Note from Cam: These 9 rules were taken from Jordan B. Peterson’s video here. In this post I list professor Peterson’s rules as well as my take on them. His rules are bolded, while my personal interpretation of his ideas are listed below the bolded rules.
It’s important to remember that I don’t believe in minorities being treated cruelly. I don’t want to ever go outside and see a black man getting whipped just because of the color of his skin.
However, I also believe facts are more important than feelings. For example, Trump’s intent to indefinitely prevent refugees from Syria entering the U.S. cannot be accurately labeled as racist or Muslim hating.
In short — people deserve to be treated with respect, but we must also stick with facts. We can’t be overly concerned about people that get easily offended. Black men tend to be more successful than whites at basketball.
This could be genetic in nature, but mostly it seems to be because of a higher number of blacks growing up in poor neighborhoods where getting to the NBA is seen as the only way out of the hood… basketball is the only option because it’s the only chance for a good life. This doesn’t make it wrong for whites to be underrepresented in the NBA, it just is what it is.
Women tend to be better at caring for children because women tend to have more nurturing personalities than men. Men on the other hand tend to be better at programming because our brains tend to be more logical.
It’s not that a man can’t care well for a baby, or that a woman can’t be a programmer. It’s just people tend to excel in the areas of their natural strengths, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, let’s get to the rules of the political correctness game.
Identify an area of human activity
Choose anything. It can be success in programming, salaries, relationships, whatever.
Note a distribution of success
Observe that everyone in that area isn’t getting 100% identical results.
Identify winners and losers
See who is being most successful. For example, men dominate the field of programming.
Claim that the losers are losing only because they are oppressed by the winners.
Choose to believe for example, that men are only more successful programmers because they actively try to hold women down.
Claim allegiance with the losers
In this example, one can join the group of other women being held back and kicked down by the evil men of the world.
Feel secure in your comprehensive explanation of the world
Women could then have a simple explanation of why they were not successful as developers.
Revel in your moral superiority
Women can then feel superior to men because they can claim that they’d never be so barbaric or against the minorities in a similar situation.
Target your resentment towards your newly discovered enemies
Women can then lash out against men.
Repeat. Forever. Everywhere.
Yadadada, you get it. Once you create a reality built upon rationalizations it’s excruciatingly difficult to climb out of it. Taking responsibility for their lives is something most people would prefer not to do, and political correctness is a way to avoid that responsibility.
Moreover, it’s a way to avoid emotionally maturing and stretching yourself to think in a nuanced way that would actually allow you to understand why the world works the way it does.
As I said in my last post, there were a lot of things I wish I would’ve done differently in high school. However, there were far more things I did right. I’m so grateful to high school Cameron for setting 20 year old Cameron up for a good life.
Hopefully you learned yesterday about some things you’ll want to avoid doing in high school. Today let’s talk about what I did right in high school, and gain even more knowledge about how you’ll want to structure your life as a high school student.
Be Physically Active
I was extremely physically active my entire high school career. I usually lifted weights 2-3 times per week, and juggled for several hours each day. Soccer was also a big part of my life for my first two years of high school. All of this resulted in me being in great shape my entire high school career.
The benefits of being physically active can’t be overstated. You’ll have increased energy, more positive emotions, and be perceived as more attractive by everyone. This is probably the most simple way to make your life better in high school.
Simply hit the weights a few times a week. Focus mostly on weights if you’re an ectomorph (naturally skinny) like me. Weekly cardio can be beneficial too, especially if you have a heavier natural body type. Naturally bulky guys can even add several sessions of cardio in each week if they want.
Generally speaking, the more you exercise the better. I get that overtraining is possible. One summer I practiced juggling 5-6 hours per day in addition to being in the weight room 3-4 days a week. That was probably too much. Most people will never reach anywhere close to overtraining though.
Just try to get 30-60 minutes of exercise per day in. You’re doing great if you can get 5-10 hours of moderate intensity exercise each week. Bonus points if you get that exercise as part of a sports team because being part of a sports time will help you make more friends.
It’ll also let you ride on the bus to away games, and get into fun shenanigans with your friends. Some of my best memories of high school were traveling to away games. The days we’d have too many people on the bus and those poor JV kids would have to sit three guys to a seat.
