutes. But the goal definitely would not be to disrespect him and his time. “Uhh, could I have some money? I know you’re going to say yes. Since you’re a billionaire, how about a milli mil?” No name, no please. He’s not Mark Cuban anymore. Just some rich dude with “too much money and probably too much free time.”

I had people literally ask me for 3 hours of my time. 3 hours! For what? You don’t need 3 hours of my time. What you need is to take those 3 hours, get off your ass, and go do something monumental. Or watch TV. Whatever. At the very least, stop reading this site. I sure can’t help you. Nobody can.

Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom Isn’t For Everybody

I used to think it was. I was looking at things through the proverbial “rose colored glasses.”

The truth is, freedom is for the select few. It’s literally not possible for the majority to have freedom. Not only do they not truly want it, if they actually had it then they’d abuse the privilege.

One day when I was 13 my Dad asked me to mow the lawn, as he did every week. I went out back, mowed an Anarchy symbol into the grass, and called it a day. Stupid. Disrespectful. And typical 13 year old.

We’re not fucking 13 anymore

And anarchy is lame. (Unless, of course, you’re Fabian, The Friendly Anarchist.)

With The Bad, Comes The Good

I’ve focused on the bad, but there were a lot of great requests. If you left an awesome request, thank you. Most likely it has already been fulfilled. If it hasn’t been fulfilled yet, I just haven’t had time … yet. (I’ll get to it!) Although it wasn’t a majority, there were a ton of great requests and I’ve almost fulfilled that backlog. I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response. The negative requests delayed my fulfilling of the good requests. After I quit the experiment Friday night, I essentially took a day off and didn’t deal with many requests at all.

So if you had a good request, you should tell all the disrespectful requesters to fuck off as well. They messed with you as much as they did with me. Because as you know, Freedom Fighting isn’t even about me. It’s about us. We can’t tolerate disrespect here.

It all boils down to this: if you’re awesome, I want you here. If you’re not, I don’t.


I’m on the way to BlogWorld right now. I don’t know how much I’ll be online while in Vegas as I’ll be mostly hanging out with kick ass people … and then checking out Death Valley, Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, etc for a few days afterwards. What I mean is, comment moderation and e-mail responses might be slow but I’m happy to hear from you! :)


P.S. If you’re still here: I love you.


  1. I really am sorry to hear about the negativity that came spewing your way. I can’t say I’m surprised though.

    Hopefully this post will keep some in gear and help them understand what you’re all about.

    The way I look at it, is you are planting seeds with each post. Some take longer to grow, but when the seed is planted…it will grow.

    Enjoy blogworld!

  2. Sweet post!
    I totally agree with you Karol, I’d rather have 500 followers who care than 5000 who don’t care about what I have to say.

    By sticking to your style and not being a pushover your readers will automatically filter themselves out and the ones who love you will stay and the others will leave!

    You’re a real cool dude, I’m gonna email you soon and talk about some stuff. you seem to have achieved what I want to achieve:)


  3. Totally agree that Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom Isn’t For Everybody. At one point I thought that it was simply about “converting” people. But that was being selfish on my part.

    I think your experiment was a good idea and would be curious to see how one would do it and avoid all the twats requesting silly things.

    • “Converting” – yes, that’s a problem. I never realized that maybe that’s what I was trying to do instead of simply attracting those who don’t need to be converted. Thanks Anthony!

    • Just had this thought myself this past week while doing some work for someone here in New Zealand and realizing that most people are hyper-specialized… not out of conscious decision, but simply out of lack of desire, or feelings of lack of abundance.

      1. I have subconsciously been judging people at many times in my life for choosing specialization or monotony, and trying to get them to be “more”, but I should honor their choices – and I need to constantly be figuring out how to best do that.
      2. Living an expansive and exciting life has to be about pushing your boundaries and constantly growing (what the Japanese call Kaizen), whether you choose to be specialized or not.

  4. Really sad, Karol. I’m starting my project these days and I know for sure that I want involved readers the better.

    Have a nice time in Vegas! I’m so jealous of all of you there, arghghghrh!!

