First, see below for a quick premise of his book:
The idea for this book emerged right after I graduated college, but it wasn’t until a year ago that I committed to writing it. At first, it was meant to be a quick guide for people to get into college, pay for it, and make the most of it...But then, as I began writing, I realized that there is no magic formula to any of this. Rather, it is all about the person that we are, our circumstances, our attitudes and beliefs about life, our approach, and how we live. So I began adding chapters that addressed topics that I believe are necessary for success and fulfillment in life; topics on self-discovery such as persistence and perseverance, finding one’s purpose, defining values, serving the world. Adi Redzic
So, without any further ado, I'll let Adi take over with our interview below. We cover a wide range of topics, everything from travel, to finances, to life-lessons, to the Balkans. Enjoy...
How has your past, growing up in the Balkans, shaped your life and this book?
In terms of my life, growing up in the war-torn Balkans has definitely defined who I am today, the things that matter to me, and a desire to change the world for the better. It's also given me a unique perspective on our human experience and an appreciation for even the smallest things in life. As for my book: it definitely guided some of the deeper questions I have asked myself and the lessons that came from it, which make up a big portion of the book. The first couple of sections are rooted significantly in my early experience and life in the old country.
You mention entrepreneurship as a form of service, how so?
Entrepreneurship is one of those overused buzz words these days, but at heart of it, entrepreneurs seek freedom of expression and a way to live out an inner desire to solve problems or affect something in a positive, innovative way. Some of us do this by developing a product or an idea, others by transforming the way we do things, and a few by finding a cure to a social or physical ill. In each case, our contributions serve the world. For me, it is about helping people and organizations change and grow by embracing goodness. It is when I am focused on doing the best job for the benefit of others--when I serve--that I am most successful. And I think this is also the recipe most successful entrepreneurs have followed. If you want money, go into already established organizations. If you want to change the world, start doing something in service of others.
What is the most important life lesson travel or your emigration has taught you?
This is tough. There are several, but among the most important ones are: responsibility, attitude, and persistence. Anything is possible, but we have to take charge. We have to Own It! We have to be persistent even when it's really hard. And, finally, we need the right attitude. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right."
Your book, “Own It” is a collection of lessons…why are life-lessons outside of normal academic study so important?
Because most of our life happens outside of the classroom. I wish schools, and colleges in particular, would do more to teach people how to live their best life and find joy and meaning instead of filling their heads with a lot of information. The most important lessons I learned in college aren't the ones I can find on Wikipedia. They are lessons about life.
In your book you address issues that lead to “success and fulfillment in life.” Why do you believe values like persistence and perseverance are so important in life?
Because without them, success is rare if not impossible. My own experience taught me this. When I came to America with 375 bucks and a dream, I had no way of paying for college. So I called 150 of them asking for scholarships. That was a lot of "NOs" (148 of them said "no"), but my persistence and perseverance in the face of difficulty paid off.
Your book has a whole section devoted to money management. Often travel isn’t seen as an investment or a wise way to spend money. What are your thoughts?
Culturally, people are uncomfortable talking about money. As a result, most of us struggle with our relationship with money--how we make it, how we use it, and when we choose to save it. Many of us are afraid of it (or not having enough of it). Once we take charge of our finances--and our financial future--we gain freedom and are able to choose how we spend money based on our values. If we value travel (as we should) and view it as a life-changing experience, we will put our money there. People spend a lot of money on stuff they don't really need; I prefer to spend my money on experiences. But it all starts with understanding and learning how to manage it.
In what ways has coming to the United States changed your life or opened new doors?
I'll let you read my book to answer that question! (Laughs) I'll give you a little hint, though: it has to do with freedom, happiness, and love...
You can find information about Adi's book "Own It" right here
You can find out more about the "I am good project" here