I met Brandur Bjarnason Karlsson a year back. I had no idea that he was paralyzed neck down. He contacted me and we agreed to meet. I went to his apartment and we spoke for more than 2 hours I think. He showed me the paintings that he made using his mouth. He also told me that he finances all his initiatives by selling his paintings and by having art shows. I mean if that is not entrepreneurial, I don’t know what is. I was so inspired talking to him, he wanted to travel to space, change how food is produced, enable sustainable living by rethinking how we make energy and what was exciting for me to see was that HE wanted to do all of this. Here is another interesting project where he has partnered with Gísli Steinar Jóhannesson to bring paragliding to people who are disabled.
I have met with Gísli and he is an inspiration to all of us entrepreneurs. He runs a travel service business call True Adventures where he takes people up on a paraglider in the southern part of Iceland. That reminds me I need to ask Gísli to take me on a ride on of the days in the summer. I digress, Brandur personifies what it means to be an Entrepreneur, he does not see his disability as a constraint but accepts that these are the cards that he has been dealt with and he is going to do the best he can. He was also one of the first to buy tickets to Startup Iceland this year. He participated sitting in the front row. He scheduled mentoring sessions with all the mentors and attended all the sessions. I mean did I mention that he is paralyzed neck down? What strength and courage!
Brandur’s efforts does not stop there, he has created an innovation space within the housing for disabled people to give space to those who are disabled to innovate, build and make things. In the line of work I do which is working with Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs as a Coach, I meet a lot of people. When someone complains to me how the system is bad, how the Government is messing things up or how the economy is horrible, I just point them to Brandur. This blog post is going to serve me so well, because now I can point everyone to this blog post. There is absolutely nothing stopping any of us including Brandur from going and building your dream, the important thing to keep in mind is to ask yourself are you thinking for yourself and if what you are doing is going to be valuable in the future.
While the strike in Iceland is on-going, I just cannot understand the logic or the delay in the process. As founders and startup entrepreneurs who create value out of nothing, I guess I will never understand wage negotiations because wage is a function of value and the current discussions in Iceland have centered around how much value can be destroyed to get what either party wants. I am not political or want to be, but when normal things are being derailed because of wage negotiations in a small country like Iceland. One has to stop and ask, if Brandur is able to get over his condition to create value, what is the logic behind those who are striking.