BIG day for me. Scared. Nervous. Anxious. My first self help book "Small Decisions Big Impact" is now available on Amazon. Hardcover, paperback, and ebook all officially published. Next, stop is an audiobook :)
On December 11th of 2020, I read an article from CNBC that caught my eye. The title read, “63% of Americans have been living paycheck to paycheck since the Pandemic”. On top of that, about 44% of respondents say they were living beyond their means before the pandemic, and two-thirds said that they regret not having an emergency savings.
Paying yourself first refers to the practice of automatically making a savings contribution or investment with your income before it can reach your wallet. Before you pay bills (utilities/rent) or spend money on entertainment (going out/shopping) are you setting aside a fixed amount from your paycheck?
In no way am I stating that you shouldn’t pay your bills or not to go out and enjoy yourself from time to time. I’m simply suggesting to take a second and think about how much can you set aside to invest in your future. It doesn’t matter if it’s $100 a month or $1,000. As long as you’re starting somewhere. I began paying myself $500 a month since I started working. Eventually that amount grew more and more as I saw the potential of investing.
Fast forward to January of 2021. This month has marked my largest return on investment (ROI) from investing in stocks. I accumulated approximately $10,000 in realized gains in a single month. This now brings me a step closer to my goal of having a 6 figure emergency fund.
I know I cannot make you do anything, but as long as you follow me I will continue to share my stories in hopes to inspire others.
Hey strangers I’m here to bother you all again! As most of you can tell I’ve made it my personal job to consistently show up on your phones with these weird posts. I mean I’ve created a website, Instagram, discord chat, and even a whole book. All of which is to spread as much positivity as possible and remind you of tiny steps to take to reach your goals.
What can I say? I genuinely want to implant these ideas into your head: No matter where you came from or what you know, the road to financial freedom is attainable if you work hard enough and stay open to the idea of always learning. This time I wanted to stop by and talk about my most recent source of passive income. Let’s talk about stock investing!
If you have never thought about investing in stocks I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking about skipping this blog because stocks are unknown, scary, and you have no interest in hearing about it. I mean investing in anything if you have never done it can create this type of fear to stray you away in an instant.
I get it you have many things going on right now with the way 2020 has treated you, but if you have even the slightest interest about stocks I suggest reading the rest of this. Since I started investing in stocks about 8 months ago I have grown my investment portfolio in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Sure there are risks, but if you take the time to do proper research and practice investing, you greatly decrease your chances of a loss.
If you’re not sure where to start feel free to message me about joining my new chat room I created. Experienced or not all is welcome. I'm simply trying to build a community to help one another out. Who knows maybe you’ll get the hang of it and take a step closer to financial freedom 😊
If you’ve known me within the past five years, you may know that I have a couple of card tricks up my sleeve. Some tricks that I taught myself to entertain others and see them smile. Many of you that have witnessed these may have noticed I have a favorite card. It’s no coincidence that you or I might have pulled this card from a shuffled deck. Even if you thought it was randomly chosen, the Queen of Hearts.
This card often receives a negative connotation from others. For some reason, the Queen of Hearts seems to be directly related to this evil, mad, and loud villain. This may be the result of a movie/book that has made her out to be one. No matter what words come to mind when you hear of the Queen of Hearts, I like to think that there is more to her than meets the eye. Even if we are just speaking about a fictional character or playing card.
I have made this card to be more than just a party trick or evil villain. It’s a reminder to myself and others. A reminder that no matter what people may think of you, to keep your head up and crown on. Like the Queen of Hearts, I know a little about receiving negative criticism from others. I’m sure you can relate to this as well.
Too often when people don’t understand why you do something differently, more than likely, they will tell you that it’s ridiculous. There is much more to someone than what is perceived on social media or in person. No one knows what your personal agenda is or goals are. So, don’t let negative opinions get inside of your head. Only you know what is best for you.
If I have ever given you a gift resembling the Queen of Hearts in any type of way, here is why. Other people may not know what you’ve been through, but I do. You are stronger than you know. I may not know everything that has happened over the years, but I do know that today and every day you should be happy. It doesn’t even matter if you still have that gift anymore. Just know, that if you ever need me, I will be here for you.
The run, that I prepared months for, lasted two and a half days and ended after 500 miles, a couple injuries, and a broken-down van. The run was an experience that made the books. It was a one of a kind trip, from the awesome friends I made, to the magnificent and unique places we ran through.
