I’m not normal

I hate the idea of being average, normal, or whatever other word you want to use to describe mediocrity. When I was younger, I used to care about fitting in, but I just don’t anymore. You know why? Because I came to the realization when I was studying “great people”. No one great was ever average. All of them were weird or eccentric, either personality wise or through their actions. They all did things that were way beyond the level of “normal” for their time. Steve Jobs is well known for traveling to India to search for an “enlightenment” guru and LSD usage during his teens and 20s. Warren Buffet started investing at the age of 11. FREAKING 11! Do you know what you were doing at 11?! Probably not investing. Also, I’m pretty sure if Lady Gaga wasn’t famous, all of her freaking stunts would have landed her in a mental hospital. Now the real question is, did fame make her weird or did fame only magnify whom she was?

Normal people don’t climb Mount Everest. Normal people don’t put their life on the line to be the first person to the moon. Normal people don’t run 100-mile courses. Normal people don’t put countless of hours into their craft for a tiny chance at succeeding. Normal people don’t launch billion dollar companies. Normal people don’t chase their dreams.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

UPDATED: I wrote this a while back and I want to amend this. Though I still agree with everything I have written, I wanted to add that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be normal and fitting in. I have come to the realization that everyone has their own path, goals, and aspirations. I want to warn people that standing up against the grain is a hard task. There is a certain isolation when you’re on the extreme end of the bell curve.

2014: Another year has come and gone

Another year has come and gone, and around this time I’m always in a reflective mood. I like to re-evaluate my life, direction, and basically everything about myself during this time. If 2013 was the storm, 2014 would be the morning after, still dazed at the events of the night before. In a way, 2014 was me waking up, examining the damages, and working my way out of them. This year was a lot calmer, less ups and downs. My life returned to normal. It returned to reality. I was no longer spending thirty to forty hours on the poker table every weekend. I was no longer winning or losing thousands of dollars a day. I was no longer dropping $500 chips on the roulette tables when I was getting bored. No more free trips/rooms to Vegas or Atlantic City. No more VIP treatment. No more feeling like I was living a double life — developer by day, poker player by night. No more waking up to $500 tabs. Life was no longer a whirlwind of being in a dream or nightmare state. However, I have learned so much that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I returned to a regular nine-to-five job, Automated Software QA Developer. Sexy, huh? Life, in a word, has returned to normalcy.

And honestly, I’m not sure if I like it. Maybe I’m a little weird. Hell, who am I kidding? I am weird. I hate the idea of being normal. I hate the idea of being stable. I hate the idea of seeing my life mapped out in a stable manner. I hate the idea of going to school, getting a job, finding a wife, settling down, and living out the rest of your life. I want more out of life. I want more meaning and serendipity.  I want to be in a situation where I don’t know where life is going to take me in the next ten years. I want to be that guy in Peru somewhere launching a multi-million dollar business, or that homeless guy backing through India searching for his guru, or most of all, A GOD-DAMN RAPPER! Lol The point is, I want my life to be an awesome adventure. One of my co-workers likes to jokingly call me crazy, but I prefer the word eccentric.

Creatively, though, 2014 has been my best year. I have grown in leaps and bounds in terms of  writing, photography, and in just the way I look at life. I did and created things that were above and beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. Not to say they were great work or anything. The bar was just set very low. It’s a good feeling to surprise yourself. Here’s to looking forward to 2015 and everything it has to offer.

Still figuring it out.

I feel like I have been putting out the vibe that I have this whole life stuff figured out. I don’t. Don’t let my writings fool you. I’m not trying to lecture anyone; I’m not trying to tell people how to live. They’re just things and experiences I have come across that I view as true in my world, in my reality, in my eyes. It is only one way of looking at things. Photography has taught me that “point of view” can change everything.

I write because I enjoy it. I write because it is a medium I like to express myself through. I write because it inspires me. I write because some where somehow I hope this will inspire someone. However, even though I have good intentions, I realize I can be wrong; I can impact people in ways I didn’t mean to. This is why you should question information and check your sources and only believe in things that make sense to you. Especially these days, it’s too easy for people to put out fake information. There is literally a hoax for everything, or a hoax within a hoax…It’s getting a bit ridiculous.

