(The Founder of The Utopian Life, Writer, Traveler, Professional Chef, International Athlete and Speaker)
With English and Arabic Subtitle
Thai Nguyen is a professional chef, international athlete, writer, and speaker. Listen to him share his personal journey. He is passionate about sparking personal revolutions in others. He blogs about breaking free from the mundane at wantrepreneurjourney.
A Professional Re-inventer: Thai’s a 5-Star Chef, International Kickboxer, and Mindfulness-Meditation Coach. If you are ready to stop dreaming and start living your Utopian Life.
Thai Nguyen is the founder of WantrepreneurJourney.com, dedicated to inspiring millions of young professionals who feel stuck doing what they HAVE to do rather than what they WANT to do. Born in Vietnam, his family fled the country after the war on a boat. After making it to a refugee camp in Indonesia, his family settled in Australia. Thai has been a successful Chef at a 5-Star Hotel and a small café owner in Australia. A private chef at a Boutique Fine-Dining Establishment in Texas. An elite Athlete that has competed Internationally in Thailand, Canada, Singapore, Fiji, and Australia in Muay Thai, Boxing, and Rugby. He now travels, writes, and speaks for a living- driven and passionate about motivating people to live their dreams!
For more information, please visit wantrepreneurjourney.com.
Featured Writer For:
Travel Writer @ AmberSpire.com
Journalist @ CircusBazaar.com
Blogger @ TheUtopianLife.com
Mind Body Green:
Author Page: www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/thai-nguyen/
Hypnotic Writing: 5 Strategies to put Your Reader in a Trance.
Absent Fathers, Broken Sons. Time To Break The Cycle.
7 Life Lessons From Professional Fighting.
Flip The Script | How To Write A Better Life Story
Writer @ Huffington Post | Entrepreneur.com | MindBodyGreen | TheUtopianLife.com
- From Chef to Sport to Writing and living the Utopian Life, Why, What and How?
- What’s the Utopian life really means?
- What are the main highlights of your MANIFESTO?
- What happened to the wantrepreneur journey?
- You write A lot for different famous publications, sites, blogs, why you do that?
- What are the most famous publications that you wrote for?
- Do you get paid for writing for different publications or its just for PR reasons.
- How the system works for the ones that they pay you?
- How to pitch different publications to write for them or to be featured in them, how it works?
- How do you plan your writing in all these different publications and do other reviews for hotels and other services weather on trip advisor or other sites?
- I noticed that you share some of your posts that you wrote for some publications on your site, usually they don’t object on that or sign with you some agreements? And how about Google is not giving you a penalty for that?
- How do you, research, shape and plan the ideas to write a blog post of a chapter of your book?
- How To Become A Travel Writer?
- How do you write efficiently?
- What are the steps to breaking free from a miserable job?
- How to have a meaningful & beautiful life?
- To Declutter out Life?
- Success Vs. Happiness Vs. Fulfillment and Which is more important?
- How to have a purpose and why its important to have a purpose?
- What are the hidden blessing in rejection, losing and failure?
- What are the Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude?
- What do you do to Boost Your Brain-Power?
- What are the habits, Effective Strategies for Boosting Your Efficiency and Productivity?
- How do you structure your life between writing, travelling and others activates?
- Most important sites, hacks and tools that you use in travelling?
- Share with us some of the tools or software that make you more efficient?
- What’s your daily life and work routine looks like?
- What are your other hobbies?
- Who are your top 3 mentors?
- The most important factors for success in 3 words?
- What’s the biggest failure moment in your life and what did you learn from it?
- What are the Top 3 apps that you use on your smart phone?
- What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
- What’s the best advice that you ever received?
- What’s your favorite quote?
- If you have the chance, what would you say to advice your younger self?
- What are your top 3 favorite books?
- What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by?
- What makes you really happy?
- How people can contact you?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Thai Nguyen, he is the founder of utopian life, he is a writer, traveler, international chef and athlete, welcome to the show Thai.
Thai Nguyen: Thank you so much for having me Ahmed, I really enjoy your show and I appreciate being on.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s a pleasure to have you, so tell me about the adventure from chef to sports to writing to living the utopian life, why, what and how did you do that?
Thai Nguyen: I think part of it has been my personality I’ve always had a very curious tendency and I just wanted to explore life and live to my fullest potential and part of that has been to step outside of my comfort zone and explore very different areas, a creative side in food and cooking and being a chef and then also wanting to push my physical self and pursue professional fighting and then with writing, pursuing my intellectual self, the part of it was just a journey of self-discovery and trying to find out more about myself what makes me tick and how do I leverage those aspects to create a lifestyle that I find not only meaningful that allows me to live my passions also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are all of them like writing and cooking and sports still going on or when they a certain period of your life and then you moved on to the next thing? Can you just tell me the history, your background how did you start in each one of these areas?
Thai Nguyen: Well I was born in Vietnam and as a six-month-old baby my parents fled the country after the war so we were both people, refugees, they made it over to Indonesia to a refugee camp there and then we got accepted into Australia where I grew up and it really went through a lot of identity issues, I’m an Asian man, an Asian child growing up in a very Caucasian Western world so there was a lot of conflict between who am I, and trying to discover that experiencing a little bit of racism a little bit of conflicts and really struggling to figure out life which I think is a journey that a lot of us go through finding out who we are and how do we fit into this world and society. As I asked those questions I explored the answers through finding different careers and so initially I moved over to Canada after I finished high school and I played rugby over there, I wanted to be a professional rugby player but then from there I transitioned into cooking, basically I wasn’t good enough to be a professional rugby player back in Australia so I focused on a career and cooking and I achieved a relative amount of success there and then from that I moved into the kickboxing the professional fighting and again I did enjoy the cooking but it didn’t ignite that passion within me and that’s when I ventured into kickboxing. Then I moved to Thailand.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you worked as a chef in some hotels and restaurants and then you quit the job, how are you living in that period of time?
