We begin life with a blank canvas. Every moment is an opportunity to enrich our canvas with new colors. Sometimes the colors are vibrant, and other times they are dull. Sometimes we paint inside the lines to survive, and other times we find the courage to go outside to thrive. What becomes of our canvas is a collection of colors at the end of our life journey. Go ahead—don’t be afraid to splash your canvas with colors. For one day, your colorful canvas will be your masterpiece.
Why I Wrote Thrive
I was five years old when my family fled our war-torn country, Vietnam. My father was an officer in the Vietnamese army. He stayed behind and served six years in the government reeducation camps. I never saw him again and lost all my memories of him. We reconnected by phone for the first time in thirty-two years in early March 2013. We had several subsequent phone conversations until cancer claimed his life a month later. In the brief time I got to know him, I learned that he was a courageous and compassionate man. He led a meaningful and purposeful life. He dedicated his life defending his country during the Vietnam War and served as a voice for people who were less fortunate. I wish he had written a book capturing the richness of his life and imparting his life lessons. I know I would have benefited enormously if such a book existed when I was growing up without him around.
Today I’m a proud father of two happy and healthy daughters. I’m writing this book as a gift to my daughters, so they don’t have the same wish that I have of my father. The purpose of this book is to inspire my daughters and others to achieve more happiness and success in life and work. This book is a collection of invaluable life lessons and subjects I passionately and intimately studied for nearly two decades, ranging from happiness and success to entrepreneurship and leadership. I’m still a student of life. I’m still learning and growing into my ideal self every day. As you read through this book, you’ll notice my life lessons and viewpoints are neither unique nor new. They’ve been articulated by many different people at various phases and places in history. Together, these lessons and viewpoints profoundly transformed me from living as an impoverished immigrant to living the American dream. I’m sharing this not to impress you, but to impress upon you that it’s less important where we start out or where we are in life today. It’s more important to put the focus on what we do today since that’ll determine where we end up in life.