What’s your money story?

During one summer break, a father told his son to get a summer job, with the intention that his son learned about hard-work. The boy didn’t know what kind of job he should apply to, and the father quickly suggested a fast-food restaurant. The boy made $100 after one week of hard-work a the burger joint. The father was proud of his son, but the son didn’t enjoy working at a burger joint.
One week later, the boy quitted his job. He started printing out flyers to teach tennis lessons for younger kids. He rode his bike and posted those flyers around the neighborhood. Little that he knew, he got 5 clients that paid him $20/hour for a group tennis lesson. At that moment, the boy realized that he collected $100 in one hour instead of one week. And, his income did not depend on one source, his employer.
Unfortunately, I am not that boy.  I learned about the importance of multiple of sources and thinking on a bigger level at later age. But, that’s the story that changes my whole perspective on money and hard work.

What is my money story?

When I was young but old enough to remember (maybe around seven years or older), I was the thrift one among all the kids in my family. I am not sure what impacted my perspective on money, but I was a hoarder. I like to save money and spend none if possible. I remembered my brothers and sister withdrew some money out from their savings to buy brand name clothes, toys, or to support their hobbies. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend any money on those things. My parents felt sorry and bought me some stuff because I just never asked for toys or clothes.

Once I graduated from college, just like most people, I believe in getting a good job, save in 401K, buy a few stocks on my own and hoping I will be able to accumulate enough for retirement. I know I can do this because I’ve been living a thrift life since I was seven years old. 🙂

I’m aware that I always have the itch to be an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s because my dad has always been a business owner, but I’ve never invested any money or time to learn to be one.

Unfortunately, my great job, which I relied on, went through new management. Our 1-year-old son is going through chemo treatment (he will finish his chemo by March 2018). Things changed. Luckily, I remembered the story that I told you earlier about the boy who teaches tennis. I realized it is time to take more control over my financial situation, not relying on just one employer.

That’s why I put my time and energy to help you, especially if you are a parent, to realize the importance of multiple sources of income.

Take Action Immediately

Don’t wait until you have no choice.

Take action now because everything that you do will have to start from zero.

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Photo by Maryna Davyda on Unsplash

Are You Stubborn or Determined

I thought the word “Stubborn” was created to be the “evil” twin of “Persistent,” “Determined” and “Iron-Willed.

It seems like the core value of “Stubborn” and “Determined” is absolutely the same. They are the characteristics that keep you going when you feel like fighting against the world. Whether it is starting a business, going for a higher education, being a movie star, or losing 10 pounds.

We know for sure, the haters will call you stubborn right off the bat for not listening to their idea. But, more importantly, what do we call ourselves?

Stubborn or Determined Test

What do you think about the following statement?

People do NOT need to breathe to live.

What was your first reaction when you read that statement? Do you agree? Disagree? Start thinking “why am I reading this blog when the writer is so dumb?” Or intrigued?

What if I rephrase the statement to “people over 3 years can hold their breath for 2 seconds and stay alive.”  Do you agree with that? If you still don’t agree or you might argue they are totally different statements; I respect your opinion on that too.

I am here to help you explore and understand yourself. I’m not here to judge you. So, whatever decision you made based on the above test is right.  It just depends on how you see it, and how effective we use language to communicate.

Are You Stubborn or Determined?

Based on my research, personal experience, and reflection, the main difference between “stubborn” and “determined” is in your ability to listen and analyze other people’s opinion when it is different than what you believe. Stubbornness indicates the resistance to change under any circumstances. Determination signifies a process of completing something by considering other’s advice, research, or taking calculated risks.

However, the lines between “stubborn” and “determined” become unclear when you are taking a big leap of faith to new and breakthrough ideas. The best way to go through this path is by surrounding yourself with people who made those “leap of faith,” and learn about the struggles, mindset, and the environment to be successful.


While “stubborn” and “determined” might share the same characteristics in achieving a goal, the main difference lies in the process of taking feedback from others to help you achieve your goals. Determined people consider other people advice. Sometimes, you’re stubborn because you are in the wrong environment. Do you have the right people around you that share similar goals?

Share Your Thoughts

What thought or feeling did you have when you took the test? Did you agree or disagree? What’s your thought on stubborn vs. determined? What’s your definition of those two words? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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4 Steps to Finally Lose Weight and Make Money

The new year is only two days away, and we are done with all the Christmas parties. If you look at your scale right now, you are probably 2 or 3 pounds heavier than 2 months ago before you stuffed all those turkeys, mashed potatoes, and the 4th serving of pumpkin pie to your suddenly shrinking pants.

So the next logical things to do now is to have a new year resolution, right? And, we are going to lose some weight.

Losing weight is a great idea, but we know most people give up on their new year resolutions by February.

So, what can you do to improve your success in losing weight or staying healthy through the year?

These are 4 simple guides to help you success in losing weight.

1. Keep it simple
How many new year resolutions are you planning to do? No matter how many goals do you have, I would recommend pursuing them one at a time.