Thai Nguyen: I worked for the Hilton hotel in Brisbane and other locations internationally and while I was doing that I thought they would just be something I would be very passionate about and initially I was I really enjoyed food I enjoyed being creative but after that it just came to a point where I just couldn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to continue to invest in something that I wasn’t on fire about and during that time I had some friends start kickboxing and they invited me to come to the gym and training there and I did that and I had a couple of amateur fights and achieved some success and then I got invited to move to Thailand and again part of my explored of personality I jumped at this opportunity to move to a different country to live in Thailand to pursue the sport full-time so I moved to Thailand, but there for close to two years and while I was there I met some professors from school in Texas and build a relationship with one of the professors and he offered me a scholarship to move over to Texas and do my bachelors degree over there so after living in Thailand I ended up moving over to Texas, spending four years during my bachelors degree there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In what?
Thai Nguyen: In the humanities but it was very heavily focused on philosophy and theology so really beginning to immerse myself in that intellectual aspect and studying history, studying writing and I eventually finished that and just realized that I had a great passion for writing and that’s when I step down and began to build this brand of the utopian life.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Will you quit writing soon or will you continue to strive because is it like quitting and changing to different things as part of the discovery or are you a moody person and you like to change all the time?
Thai Nguyen: I think it’s a little bit of both, initially I didn’t have a lot of kind of ADD tendencies rather do something for a little bit but here’s the thing Ahmed I think I’ve come to a point in my life now where I’m about to turn thirty-one and I’ve done a lot of things a lot of self-discovery activities that come to a point where I’ve realized that a lot of success comes with consistency and investment into something and while it’s been fun reinvesting myself in different ways I think I’ve come to a point where this is something that’s going to be a lifelong investment for hopefully the rest of my life, I realized that writing is something I’m very passionate about, encouraging people to step out and with their dreams is something I’m very passionate about so I would like to say that this is going to be a venture that I invest a lot of time in.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What’s the meaning of the utopian life?
Thai Nguyen: Utopia is an idealistic place so we all have perceptions of what is ideal or what is, what does perfection look like and after times we’re told that this is unrealistic but I think the pursuit of the unrealistic ideals has some great value in it because even though we may not achieve that, getting close to that is a great goal and a worthy goal to pursue and that’s what the utopian life is about to think of what is your perfect day what is your perfect week what is your perfect lifestyle look like and to work towards that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And now your lifestyle for you is writing and traveling a mixture between these two areas?
Thai Nguyen: Absolutely, writing traveling and I’d love for this to turn into some full-time speaking at different events just stepping out of your comfort zone and breaking through some of those barriers that hold us back and creating the habits and the systems that will enable a person to productively move forward towards their dreams.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the main highlights of your manifesto?
Thai Nguyen: One of the major highlights I’d have to say is the idea that the question is the answer and the journey is the destination so often we make very clear distinctions between either or, I have to choose between the journey and the destination and often times we focus very much on reaching a certain goal if only I get to here then I will be happy, but what I’m trying to do is close the gap between these distinctions that we make that it’s not either this or that, it’s not either I do this or I do that but it’s a balance of both so it’s embracing the journey of life and also the destinations that we go for so it’s setting goals and it’s pursuing success but how do we do that, we realize that there are many things that we are already successful in and that we can celebrate but also use that to fuel us and push us forward toward that goal so just creating a more psychologically holistic and balanced approach to how we view our lives and to keep momentum constantly going and basically realizing that a lot of what we do and a lot of value is found in the journey and not only in the destination.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you think that sometimes the journey is painful not necessarily fun especially with the idea utopian life like let’s say your journey to writing, writing is tough sometimes don’t you think of quitting, that you think there is a conflict there somehow between the ideal life which is fun and the pain through the process of consistency? Yeah absolutely that actually reminds me of a Zen proverb that says before enlightenment chop wood carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water. So it’s the idea that there are struggles in the journey there are trials and yes there is a clear distinction but at the same time there is a foundation that underlines the road through both of them that if we focus also on building a foundation that can carry both areas what we struggle through in the journey and what we celebrate in the success can still be carried in both hands and not to put so much weight on one or the other and that’s a struggle that I really went through when I was a shaft it was all about I need to become this five-star chef and achieve the top and my field so I ended up working like 12 to 14 hours a day because I wanted to pursue this level of excellence at the same time I forgot about just enjoying the journey of everything that I was learning same as professional fighting I wanted to be the champion and I trained my butt off, I got to fight in Singapore, Fiji, in Canada and fight in these great places but I didn’t get to enjoy being in the second place is because I was so focused on I need to win a championship and so it’s a… Making the distinction between the journey and the destination but at the same time having a foundation that carries both of them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You started a site called wantrepreneur journey and like now you stop that you focus on the utopian life why, you want to pursue writing into entrepreneurship or you quit entrepreneurship or what happened?
Thai Nguyen: That’s a good observation, I tell a lot of people now there are different approaches that people give to starting of the business, some say you need to be crystal-clear with your blueprint and your approach, what do you want, what’s your niche, who’s your audience is your demographic, be 100% clear on that and follow that and initially that’s what I did, I took that advice and I wrote down specifically whatever you want and I think that’s great advice but I think at the same time it’s not the only effective advice that’s out there and realizing for me that things can change and you can be flexible with the rules that you put in place originally the entrepreneur journey was a very entrepreneurial and business focused so all the articles, all my interviews that I was doing was very entrepreneurial focused that I realized there was a part of me that wanted to touch on other topics as well, wanted to touch on lifestyle articles on more psychological articles on more philosophical articles so I did come to this crossroad and what I wanted to rebrand to become a little broader and I’ve learned a lot from that, originally I was very clear-cut, very straight and narrow this is the path but now I’ve realized your goals can change, your goals can shift and evolve as you learn more and that’s okay, there are some people that work very well when they have a clear path to go towards but there are other people that want to be very flexible and a week by week and see were the journey takes them so I definitely see two approaches now and then leaning towards this flexible approach where I have my ideas of where I want to be but at the same time and very okay with completely changing directions but with that said I’m very happy that I’ve discovered this utopian life branding.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And in the Internet world when you gave up the entrepreneurial niche, don’t you struggle with the general utopian life right now the utopian life you can talk about business different stuff, life but in the Internet world especially you hang out a lot with Internet experts don’t they advise you to stick with this niche that you can be famous or like be out there faster than a general term?
