Being Vulnerable – When Weak is the new Strong

Inspired by my recent setback, I have been on the quest to understand, reflect and learn deeper about myself and others.

One of the things I’ve done is to connect and listen to people’s stories about their setbacks, deepest fears and insecurities. Something that they don’t show and something I don’t know because they would never share even when I know some of them for years.

For the matter of fact, I was never be someone who likes to sit down in person and talk about personal topics such as fears, insecurities, the raw and the ugly truth about personalities, relationships, mistakes and desires. I found it to be weak and unnecessary to share and listen to what you are not good at or lack of or struggle with. Typical masculinity trait of society in my head always told me to suck it up and be strong, be fine cuz none cares.

That might explain why I didn’t hear much of those uncomfortable stories from those around me and I didn’t have the need to hear or share all these years. Yet, this time is different as I found myself wanting to give it a try.

I have been fortunate enough to listen to >10 stories in the past 3 months – none of them coming from my close friends or someone I talk to often. I found all of the stories are both surprising but profoundly inspiring with lot of lessons to learn. And, I’m grateful to be trusted to listen to their dark and unwanted stories.

But hey, it wasn’t that I schedule a catch up over lunch/dinner or drink to talk about these topics initially. Typically, the stories being shared when I feel this can be the right person to share then I would open up first to share about myself and my personal stories. I made myself vulnerable to all the possibilities of being judged, laughed at, hurt and so on. Something I would never thought I could do.

I could be lucky, but I have found that every time I opened up, the other person did open up and share with me back. And that how each convos lasted for 3-4 hours of deep talking and sharing without the initial intention. At the end of each catch up, I always felt like I didn’t know this person at all, how could I knew you for years/months but I didn’t know about all these things about you. And I also heard from my friends too about me, they don’t think I could be such a not-so-cocky and dry-person but quite the opposite. (yeah I’m aware that’s the image many of you know about me Y_Y). Some of the things and skills I’ve learnt so far from those stories are: understanding other’s needs, setting boundaries, listening, compassion…etc

More importantly, some of my friends have told me that “you know what, being vulnerable to share your struggles and the ugly sides of you is not a weak thing. It, in fact, shows that you’re strong enough to let people know you’re not perfect, you’re a normal human being with flaws and insecurities. And that’s what a strong person does.”

Yeah that sounds about right to me haha but yup this only happens when I open up first then the other person reciprocates. And I do care about what they share by not only listening but also putting myself in their shoes to feel what they feel and not being judgmental in the moment. I’ve reckoned it’s a beautiful thing to do.

So the key takeaway and a reminder for myself is I will continue to open up and share 1st, of course not with everyone, and not afraid that I might be judged or laughed at. Cuz If I do, that person seems not the right friend anyway 😀 And yes, being vulnerable is not weak, it’s the new strong !

Thank for reading folks, would like to end this post by a saying from my favorite writer, Mark Manson.

“The most valuable skill in life is to learn to care about people and show them you care. This involves a willingness to care about others and willingness to be hurt by others.”


Youth – Turning 30: Imaginations vs Reality

Yo What’s Up? It’s been so long (years) since I shared my thoughts and reflections here.

I still write a lot for myself on weekly basis. I guess it’s just about time I resume my writing and sharing habit, even though I don’t expect a lot of people to read or care haha. If you do…Thank You..let me know and I’ll buy you a drink/lunch/dinner for wasting your precious time reading my BS.LoL

I’m always interested in stories about youth, especially how young men and women spend their “most beautiful time of their lives”

Well, today’s topic is all about me. Last December I turned 30 and I’m about to hit 31 this year. Wow! It’s such a milestone. If you think about it..that’s almost half of your life there.

I vividly remember of how I thought my life would be at 30 when I was still in my 20’s . Well, it was all about super positive and superficial things that I would have.

Getting married, and having an amazing family, kids, great career, earning $XX load a month, having that dream house….blah..blah..blah…you name it.

Yeah, I did reach a lot of life goals in my 20’s. Just to be specific…I had different goals every year.
In short, my imaginary 30 year old was freaking …decent.

Yeah, but the reality is..I’ve only reached half of my goals and’m far from having that amazing family haha.

I will not go into details about my goals in this post but..yeah, you get it right?The reality has hit hard and maybe I’ve screwed up in some areas of my life.

But seriously, who doesn’t fail in some areas of life when they’re just 30?. Who doesn’t set goals in their 20’s and never achieves them or completely ignores them? Who doesn’t break up with their exes who they thought they will settle down with?