  5. Karol, most people are jealous of your success because they can’t achieve what you have and they are pissed off, they don’t know that it took you few good years to get where you are now, Trust me 98% of all people rather sit in front of tv drink beer and eat chips, and dream. You are so right less is more, more of the good people who appreciate your knowledge and support, keep doing what you doing, you really helping a lot of right people, like myself, so Thank you


  6. Hi Karol – I feel so mad with you about some of the requests on your “yes” post. Bullying is not just for kids I guess. The “do this and get back to me” requests were outrageous! Wow.

    I’ve seen this happen: “What most people can’t do is control themselves when given great opportunities.” That’s very true. I used to get so mad when “that person” ruined a cool benefit at my previous life in corporate America. Then it was ruined for everyone. I think that’s why we’re now buried in paperwork in this country. Some loser had to be a jerk about something and good people got hurt in the process.

    Be honest, have integrity, be kind … the world needs more of that!

    LOL at your lawn mowing story … I think am I raising a Karol Junior here (my son is 11). Could you please write a post on how to parent a Karol Junior? ;-)

    Take care!

    • Thank you for your support Melissa. If you’re raising a Karol Junior I have good news and bad news. Good news is he won’t have any trouble in school and will be a generally model citizen. The bad news is that he will dislike school very much because it’s not challenging him. So if he mows an A in your lawn be sure to cut him some slack. ;)

    • Melissa that is the sweetest request I have seen, asking for help on how to raise a Karol Jr :) If only more parents would care enough to ask those questions.

  7. Karol,

    Love the attitude. You can’t fix stupid.
    People are like books, I give an new author the first 100 pages to get it together, then if they can’t I don’t waste my time finishing the book. Too many other choices that don’t waste my time. Don’t spend your valuable time waiting for others to understand. They won’t and I don’t care. Love your blog.

  8. Hi Karol,

    Sorry you had to go this recent experience. I was going to ask you to take 15 minutes with a nice cup of coffee for yourself, but I thought it was too corny. I didn’t read any of the other requests at the time because I didn’t want to “pollute” my own, lol.

    You’ve come to a realization that I’ve had for a little while myself. When it comes right down to it, most people don’t really want the freedom you have or describe or encourage others to achieve. They want to belong to the group that does those amazing and scary things without actually having to do them. They’re still of the spectator mindset.

    Have a great time at BlogWorld!

    • Hey Peter,

      That’s not corny, and thank you!

      “They want to belong to the group that does those amazing and scary things without actually having to do them.” <– spot on!

  9. I really enjoyed this post…….Seems like the simple question of “where is the common sense” is forgotten with so many people. Going in the right direction with
    the right people is so outstanding!

  10. Hey Karol,

    It sucks that you got so many requests instead of respectful propositions. I was one that asked you for an interview (in a polite way :)) but decided not to send it to you because I figured it would be cooler and more reputable for you to check out my site when it’s up and decide for yourself if contributing to my site by interview would be cool and worth it.

    Wish I’d be in Vegas for BlogWorld but I’ll actually be out there for around Thanksgiving. Thanks for keeping everyone grounded and keep on keepin’.


  11. I also expected something like this to come of it. I’m sad that people are so predictable. I didn’t ask for something, or propose something because there was nothing more I needed from you than what you write in your blog. Why should I go wasting resources, even, or especially if they are someone elses, just because I can?
    Hey Karol,

    Many people cannot understand that sustainability is a guiding principle that needs to be applied to everything, not just your own resources, but to resources globally. I hope you enjoyed the good requests and don’t regain cynicism.


    PS. anarchism rocks if it’s consent based ;)

  12. “My first mistake is that I had expectations.” – I love that you posted this. Sometimes “having expectations” feels like “kick yourself in the nads”.

    Sounds like somewhere in the midst of the garbage you found some diamonds; found some opportunities to help & meet some awesome people. I salute your willingness to have tried this. It’s pretty kick-ass dood.

    • I’ve actually written about how to stop being disappointed by not having expectations for others. I didn’t follow my own advice in this situation. :) Thanks for your support Glenn!