Thai Nguyen: That was some advice that I came to and it’s true, if you continue to hammer on the niche you are going to make progress, I think the determining factor for me was that it was still early on in the game for me I would hand out brands for maybe about five months before I made the shift and it was still early enough where my audience wasn’t going to be affected by the branding change so timing was a big part of it if I had been two years down the path with the entrepreneur journey I don’t think I would’ve changed it because I would’ve laid a much more solid foundation. So that was definitely a key factors that it was early enough in the game to be able to shift and I think in this formative years of whatever you’re doing it’s a buffer zone is a safe zone for you to explore and truly find your voice but definitely as the roots get deeper and deeper that’s when it’s more difficult to pivot and to change directions.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did you discover the writing path?
Thai Nguyen: Through a few other people that were doing and I connected with one gentleman named Constable is a writer but he changed directions in his life are being working in bread delivery to starting a blog and becoming a successful author and then I was listening to a few other podcasts, John Lee Dumas who interviewed in person he is an entrepreneur on fire and Lewis house has the school of greatness so they were really making it more well-known making a popular sharing their stories and other people stories of being able to create business and lifestyle online that was location independent so that’s how I came across the idea and again I was trying to figure out what can I do with my lifelong turn that can enable me to live out what I’m passionate about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the difference between writer and author?
Thai Nguyen: An author is usually tied in with a book published so a writer is more tied in with journalistic articles or pieces and an author has a published book usually.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Are you working on a book and if you finish your book will you change your title into author? Do you think is more fancy?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I think it’s different, I’m sure there’s a debate between whether it’s fancier not that I have been in contact with a few different literary agents and publishing houses so I’m about to submit my book proposal pretty soon I’m excited about that and definitely look forward to being able to refer to myself as an author.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the famous publications that you wrote for can you just mentioned some examples for the audience to know?
Thai Nguyen: Sure Huffington Post would definitely be up there is quite a well-known publication that I’ve been writing for, entrepreneur.com I’ve got a large following there, a lead daily is a publication for generation Y, mind-body grin is another large one, so those are the major ones I’m actually interacting with an editor from the Atlantic so hopefully I can have some work featured on there but those are some of the major ones.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How does it work the process to be an author like a paid author for this publications for someone who wants to become a writer for this famous publications like yourself what should he do or she do?
Thai Nguyen: That’s something I get asked a lot some people will say did you get some special access to these things but no honestly there’s a submission process on these sites I just look at their contact information for the sites, some of them will have a submission page or an email but you can directly to submit to sell Huffington Post has a link have an email where you can submit an article to and basically that’s what I did I studied what some of these sites were publishing what kind of articles the type of voice and you’ll notice with a lot of these large publications they have a certain style so if you can figure out what their style is and create an article that fits in with that voice of the site then I wrote an article that I thought would fit in well submitted it to an editor and then I just got confirmation and a response from them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So how does it work like they confirm and then they will set a price for it or they have fixed price what is the market price how does it work?
Thai Nguyen: It depends on the publication usually they have contributors which quote unquote they pay you exposure so for Huffington Post you only get paid if you’re a staff writer but usually there are causes and specific points with being a staff writer so sometimes you have to sign a noncompete disclosure so if I was to get paid by the Huffington Post that would limit but I’m able to write for other sites so I would have to sign and say I’m not going to publish my articles on a competing site if you’re a staff writer if your contributor then you don’t get paid but you get exposure and credibility but it doesn’t limit where you can write so that’s what you’ve got away up if you get on these sites usually if you have success as a contributor than they invite you to come on as a staff writer but depending on the publication some of them will limit where you can write so you got to think, what’s your approach, are you eventually going to want to monetize yourself through your brand alone or are you going to try to monetize through getting paid your other sites so that’s a personal decision that you have to come to.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: And if you decide to write just for them for the entrepreneur magazine or for the other famous ones what is the market like how do they pay, per word or proposed?
Thai Nguyen: I think with the staff positions the few other publications that I get paid for I get paid per article and some of them base that on per word and some of that is based on say a minimum, one that I write for is a minimum of 600 words, a travel site that I write for his twenty-five cents per word so for 800 words that works out to be $200 an article so it really varies, you can set your price as a freelance workers you can set it usually as a writer it’s per word and…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: In general for 600 to 1000 words like how much those famous publications pay?
Thai Nguyen: With Huffington Post and entrepreneur honestly I don’t know I’m a contributor for them, for the travel site I think the 200 for 800 words is mid- to high-level so I would estimate that’s some of these other sites would pay around that range probably 2 to 404 6 to 1000 word article.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: As a contributor do you make your profile on those magazines but do they make it for you.
Thai Nguyen: Typically they allow you about three link backs to any products or site that you have and you are free to write your author bio so typically that’s in most of my communications with the sites they say include three links to whatever products you want to say after the coaching program say I’ve got my book is finished I use a link to Amazon for them to purchase that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How did that help you with exposure and also I see sometimes you post the same articles on your site or your blog after posting them on this publications don’t you face issues with Google in that regards or is it okay?
Thai Nguyen: There has been a lot of debate about that I think a few years ago you were penalized for having repeat content on the Internet but I think those rules have been relaxed and I was actually having a conversation with someone recently is still unsure about that so we’re kind of in this experimental stage where I’m actually seeing is there is going to be any sort of penalty for doing that but honestly I haven’t, there are some sites that say specifically, we don’t want this article published anywhere, so a site like mind-body grin will say you cant publish this anywhere not even on your own blog, other sites are more flexible and say you can publish it anywhere that in terms of traffic I haven’t seen any real dilution of traffic I still see a lot of exposure on Huffington Post and it’s a different audience and I still see exposure on my own site.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you see the exposure like if you were just right for your blog without guest blogging for those publications, how did that impact your brand?
Thai Nguyen: Sure, there’s one thing that comes with guest blogging and its trust, when people continue to visit a site there is an inherent level of trust that comes with it so when I first stepped out because my brand is unfamiliar people are hesitant to visit because it’s not that feeling of familiarity and trust so with these larger sites that I guest post for, people continue to go back and visit because I built this relationship and that’s key as well this whole idea of relationship building, the more people visit my site the more they feel they have a relationship with me as the writer but when I was starting off that something that so difficult to do, it’s like going back to your favorite restaurant versus going to a restaurant that just opened down the street, you aren’t sure if the food is going to be great or if the service is going to be great but to your favorite restaurant you’ve got no problems going back to that so these larger sites that have these larger platforms and larger audiences it’s been crucial for me in terms of getting extra exposure and again just building that level of trust and familiarity.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: At this current point of your life are you making more money from guest blogging or writing for these publications or from your own products?