The awkward times someone would try to change clothes on the bus. The naps we’d take on long bus rides. The time a guy had to go to the bathroom so bad he peed in a Gatorade bottle on the bus. Hahaha, I wonder where you are these days Tony…
Utilize Down Time In School
When you’re in an easy class and the teacher is ranting about stuff you already know… Get homework from another class and start working on it. If the teacher puts in a movie without giving you a worksheet, consider doing homework or studying for other classes.
If you’re working in a classroom with computers, try to finish your projects early. Once you’ve completed all your projects for that class get to work on another class.
If there’s no homework or material you need to be reviewing, don’t use that as an excuse to watch cat videos. Instead, get on Duolingo and start learning a language. Or, learn some basic computer programming on codecademy.
Always be working on something. You’ve got to hustle in high school to give yourself a chance for an awesome future. Don’t waste time on Facebook, or Angry Birds, or whatever you guys are playing in school now.
Be focused. The only time not to be working is when you’re laughing with your friends, or getting conversational experience with someone of the opposite sex.
If you suffer from social anxiety, or are socially awkward it’s a bit different. You can always work on your school work and personal projects at home. However, if you’re not getting invited to many social events you need to work on your social skills somewhere.
Sufferers of social anxiety can spend their down time in school practicing their conversational abilities with others. That may be the best use of your extra time in school. It often was for me when I was younger.
P.S. I took this no wasted time philosophy to the extreme. It was almost impossible to find me in the cafeteria my last couple years of high school. I would only go to lunch if I had one of my two or three best friends in my lunch period. If I didn’t have friends in my lunch that I’d have AMAZING laughs with, I simply didn’t waste my time going.
There’s a time for fun. However, sometimes socializing can be somewhat boring if it’s people you don’t click with. If that’s the case, just don’t go to lunch. I spent my second half of high school skipping lunch. Some days I’d sit in the library reading a book by Sam Walton or Eckhart Tolle.
Other days you’d see me juggling in the quiet hallways in the school. I technically wasn’t supposed to be skipping lunch. Occasionally teachers would tell me to go to lunch.
When they did, I’d just pretend I had been ignorant to the rules. Then, I’d go and continue juggling in another quiet corridor a hundred meters away. Just do whatever it takes to make the most of your time.
Do Work Study
My high school allowed me to earn credits by spending 1/2 the day working a job my senior year of high school. If your high school has a similar program, DO IT. You’ll stack some cash, gain experience interacting with people of different ages and backgrounds, and you’ll also have a lot less homework.
I worked at Dairy Queen and volunteered at my old elementary school during my senior year of high school. I learned a lot more about the world my senior year working and volunteering, than I did in Astronomy class.
Definitely take advantage of this program if your school has it.
Go to the Dances + Games
I was really nervous about going to the dances in high school. I’m so happy I went to them though. Homecoming was so much fun. Everyone will also talk about the dances all the time, and they’re going to think you’re weird if you don’t go to the dances. I’m not one for caring about what others think, but there’s a lot of reasons to go to these dances.
The dances are meant to be fun, you’ll have a chance to bond with your friends, get invitations to parties, and they’re a great opportunity to grind eeeeer… dance with girls.
On the same note, also go to the football games if they’re big at your school. I wouldn’t even watch the football games when I went. I’d just talk and hang out with people during them.
They’re a great place to meet people and catch up with friends. The best part about the football games is that they’re like giant parties that everyone gets invited to.
It doesn’t matter if you’re popular. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good athlete, you’re invited because it’s your school. It’s nice to have a fun social event every couple weeks that you don’t have to make any effort to organize.
Take Foreign Language Classes
I took a year of German plus every single Spanish class my school had available. Since graduating, the only skill I learned in school that’s been of any real value is my ability to speak Spanish. If language classes don’t interest you, take shop classes. Learning to fix your car, or build something from wood is of some practical value too.
Of course, you’ll need math and science classes if you’re planning to continue onwards to university. If we’re just talking real-world though, focus heavily on language and/or shop classes.