But yeah, like I said. I’m still just trying to figure all this stuff out. I used to think that it was horrible that I still don’t have it all together yet. I used to think to myself, “I’m supposed to know exactly who I am by now.” But thanks to my obsession with studying great people from our generation, I have learned that it is okay to be “lost”. (Insert related video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDYXaaT9sA)

Five years ago I was so sure who I was as a person. I was an nerdy engineering student who was a very “logical” thinker who couldn’t do anything “creative” if my life depended on it. I was going to graduate college, get a job, have a family, and live out my life as an upstanding citizen. I wasn’t lost; I knew exactly how my life was going to play out. I’m not sure when or how I completely veered off course, but I did. Maybe it was when I made the realization I was completely miserable in an education system I longer believe in. Maybe it was when I made more money in a day than what my parents ever made in a year, only to lose most of it in a month, but by then it didn’t matter anymore because it shattered my perception of money and what is possible.

I am so grateful for everything that has happened because, in being “lost”, I was able to completely free my true ambitions. I found what Steve Jobs would call my “inner voice”. In not knowing who I was anymore, I freed myself to do all sort of random things. I shattered the perception of myself. I no longer felt like I was not a creative person because I didn’t know if I was creative or not. So I tried things: drawing, photography, poetry, writing, running, philosophy. I started reading about “success”, psychology, and even a couple philosophy books. I started watching tons and tons of motivational videos on YouTube, way more than any normal person should consume (Haha). To the point, I think it made me become a little bit delusional on what I could achieve, but I think that’s a good thing. More than that, I started studying people who I admired. I would watch interview after interview on great people who have achieved a certain level of success in their field. I also didn’t limit myself to a certain field. I would study businessmen, writers, actors, artists, comedians, rappers, and the list goes on and on.

After all of this, I felt like I could go, be, or do anything I wanted. The next step was proving to myself that I could do things that were not plausible. I ran the marathon just to see if I could because it was sort of mythical for me. I knew it could be done, but five years ago it was something I would have never done. Why would I? WHO THE HELL IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD RUN 26.2 MILES FOR ANY LOGICAL REASON?! What’s scarier is there are such things as 100-mile courses (Just imagine how insane those people are, haha). I picked up a camera because I thought it was cool. It turns out I’m a little more creative than I thought. I started writing more. I took a shot and ask someone who was waaaayy more successful than me to be my business partner/mentor, and somehow it worked. I have been blessed with opportunities and good people, though I wouldn’t say it was all luck. I made a choice to put myself out there, to put myself in situations to get lucky. With all that said, I’m definitely not where I want to be; I have a long way to go and much more to learn. My marathon time was horrible, and my business could be a lot better, but the point is that these grand ideas are now possible. I realize the only person standing in my way is myself, as cliché as that sounds.

The way I see it.


The way I see it is…it’s like running towards a destination far off in the distance. Imagine a blinking light far off in the distance. You don’t know the exact route, the exact path you’re going to take, or everything you’re going to come across on your journey. However, as long as you have a clear vision of your goal. You can get there. You just have to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenges along the way.

People ask, “What if it’s not possible to run to the place you desire?” It’s true, there are places you can’t run to because of physical limitations (i.e. running across the ocean) or simply just not possible (i.e. running to the stars). That’s the realm of the real dreamers. People like Tesla, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers, people who sought to do things that were beyond the level of comprehension of their time. I’m not there yet; I hope to be one day.

I’m simply trying to run to a place so many other people have been, a place where people with far less opportunity than me have been. So, I know it’s possible. It might not be the well-worn path. It might be full of hardship and adversity, but I love a challenge.

I don’t know the purpose of life. I don’t think anyone undisputedly knows the purpose of life. If you think you do, I’m all ears, but until then, I’ll give myself one because I hate standing still. My purpose, my goal, my reason for being is to make the world a better place because I existed. I’m not saying I’m a saint; I’m not. I am human like everyone else. I have desires, needs, and greed. However, what I recently realized through my reading is, great people are humans too. I used to hold them on this pedestal. I thought that in order to be great, you had to be almost godlike. You don’t. Your personality and character trait doesn’t dictate the good you can do. From what I read, Steve Jobs was a total asshole. He was manipulative, downright mean, and yet he was able to make a huge impact on the world and touch millions of people.