Let’s say my goal is to be fluent in Vietnamese, Japanese, and Spanish. Even though those three things are about learning a language, it would be more productive for me to master one language at a time instead of learning those three at the same time.

2. Set a goal with a purpose
We often set goals just for fun because we are doing it with our friends or family. That’s fun and great, but without a real purpose, you are most likely fail.

Do you know any bride who is trying to lose a few pound or build some muscle before the wedding day or photo day? Did she do it? Most likely yes because she has a very strong purpose… to look good in those photos.

So, you need to look deep into yourself and see what exactly motivate you? What are things that will make you wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to the gym today.”

If you can’t figure out your purpose to be healthy, how about using money as your incentive? DietBet and HealthyWage are two examples that will award you with cash for losing weight.  Are you motivated now? 🙂

3. Stage your achievements
When you set a goal to lose 20 pounds, you are most likely to hop on top of your scale every single day and hoping to see a steady half pound drop every single day. Well, most likely, that is not going to happen, and you will give up on your goal after 3 or 4 weeks.

Tony Robbins said, “We often under-estimate what we can do in a long period of time, and over-estimate what we accomplish in a short period of time.”

One way to keep you motivated for a long period is to stage your achievements. Breakdown your goal from a yearly goal, into monthly goals, weekly goals or possibly daily goals.

For example, if you are trying to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 6 months for summer time. You can break it into I need to lose 4 pounds per month.

How do I lose 4 pounds per month? This might mean I need to cut down on drinking sodas and eat more vegetables.

So, your weekly goal is to eat salad for lunch at least 4 days in a week, and drink no more than 1 can of soda per week.  You can even make the 1 can of soda as your reward where you can only have that 1 can of soda on your fourth salad in a week.

4. Get help from a coach
If you have not been living a healthy lifestyle as I do, you might not know where to begin. You can lookup for a bunch of information from the internet but you might end up spending more time browsing the internet than exercising.

So, I would recommend looking for help from an expert or someone who has been through those transformations themselves. So, they can help you to break down your goals and make your workout effective.

How I Started My Blog

Back in March 2017, one of my TVs just stopped working. The TV was only four years old, but unfortunately, many of the “smart TV” channels/features have been discontinued and it stopped working. So, it might be time to replace the TV anyway. However, instead of buying a TV immediately, I set a challenge to myself. I want to sacrifice something that can save me money to by a new TV. After reviewing my expenses, the only place that I can trim is eating out for lunch during the workday.

The Prize
The TV that I like cost less than $400 with tax and shipping fee, but I set my target to $500 just in case I change my mind and want to upgrade my TV to 4K resolution, or a slightly bigger size.

The Plan
When I go out for lunch, it cost between $8 to $12 per day. But for simplicity of the math, I assumed all lunches are $8. I estimated the cost of the meal I packed at home is $3 per day. With $5 saving per meal, I need to pack 100 meals (or 20 weeks of home cook food) for lunches before I can purchase a new TV.

The Execution

1. Ask for support from others

The first thing I do is talked to my wife. My wife is the one who prepares food at home. So, I told my wife about my plan, and I asked her to cook extra food so I can pack it for my lunch.

2. Create a supportive environment

I also make sure that I have a lunchbox or two. Remember, the environment is stronger than your will. For example, how many of you are motivated to run in a freezing 40 degrees F (well, I live in Texas… 40 degrees is freezing) at 5 o’clock in the morning if you don’t have the right running shirt, pants, and jacket?

3. Plan ahead

Every morning, I need to help my daughters to get ready for school; from telling them to eat breakfast, brushing teeth, helping them dress up and get all their stuff ready. To ensure I won’t forget my lunch, I prepared it at night before I go to bed and put it in the middle of the fridge where I can see it easily. When I wake up in the morning, I just grab it and ready to go.

4. Get the reward

I’ve made a deal with myself to get the TV once I packed 100 meals…. and I DID. So, I’m going to get the TV that I’ve been longing for since March. Yeah!!
Some of you might be thinking why don’t I use the money to pay a debt or donate it to some charity instead of buying a TV.

While it is good to use the $500 for charity or pay-off some debt, it is also important to keep a promise to yourself. When you reward yourself for all your hard work, you have much more appreciation for the reward. And, it will motivate you to do another good job the next time you challenge yourself.

That’s the picture of the TV that I’m getting from Amazon. I did my research, and it seems like this TCL brand is not bad. Do you have a good or bad experience with this TV?

What’s the real prize?
The TV is unquestionably a nice reward for all my hard work to pack lunch for 100 working days that span over six months.

However, when I reflect on the whole experience, I realized the real prize is my new habit.

I’ve been able to pack lunch from home more often now, but not for the sake of saving money.  I’m doing it to save time, so I can go home a tad early to avoid the rush hours traffic and spend more time with my family.

Share Your Thoughts

If you want to build a new habit, you can follow my execution plan above. And, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. It was not easy to create any new habit but I did it, and certainly learned a lot from the experience.

What’s your biggest challenge when starting a new habit or project? Do you have more tips to make it easy to start a new habit?

Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends who need a little motivation to start a new habit or project.