I was a little bit too extreme with my diet in high school as I noted in yesterday’s post. However, eating healthy at least 90% of the time is a great habit to get into. You’ll have more energy, feel better about yourself, and be more attractive to others. You’ll also have increased mental focus that’ll act as a multiplier for all of your other endeavors.
Say Yes + Try New Things
Do stuff. You’re young, now is the time to say yes. Don’t get into any drugs, or things that could damage your future, but try activities you haven’t tried before. Go to that new restaurant with your friends, go to the beach, try asking that girl out. Be bold. Be brave. Now is the time to screw up before you’ve got a lot more responsibility on your shoulders.
When I was in high school I became a bad ass juggler, learned conversational Spanish, and became an experienced blogger and Youtuber. Use every moment you have to build useful skills for your future. Your future self will thank you everyday.
Most of my best ideas weren’t my ideas. They’re simply ideas I borrowed or combined from other sources. Read about evolutionary psychology, read about finance, read about developing your relationships with women. Read books from great people, and apply the ideas in your own life.
Probably the best part of my high school experience was finishing a semester before everyone else. If you graduate school 90 days early and save 8 hours a day… Do you see the time savings? If you feel you’re not learning useful stuff in school, do what I did. Graduate early if humanely possible, and use that time to do something cool.
I explored a half dozen countries in Asia, did my first internship, lost my virginity, released a juggling course, got a new job in my hometown and more in the several months my peers were still in school. If you’re going to hustle, graduate early and take advantage of that extra time.
High school can be a lot of fun. I know sometimes I got down on myself in high school. You probably will too. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll do all kinds of Dipshit stuff. But enjoy it. High school is four years of your life. Make them count.
My life is a lot more enjoyable now than it was in high school, but it’s also more stressful. With control of your life comes responsibility. Enjoy having relatively little responsibility, and while you’re in high school give yourself a head start on the rest of your life like I did if you’re so inclined.
Most of all, appreciate high school. Every day is a moment of your life. Of course your situation probably isn’t ideal, but make the most of it. Have fun, create memories that’ll last you a lifetime, learn, and prepare yourself for whatever type of experiences you’d like to have after high school.
I graduated high school in January 2015. I’m pretty happy with the way I approached high school. I ended up in a pretty good spot today — Traveling the world and having a range of experiences that I couldn’t have even conceived of just a few years ago.
However, human beings are a constant work of progress. Over the last two years in the “real world,” I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that you can’t manifest money just by having an abundance mindset.
I’ve learned that you aren’t a special snowflake just because you realize that Corporate America doesn’t care much about how fulfilled you feel in your job.
Let’s stop blabbering about different theories though, and get to exactly what I’d have done differently in high school. More importantly, let’s talk about how you young cats out there should approach high school.
Be More Flexible With Your Diet
When I was in high school I didn’t realize that being too rigid cost me a lot of friendships. I could have been invited to a lot more stuff if I hadn’t been so rigid in some of my ideals.
For example, I was vegan or (close enough to it) for basically my entire high school career. I think I often made my friends feel uncomfortable when I wouldn’t eat animal-based products with them.
I still got invited to some parties and gatherings, but I’m sure my friends often felt uncomfortable because they didn’t know what I’d eat when I came over. They also wouldn’t ever want to go a restaurant with me because I’d just sit there without eating and everyone would feel a little uncomfortable.
It’s the same thing with my girlfriend these days. She’ll pressure me to eat a little ice cream. Or, she’ll say baby open your mouth and she’ll feed me a little of her banana cake.
If this was 3-4 years ago I would’ve told her no. In fact, my brother once offered me $100 to eat a single skittle and I refused on principle.
I was so rigid in the belief that unhealthy foods are evil, and that so much as a taste of them would be extremely harmful. I thought that a single bite of unhealthy food would bring back my cravings for them that had long subsided.
I thought that those cravings would be a constant tax on my willpower. Thus, no matter what happened, I refused to eat even the smallest portions of unhealthy foods.
In retrospect, this attitude was far too extreme. It ignored the fact that there’s social bonding benefits to eating and spending time with others.
These social benefits far outweigh any negligible health effect that would come from eating a piece of cake or what not once a week.
