More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Benefits of Failure

I read a transcript of J.K Rowling's speech to this years Harvard graduates. I must admit that I haven't read any of her books or am a fan. But I have to say that her speech was very inspiring.

I've heard bits and pieces about her life and how she was divorced and raising a child alone previously. In her speech, tells of the extreme low in her life where her marriage had just failed, she was a single mother without any money or job. That low though, helped to make her stronger. I know it's a cliche, but unless we are in that situation, we'll never really know what its like. We can only empathise, as J.K describes, which is an invaluable skill that humans have.

J.K talks about how being at her lowest meant that she lost all her fear. There was nothing else more to lose. It made her see the essential things in her life. It also helped to weed out her real friends from those who were trying to gain from her. I guess this is the classic movie plot. She has lived it. She was at her lowest, and then makes it good by hard work, a bit of luck, and having determination.

For most of us, myself included, life isn't too bad. We drift from day to day, doing what is expected of us and what is easy. How many of us can really say that we strive for our goals and really do what we are passionate about. I know that I constantly say how I want to be involved in food and the food industry in one form or another. But apart from a food blog and lots of eating, what have I really done to achieve those dreams.

I think one aspect that is stopping me is fear. It's much easy to drift along as an engineer and make fairly decent money. If I really wanted to pursue a career in food, I've been told by others already doing it that it isn't easy. There isn't a lot of money to be made and breaking through is a lot of work. That hurdle has already scared me off it. That's what separates 99% of people from the ones who "make it". The definition of making it can vary for everyone, but lets assume that it involves doing what you enjoy and also being comfortable financially so that you have options, then very few people have the drive to make it. Those people, some maybe like J.K, may have experienced failure many times, making them strong each time and more determined. So maybe we should all try and take some more risks. Whether those risks work or not, you will still benefit for the next time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If I really wanted to pursue a career in food, I've been told by others already doing it that it isn't easy."

You are right about this. No customers in their right mind would want to eat your half eaten, booger filled casseroles and cakes.

6/12/2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Anonymous, you have no problems hoovering up whatever I have missed eating on my plate.

6/12/2008 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fat Do,
The first commenter sounds like the “Sim”???

I listened to JK’s speech and was very impressed.
I felt some of the pain she has been through, but not all.

She was confronted by other’s suffering, because her heart chose to go there.
But she also endured her own suffering, by whatever cause, and no-one that I know chooses to suffer voluntarily.

Life is a gamble. You may think that you are cautious and secure in your job. But you put your very existence on the line every time you drive to work. (Or catch the train, or the bus.) And no job is “secure”. Think about that.

Your ability to deal with crises is developed by experiencing small doses hopefully.
Much the same as an inoculation or a skid control course – you know how to adapt.
The bs “training” that was presented to us a couple months ago was meaningless.
So I’m not singing that tune.
Just be prepared to move and adapt.

I’m firmly convinced that jobs are like women. 
To get the best ones you need to be confident, brave, convincing, a bit cheeky and prepared to work at it. And totally honest.
The best jobs are normally sourced from your network – people who know you and care about you.
(Agencies don’t help you get a job – they simply skim the cream from ad-hoc job availability broadcasts.)
You know that once you get the job you will be allowed to perform at your best.
And then it’s up to you.

So, a job in the food industry?
Decide what you want – abattoir engineer, processor, restaurateur, tuck-shop lady, international food critic, chef, global distribution manager, what?

Then focus on your target.
You can approach it part-time (casual work), even voluntary work is great – it shows passion – you would be amazed what careers have sprung from a guy saying “I want to work beside you, no charge, on the weekends because I want to learn….”

My own experience is that if I really want to achieve something (really want it) I will focus, work my butt off and keep pushing until it happens. I’ve done a few things in my life that I never really expected to eventuate, but research, persistence and doggedness eventually prevailed. You can surprise yourself. You don’t need to be the best in the world – just the top 5%. (You can quote me on that ).

Research and Networking are not hard – they just take time – Patience is the hardest.


7/04/2008 10:30 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Thanks for the good advice Tech. I'll take that onboard.

7/05/2008 1:34 PM  

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