Letters from Vietnam (2, continued): Three disturbing travel truths

One of the many bustling markets in Vietnam.

Letters from Vietnam – Part 2 (continued)

Or should it be: Lessons from Vietnam?

Previously on ‘Letters from Vietnam’

In my last post I told you about the three unpleasant truths about your journey. If you haven’t read them do so now. You will enjoy the current post much more. Because today I am going to tell you what those unpleasant truths mean for your business.

But first…

The lessons learnt

  1. The first lesson is not that you are always too late, but that no matter how successful you are, there will always be someone who will try everything to degrate you accomplishments.
  2. The second lesson is not that you are always in the wrong place, but that there will always be someone who gives you unwanted advise. Beware of that. In a minute I’ll tell you why.
  3. The third lesson is not that you always paid to much, but that getting the best value for money doesn’t necessarily mean to catch the cheapest deal.

And now let’s dive into the application of these lessons to your business.

Application of the lesson learnt to your business

Application No 1: Your success will be assaulted. Take that as a reward

When you start doing things that others are afraid to do, and when you – much to their regret – succeed, than you will be bombarded with criticism: “What you do is stupid, it won’t work, nobody will buy it, and you are wasting your time and money.”

“Don’t pay attention to your critics, don’t even ignore them,” as somebody ironically once said. The whale gets harpooned when it blows. If you want to be a big fish in your pond expect that you become shot at once you become more visible to the public.

It seems that many people don’t like others to become successful. This is because they feel mediocre in the shadow of other’s accomplishments. Instead of overcoming their own fears they prefer to ridicule you and what you are doing.

Many want to fly with the eagles, but only a few are willing to pay the price. The rest scratches with the chickens. If they look up to you than their neck hurt and they don’t like that. Instead of rejoicing with you they rather try to rip off your wings.

So if you and what you do gets heavily bombarded (and you are sure you are not doing something stupid) understand that the cackling of the chickens is hidden applause and admiration that they are simply too shallow to show.

Application No 2: If you get unwanted advice there is a very good chance that it is completely wrong

Do you remember the story from my last post where I was enjoying the floating market on the Mekong river (Vietnam) and somebody approached to tell me about the much better markets in Thailand?

Why would anybody say that? Why would I need such information? Does he think he makes me feel better afterwards? Does he recon to improve my travel experience?

Definitely NOT! The only reason why this man told me this unwanted facts is because by that he can make himself stand out of the crowd. And the same is true for many advise that you receive in your business. It is not given to improve your business but to promote the advice giver’s own reputation.

When people criticise you because you are doing something different then they be careful. Always ask yourself for the reason why they are advising what they advise. Always scrutinise the motivation of your advisors. Very often their counselling is not to improve your situation but simply to beat the drum for their own decisions. Especially when people give career advise they are often merely promoting their own life course.

My mother always used to say: “Never take advise from somebody who stands where you don’t want to stand.” A remarkably clever word of advise from a remarkably clever woman. Though I didn’t ask for it – Thanks Mom!

Application No 3: Don’t over-estimate the value of money if time is short

As a tourist you always pay too much. Fact. End of discussion. You can bargain as much as you want, you will always end up paying more than a local. And to a certain extend that’s fine by me.

When you travel through South East Asia you start thinking like a South East Asian – at least moneywise. Only this morning I caught myself worrying about the fact that I had to pay 10’000 for an iced coffee instead of the 8’000 that I paid yesterday at the same place. Only realising after a couple of seconds that the difference is a ridiculous 8€ct.

As much as you think like an Asian it is smart not to lose your basic business acumen. Why would anybody spend two minutes arguing over such a tiny amount of money?

And still, people do. I know people who run around two weeks checking prices of flatscreen TV sets and finally saving 100€. Wow!

Here’s my word of advise (even though they didn’t ask for it):

“Doing the research took twenty hours off your time budget – which equals life time, by the way. Let’s see: That is a saving of 5€ per hour. How much do you earn on your job? 50€ per hour? Well, then I recon that your research was a terrible misinvestment. If you had spent this time not on research but on your job you would have made 1’000€. If you had spent the 100€ on the more expensive telly you would have a surplus of 900€ in your pocket and you would have had the opportunity to enjoy the telly for two weeks already.”

Sounds smart, right? But, well, you didn’t ask for it… And you always get what you ask for, remember?

And here I end my second Letter from Vietnam which I hope was a series of valuable Lessons from Vietnam for you.

For me it’s time to jump into another adventurous day. I think I’ll go back to that coffee stall. I should be able to get that damn drink for 8’000, shouldn’t I?

Tạm biệt,
Herzlichst,  Ihr Dr. Thomas Rose



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One Comment to Letters from Vietnam (2, continued): Three disturbing travel truths

  1. […] And – as everybody else – I suffer from the three undeniable truths about travelling. […]

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