  13. Karol,

    When I saw you doing this experience and first announced it, I was “whoa, that is a ridiculously extraordinary coolness” because I saw this as an opportunity for people, including myself, to reach out to someone who is “there” and bring back something with them to put into action.

    I even won a book “Yes man” which I am grateful and looking forward to read it. Thank you for that.

    One thing I am not so sure about, is if people “need” authority or they need to be “rewired”.

    I think people want freedom but don’t know how to deal with it. They want to “use” you correctly but saw it as a truth or dare type of thing. Because sadly, society has taught them to be so. They don’t want authority but at the moment, this is what they choose because they don’t know how to deal with freedom.

    I think your ebook Luxury of Less is a great start to learning about freedom and getting into the zone of it. I think being active in a great community of people who are doing it will help them.

    As for me, I would like to thank you for all the time you gave me so far, outside of this 7 days trial and inside the 7 days, and if I requested and acted in a manner of “people who need authority”, I ask for your apology and please let me know how I can improve.

    BTW, does the 5 sentence rule applies to comments? 8)

    • P.S. Someone requested a letter for their nephew, I am curious as what you wrote and if you are able to publicize it, I would like to read it.

      Thank you again for all that you do.

    • 5 sentences doesn’t apply to comments. :)

      You make an interesting observation Roy. Maybe they did see it as a truth or dare type thing. Hmmm. Even so, it still didn’t work out very positively. :)

      I don’t recall you overstepping any bounds Roy. No worries. :)

  14. Karol, I loved this post. Very Everett Bogue-ish, if you don’t mind my saying ;) It’s good to get a little mad sometimes.

    I used to succumb to cynicism, but now I’m just in awe how we manage to keep the ball rolling everyday regardless of all the idiocy in the world. It’s truly amazing, and funny, and sad. Just a ride, eh?

    Enjoy Vegas!

  15. I had to go & check my e-mail…”Thanks again Karol for the ‘yes’ to the interview request.”

    Civil; whew. I was nervous, because I have been a dick a few times in my life. No, no, really, it’s true.

    Anyway, here’s hoping you have a rocking time in Vegas!


  16. I’m sorry you had to deal with such a mess for such an awesome idea! I hope someone said yes to you…And if they didn’t, I will…YES!

  17. Speaking as one who’s request you did fulfill, and admirably, I am really sorry that this turned into such a crappy deal for you.

    Bear in mind that the idiot responses probably came from a vocal but tiny minority. The internet does have an extremely low bar of entry and potential access to lots of people very cheaply so it is going to attract the sleazeballs.

    • That’s a very good point Steve. And I definitely know that most everybody here rocks. I’m not actually saddened by this whole thing. I think it was very telling and an important experiment.

  18. Sorry that it didn’t turn out exactly how you wanted it to.

    One thing I like about your blog and writing is that you try different things and sometimes they don’t work out (publicly). You don’t just post about the good and great, your transparent and open about both your successes and failures. In your other post you mentioned it’s about our failures that make us successful. I think that’s right on.

    Keep being rad. Fuck everyone else.

  19. Karol, I’m truly sorry your radical inclusion experiment yielded these results. On the bright side, you’ve further defined “your right people” :)

    Shake it off and enjoy yourself at BlogWorld!!

  20. Wow, Karol! A thought about how ugly things could get did cross my mind when I first read about your “yes week.” But I had no clue it would get so bad for you.

    On the other hand, as I wrote a while back, I’m a firm believer that guys like us are “extremely fortunate to continually have some of the most amazingly positive experiences that I can imagine this planet has to offer! It’s imperative that [we] accept the fact that, in those pursuits, [we’re] also susceptible to some of the bad that exists in the world.”

    Thanks for the update- keep on kicking ass!

  21. Hey Karol, sad to see that things got so out of hand. Anarchy can suck for sure, although that lawn-mowing story made me smile… anyway, I am glad you make an exception for friendly anarchism. Actually, it were similar experiences that made me choose that name for my site in the first place: Freedom is a great thing as long as it leaves space for the freedom of others. And that’s where it’s limitations are.