I’m not telling you this because I condone “character flaws”. I don’t. I believe you should strive to be the best person you can be morally. However, it is more of a reminder that even when flawed, we can do amazing things.

Bucket List/Impossible Goals.

Inspired by this post http://impossiblehq.com/impossible-list

I’m a person that believes a goal is just a dream with a deadline. This is why having goals are so important because it allows you to track your progress in life. Without a deadline, without a time condition people are too easily distracted from achieving things they set out to do.

So, a couple friends and I decided to come up with our bucket list. Here is mine.


  • Take my mom to Paris, France.
  • Fly my whole extended family to an exotic location for a vacation.


  • Run a mile under:
    • 7 mins [Janurary 10, 2014]
    • 6.5 mins
    • 6 mins
  • Run a 5k [Octomber 6, 2012]
  • Run a Half Marathon [November 18, 2012]
  • Run a Marathon [April 7, 2013]
    • Deadlift
      • 200lb  [Feburary 25, 2014]
      • 250lb
      • 300lb
    • Bench Press
      • 200lb [Feburary 25, 2014]
      • 225lb
      • 250lb
    • Squat
      • 200lb  [Feburary 25, 2014]
      • 250lb
      • 300lb
  • Planking
    • 2 minutes [Janurary 2014]
    • 3 mintues [Janurary 2014]
    • 4 mintues
    • 5 mintues
  • Consecutive Pullups:
    • 25
    • 30
    • 40
  • Consecutive Pushups
    • 50
    • 65
    • 80


  • Visit Every Continent:
    • North America  [Born here]
    • South America
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Africa
    • Antarctica
  • Travel for a year straight
  • Live on a beach for a month
  • Do a cross country road trip
  • Take a great picture in all 50 states
  • Visit Vietnam
  • See the Seven Wonders of the World + Some Others
    • Stonehenge
    • Colosseum
    • Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
    • Great Wall of China
    • Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
    • Hagia Sophia
    • Learning Tower of Pisa
    • Taj Mahal
    • Eiffel Tower
  • Visit these cities:
    • Las Vegas [September 2012, June 2013]
    • New York
    • Los Anglos
    • San Francisco
    • Chicago
    • Miami
    • Seattle

Adrenaline Rushes/Misc.

  • Build a badass PC [July 2013]
  • Go Skydiving
  • Go Bungee Jumping
  • Go Base Jumping
  • Go scubu diving
  • Go to space
  • Poker:
    • Have $10,000 in chips at the poker table [November 11, 2013]
    • Have $50,000 in chips at the poker table
  • Give a TED talk
  • Write a Book

Renaissance Man

  • Learn to dance
    • C-walking [Janurary 2006]
    • Learn to breakdance [Janurary 2008]
    • Learn to tango
  • Learn photography
    • Learn Lightroom [February 2014]
    • Learn Photoshop
    • Do an amateur photoshoot [March 27, 2014]
    • Do a professional photoshoot
    • Photoshoot with someone famous
  • Learn videography
    • Make a good short video
  • Learn to play tennis [July 2012]
  • Learn to surf
  • Learn to golf
  • Learn to do spoken word poetry
  • Learn to rap
  • Learn to paint

Events To Attend

  • See J.Cole in concert [Octomber 4, 2013]
  • See Drake in concert
  • See Kendrick Lamar in concert
  • See Kevin Hart Stand up Comedy
  • EDC  [June 2013]
  • TEDx Event [February 22, 2014]
  • Official TED talk
  • Burning Man
  • Running of the Bulls
  • See the Northern Lights and time lapse film of it
  • Coachella
  • Bonarroo
  • SxSw
  • Lollapalooza
  • Mardi Gras

Become Fluent in 3 Languages

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Mandarin
  • French


  • Start a business [March 2012]
  • Make a full-time living [February 2013]
  • Put $X in the bank.
    • 100,000
    • 1,000,000
    • 10,000,000
  • Create a $X million dollar company:
    • 5 million
    • 10 million
    • 100 million
  • Get a story published about Dri-Ven