Thai Nguyen: It’s been a balance and it’s been tricky in terms of again figuring out what is really going to benefit me in the long term and what is really going to align with what I’m passionate about so originally I was bringing in income through personal coaching and to be honest it didn’t turn out to be something I was passionate about, I was bringing in good money and that launched a writing Boot Camp a little while ago but I’ve come to realize it’s not something that sets that fire life in me and also even writing for other publications and getting paid for them, yeah it was bringing in money but again the money is meaningless if it doesn’t come with the sense of passion as well so I’ve drawn back and put all my energy into building my side my audience, and hopefully getting this book out and then getting the audience to sell it to and that’s one of the key parts in this book proposal, with the book proposal after the show I’ve got to keep track of all my articles that have been shared virally, I approve to them that I have an audience to sell this book too so I’m working on building my Facebook group, building my Twitter following, building my monthly unique views and all of that while it doesn’t bring in immediate income because a lot of it is working…
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s a long-term process yes.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So do you enjoy writing more than coaching, I mean in terms of coaching to you focus on coaching people to have the utopian life for coaching people to be good writers?
Thai Nguyen: Both I’ve done both originally some of it was just about clarifying their passions and then giving them mindset strategy mindset tool psychological strategies to cut away any sort of distractions to keep them accountable and build towards these goals, some of them wants to start similar things like an online blog and had to build an audience I coach them through that, other people were just purely personal goals that they wanted to achieve and other people were about writing how do they refine their writing and get to a point where they can be featured on larger publications.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you take on clients that you can help them get featured and how long usually does the process of featuring on these publications take?
Thai Nguyen: I don’t do any introductions to editors it’s mostly just giving them some of the tools that have helped in my own writing, some things to think about that they haven’t thought about before that goes into writing, looking at how long some of your sentences are, the tempo of how your article reads but yeah I work with them just to get their writing refined and use the tools that I’ve used to get on to large publications but again it doesn’t come down to any secret strategy, eventually you just have to think of an article that would fit well on these publications and submitted to them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of these major tools that you use?
Thai Nguyen: It’s definitely looking at the tempo of your writing so if you were to read your article out loud, I really liked a piece almost in a poetic structure so varying up your sentences, sometimes if you have a lot of short sentences it reads in a very staccato kind of sense and it’s difficult to get through so how do you just make your article flow and try to minimize any sort of repetition and make sure every sentence that you say contribute some sort of value to the overall article, that’s one key thing looking at the way that you craft your title the way that you use different words, those are all huge elements that go into it, the way that you use visual words including emotional words, working you insert a story into it, how are you going to back up this point, there are plenty of things.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: You didn’t have struggles when shifting from writing blog posts to writing a book? In terms of structure?
Thai Nguyen: They are similar and different in many ways also you can even look at the structure of an article as a boiled down version of the book so addressing conflict and resolution you still do that in an article as you would in a book that I think some of the major issues between an article and the book is a book isn’t necessarily a collection of articles but you still are moving through pieces that have a connection and a flow between say fifty different related articles so there are huge differences but at the same time I think when it comes down to the basics of writing you’re still utilizing the same skills for both.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: From your experience writing blog posts do you feel which one is preferred if people need to see points or paragraphs?
Thai Nguyen: It’s interesting I think people are beginning to move away from what they call lists, ten reasons for this several reasons for that because the way it seems like culture and intellectual culture works is it’s comparable even to fashion, there are these different trends and I feel like we’re moving away from these list articles more to short pieces and I’m always studying what’s trending at the moment so you have kind of this tension at the moment between list articles because they satisfy that psychological need that we have, we like to see things quickly and neatly.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Especially over the phone but it’s not deep it’s just points.
Thai Nguyen: Exactly, if you like we may be headed more towards collaborating maybe on a single point in an article and just digging deeper into one single point rather than moving from point to point to point. So I’m interested to see what direction we are headed and as a writer also but if I had to predict what the future is looking like I feel is that we may be moving away from list articles to more in-depth focused just on one point or one topic so I’m interested in where it’s going to head.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you feel that when, especially myself when I read the seven points or five points to something it’s more attractive to click on and sometimes when you know the style of a certain author that it’s long you don’t tend to click on it especially if you are reading from the phone and you need to really read it deeply.
Thai Nguyen: Yes absolutely and there are studies that show a lot of people will check out mentally check out or not even get through the first paragraph of an article so when people see seven or ten it already registers in their mind what to expect so people already have that sense of familiarity with the article and that typically engages them even more whereas if you just have a blank title and you don’t list the numbers unless you have a very compelling introduction to that article people aren’t sure how long this article is going to be how much of my time is it going to take to read through but if I look at something and I see this going to be seven points I know it’s going to take only a few minutes for me to read and they have that sense of expectation and knowing what’s to come in the article.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you plan your writing, how do you structure it?
Thai Nguyen: I usually like to try to take a unique angle on and add and contribute to something that hasn’t been touched on or if it has been then how do I come at this differently so I look at some of the leaders in the field some of the major publications look at Huffington Post and the New York Times in the Atlantic Washington Post the New Yorker and with what you have to say that’s what I’ve realized in any work while people are interested in what you produce they are also interested in whose producing that so the personality behind what’s being said not just simply the content that being said.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: But you write your thoughts at the beginning before you do the readings or do you do the readings first and then you do the writing?
Thai Nguyen: Sometimes I change them sometimes I just write purely what I think about this and then I look for studies, I always try to bring studies into everything that I’m writing about so looking at journal articles and tried again content and sources that aren’t really touched upon so looking for academic journals is something that I do a lot, academia.com and just looking through what some professors and universities what they are producing.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you look at the top results in the search engine or do you try to go to certain publications and search about the subject?
Thai Nguyen: Certain publications, scientific American is one that I look at a lot, psychology today is another one that I look at a lot, I look at peer-reviewed journal articles which means other professors and other scientists and psychologists are also reading that work as well and using that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you have a goal in terms of words?