    I personally will certainly stick around, looking forward to things to come. Plus, thanks again for taking the time for my request. What’s more, I even got another critique from your reader Katie, so I’m really glad how things worked out! Have an awesome time in Vegas!

    • @Fabian

      “Freedom is a great thing as long as it leaves space for the freedom of others.”

      What a great way of putting it. I also like how Richard Bach stated this: “The only true law is that which leads to freedom”. Cheers.

  22. Karol,

    I understand your reaction and the frustration you feel. At the same time, we never know when someone will make a shift – there’s always a magic moment that can come. No one is permanently one way or the other. We can all change, it’s our very nature. So please don’t give up on humanity! All this “bad” behavior only stems from unhappiness and seeing such unhappiness can unleash more compassion within us. all the best to you.

  23. You know you are awesome, do not you?
    I almost felt scared when I read the post since my private over-personal petition may had disturbed you. But I will keep reading this because I feel that if I manage to apply half of what I see here I can be just gorgeous.
    Thanks Karol!

    • haha, thanks Pau! You’re awesome for saying that. You definitely didn’t disturb me, because we’ve all been in similar situations.

  24. I hear you, have had exactly the same experiences myself.

    In college, I attempted to launch group teaching and practising 3D CGI with Blender. It flopped, badly. Most people just cannot be bothered to put in the effort required to achieve anything.

    Basically its the same issue than came up during our conversation the other day regarding the education system. Unfortunately most people are incapable of thinking for themselves.

    If voluntary minimalism does reach the mainstream, it will be nothing more than another fad. People will follow just because its the cool thing to do.

    Anyway, in other, less depressing news: the interview is up. Audio interview with Karol Gajda:

    Disregarding all of the depressing requests, I am sure you have gained a few happy memories. Now: go enjoy BlogWorld!

    • Yeah, minimalism might become a big fad … but even if that happens it will be beneficial.

      Thanks for the interview Robert! I hope your cold is feeling better.

      • Maybe, but it would also be a hollow success, most people still would not “get it”. Given that, I am sure someone would come up with a way of making people spend all there money buying a different kind of (probably digital) junk.

        My cold is about the same unfortunately, it sucks!

  25. Karol,
    Just because some people got stupidly carried away, does not invalidate the original idea which was ridiculously extraordinary and brave. I’m sure you made many people’s days on the respectful requests you did fulfill.

    I tried to think of a request but I felt that anything I could ask (that would have been a challenge on my part like an interview) would have been lame for you. But I don’t feel like my opportunity has passed because if I ever come up with something great, I’m going to ask anyway.

    Thanks for being awesome!

  26. Karol,

    I loved this post. Honesty and integrity. Awesome. Don’t give in to the cynicism, some people just suck and it’d be a shame to let them get you down.


  27. Hmm…I wonder how many of them came from actual regular readers vs. people hearing about your experiment and wanting to get in on the action?

    I think what you’ve tasted is the down-side of fame. The good side is meeting new people, followers, sales. The bad side is free-loaders. Free-loaders respect your fame, not your personhood.

    I think great freedom is for the free-loaders, too, they just don’t understand it yet. They think freedom means “free to get as much as I want” instead of “free to fully live”

    • I’ve thought about that as well Elizabeth, but I have no real way of knowing what’s what. In any case, thank you for your thoughts! :)

  28. Hey Karol,

    One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve been blogging is that I tend to get disproportionately upset by negative comments and emails compared to the positive ones. I have some readers who only seem to want to poke holes in what I say. I always think “Why are you even here?” It does affect me and I don’t really know why — the vast majority of my readers are totally awesome, and I sometimes overlook them when I get wrapped up in the negative stuff.

    Your “saying yes” campaign was a brave one, and good for you for fulfilling your end of the deal. The thing about the internet is that it allows people to communicate with others with virtually zero effort, so whenever you offer something free and open-ended you’re going to get people trying to take advantage. It’s just a function of the internet’s size and accessibility. Don’t take it personally (easy to say, I know) and don’t read too much into it. Most of those people probably thought “Hey it’s worth a shot, zero risk to me…” They might not be bad people after all.

