Thank you, Arnas

You’re not lucky, you take responsibility for what you do — that’s why you’re here right now.

Today I want to tell you the story of where I got this quote from.

About 2 years ago I met a guy called Jon Lay at a co-working space called Nook in Kuala Lumpur. Jon is the founder of Hanno, a product design team that has clients all over the world. What made Hanno even more impressive to me was that the team only consisted of 6 people and they all lived in different parts of the world.

I did some work for Hanno on a freelance basis and got to meet most of the team. They’re a great bunch of really talented people who love what they do and enjoy the benefits of remote working.

I could write a lot about the each one of the shipmates at Hanno but that’s not focus of today’s story.

Today I want to focus on Arnas Goldberg. Arnas is the youngest, tallest, and blondest member of the Hanno crew.

Arnas is an incredibly skilful designer and a truly breathtaking photographer.

I also learnt that he’s a pretty decent rapper. This was probably the most surprising thing about Arnas as he’s generally a very quiet guy.

But it could all have been so different.

Arnas’ story [abridged]

To read the full account of Arnas’ story in his own words you can read it here “How I quit my job as a janitor and became a web designer”.

Here is my tl;dr summary:

  1. Born in Lithuania
  2. Did some freelance design work — all self taught
  3. Started a course at a University College in Denmark.
  4. Quit the course after 5 months because he wasn’t learning anything he hadn’t already learnt during his years of freelancing
  5. Moved to Norway with his family
  6. Worked 2 jobs. One as a job as a cleaner in a school and the other as a general worker in an Ikea
  7. Continued to freelance on the side and had started doing work for Hanno
  8. Parents plan for Arnas to become a bus driver
  9. Arnas decides that he wants to be a designer not a bus driver. His parents were not too pleased.
  10. Arnas joins Hanno and becomes a remote worker

When I first met Arnas he was based in Bali and travelled around S.E. Asia and Australia. He’s gone from cleaning toilets to having the freedom to travel the world.

One day in Hong Kong Arnas was having a chat with another Hanno team member called Sergei Tatarinov. It was Sergei who came out with the wise observation of Arnas.

Wise words by Sergei

I love the simplicity of this quote. It captures so much.

If Arnas had simply followed the path that life had set out for him he’d be driving buses right now.

Instead Arnas took control of his life.

He decided that he didn’t want the life that he was destined for so he took responsibility to change it.

It takes courage to do that. It’s much easier to just accept our fate. That way we can blame all of the bad things on the fact that life dealt us a bad hand.

It’s much harder to admit that we have the power to change things.

By acknowledging that we have the power to change our lives we are also forced to acknowledge that we have to accept the some of the blame for the unhappy situation we may find ourselves in. And nobody wants to admit that it’s their fault.

Arnas’ story is an inspiration to anybody who finds themselves living an unfulfilling life.

So thank you, Arnas. Thank you for showing us that it’s up to us to take responsibility for our own lives (and thank you, Sergei, for summing it up in a nice quote).

12 Jun 2016 PPP


  1. Blog post
  2. Memrise Swahili lesson
  3. Memrise Malay lesson

Plans for tomorrow

  1. Memrise Swahili lesson
  2. Memrise Malay lesson


  1. None.

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