On Being Homeless, Warring with Family, and Being a Nutjob

For When You're Hurting the Most

Did you know I’m going to be homeless?

Don’t ask me when. Just know that no one’s going to want to hire me.

According to my mom and her parents, I’m going to regret not listening to them because they were right all along! Oh, I should have gotten my degree and apply for a government job! I’m going to be so sorry.

Here’s what I’ve been hearing, even today, ever since I told them I landed my dream job last year:

“What? You’re throwing your life away for some job?”

“That job sounds like a scam! It’s probably going to be like a secretary position!”

“You’re going to be sorry for not getting your degree!”

“It’s dangerous! The U.S. is where you’re safe! Listen to me, I know best!

“Why do you even want to go to a different country anyway? Billions of people would kill to for the chance to move to the U.S.!”

Okay, I’m being a bit facetious. They care for me and they’re afraid for good reasons.

I’m taking an unfamiliar path and they’re misinformed.

Of course they’d think I’m throwing my life away.

They grew up in a different generation where the path to “success” was a straight and clear one. You went to a good college, got a degree, and the secure road to a high-paying job was paved for you.

Happiness and passion? You don’t need that if you’ve got a six-figure piece of paper!

Although it frustrates me to no end, I’ve got to keep it cool and at worst, tolerate the constant barrage of guilt tripping emails and phone calls.

But the danger lies in the fact they’re so sure they know best, they’re willing to fight me forever. They don’t have a single doubt in their mind and anyone who tells them otherwise is insane.

The constant fighting is creating friction. Enough friction and you’ve got fire.

Putting off having the same old “Listen to me, I’m right” routine in person is at least 33% responsible for why I haven’t come back home yet.

But hey, I’m at fault too.

Trying to picture myself as an outsider looking in reminds me that I’m the same way in respect to several issues. I’m stuck in the millennial “always right” attitude even though I know I’m often wrong.

Here’s the danger:

Thinking you’re right all the time closes you off from accepting new information that could help you form a more educated opinion.

That’s why even though I’m still not persuaded by any arguments against what I’m doing, I’m still trying to hear them out. You never know, I may be a nutjob after all.

But give me your best points and present your best evidence first. Until then, I’ll keep rocking out to the beat of my own drum because empty claims are worthless.

Besides, I didn’t leave college and go overseas on a hunch. I’ve been “deep diving” on topics like alternatives to college, location independence, and entrepreneurship for years before the opportunities presented themselves.

As hard as it is to remember, never fight a battle without proper perspective and understanding of the war.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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21 responses to On Being Homeless, Warring with Family, and Being a Nutjob

  1. You may be a nutjob to a lot of people and your family, but not to me. You are forging your own path which is awesome man. I think the scariest thing for others when a close one trys something risky or someting they don’t know about is that if they succeed then those people will have to ask themselves why didn’t I pursue my dreams?

    • I’m not even sure if it goes that deep. I rarely agree with the “They’re haters because they’re jealous thing.” To me, it’s actually simpler than that. It’s unknown and in their minds, it’s doomed to failure. No doubt, no envy, just misunderstanding.

  2. Keep going, Vincent! Many people thought we were crazy to leave our teaching jobs. (Family was the only one to voice it though.) Why not stay in the “safe bet” with benefits and retirement and….? I advocate for researching your options (like you did!) and then living YOUR life. You only get one…far as I know! I don’t want to look back and say, “Wish I had….”

    • Exactly! It feels good to be able to look back and say “Wow, if I didn’t leave… I’d be ____ right now.” I do that at least once every couple of weeks. “I’d be in a classroom right now, heh.”

  3. Poor Vincent. My wife is very supportive about my writing career. She says:

    “You will be sorry, if it doesn’t work out!”

    So I work hard to work it out.

    • Oh it ain’t so bad! I got my dad’s side of the family to support and sorta-understand what I’m doing. I’m at least winning half the battle!

      Besides, it’s nice to know I have the option to relocate on a moment’s notice. 🙂

  4. “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. This is an error of the intellect as inevitable as that error of the eye which lets you fancy that on the horizon heaven and earth meet.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

  5. Jofferson Jones Panos July 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    You chose the path less traveled Vince, and it all made the difference. 🙂

  6. Good luck! I think you’ll be fine. 🙂 Since you started Self Stairway, you’ve made good progress with it; you seem to work hard at it. Props on keeping up with your blog. I’m sure you’ll carry that hard work and dedication with you to Empire Flippers.

    • Thanks! It’s been a great eight–almost nine–months with EF. It’s definitely helped me prove to myself that I can put in some serious dedication and focus if I love something enough.

      That’s been a fear of mine for quite some while, the potential inability to give a task my all. Glad to see I’ve proven myself wrong.

  7. I know you were writing about your family but I kept thinking you were talking about mine. Pretty much anything I did they thought I was crazy and had proof when I left my “good” job to work on a tall ship. Now I’m starting a blog. Crazy again. On the other hand, they did have wisdom as well and I need to remember that. Congratulations on taking the risks you’ve taken!

  8. Good luck on your endeavors. My family was the same way when I decided to quit my full time (well paying, comfortable, cushy) job. They could not understand that I wanted more out of life than sitting in the office working for others. My family still makes comments, but I know that there is love behind them-even as annoying as they are.

  9. You are fine and doing great.
    In one of your previous posts, you had mentioned a different view on how to be grateful. I was at a really down point in my life at that time and was searching for anything that could distract me from frustration. I came across your post and have been reading ever since.

    To put in words, your post made my life a lot easier to live.

    As far I am concerned, you should not quit, there are already too much critics on the sidelines that are against you, why don’t you be on your side, your own cheerleader?

    Like you said, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who did what they loved and regretted it.

    • Sarah,

      Thanks for the encouraging words and I’m glad I’ve had such a positive impact on you. I hope you’re doing better now.

      Don’t worry. I’m not quitting anything anytime soon and if I ever do, I trust that it’d be for the right reasons. 🙂

  10. It’s all about intrinsic motivation Vincent… Follow your dreams as you’re clearly doing, not those of those who would, albeit well meaningly, impose their own blinkered view of the world on others. I similarly lived in the shadows of family expectations. And yet, I only came in to my own when I cast those expectations aside; when I followed my own dreams.

    • More people would be doing these kinds of “crazy” things if it weren’t for the vocal ones out there who condemn it. But hey, some ideas and paths genuinely are crazy and destructive, so it may be a good thing to have the filter there.

      What I try to remember to do before I talk about these sorts of things is ask myself if it’s just survivorship bias talking on my behalf. Don’t think so. I truly do think a lot of people could be leading infinitely more satisfying lives soon enough.

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