    • Very true David. And I don’t take it personally. Once I ended the experiment Friday everything was all good. :) I feel like this article was necessary to make sure those who aren’t really into what I’m doing don’t bother sticking around.

  29. I’m *SO* excited that you’re hitting up Death Valley! It’s by far my favorite natural wonder (so far). Might I suggest taking it in alone, and spending several hours so you can watch the sun move over the landscape? Awe inspiring…

  30. You are so right, most people do need authority. As evident by examples of when governments are taking down, chaos ensues unless someone steps in to take control.
    For all the kindness you have shown by fulfilling so many requests, may you one day meet Mr. Cuban :)

  31. I think the thing about life is that many people want the ridiculously extraordinary results but don’t want to put in the work that generates it. They’re probably the same people that buy into “get rich quick” schemes and think that winning lotto is the only thing that could change their lives. They’re missing out on so much that is wonderful in life – not just the results but the feeling of accomplishment, the amazed awe of “I made that happen, I worked for that!”

    I am sorry that they got you down, but you’re right – they’re not the people who will get the most out of being here. I don’t write here much but I really really appreciate your blog and all of the tools and knowledge I have gained from you. Thank you for being you.

  32. Friggin’ awesome, Karol! This post made my day.

    I have to admit I haven’t been reading your blog every week, even after subscribing to RSS. But you showed a lot of balls telling ppl to fuck off and unsubscribe. I dare say I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before and I’ve been reading blogs since before the damn word was around.

    Anyway, I’m going to move RidEx up to my #1 spot in the rss reader now. You’ve earned it!

    PS: I love how none of the offended/offenders have chimed in on this thread and called you out… They must feel too ashamed…

    Or stoned. ;)

    • Thanks Luke. :) Only one “hater” chimed in, but I don’t allow haters for haters-sake (critiques are fine) so I never approved the comment.

      Awesome that I’ve moved into the #1 spot! :) Woohooo!

  33. Hey Karol, I was totally bummed to hear about all the negative responses you got to your offer radical inclusion, so I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the chance to interview you. Time is precious. Thank you so much for sharing some of yours with me. Hope I can return the favor someday!


  34. Sorry to hear that so many tried to take advantage of your generous and vulnerable offer. True freedom is not possible without truly responsible behavior towards yourself and others. Not everyone understands that unfortunately. But even if lots of people won’t ‘get it’, I think it’s very important to keep showing the door. Even if 99% acts like idiots, its the 1% that steps through the door that matters.

  35. There are more blogs about pursuing your freedom and happiness and so on, than you can shake a stick at. I was subscribed to many of them. Over time, I found that I was “collecting” blogs in my reader, as if I would further my progress to freedom by consuming all that is out there.

    I’ve done some “self-weeding” in unsubscribing from the blogs that, while good, don’t really resonate with me on all cylinders, so to speak.

    I really like your blog in that it is fresh, wry, and to the point, similar to my own personality. :-)

    And I completely agree that most people a) do not REALLY want freedom, they just want to whine and moan about their crappy situations and b) wouldn’t know what to do with freedom if they actually had it and would likely spend the time doing ever banal and mundane thing that society offers.

    Thank you for the opportunities that you present, the eye opening and thought provoking posts, and for your resilience in being you and doin’ your own thing!

  36. I love it! You are such a nice guy. It’s sad stupid people try to take advantage of that! I was sucked into the post from start to finish. Your literary voice was on display.
    I bet this one was not too hard to write for you (I bet it flowed).
    It sounded a little angry but sometimes that is good, you definately got your point accross.
    Loved it!

    • Thanks Randall. The funny thing is it wasn’t angry at all. If I had written it Friday it would have been, but I didn’t write it until Wednesday … a few days after I had quit the experiment. That helped a lot. :)

  37. Hi Karol. Many people find it difficult to adapt to freedom because they’ve never had it. They grow up with authoritarian parents, “this is my house and you’ll follow my rules!” and go to school in an environment that is one rung below a prison “when the bell rings stop what you are doing and move to the next room”. Then they might move on to a cubicle job with a “policies and procedures” binder that’s a foot thick. So most people are conditioned to respond to orders and detailed directions and they don’t even realize it. They literally do not know what freedom is. How could they? But those of us who do know really appreciate your efforts! There is great satisfaction in being around like-minded people who have common values and aspirations. Keep punching!

