Interview with Chris Guillebeu: The remarkable non-conformist

I’m truly honored… Chris Guillebeu from The Art of Non-conformity actually got back to me and gave me a chance to interview him!

In case you’ve haven’t heard of him, he’s like well, probably the best in the world when it comes to advocating a free life; a non-conformist one where you live exactly according to your own terms.

All his books are seriously awesome. He gives you a view of a better life with The Art of Non-Conformity, and blends it well with the possibility that anyone can do business with The $100 Startup. In light of this, at the World Domination Summit this year, he actually gave each every one of the 1,000 audience $100 each! Crazy! Do yourself a favour, and read them now.

He’s also like the ultimate travel hacker, going to over 150 countries. Living life indeed.

And if there’s just one post you should on his blog, it’s this: How to be remarkably average, comic version here.

Here’s the interview!

1) Hey Chris! Thanks so much for this, I’m glad to have you here for an interview. To start off, how would you define exactly, “The art of non-conformity”?

AONC is a mission and a community. Our central message is, “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and for others at the same time.”

I’m interested in helping people question assumptions and live unconventional, remarkable lives. We do that through a variety of ways in the project.

2) What was it which inspired you to pursue a life of non-conformity yourself?

I was a terrible employee and kept asking questions about why things were done in a certain way. After I broke out on my own, there was no turning back.

3) Do you think it’s important for people to not conform i.e. break out and lead lives on their own terms?

I think it’s important for people to live intentionally and with urgency. What that looks like will be different for everyone.

4) What do you think a person needs to do in order to start living such a life?

They should start with thinking long and hard about their life, trying to figure out what they really want and how they can connect that desire with what other people need.

5) You definitely both covered and broke new ground when it comes to traveling the world. What is your biggest takeaway from visiting so many different places?

The world is both big and small. People aren’t the same all over the world — they really do have different values, priorities, and culture. Yet this doesn’t mean that people are any better or worse depending on where you do; it’s just a matter of not imposing your own assumptions on another set of values.

6) The $100 Startup makes it very clear and possible for anyone to start their own business. For budding entrepreneurs who want to make money out of what they love, what would be your best tip or advice?

Focus externally! When you’re asking “why” questions, ask why people should care about what you’re offering. The more you focus on other people’s problems and needs, finding a way to provide real solutions, the more successful you’ll be.

7) Finally, what would you say to someone who wants to do it all ( follow their passion, travel the world, start a business), but are hindered by life’s responsibilities, like their job and family? How can they start combining both?

I like what you said about combining. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t expect everyone to quit their job tomorrow and walk away from responsibilities. But I also hope that they don’t remain in paralysis forever. No matter their situation, anyone who reads your blog can do something today to take action that will bring them closer to the freedom they crave. They can do that regardless of existing commitments or responsibilities.

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  1. Tania Belkin - December 12, 2012 2:10 am

    This interview is great.

    I always feel that non-conformity is good.

    And it pains me how our school and social system is designed to make people/children into obedient little solders.

    • alden - December 12, 2012 4:58 am

      Thanks Tania.

      Yeah I wished schools enhanced creativity more than anything. Right now I think they’re being force fed things they don’t even want to learn.

  2. John - December 13, 2012 12:01 am

    Alden, I enjoyed this interview. Chris, thanks for doing it. My favorite question was “How can they start combining both?” because so often people and myself have felt you need to be at one extreme to make it work. Passion means you put your spirit behind it but you can be passionate about a responsible life while also breaking away from conformity. Great interview!

    • alden - December 13, 2012 2:15 am

      Thanks John!

      Yeah I think the combination is mandatory since we all got to accommodate to life. Extreme measures can be done, but that can take a toll on you.

  3. Mike - December 18, 2012 4:12 pm

    Nice interview! Intentional living with urgency. Absolutely!

    • alden - December 19, 2012 3:25 pm

      Thanks Mike! Glad you liked it.

  4. Elise Daly Parker - December 18, 2012 11:14 pm

    Great job with the interview. You got the gist of Chris’ Art of Non-Conformity. And I liked your guest blog on Firepole too. Great tips on being real and moving forward!

    • alden - December 19, 2012 3:26 pm

      Thanks Elise! Hope it inspired you!


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