Now for you kids still in high school, don’t use this as an excuse to eat like a pig. Your diet should be clean 90% or more of the time for optimal results.
However, there’s no need to stress about having a cheat meal and piece of cake with your friends once a week or so. Just adhere to your diet when you’re alone.
Be as close to perfect when your friend aren’t around and you can loosen up for maybe one or two meals each week with them. Just don’t make your time with friends revolve around unhealthy foods.
You’ll certainly benefit from being more flexible with your diet than I was in high school. Ironically, the stress you’ll relieve from spending time with friends will probably be a far bigger benefit than a 2% cleaner diet.
Don’t Be Afraid of the “Popular” Kids
I was pretty popular my first two or three months in high school. That was because I made a varsity sport, was willing to make a clown of myself, and talked to everyone before they formed their groups they’d stay in for the rest of high school.
After that, however, I was probably average as far as popularity was concerned. I didn’t care about being popular because I saw the things popular people talked about as being superficial. They’d talk about this celebrity or going to do drink at somebody’s house on the weekend.
I didn’t care about any of that. For that reason, I mostly just sat with people I played with on the soccer. The only problem… I usually sat with all guys. No wonder I never had a girlfriend in high school.
Even now, I still don’t care what anybody in high school talked about. You know what though? The people from the soccer team didn’t talk about many constructive things either.
In truth, basically everyone in high school is figuring out who they are. Not many ideas of real significance are going to be discussed at a high school lunch table. You’re not sitting with high level business owners masterminding.
For that reason I should’ve, and you should focus on what you can learn in high school. You can learn how to socially interact with others, have a good time, and get some experience with girls.
To fulfill this goal, the “best” people to interact with are the popular kids. The popular circle is also going to be the group with most of the good athletes and attractive girls.
You know what that means? You’ll easily find a lifting/exercise buddy. Plus, now you’ll have an in with the most attractive girls. I get that these girls aren’t cultured, and you’re probably not going to have the most intellectually stimulating conversations with them.
But, that’s basically all girls. That’s basically all people. When I was hanging out with my soccer friends and the other random guys that sat at my lunch table, I was hanging out with a lot of guys that were in decent shape at best.
A lot of those guys were also scared to talk to girls, or simply didn’t know how to structure their relationships with women. They lacked experience, and they weren’t going to be getting it any time soon. That’s not to hate on my old soccer friends. I loved them, and love them more by the day.
It’s just saying, however, that you should want to spend your time with people that can move you forward in life. Having fun is important too, but usually the top 10% of people socially are also those that are having the most fun.
In short — don’t be scared of attractive people. Sure, they’re superficial in high school. I get that some of them are absolute pieces of shit too.
So, just pick the friendly popular guys and get lifting with them. Chat with the not completely superficial girls in that social circle and practice socially interacting with them.
You’ll gain discipline from lifting, probably have more fun than you would’ve with the people that are bitter about not being “popular,” and you’ll become more comfortable being in the presence of high-status guys and attractive women.
That my friend, is something that’ll be valuable for you long after you graduate high school.
Get a Job as Soon as You Can
Look, most of the jobs you can get as a high school student are going to suck. Trust me, I know. I worked at Dairy Queen. I lucked into my position at one of the local Dairy Queens because my brother had worked there before me.
You might even have trouble getting a shitty job. Keep trying though. You won’t want to work that shitty job forever. However, a year or two of retail or fast food experience can be really valuable.
I’m not talking in the traditional resume sense, though it could prove to be fairly useful there too. I’m saying that job could be useful in terms of cash flow.
Getting a job will also teach you the value of money. You’re likely to spend your money a lot more wisely when it’s not simply being handed to you from Mommy.
I was always disciplined in saving money, but what I most learned from working at Dairy Queen was the value of time and skill sets.
I learned that I could make a living at Dairy Queen if I wanted to. You can certainly survive as an individual on the US minimum wage. It’s not fun. However, unless you’re living in a super high cost of living city like NYC or have a family to support you could certainly scrape by.
Did I want to be doing that though? Of course not. That taught me that money is important. I learned that doing something you love may be valuable, but so are skills.
Being skilled will allow you to have control of your time and allow you to make enough money to do the things you love. Just recently I began working as a freelance writer for a startup.