We did not run all the way to San Diego in three days like we planned to. However, I’m extremely proud of all the runners and myself for going as far as we did. We aimed high and fell short, but no matter what, we came out stronger than we would have if we chose not to pursue this goal. I know for a fact that if I did not agree to go on this adventure, that I would not have redeveloped this strong passion to run again. I would not have lost some of the body fat I had before training for this run. Also, my self-confidence would not have grown this much without pushing my limits.
To be a part of this experience, here is what I had to overcome.
As you may already know I’m an introvert. However, when this once in a lifetime opportunity arose, I had to jump on it. Lately, I’ve been saying yes to things I fear, because doing so will only help me grow into the man I want to become. After saying yes to this long-distance run, I was so nervous. I had no idea what was going to be in store for me. I didn’t know majority of the guys that were also joining me on this adventure. I was unsure how many miles I would be able to run and if I would be able to keep up. There were so many unanswered questions I had about this run, but I was determined to not let my fear of the unknown stop me.
On October 3rd, 2019 all the runners met in El Paso, Texas. It didn’t take long for the awkward small talk to pass, all the guys felt similar which made me feel a little better. When it was time to run, my nervousness completely subsided. The feeling of the sun, fresh air, and nothing but the empty road in front of me filled my worries. One step after another. I kept my head up and that was the feeling for the first couple of miles.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I’ve been training for this adventure for the past couple months. That whole time I was training, I was focusing on the running aspect of this journey; I did not even think about what I would be doing when I was not running. If you know me well, then you know that I don’t deal well with motion sickness the best. AKA sitting in the backseat of a car for more than twenty minutes. The resting periods for the runners on this trip, could be described as a bumpy, swirly, ride in an RV. So, my resting periods were tremendously difficult, they usually consisted of me telling myself that I cannot throw up on the RV.
The motion sickness truly started to get to me while we were traveling through a mountain. This mountain had all these twists and turns. So, after beating the nervousness of the trip, I then had to battle a pounding headache, cramping, and a constant feeling of nausea. To make things worse, no one else was affected by any motion sickness like I was.
At one point I had to get out of the RV and lay on the ground as my body cramped and went numb. As I stared at the sky and listened to the RV drive off into the distance, I was planning different ways to tell everyone I was ready to give up. When the RV came back around, I was able to gather just enough energy to make it through the rest of the day. I can’t start to explain the amount of pain that I was feeling. It was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever put myself through, and to think, that was only the first day.
We eventually called it a day, and found a motel to lay our heads down. Before everyone went to sleep, for the five hours we were allotted, I spoke to Tom who was the director of the run. I told him I couldn’t do it. The pain I was going through mentally and physically was too intense.
He knew how much I trained for the run and jokingly said, “You’re going to let an old man beat you?” Not amused by him joking, I gloomily stared at him. He then told me to stand up and yell, “I can do this!” I negatively thought to myself, all this motivational stuff is just not going to help at all…But I stood up and tried anyways. The first couple times I said it, it only came out as a whisper because I didn’t really believe in yelling “I can do this” will make the pain go away. I was just saying it because Tom wanted me to. But Tom did not let me leave until I yelled it, like legitimately yelled it. After realizing he was not going to let me go until I yelled those words, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and shouted them. I saw Tom smile and he then let me leave for the motel room to sleep for the night.
The next morning, I felt a little better but was still in pain. The way I felt that morning was like waking up completely hungover with few of hours of sleep while having the spins. Multiply that feeling by five and that’s how I felt. That feeling was there for most of the trip, however, I kept going even though I wanted to stop. Towards the end of the second day, two large bruises started to develop on the arch of my foot and knee. More and more excuses started piling up, did I mention that a week before the run I developed a cough that would not go away as well??? All these excuses made me want to quit now more than ever.
But, there were three reasons why I did not stop. The first reason I did not stop was because of Tom. Since I met Tom, I looked up to him. If he didn't believe I could keep going then I most likely would have given up. He has continuously inspired me to become a better person.
The second reason I did not stop was because this run was a team effort. Even if I wanted to give up because I was feeling sick, my team was relying on me.
The last reason why I did not stop even though I was going through so much pain was because of a personal goal. Before I left for Texas my goal was to not stop running until I absolutely could not anymore because I wanted to feel alive for the both of us. By us, I’m speaking about myself and my best friend Ben who passed away. Ben’s death occurred a couple years ago, but the thought of him still impacts my life every single day.
I know that if I did not go on this run then I would have pushed back a long overdue goodbye that has been on my mind every day. I said I agreed to go on this run to grow as a person, and that is partly true, but that was not main reason. You see, Ben loved to run. He was so fast and ran so effortlessly, maybe that’s why he enjoyed it so much. I mean you did like winning and we were always competitive. I was always trying to keep up with you when we were in cross country even though it was tough. Remember taking detours from our team practices to jump into strangers’ pools during those scorching days and running away as quickly as we could to avoid getting in trouble? I agreed to participate in this trip to take you on one last run just like the old days. I’ll see you again B.