    • Thank you Pete. I agree, it’s hard to break the mold when you’ve been living in the confinement of a cast. So in many respects I definitely understand why what happened happened. After conversations with quite a few people about it, I realize that much of the problem is the way I structured the experiment.

  38. Great post, I couldn’t agree more & I’m totally sticking around!. Thanks again for taking the time do my wee tea & travel interview during your “yes!’ week, I really enjoyed the experience & if you’re in Toronto sometime in the next 6 months be sure to drop by for a tea! Deb :)

  39. Now I’m feeling bad for not getting to my request- that you strike up conversation with everyone next to you in line for the next however many days you wanted. I know it sounds silly but I think it could be a great experiment, potentially help build community and meet some neighbors you never knew.
    this is normal for my latino husband, but people in the US really look at him like he’s crazy. i’m not sure why some people are opposed to a friendly conversation. well sorry to get off topic but i just wanted to say thank you very much for doing what you’re doing and sharing all of these awesome ideas with us! i hope the conference is great and dont let these people get you down.

    • Thanks Kat. That would’ve been an easy experiment. I don’t go to stores and I don’t go out to eat much so I wouldn’t have waited in many lines. ;)

      That said, I think everybody who reads this should try your experiment next time they’re in a line. Just once. Just for fun. Just to see what happens. :)

  40. Hey Karol,
    I hate the type of people who you describe – I think they are called trolls or dream zappers perhaps?
    Keep your chin up, I’m still here and I think helping just 1 person is worth 100 trolls.

    Keep smiling :o)


  41. I probably am one of the people you minded. I guess I’m less than thrilled by the anti-University in all cases trend among prominent minimalist bloggers. You have an idea that I’m very interested in, but you seem want people to become artists and writers and other things requiring very little in the way of equipment. Some people are driven by things which we can’t do on our own. Some professions really do require external training, if only for the access to the lab. Do you think doctors should be self taught? Do you think Doctors Without Borders members aren’t living extraordinary lives?

    • This is my take on the issue:

      The truth of the matter is that the majority of subjects can be learned with no external training. Currently the only places where Universities still have the upper hand are subjects which require a lot of expensive equipment or directly put life in danger.

      Fundamentally minimalism is just the removal of the unimportant to focus on the impotent. Most minimalist bloggers want a life of freedom, but that does not mean that the same concepts cannot be applied to your own situation.

      For example, I reed Benny’s blog (Fluent in 3 mouths) yet have no interest in learning foreign languages. That blog contains a lot of memory tricks and learning techniques which I apply to subjects I am interested in.

      Of course doctors who further the science and practice risky operations are living extraordinary lives. If you want to learn a subject which does require University training, nobody is stopping you.

    • Val, you might feel attacked by Karol’s point of questioning the value of formal education. I don’t think that’s his intention. About 9% of people with a degree use that degree in their profession. So 91% of graduates have paid a lot of money for something that might not pay them back financially. (There are also a huge number of people who leave college without a degree but with a lot of debt.) All education is positive but there are expensive ways to get it and inexpensive ways. I think Karol’s central theme is that millions of people just follow a path that others have laid out for them and never stop to consider what they really want in life. He is challenging people to give that some thought.

      • Pete, you make a good point that many people follow the “traditional” or “expected” path because it “seems” that everyone else is doing the same thing. For some, the result of four or five years in a university is a piece of paper. Others come away with knowledge, skills, and experiences they can apply on their lifelong journey. I listened to an interview by Ei’ichi Negishi, the Purdue U. professor who just won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. He talked at length about the influence of Herbert Brown, the ’79 winner, on his own scholarship. Rather than the accumulation of technical knowledge, he focused on the mentorship and human interactions as critical in his life and career. We learn from interacting with others. I think this is something that Karol emphasizes in his writings.