I make a Western hourly wage, and can work from wherever I want in the world. I can also work at whatever time I want. I now have almost complete autonomy over my life (provided I stay with this startup).
I make enough money to do most of the things I want, and I’m in control of my life. I’m only in this position now, however, because I’d written hundreds of articles in the past to improve my writing abilities.
Now we’re ranting… What’s the point? The point is I wish I would’ve gotten a job sooner. I could’ve saved more money, had more interactions thrown my way to practice my social skills, and I would’ve learned earlier on how important it is to build a valuable skillset.
While there’s probably countless other things I did wrong, these stand out to me as my biggest mistakes from high school. These are the things I’d change if I had the chance to go back in time.
Of course, I’ve been pretty dialed in on lifestyle optimization since I was 14 years old. For that reason, my mishaps are probably fairly minor compared to others. This post is probably most useful to you if you’re already hustling fairly hard.
Tomorrow, however, we’ll discuss what I did right in high school. That may be a more relevant read for you if you’re a young cat just starting out with personal development and lifestyle optimization.
Keep reading kid. Keep learning. I know life can get pretty tough in high school at times. Never give up though. Work on your skills and never stop hustling. Your life could be amazing in just a few years.
Two years ago I was just finishing high school. Now I’m able to travel and have relationships with exotic girls I never dreamt I’d ever be with. This could be you too. Just keep hustling. The world could be at your fingertips soon.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out yesterday’s post where I discuss the things I miss about the living in the USA. As I said in the last post, the intent of this two post series wasn’t to bash on the USA or toot Vietnam’s horn.
There’s a lot of cool stuff about both countries. Both also have a lot of problems. Also remember that I’m doing this series as a 20 year old white guy.
This series probably would’ve been a lot more favorable to the US if I was a woman. It also probably would’ve been a lot more critical of Vietnam if I was a Vietnamese guy making a normal local salary.
With that being said, I’d like to get into why I LOVE living in Vietnam.
Cost of Living
This is one of, if not THE biggest reason I love living in Vietnam. The value you can get for your money here is amazing.
It’s easy to get an hour long massage for under $10. Lunch on the street may cost you $1.50. A central studio apartment in the top areas of the city may cost $300-400.
Last year, I was renting a pretty big studio apartment for $270/month plus another 5-10$/month for electricity. That gave me a nice room in the middle of the city, and a maid to clean and do laundry for me.
The only problem was I lived with a crazy Grandma that would cockblock me every time I tried to bring a girl home… It even happened one time when my aunt from the USA wanted to come and use the bathroom. Oh memories 😉
The craziest thing was that she would try to cockblock me even though long-term residents there said she’d pushed 10 or 11 little ones out. Oh the irony of it all.
Of course, with that kind of treatment I couldn’t stay at that apartment for long. These days I’m spending a bit more on my apartment, but it includes everything listed before plus a place for my girlfriend to park.
There’s also a nice cafe downstairs that I could work from if I ever wanted to. More importantly, I don’t have to deal with that crazy old hag.
The point is, this city is cheap. Other places in Vietnam can be even cheaper. If you can make $1,000 month after taxes you’ll be living well. If you had to bootstrap like me, even $500/month is enough to live here.
It wasn’t always fun for me when I was living on $500/month. You can totally do it though. Just forget about drinking, taxis, and Western food.
You wouldn’t even need to cook though, you could still eat on the street every meal if you wanted.
Plus, Before you know it your income will increase and you’ll be balling too. Try living in the US for $500 or even $1000/month. You probably won’t be having a lot of fun.
Menial Tasks Outsourced
As I just mentioned, there’s a lot of stuff you can pay people to do here for very little money. It’s easy to pay people to do your cooking, cleaning, laundry, and driving.
These days, I pay others to do all of these tasks for me. The end result is that I have a lot more time each week to do more important things. It also saves a lot of energy and mental resources.
Theoretically I could do this in the US, but it’d probably be 10x more expensive. Unless you’re making some serious dough, it probably doesn’t make financial sense for you to outsource a lot of these tasks.