As we drift into the fall weather of October, this means I’m three days away from beginning my run from El Paso, Texas to San Diego, California. Since the day I was asked to go on this run, I began my training. I understood that if I wanted to succeed and reach this goal I would have to put in the work. For the next six short months I ran every other day no matter what. Every morning, even if I was exhausted, sick, or sore, I ran. After accumulating over 100 hours of running or 500 miles ran within those six months, I can still admit that I’m a bit frightened of the challenge that stands before me.
My girlfriend never enjoyed the idea about me going on this long-distance run. Since the beginning, she worried about me getting hurt. I understand her worries, so I try not to bring up the subject often.
Yesterday, however, my girlfriend and I spent the whole day together. Late in the afternoon we went for a jog and I decided to share my doubts concerning the run. To my surprise she said, “What did I just tell you? Look up before you hurt yourself.” Completely thrown off by her words, I quickly lifted my gaze and corrected my posture.
I have a habit of looking down while I run. I look at the ground when I become fatigue but doing this ultimately hurts my spine and neck. As soon as she said that, I was reminded about the push-ups I did earlier that day as well. She stated the same thing while I did those because I let my head down after the first five.
Even though that was all she said, I still found the inspiration I needed. After our jog I had an urge to write about my experience with my girlfriend’s stern words and voice. I enjoy sharing my thoughts, but most of all I believe that when I write them out, that is when I truly practice what I preach.
Sometimes, when life becomes tough, we tend to “look down” or focus on the negatives. Instead we should be focusing on a positive mindset no matter how fatigue or frustrated we are. “Never think about why you can’t do something. Think about how you can.” Your mind is a powerful thing and I wanted to remind everyone of this. On the long distance run I plan to keep my head up and think about feeling the water off the coast of California.
My first word as a child was “ball.” My father, a huge fan of the game, was ecstatic as he handed me a tiny basketball. He actually named me after the GOAT, Michael Jordan. When I was growing up, my father didn’t have much free time, but when he did we would spend that time in the backyard running agility courses and eye-hand coordination drills.
Every year around the month of June, I become uneasy. It’s not because I worry about the beautiful weather, summertime women, or the family vacations. I am uneasy because my birthday is in June. The definition of a birthday is “The anniversary of the day which a person was born, typically treated as an occasion for celebration and the giving of gifts”. As my 23rd birthday approaches, I find myself completely overwhelmed with anxiety. Even without my anxieties, I don’t really enjoy my birthday as much as others might. I don’t have any problems with celebrating other people’s birthdays or them celebrating it for themselves, but my birthday? It just isn’t my thing. For me, I believe it is more a day for my mother to celebrate because her child is another year older and the fact that she brought me into this world.
-In no way am I saying that I am ungrateful for life. I just believe that I don’t need a specific day to remind myself that I should be celebrating life. Life should be celebrated every single day, should it not? Every morning I try to wake up grateful for my health, food, family, and the roof over my head. Some days I forget but I have been practicing to remember.
-Additionally, I am not fond of the idea of all that attention. If you don’t know this about me, I’m an introvert for the most part. The thought of all the spotlights, parties, and people singing “Happy Birthday” to me as I sit there awkwardly fiddling my fingers and praying for it to end only stresses me out even more.
-Another reason is because I tend to make bad decisions on my birthday. It all starts when I receive my birthday wishes from everyone on social media. Birthday wishes that are sent after people are reminded by Facebook, Instagram, or some other application. Afterwards my head is filled with this sort of entitlement. I start to think today is my day and that I should do this or buy that. I become extremely consumeristic and tend to buy so many unnecessary things. On top of wasting my money, I find myself stuffing my face with cake, which I always regret the next day.
-Then comes the same conversations that physically and mentally drain me. “What am I going to do for my birthday? What do I want for my birthday? How old will I be turning?” It’s like a broken record of the same questions. People ask about my life plans only to disappear until next year and ask me the same questions again. I know I’m more than lucky to have people that care so much about me, but I would rather go back into my cave to hide and wait for the day to be over.
I know most of you won’t agree with this post, but this is just my opinion about my birthday. As sad as this may sound, I believe my best birthdays are spent with my family and girlfriend at home doing nothing. I know, I’m lame. Besides being an introvert, I feel like I’m just an old soul in a young person’s body. Maybe that’s why I don’t enjoy my birthday?