I’m just like you, an ordinary human being who strives daily to have a better life. But it doesn’t always work out that way. What we want is not exactly what’s gonna happen. After all, it’s just what life is all about.

Lately I’ve gone through some setbacks and I started to question myself. Who am I? What values do I have? Why do I feel this way? What does it mean to have all these emotions?

I guess it doesn’t mean that I got nothing in return. Humbly, I think I achieved a lot of things throughout the years. Yeah..but I do start to question myself. Hmmm, I guess I’ve never turned to myself… I never searched within. I often looked elsewhere to find those validations. But I do feel now is the time to find the meaning within.

Life is full of unexpected events, ups and downs, twists and turns, things we never expected or thought could happen to us. And I’ve experienced all these in their true and raw forms. So I guess I should know that life will be better tomorrow, next month, next year..ext. As long as I keep on working on myself… being and living in the present..things will eventually look brighter. But I know I can’t control what I can’t control.

We all suffer and struggle sometimes. But we can choose what we suffer and struggle about. I truly hope we all can be in a better place one day. And yes, I turned 30 and I’m still f***ing up in some areas of my life. But that’s totally ok. I guess. LOL


Thanks for reading folks.

Your Health Matters !

Imagine you’re considered as one of the most influential chefs in the world. You write books that are best-selling, you have your own TV shows that millions of people watching, you travel the world to try on different food and cuisine, you’re dating with a beautiful model. And even the former US president has to invite you for dinner.

You have everything from frame, money to power. A life that everyone on this earth would dream to get a taste, yet you ended your life by comitting suicide.

Why?…I dont have the answer, no one has it but him, Mr. Anthony Bourdain who has passed away on this day 3 months ago. It was the big shock to the world, but there’s something that is not new here.

Depression !

According to the world health organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression at any given time.

And every 40 seconds, there’s someone kill his/her own life, 50% of that is due to depression.

What are the common causes and impacts from stress and depression?

One major confusion between having depression and just feeling depressed. Almost everyone feels down from time to time, getting a bad grade, losing a job, breaking up with gf/bf, even a raniny day can bring on feeling of sadness, sometimes there’s no trigger at all.

Having depression is different, it’s a medical disorder and it wont go away just because we want it to. It lingers for at least two consecutive weeks and interferes significantly with one’s ability to work, play or love.

So whare are the symtoms of a depressed person: alone mood, losing interest in activities/things you normally enjoy, feeling worthless or guilty, sleeping too much or too little, lost of energy, poor concentration, or recurrent thoughts of suicide. If you have at least 5 of those symtoms, you qualify for having depression.

The dangerous thing is depression symtoms are intangible, it’s hard to know who might look fine but is actually struggling. Just imagine if your family members, best friends, or your partners having those symtoms but you have no clue about their internal battles.

For those who are suffering depression, I urge you to take the 1st step, opening up and share with someone you trust, be it your family, best friend, partners or a therapists.  Depression or any mental illness is not a weakness, it’s an illness just like others that need to be cured and is curable.

And for those who are not having depression, congratualation. But I challenge you if you know or doubt anyone suffering from depression, please reach out to talk and help them.

That our health is not only about physical. And when I say your Health matters I mean both, your physical and mental health.



Does your job define your identity?

Work is a main, significant part of our everyday lives. It takes at least one-third time of a day— >40 hours of our week (or more, I bet more) — but also play a significant role in defining who we are.

Think about it, when you first meet someone, the conversation often goes “Hello, my name is xyz. I’m a XYZ at ABC. Nice to meet you.” When asked, “who are you?” we commonly answer with our job titles, a description of our work and what we do whether it’s cool or suck.

As a society, we tend to be too concerned with what people do to pay the bills. The nature of the work others engage in is the first thing we want to know about them, and more often than not we judge them based on their job titles. “Oh, you’re a secretary at a doctor’s office? That’s so basic. I’m a financial coordinator at a top bank. Needless to say, I’m better than you.”

Naturally, the conversations we have don’t exactly unfold like this, but it certainly feels this way! If one person in the conversation is a lead manager for their company while you’re working an entry level, you begin to feel inadequate; as if your work is less important than theirs. From that one brief answer of what we do for work, others will make conclusions about our intelligence, education, income, drive, and value to society.

Work defines status in our society.