This could just be personal preference, but I think food in Vietnam tastes a lot better than food in the US. It’s certainly a lot healthier. Many people consider Vietnamese food to be among the healthiest in the world.
You can choose any local restaurant (meaning restaurants that don’t cater to foreigners), choose something random, and there’s a good chance it’ll be at least fairly healthy.
Unfortunately, things will probably continue to change for the worse here. They already are with the number of shitty Western chain restaurants continuing to be built here.
No reason not to enjoy paradise while it lasts though.
This isn’t something I find overly annoying. In the US the people obviously weigh a TON more than here in Vietnam. When others make unhealthy lifestyle choices, however, it usually doesn’t bother me much.
I have no problem with someone else ruining their life. I wish they wouldn’t be unhealthy, but you can’t change someone unless they’re ready to change.
The thing I love about Vietnam is that I see a lot more people out exercising than in the US.
Whether it’s walking from one place to another (though the Vietnamese do rely on their motorbikes too much), kids playing soccer in the street, or old couples playing badminton in the park; there’s a lot more people being active.
I absolutely LOVE this. There’s something natural about seeing human beings moving. Seeing people being active and getting in touch with their bodies. It’s just the coolest thing.
Before the bashing let’s give American women credit for what they do well. They tend to make decent money for themselves.
If you’re in a relationship and living with an American women she’s probably more likely to help you pay rent than a Vietnamese women.
American women also speak English and have a solid knowledge of sports. You can go outside with an American girl and throw a football or shoot a basketball for fun with her.
It may take a lot more training to get a Vietnamese girl to that point. You’ll also have a lot more miscommunications with Vietnamese women because you’re Vietnamese skills are probably nonexistent, and thus you’re relying on her English.
The result is that you may have to dumb your English down a bit, use simpler words, and speak without using many interesting expressions.
Aside from that, however, the average Vietnamese women whips an American women in virtually every other category. Vietnamese women tend to be much thinner and more well dressed than American women.
Vietnamese women are generally proud to cook for their man. Plus they can do a pretty decent job. Most American women think it’s hip not to learn how to cook.
Vietnamese women are more feminine than American women. Luckily for us living here, feminism hasn’t spread too strongly in the East yet. Women here still understand that it’s attractive to be girly.
Vietnamese women are also much more sexually conservative. I get that there’s some hushing going on around sex here. Lots of Vietnamese girls have had sex, but won’t admit it to their friends.
But, I’ve also kissed cute 20 year old girls that were left speechless after because they’d never kissed a boy before.
I’ve met girls that would crush on me, even to the point where they’d post pictures of me on their Instagram accounts. Yet, they were firm in that they wouldn’t have sex before they were married.
Look, there’s obviously American girls that will refuse to have sex before marriage too. Haha maybe. Seriously though, in a country as big as the US I’m sure they’re out there.
It’s impossible to deny, however, that American women are generally super loose with their bodies in comparison to Vietnamese women (and women of most other countries in the world).
The more men a woman has had sex with, the more difficult it is for her to pair bond and experience a deep emotional connection with her man.
In other words, relationships are a lot better here because Vietnam is still a patriarchal society where the man is the leader of the home and casual sex is frowned upon.
Of course, all of this is assuming you’re dating an American 7 vs a Vietnamese 7. For the record, I don’t like using numbers to talk about women.
However, it’s just a way to state that we’re talking about women that are pretty attractive in comparison with the average girl in their surroundings.
Anyway, the issue is that while hypergamy effects Vietnamese women, it’s not completely out of control here yet like it is in the US.
Because there’s so many overweight women in the US, any girl with a respectable appearance thinks she’s incredibly hot stuff.
Decent American women have an overinflated perception of themselves due to so few girls in the US being physically attractive.
Take half the female population, make them obese and undateable, and it’s no wonder guys are desperate and thirsty in the US.
Simply put, American guys score higher abroad than in the US. They’ll also get better treatment from their woman abroad because she’ll know he’s not so easily replaceable.
American guys at home generally have to date down. Plus, they usually won’t get treated as well as if they’d dated a feminine woman from a more traditional society.
The dating marketplace in the US is broken. There’s a reason American guys go abroad and can easily round up a harem of girls. American girls on the other hand go abroad and can’t stop themselves from complaining about how lonely it is.