Thai Nguyen: Sure, I usually try to finish three different pieces of work and then moved away from at one stage I set myself a word limit of 3000 words a day but now I’ve moved more towards three pieces of work so I’m constantly working on three different articles and that allows me to have that sent a variety also, I write for an independent news publication and I focus on human rights and culture and I write for a couple of travel magazines so I usually have a travel article that I’m working on and then in the entrepreneurial and healthy living area I have those articles such as three pieces of work whether they are one of those I try to get at least two of them done a day and then typically pretty happy with that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What time do you like to write?
Thai Nguyen: I’m a morning person Ahmed so when I was living in Peru I was waking at 430 in the morning and I would go for a jog in the morning come back have a shower have coffee and then try to get most of my work done in the morning, usually when I hear six or 7 o’clock at night that’s when my brain is kind of fried out in the checkout.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you have an agreement with us publications different publications you have an agreement to send a weekly article or whatever you have an article you pitch them for the article based on you feel that this is going to suit the material?
Thai Nguyen: Mind-body grin, two articles a week entrepreneur I submit one a week for them and Huffington Post they don’t have any expectations but I like to do one article for them also and that for my own site I like to do two articles a week and recently I started opening it up my site up for guest contributions and guest articles as well. So I’ve had quite a few submissions to feature work there.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you did the structure of your book have you planned to use this material while you are writing the book as a blog post or just keep them private until you finish the book?
Thai Nguyen: I’ve Them separate there’s been a few things that have been related but because my book is quite different to a lot of the work that I am producing it’s a little bit of a memoir and its next a little bit with very practical areas so I haven’t really been able to double up on content which I think is a good thing, some others get criticized with saying a single your book is just a collection of your blog articles which I don’t think that’s a bad thing but for me the two have been very separate.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to become a travel writer?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of it has been for me just because I love traveling has been very easy in terms of I just put together an article as I travel but for anyone that is looking to get into it I did an interview with quite a well-known travel writer Shannon Kaiser and the way she got started was she just went and traveled and just did the work. And that’s an important thing, a lot of people will go out and will try to contact editors or talk to travel magazines and ask them how do I get involved but if you compare that and pitch that against a person that has just gone to Dubai and written up an article and taken nice photos, say you’re the editor Ahmed one person comes to you and says Ahmed I want to be a travel writer for your magazine and another person comes to you and says on that I have this article that I’ve just written I would like to become a travel writer, you’re going to go with the person who is something put together.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it’s about always the people who read about traveling or can it be just writers because they can afford getting paid from online publications so it doesn’t matter where they are so it’s good for their brains to refresh and travel and see different places while their writing as well.
Thai Nguyen: Yeah is your question does the person need to be an established writer to become a travel writer?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Yeah you need to reach to a certain level that you know the industry that you know how many articles like you are writing like you are now targeting you know how much you have to write for whom how much you will get paid so you know how much you’re going to get to cover your expenses so you can travel it doesn’t matter and even it will boost your writing the traveling.
Thai Nguyen: Yeah I think part of that depends on if you want to do that full-time or if you just want to do a couple travel writing articles as a hobby I think it’s good to have the industry knowledge and to have the structure of writing to do it but it’s not absolutely necessary obviously need to have the skills of writing to do travel writing but that’s not to say that any person an amateur who enjoys writing couldn’t do it I mean if you have that passion and you for find your writing to the point where it’s publishable, nothing is going to stop a person with no experience from going out which is the great thing about the world we live in today with the Internet and technology is that someone with no experience but has the skills is still able to bring in an income from doing something they are passionate about.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So for the amateurs out there you advise them to go look for these different publications see how much they pay and try to pitch them and start one by one or what do you advise? If you are just to start again now what would you do differently or what would you do it step by step?
Thai Nguyen: Absolutely my journey has been exactly that I had no formal journalism training I had no formal writing training I was the amateur and basically it’s important to have some sort of an online presence so I just bought a domain name or you can use WordPress there’s a lot of great free WordPress themes you can download you can set up in half an hour you can have a site featuring who you are and your work and that’s basically what I did and then I wrote an article and submitted it to a fairly large sized site and they accepted it and that’s when the exposure begin to come in so for any amateur just stepping out and doing the work, often we get paralyzed by asking a lot of questions and trying to do research which is good but research should always be going hand-in-hand with acting on it and taking some steps forward so for any amateur just right, just go ahead and put together an article that you think would fit for the publication but you want to submit to and to submit it to them.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the top five publications that you recommend amateurs to start with submitting to get some money?
Thai Nguyen: Sure there’s one site that’s based in I think the UK called Korea addict.com and they initially take you on just as a contributor and then they can start paying for you afterwards that’s a good site to start off with, there’s obviously another site called addicted to success.com, they don’t pay but that’s good exposure, pro-blogger.net they have a job board, job listings where writers can find freelance work and you can also submit to them to get exposure also, obviously the other two sites are elance and freelancer.com for any writers to get started on them that’s also a good way but just to realize the balance of those two in trying to find an income for your writing or your work, realize and be comfortable with the fact that you’ve got to build your brand and you have to build exposure for your work as well and it’s like that with many different fields and many different professions, when I was wanting to become a chef I was an apprentice and even though I was getting paid I wasn’t getting paid much and also I was doing extra work for free to gain the knowledge, I was staying back longer than my shifts, when I was an amateur athlete fighter I was fighting for free, I was putting in a lot of hours. So with any dream that you pursue after to view time as a good ROI you’re going to get returns on your investment of time you’re going to gain knowledge and grow in that area.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you edit your own writing or do you send it to an editor, do you edit while you’re writing or do you edit after you finish writing?
Thai Nguyen: At the moment I do edit my work, I have some readers who some loyal readers that will pick up any typos if they do get through, for sites like Huffington Post and entrepreneur they have their own editors as well but I always like to edit before I submit to them but one have that I’ve learned is once I finish an article out completely walk away for at least a couple of hours before I come back even in that short time it seems as if your eyes freshen up to the work that you’ve done and you’re able to see things in a clearer light so I try to edit as I go but I certainly also at it once I’m done and then usually take a break and then come back to it and have another read through even if I leave it overnight often also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you write efficiently, what are the top five techniques that you do to write efficiently or habits?