      • Fair enough, I guess I’ve largely been thinking about myself, which is a very small sample size. I know what I want to do and I know that the way to learn it is to be at uni. I love working in the lab and there’s just no way I can see some of the things I’ve worked on being safe or monetarily possible. Sorry I took so long to reply at all, I’ve barely been awake thanks to a cold (a notable downside to being in school, everyone gets sick).

        Both of the two lab course I’m in have involved very expensive equipment and some very unpleasant chemicals (strong corrosives, carcinogens). I feel sure that college is the place to learn about biochemistry.

        • Thanks for all your responses. I appreciate your commenting Val, but I have nothing new to add here. :) Pete, Robert, and Greg said it all better than I could.

  42. Hi Karol,

    One of your lurkers here (but a very dedicated lurker; I signed up for the Freedom Fighters course, was one of the buyers in the 72-hour book sale, and have pretty much read every entry), saying hi.

    Sorry your week of saying yes ended up so crappy. I’ve noticed (a lot) in day-to-day life before, that if most people don’t have limits imposed on them they turn into absolute jackasses. I can see where it was disappointing having a load of that jackassery dumped on your head. But, fortunately for those of us who are dedicated to achieving freedom, most of them aren’t really capable of putting in the effort to achieve it themselves.

    Anything else I would have said, everyone else has already said better. Here’s to hoping that they realize who they are and either unsubscribe or make an effort to change. But thanks for all the awesome information and everything else on this site. :)

  43. Karol,

    When I saw your post on “Yes week” I was inspired, but also a little concerned for you and I’m very sorry to hear that I was right to be concerned. I decided not to contact you as I felt you would be overrun with requests but the next time I won’t hold back, if only to even out the balance of decent people vs leeches. I think it’s indicative of the society of mindless self-entitlement we unfortunately live it. Just know that you are changing things, but the path is long and the going is tough. And I’m still reading.


  44. Hey Karol,

    I’ve been struggling with a lot of cynicism lately. About exactly what you mention above… My ability to impact the world feels seriously hampered by the people who say they want change but aren’t actually willing to take action on what they say they want. You mention that you don’t know what happened or how you lost most of that cynicism, but I was wondeing if you could offer a tip or two?

    I know that going the extra mile is best because in the extra mile, it’s never crowded. I also know that reaching ridiculously extraordinary is made easier because there are many fewer people competing for the top… I just am struggling to get over the why question… Why is it that way? (Jim Rohn says because “that’s just the way it is…Quit asking why.”)

    But getting past the “why” makes me initially cynical of all people I meet, until they prove otherwise, when I’d rather be hopeful in interactions with all people I meet, but being realistic and knowing full well that 80% of them (probably more like 95% of them) will not take the action they need to, in order to have what they want in life.

    Any suggestions on getting past that cynicism?


    • Hey Jonathan,

      Being cynical is depressing. Being depressed makes you cynical. It’s a sick cycle.

      I don’t have any concrete advice for getting past cynicism except this: do it. Just like you say 80% of people will not take action they need to, you need to take action and stop being cynical if that’s what you want to do.


  45. Hey Karol-
    I’m a hardcore atheist, so quoting a fable from the bible may seem strange. But it directly relates to your experience. According to the story, jesus healed 10 leapers one day…. and only one stayed to thank him.

    The world has always been filled with selfish, rude, coarse people. Sadly, good manners, generosity and gratitude are rare.

    I think people with a kind and generous nature give regardless of how their offerings are received. And although you kind of got shit on in this experiment, I don’t think it will change your nature at all. You’re a good guy- if others want to be scumbags, that’s on them.

    • Thanks Dio … that’s an interesting story. Jesus got fucked!