On August 22nd, 2018 I was working at Nhinja Sushi and Wok. I worked all day shifts and interacted with so many different people. I had short conversations with the regulars and introduced myself to anyone new. One night I met someone extraordinary. At the time though I thought he was just a regular customer. He spoke to me the way no has ever spoken to me before. He asked me difficult questions about what I wanted in life. I didn’t have the answer to his questions, and it bothered me. After he finished his dinner, he left the restaurant and returned with a book in his hands. He walked straight up to me and handed me his book. He told me that he wrote this book and wanted me to read it. The book sat in my bedroom untouched for two weeks until I decided to pick it up. I had no idea that this man was so successful until I had finished his book.
Fast forward to May 16th, 2019. For some reason I can’t let go of that short conversation with that strange man. So, I decided to find answers to the reasoning of his questions. I have never really sought anyone out before. It was quite terrifying, but I figured what was the worst thing that could happen? On the back of his book he had a phone number printed on it. I decided to give it a call, but I had no luck. I eventually found his business online after some research. On the website I found the company’s email address. My fears of being turned down hovered over my shoulders. Before I could think any longer or convince myself not to, I sent the email. I wasn’t sure if he would receive it or if one of his workers would dump the email. To my surprise he responded back to my email the next day. He said, “Of course I remember you, call this number and we will setup a time to meet”. I called the number and he answered immediately. I was unprepared and shaking because I didn’t know what to say. All the words came out of my mouth were quiet and I felt like a fool. After a long awkward conversation, he told me to come shadow him for a weekend. I said yes without even taking a second to think about it.
After speaking to him on the phone I started questioning what I had just done. I didn’t even know this man, yet I agreed to shadow him. Soon, the “what ifs” began to pop up everywhere. What if he is lying to me about who he is? What if I am just wasting my time? What if he doesn’t help me? What if he asks me more questions that I don’t have the answers to? What if I make a fool out of myself? The list of what ifs went on and on. At this point my fear of what I was doing peaked. The day came where we agreed to meet. I had no idea what was going to happen or what I was even doing honestly, but I showed up. That weekend turned out to be an unforgettable one. Here are just a few things I learned that weekend. I learned that overcoming my fears pay off. I learned that my problems are nothing compared to those who are really suffering. I learned that what I want in life is much more than my original thought. I learned that this strange man is an extremely successful man. Not only does he live a successful life, but more importantly a fulfilling one. I will have a fulfilling life like he has. I believe that weekend will stick with me for the rest of my life. Thank you Tom.
I’m unsure if it’s like this for most people, but when I was growing up, I was often told that I was spoiled. My parents were very strict, and they were the only people who could really get under my skin. I remember that we would always get into heated arguments about finishing my schoolwork or my chores. All I wanted to do was play with my friends though. After our arguments, I would always hear them say that I was spoiled and ungrateful when I didn’t listen to them. I mean I did have a roof to live under, food, toys, and everything I wanted. I was young and thought that since all my friends in the neighborhood had everything I had, then why did they keep saying these things to me?
If the person who raised you has ever told you something like this, then there is a good chance that they grew up or experienced something that you haven’t or might not ever go through. It isn’t your fault either. You were born into a life that was nothing like their life so how could you know any better? As we grow older though, if you haven’t already, I would suggest showing your gratitude. Take a second to tell them how grateful you are for everything they have done. You never know what struggle or sacrifice they went through, but if you show your gratitude then they will know they have done well. For example, my mother even though she was pregnant and in pain she didn't stop working because she wanted the best life for me when I was born. Even after I was born I have my mother to thank for spending every single day preparing me for my academic future. I have my father to thank because he would work 12 hour days, 7 times a week, to provide a source of income before I was born. He worked as a cook and doing that for 80 hours in a week is unbelievable. If I were to make a list of everything I was grateful for we would be here all day. These are just a few examples of why I'm forever grateful for my parents.
One person I never had a chance to show my gratitude for was my grandfather on my dad’s side. I mean sure I bring food to his grave and thank him, but I feel like this is my own way of showing my feelings. I never knew my grandfather. I’m grateful for him though. He was the reason why I was born in the United States. He is the reason why my family is living a healthier more wonderful life. The Nhin’s are thriving and it’s all thanks to him. If he hadn’t planned an escape from Vietnam and took the risk for a better life, then who knows how life would be for my family. Without him, my mother and father would’ve never met. If my parents never met, then I obviously wouldn’t have been born. I don’t know much about my grandfather, but I do know that he was brave and I’m forever grateful. Take today, to share your gratitude.