Thai Nguyen: There is one technique which is called the flow of consciousness writing which I would do a lot of most evenings and just set yourself alignment of one page or two pages where you put aside any critical factors or lends that you have an just basically shut off that inner dialogue that likes to critique everything that we do and you just right, just let your consciousness flow and just build that habit of writing a lot of times, writer’s block happens because we overanalyze what we’re writing so to step back from that analysis factor and just write out without any judgment without any critique that’s one thing. Creating the habit of just setting that space in your house that becomes your writing oasis or your work oasis wherever it is it might be that room in your house but familiarity always breeds and creates that environments for more conducive work so if you sit down at your desk your brain and your mind acknowledge this is my workspace and you’re able to engage in that so finding a place that you’re comfortable with makes it conducive for your work and again building those habits of writing, figuring out of your morning or evening person, finding out where these hotspots are that are most conducive for you to do work so those are the three basic ones.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: I’m going to ask you about some of the material that you are written and you are an expert on, how can people quit their miserable jobs?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of times it’s difficult for us to see the mess subjectively when we’re in the middle of things and this whole idea of being in a miserable job, a lot of people that’s not what they, nobody actively seeks to be in a miserable position but it’s kind of flowed out of things that came out of unexpected things so firstly making that distinction between is it the whole field and profession as a whole that you dissatisfied with or adjust the position that you are in sometimes it only takes a little bit of a shift in your role to be able to get out of that miserable position, for myself it was basically seeking validation in where you want to go so I’d be hesitant just to jump straight out of where you are into something else without getting the validation that you need so say I was a chef and I was miserable with that and I wanted to become a writer it would be somewhat foolish of me just to quit my job I miserable cooking job and jump into writing without the validation. I think that’s one keeping you need to seek after is validation for what you want to head into because you might be passionate about it but you might not be passionate doesn’t mean that you’re good at it. Passion doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to create a living out of that, at that moment it doesn’t mean that it’s not impossible at all you just need to get your skills to a level that it is possible so if I was miserable as a chef and I wanted to become a writer the first thing I would do is evaluate my skill level in the field that I want to get into. So I would see where my level of writing is at and try to validate that by submitting posts and if I send out five articles and get rejected by all five obviously that tells me I’m not ready to step out from a miserable job yet, if I wanted to be a podcast or or if I wanted to start a business in a different field perhaps do some pre-consulting and see how many people are interested and just get feedback from what you want to get into so seeking validation would be the first and crucial step and then evaluating from there how far you need to go in order to build a viable business from that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you de-clutter your life and what do you advise people to declare their life?
Thai Nguyen: Start with one area and refine that, I believe that there are so many interconnected areas in life in Australia if you go to rent a house, a lot of the time the housing agents will be sneaky and they will look inside your car and see how well you maintain your vehicle because that gives you an idea of how clean and how well you maintain a house and that’s so true that so much of our lives are interconnected so if you focus on one area naturally that’s going to flow into other areas of your life for anyone that’s been in military service you know that one of the first things you do in the morning is make your bed neat and tidy and perfect because you build success in one area of life and it flows into another area there is a great quote that says, how you do anything is how you do everything so people often get overwhelmed with a question like Ottawa to clutter my life and all of a sudden I look at the overall mass of my life but realizing again it’s like that other quote how you eat an elephant, one bite of the time. You work on small areas so you begin by decluttering your living room and making sure that living room is perfects, making sure your desktop on your computer is always tidy and when you repeatedly build that habit in one area it naturally flows into other areas so for someone that wants to de-clutter look at where your immediately at and how do you clean up that immediate area that you’re in. So start with the room that you’re in and no doubt that will flow into other areas.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to have a beautiful and meaningful life especially after this journey of trying different careers and different areas of life traveling and different writing and other stuff?
Thai Nguyen: I think two things are key, finding inherent value in finding external value so inherently what makes you happy and what makes you excited and how do you leverage that to contribute to someone else’s life I think those are two key areas that when happiness is solely confined to who we are that seems to run out quite quickly but if you look at extending that beyond the you are then you have something not only sustainable but something that is more hole in the human experience if you look at a lot of the most successful entrepreneurs and people in the world their success always extends beyond who they are, they are building something beyond their own lives but that goes back to finding something that really excites you. So something that not only you are good at but you passionate about but also influences people outside of your own life.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Success versus happiness versus fulfillment, which one is most important?
Thai Nguyen: You know I really think that you could almost bundle the three of them together I don’t think success even though it does happen, success shouldn’t come to the exclusion of happiness so I do believe you can be successful and very unhappy, you can become the CEO of the company and be very unhappy at the same time you can be both that and still unfulfilled, success can come with happiness, it can still come without fulfillment and if I had to tie in each one of them, success could be this one-dimensional, I’m the CEO making six figures, happiness could be that aligns with something I’m passionate about because you can be successful at something that you are passionate about all I could be successful as a chef and still be unhappy because it misses out on that passion element, so success would have to include something that you’re passionate about and then fulfillment is this idea of something that’s beyond yourself, to be fulfilled I think the key area is to contribute to the world to feel like what you’re doing matters. So for the three of them to be pulled together I think that’s crucial I don’t think we should aim at any single one of them to the exclusion of the other.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people find their purpose like if they don’t know where to go, how can they find their purpose? And why is it important to have a purpose?
Thai Nguyen: I think a great way is to imagine what your perfect day would look like and take away some of these elements, think about a lot of times we try to build their lives around something that really doesn’t influence what your purposes so society has built so much around materialism and the pursuit of money which is important I’m not saying it’s not important things but they influence the decisions that we make in a way that doesn’t help us in finding out what our purposes and really your purpose basically should be what excites you what you love doing but we let the influence of how do I make a living out of this influence and decision which is a secondary issue. Purpose should come first and that comes from finding what you love doing so if I was to ask you if money wasn’t an issue at all if you knew you were going to be successful, what would you do with your life? And personally that’s been a great question in finding out what my purposes and in people that I’ve coached simply asking that question has been liberating and realizing that I shouldn’t base my purpose and my passion around weather I’m going to be rich but sadly a lot of us do that. So removing that factor is really helpful.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the hidden blessings and failures and rejection and losing?