      The experiment didn’t change me, but it did help me with some clarity. I’m still here to help, as always. :)

  46. Hi Karol

    Well in case I don’t say it enough… I love your site and everything you’re about and I’m looking forward to the “teach me how only pack 4 shirts for a trip” thing that you do. LOL
    But I agree with you. This is why so many good people just stop giving a S*** anymore.
    I’ve experienced the same problem so many times before that sadly I just say “no” now. Then again, I’m also learning who the right people to say “yes” to are.
    Keep being amazing!! The right people appreciate you ;)

    Much love


  47. I guess in real life I try to assume the best of other people and when I do something nice, or say yes is primarily for a selfish reason. Most of the time I say yes because I know it will make me feel good, never mind what the other person’s response will be, if they say thank you! then it’s a bonus :)
    But in an experiment like this, that filter is removed leaving you open to see ” The sad reality of the human condition”

  48. This post seriously rocked Karol. I didn’t really follow what was going on in your “Yes” experiment but I recall the first thing I thought when I read you would say yes to anything was gee, I really don’t want anything more from you. You’re already generous enough.

    Your response Anthony Feint pretty much summed up the way I feel about it. You may never convert people to this way of life or attitude but you might just attract a good crowd of people who already are this way. Ridiculously extraordinary people.

  49. Hey Karol,
    I gotta say that reading your article made me really sad ! – Wow. I’m really sorry that you had to deal with what sounds like seriously disrespectful s..t from people – and THAT’S why we are in the world condition that we are living in right now- because people can’t get off their high-horses and be a little kinder, more respectful and just plain old AWARE.

    It’s all about surrounding yourself with the ‘right’ people…your tribe, and I guess you just re-confirmed that to yourself in an unfortunate way!- Don’t let the a-holes turn you or any of us into a cynic though- that means they win ! There ARE great,decent,loving, extraordinary people all around us…I guess it’s all about ‘saying YES TO THE GOOD PEEPS OUT THERE” – and let the ‘others’ stew with their own kind.
    Keep rockin it- WE seriously appreciate you Karol !


  50. Dear Karol,

    You are a world-changer! I hope you remember, occasionally, that you, personally, are the man who inspired many of us to believe we can have freedom and have given us the confidence and the detailed game plan to succeed at it.

    And how do weak minds respond to those who have vision… you found out in your experiment. That means you’re in great company with the visionaries in history!

    I’m so glad you’re not letting it get to you – I know you’re much too wise for that. As a reformed cynic myself, being happy and full of expectations for good things is a much more fun way to live. Don’t let the jerks take that away from you. You are perfect exactly as you are!


    • Wow, thank you so much Eva. :) And you’re right on, not being a cynic is a much more enjoyable way to live. Cynicism = dread and depression. Thanks again! :)

  51. Dear Karol,

    It’s too bad that there are so many out there that just don’t get it. Many in our society have the erroneous notion that the world and everyone in it owes them something. I’m not quite sure where this sense of entitlement came from – but it seems to be everywhere! And quite frankly, it’s damn annoying!!!! Isn’t there a rock they can climb under?!

    I’m very new (at almost 40 – but it’s never too late right?) to this whole movement of minimalism, and freedom, but the last year has been amazing – not that I’m free of the corporate shackles yet, but I will be within the year! I am so inspired by all of you whose blogs I’ve been fortunate enough to find, yours, Zen Habits, The Art of Non-Conformity, Castles in the Air, just to name a few, that I finally truly believe that my life can be what I want it to be!! That I’m not stuck living a life by the rules I had no part of creating – it’s my life, my rules, fuck those who don’t get it!!

    You are awesome, and don’t worry about the losers who just don’t get it! Thank you for all you do and say, have said, and will say – I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me – the future really is ours!

    Thanks a bunch! Sorry this is so long ;-)

    • Thank you so much Kirsten, for your thoughts and encouragement.

      And you’re right on: it’s definitely never too late to do anything. :)

    • Kirsten, regarding “I’m not quite sure where this sense of entitlement came from…” Look no farther than politicians. Every politician in every country promises something for nothing (or something at someone else’s expense) during every election. I really can’t think of a single other source of that thinking. Companies promise a lot from their products and services but it’s always explicitly understood that you’ll have to pay for it. But “something for nothing” is the exclusive promise of politicians.

      • Pete,

        So true!! I never even thought about it in that way before. I’m so disillusioned by the whole political structure that I forget there are many who are sucked in completely by it.

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