Consider how twenty-somethings have grown up. Members of Generation-Y were trained to believe that college would open them up to worthy jobs upon graduation. Millennials work hard to earn their bachelor’s degrees, dabble in a variety of internships, and make the necessary connections to land them a prized career in post-grad adulthood.

We are spoon-fed the theory that college will earn you a good job and if you fall short of that, then clearly you’re not going to climb the occupational ladder to financial success. While this mindset is rampant, is it even true anymore? Moreover, is what we do for work even that important?



We have to be something to earn a living. College is no longer the key ingredient in the recipe of success. Yes, a degree does make you qualified for more job opportunities, but it in no way guarantees you greater success over others without degrees. Sometimes a job falls in your lap when you least expect it to, and you may absolutely love it. If others do not see the value in your work, does that make you less important or valuable to society? The answer should be a unanimous “no.”

We work to pay the bills. Our paychecks afford our living quarters, groceries, the clothes on our backs, our means of transportation, and for some of us weddings, children, vacations, student loans, etc. We work to earn our livelihood. For some, this work is being a teacher, a law enforcement officer, a doctor, or mechanical engineer. For others, this work is being a photographer, writer, artist, or secretary. There’s no straight path to affording a pristine life. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the world, and therefore there’s honestly no right job title to choose.

We have to be something to earn that paycheck, but we don’t have to be something to be important.

Our identity should be defined as who we are as individuals. What we do for work is only a piece of our lives.

Disclaimer: I dont write this guys haha, I just found every words here are profoundly true to me, yea every words !


Comfort Zone or Not?

1 month, 2 months, 3 months…. and I keep counting how long since I’ve been back to the motherland for many times when I look at my phone’s screen, which said: Keep Calm and Love Boston.


It doesn’t mean I’m living in the past cuz I’m simply not. But, if someone ever asks do I miss the life in the U.S in general or Boston specifically? Yes I do, a lot. Life’s just very different there, from the smallest thing to the biggest one. However, life’s been so far so good in Saigon, I treasure and enjoy every moments of it. Friends are all around, Job is challenging in all aspects but worth trying, Family is here and always supportive to the moon, mars or whatever planet out there and back, Food is absolutely stunning, People are warm and welcoming too for a simple fact that we all speak Vietnamese and I feel better connected with them, and lastly, living conditions might be more comfortable.

So you can tell, it’s going fantastic. Until, I realized something, maybe it’s not really that great as I think. Here’s why: On a random night, having a chat with a friend, who’s living in Toronto and the one that I’m close with, telling her about all about the wonderful things above and expecting she would be happy considering moving back as well. Nah, all she did was to ask a million-dollar question “Are you really enjoying your life or are you just feeling comfortable?”. It struck me to come up with a response cuz I couldn’t at all.

Back in the day, we used to talk a lot when I was in Boston, thou we didn’t live in the same city or even country. We talked about how hard we’re studying, how tough our mentalities have to be to survive, compete and thrive, how our lives and inner thoughts have changed since we moved to a different land. In other words, we shared our struggles and problems to remind each other that we all have strong purposes in life and we live to our fullest to do whatever it takes to get there.

I still remember when I decided to move back, she said “I’m afraid you might forget all the struggles we had cuz life is easier there for you and you’ll enter your comfort zone without noticing it. Simply put, not trying as hard as you have done”. Of course, I didn’t take it seriously, was buried in other thoughts and the outlook of flying back.

You can say I’m paranoid and nerdy, but I used to spent 15-16 hours just for studying, doing things alone and things that scared the hell out of me in one or two year straight cuz I was so obsessed with the fact that I have so little time, I have to keep improving myself, I must do something that add values to myself everyday. It’s freaking true that I’m no longer doing something like that. Am I in my comfort zone? Am I stop trying as hard as I was to improve myself? Am I happy with my life cuz it’s much easier?. Those questions keep popping up in my head. Ever found yourself in such situation?

I still don’t have all the answers but I know one thing for sure, there’s always been a battle inside of me fighting to live an easier life and to struggle to be better. My life’s game is quite different cuz I’m not at school anymore. I know I’m still trying hard but maybe not in the way that I used to be. Told myself it would take a little more time for me to completely set my mind to what’s going on, what’s next and what’re life and people gonna throw at me.

And of course, I can’t say how much I appreciate the question from that friend. I don’t typically mind what others have to say about me and the way I choose to live my life. But sometimes, you will come to realize: a true friend is not just about the fun !