Thai Nguyen: Even with, I I read an article recently about emotions as well as, we try our best to avoid negative situations but really there’s not a person in life who is immune to negativity in life so how do we reappraise these negatives and things like losing and failure is going to realize that they come out of progress and progress is the key in almost anything as long as you’re moving forward as long as you are turning up each day trying to do something that’s progress and when you do hit obstacles it shouldn’t be viewed necessarily as a failure. If you change your lens of thinking and seeing these as carrying lessons they are all feedback and information on how you can improve and redirect and change directions so Marcus Aurelius is a really famous ancient Roman Emperor and he had this great quote that said, if you are disturbed or upset by anything external the pain isn’t due to that external thing but your perception of it. So when you change your perception of something it changes the experience of it also so I’ve learned to view any failure as a lesson and if you make that decision now in your life that any difficulty that comes your way is a blessing in disguise and you begin to look for that you’re inevitably going to find something in it so the rejected article doesn’t become my writing is terrible, the rejected article just means that I know now not what to do in my next article and just doing things in a supportive way rather than destructive way.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Why is it important to make or have a silence in our life or having rest?
Thai Nguyen: A lot of that comes down to our internal dialogue and the noisy world we live in, we live in a world and technology is great I love how small the world is getting in terms of technology in terms of access to information but at the same time you’ve got to think solely of who you are and realizing that none of these things are part of who you are. So what silence does this ultimately it strips you down to one of the most difficult things that we have to deal with which is ourselves and our internal dialogue and a lot of people call it the imposter syndrome or the lizard brain, we have this constant feedback going through our minds and silence allows us to confront that voice and often times the negativity that instills in talks to us in that way, really confront yourself and I believe a lot of success comes down to self-mastery, if you’re able to master your emotional self your psychological self then you’re able to master a lot of the external things in life, so silence and solitude has a way of basically confronting yourself and confronting your own inner demons and inner doubts, along with that silence has been shown just to have great benefits for creativity, we go through a process one we have insights called an incubation period where our subconscious or unconscious mind is constantly being exposed to so much information and then when we take a step back it allows all of this information to settle, to marinate and from that we have clarity and insights that stem from that. So living in a noisy world, silence is just crucial for us to step back to be able to breathe to separate ourselves for a bit and to enter back into the crazy world that we live in.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you do to boost your brain as a writer?
Thai Nguyen: There are these things called binaural beats I don’t know if you’ve heard of them what it does, you can find a lot of them on YouTube or you can buy some of the CDs but basically our brain emits different frequencies and they been able to measure this and neuropsychology where you have alpha waves beta waves Delta waves and gamma waves I when you experience high-level insights from that incubation period that I mentioned so what binaural beats are they sound one frequency into one ear and then another frequency into another ear and your brain balances out these two different frequencies and they put you in a mode of different concentration of alpha-beta or Delta or gamma so that’s one thing that I do sometimes obviously diet and eating I guess omega-3 rich foods are shown to improve brain efficiency so food like avocado salmon flaxseed, different nuts. Looking after your health is crucial for your brain health as well. And then different things with the binaural beats and also ginkgo and green tea have also been shown to have great benefits for your brain as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are some of the habits you’re trying to develop to stay efficient and productive?
Thai Nguyen: Daily timing is definitely a huge thing so waking up at the same time, I also use some different psychological habits also, one is exposing myself to difficulty on a daily basis and I do that physically through having a cold shower, I have a normal temperature shower warm hot but then to finish it off I turned on completely cold but while I do that I remind myself that I endure all difficulties and I overcome all obstacles and it’s a personal mantra that I say to myself just to reinforce that I turn on the cold water so it’s not only a psychological thing that I’m using these affirmations but also the physical and during of going through the cold water and it’s basically building off that I call it the psychosomatic relationship between your mind and body and there’s an author named Malcolm Gladwell who has a book called who has a book called blink and he talks about the psychosomatic relationship where they did one study where they took one group of people and got them to read words that were related with being old so they read words like bingo, Florida, shuffleboard and different words like this and they measured the speed at which they walked into the study as to when they walked out of it and simply reading a word, words are basically labels for a concept or an experience so when they read these words the brain began to register these words and it truly affected the body so the body and mind are fascinating in their relationship something as simple as a word can trigger off a neurological and physical response and that’s what I’m doing in trying to create that habit with having these cold shower but also reminding myself that difficulties and obstacles are going to be an inevitable part of this journey but I embrace them and overcome them and my body is reminded of it to the cold shower as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is your work and daily life routine look like from when you wake up in the morning until when you sleep?
Thai Nguyen: I try to get up quite early so before 5 o’clock and then go for a jog first thing just to keep healthy and fit then I come back of a coffee sit down and write for a few hours I usually work in a two hour spurt so I just try to focus and write for about forty or fifty minutes take like a ten minute break and then again forty or fifty minutes, take a longer break after two hours and then had something to eat go back to it again and I try to write in three stages, 32 hour stages and get in those three different pieces of work that I mentioned earlier and then spend the other time networking, email and people back, working on social media.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Best tools or hacks that you use for writing and traveling?
Thai Nguyen: There’s one great at that’s been a lifesaver called self control and basically what I’m able to do one that is just write down sites that I’m blocked for those two hours so I put in all my email accounts I put in on my social media accounts under self-control and activate that for the two hours that I do work so essentially blocks up the sides, I can access them or check my email all I do is just focus on my writing and work.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It’s on Mac?
Thai Nguyen: It’s available for both I’m pretty sure, self-control.com I think I’ll double check and just confirm with you but it’s been a brilliant up and then obviously Evernote has been very good in cataloging and keeping track of all the useful resources and research that I come across.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are your other hobbies?
Thai Nguyen: I’m a pretty boring guy actually, I read and I write a lot, I guess I love getting outdoors and going for hikes that’s one thing when I travel I love walking around and exploring the different cities that I’m in. I’m in Houston now previously I just got here from New Jersey and it was great just to go for a jog around New Jersey, I was in Brooklyn just to walk around Brooklyn and New York and San Francisco I was there before so I just like getting out and just exploring cities and finding nice coffee shops to sit down and check out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three writers and top three authors?
Thai Nguyen: Top three writers, Gretchen Rubin is a great writer, Ann LaMotte, Jeff Collins would be another good writer, top three authors certainly Malcolm Gladwell, Andrew Solomon is in the great writer and I really enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s work also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three mentors?
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say I got personal mentor is a philosopher and a professor based here in Houston named Russell Minnick, he has his own site Russell Minnick.com. Also my friend Constable he’s another blogger and writer he’s been a good mentor to me and I’d have to say a more distant on a non-personal level is Andrew Solomon, I follow his work and we contracted through email but he’s probably a mentor in a more distant sense.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Most important factors for success in three words?
Thai Nguyen: Keep showing up.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the biggest failure moment in your life and what did you learn from it?
Thai Nguyen: I guess a recent failure is talking about something before it came to pass so originally I had a book planned that I wanted to be out in October last year and I did a few podcasts where I talked about having this book out in October but again what we talked about having a clear path of expectation and then things turn out much different from what we planned, that’s what happened I was talking about this book coming out in October 2014 and then things really took a different turn in terms of connecting with different literary agents and changing the theme and stuff for my book so I’ve learned, I felt like a bit of a loss of integrity because I was getting out publicly saying my book is going to be out in October but then all of a sudden I changed directions and it was just something that was I felt like there was an issue where I probably lost a little bit of trust with my audience and audiences of other podcasts that probably expected this book to be out at a certain time and didn’t come out so I’d say that was a small but at the same time of failure that had some effect that I’d like to avoid in the future so I’ve moved away from talking about things that I’m not completely certain about and just waiting for the product to be more concrete or even after the product is out to talk about it.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: So you pitched the publishers or literary agents first and then you write the book or you write the book finish it and then pitch them?
Thai Nguyen: First I was going to self publish it which is a lot of what writers and potential authors are doing and a lot of it depends on fiction and nonfiction, the way a lot of people with fiction books a lot of publishing houses want to see the completed work and want to see the whole product out there for whatever reason I’m not too sure but with nonfiction work which is what I’m working on usually they want to see just a proposal and 3 to 5 chapters that you completed because I guess they want more of a say in the direction of it and just more feedback involvement there so with my work it’s just been putting together the first few chapters, looking at the marketability of it so looking at your own audience and your strategy for marketing the book basically they want to know that they can invest in you can see returns on that investment so what is your audience look like what is your strategy what is your competition at the moment and how does your book stand apart from the competition?
Ahmed Al Kiremli: 2 to 3 chapters edited or just?
Thai Nguyen: Yes edited, but they still want the freedom to suggest and reedit that also.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Publishing versus self-publishing what did you shift in which do you think, which route should the author go if you can have both?
Thai Nguyen: At the moment there is still the sense where there’s a sense of credibility that comes with a publishing house and that can change in the future because self-publishing is gaining more and more credibility because there are some very good writers and authors that self publish but the reason I guess I shifted over to wanting to publish with the publishing house is I want to leverage also if I connect with a good publishing house, connect with their PR agency and their marketing strategies and trusting that they have a solid strategy for getting the book out there and there’s still again that notion that idea that there is that credibility that comes with a traditional publisher. So that’s one reason that I went over, also some of the earliest success I had been featured with these larger publications people have encouraged me to go and seek after a traditional publisher because I have the credibility because I have the ground audience so that was another factor that work towards me changing directions.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Thai Nguyen: Best advice is follow one course until success that came from John Lee Dumas who I interviewed and that has been helpful there have been times where I’ve been tempted to again step into different fields and spread myself thinner but just to draw back and focus on that one thing which is the book now at the moment until I see some success come from that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: What would you advise your younger self if you had the chance?
Thai Nguyen: To enjoy the journey a lot more and to focus on the destination and the goal but balance that out with stopping every now and then and just reflecting on how far you have come as you continue to head toward the dream.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: It would probably have to be that Zen proverb that I mentioned earlier before enlightenment, chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water. It’s just a reminder that anytime we achieve a goal or level of success, we’re still who we are there’s still work to be done there’s still things that shouldn’t change through success as well.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people that you’re inspired by?
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say John Lee Dumas is one in stepping out and leaving his career in law and real estate to start a podcast and a very successful podcast at that. That has been something that really inspires me, someone from left field actually is Bethany Hamilton, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her. She is the major feature in the movie soul surfer, she was attacked by a shark and Gloucester entire arm in the shark attack and she was pitched to become this incredibly incredible world champion surfer and then when she had the shark attack everyone completely rather off and said she’s finished and now she’s bounced back she learned how to surf and balance with one arm and is now world champion surfer.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Wow.
Thai Nguyen: She inspires me on a personal level, another lady her name is Diane naiad she is the first person of any gender any age to swim from Cuba to Florida and she did that at the age of sixty-four without a shark tank and on her fifth attempt so she failed four times leading up to that over I think since she was the age of twenty-eight so for something like that just shy of forty years she continued to seek after the stream and it took her close to forty years but she achieved it and she was the first person to do that so it’s just a reminder for me to take a step back and even though I can be very impatient about achieving my goals, realizing that hey this may take a lifetime but if you that passionate about this dream of yours then to keep showing up, keep doing the work and just embrace that journey and trust that you’re going to reach your destination.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three books.
Thai Nguyen: I’d have to say far from the tree from Andrew Solomon and that’s much less practical than what most people may suggest but I think it’s a great book and just understanding who you are and the aspects that you can change about yourself and the aspects that you can change about yourself so he gives this illustration in the distinction between your vertical and horizontal identity and I won’t go into it in depth but it’s basically just thinking finding out who you are embracing the things you can’t change about yourself but leveraging the things that you can change about yourself that would be the first thing. I think the alchemist is a powerful book, everyone usually recommends that book and it’s just a powerful book for this journey of life that we are on. I think meditations that Marcus Aurelius is another great book, it’s been around for years and years I think he was from eighty BC but he was an ancient Roman Emperor I would recommend that.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Last question, what makes you really happy?
Thai Nguyen: Being able to wake up every day and do something I love.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: How can people contact you?
Thai Nguyen: I’d love to connect with the audience Ahmed so theutopianlife.com is probably the most simple and best way to connect I have my Facebook group connected to that site and also twitter and if there’s anyone that’s just seeking advice on how to step out and live your dream I would be more than happy to help them out.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much Thai for this very very rich information to knowledge that you shared with us.
Thai Nguyen: Thank you, thank you for what you do Ahmed I think it’s great to be able to inspire others and I’m very flattered to be honored, thank you for the work that you do.
Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much, thanks everyone, be efficient and stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.
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