END OF RANT
Proximity to Other Countries
When I lived in the US I didn’t have many opportunities to go to other countries. The only two affordable choices were Canada and Mexico.
However, Vietnam is much less geographically isolated than the US. Budget airlines are also super prominent in Asia.
The result is that it’s much more practical to take a long weekend trip to another country while living in Vietnam than while living in the US.
Besides being cheaper, you also have a lot more nearby countries to explore.
There’s a reason I’m living in Saigon, Vietnam and loving it. Its excellent cost of living and feminine women allow me to have a work/life balance that anyone would be envious of.
Plus, as my income continues to increase, I’ll be able to save large chunks of money rather than having it tied up in rent for an expensive apartment, car insurance, or other costly obligations like I would stateside.
Saigon is an awesome place to live. I’m likely to move on to another place by the end of the year, but I’ve loved my time here and will continue to love every moment until the very end.
I’d highly encourage you to get your ass out here and check Asia out sometime. You won’t regret it!
I’m much happier living here in Vietnam than I ever was in Wisconsin. For that reason, I can sometimes rip on the USA. While the USA has lots of problems, so does Vietnam.
So does every country for that matter. The most important thing is whether the place you live meets your standards in the areas most important to you.
For me, Vietnam meets most of my standards for a place to live as a 20 year old guy. It’s cheap, the women are thin and feminine, the food is delicious, and the lifestyle is exciting.
With that being said, I do occasionally miss living in the USA. I used to be suuuper anti-USA a couple years ago, but now my perspective has mellowed out. I recognize that even if the USA isn’t currently the best place for me to live, others may find genuine happiness living there.
For some people, living in the USA may be best choice for them. That’s great for them. Others are simply in denial, or haven’t experienced what the rest of the world has to offer.
But for those that wouldn’t choose to call any other place home, I’d like to give you guys some props. You’re not better or worse for finding genuine happiness in the place you were born.
You’re just different than those that choose to expatriate or live nomadically abroad. With that being said, today’s post is to give you some credit. This post is to say, cheers to you if you’re happily living in the US.
There’s some great things about the US that most of the places I’ve been to Asia simply can’t touch. If you’re a relative or friend that’s been jealous of my travels before, this post should help you appreciate the things you have at home.
I never realized it, but growing up in Wisconsin I always had access to fresh air. The same can’t be said of living in Asia, especially Saigon.
I miss being able to inhale the fresh smell of summer or spring. I miss being able to cross the street without having to cover my nose or wear a mask (because of the vehicle exhaust here).
A lot of people suffer from the bad air here. I’ve had horrible coughs here before. Several times a year now my lungs get congested. Of course, that would happen at home too. Here that congestion is just a bit more frequent and severe.
Sometimes, however, the air can get really really bad here. Once or twice a year I’ll cough so badly at night that I’ll begin to cough blood. Yuck. That never happened in Wisconsin.
In the US, smoking isn’t really cool anymore. Not that many people do it either. More importantly, there’s lots of restrictions about where you can and can’t smoke. You’re not going to have people blowing smoke into your face at Chipotle.
The same can’t be said of Vietnam. The people here, especially the men here are the most legendary chain smokers I’ve ever seen. Even worse, they seem to be a combination of both ignorant and inconsiderate when it comes to smoking.
Lots of us have family members that smoke. In the US, this means when they have the urge they’ll walk outside to indulge in their addiction. If you were already outside at say a picnic, the family member would at least take a few steps away and blow their smoke the other direction.
Not here. I’m sure there’s exceptions, but generally speaking, Vietnamese guys are CLUELESS. They’ll smoke when you’re eating indoors. They’ll smoke when they’re sitting next to you at the park, and they’ll make no effort not to blow the smoke in your face.
Worst of all, they’ll smoke while carrying a baby and think nothing of it. Oi, Oi, Oi. I could rant about this for another 2,000 words, but you get the point.
Living in the USA you’re blessed. It’s incredibly easy to avoid smoke as an American. Here, not so much.
You’ve got to be careful when you buy stuff in Vietnam. We’ve got fake iPhones, fake North Face bags, you name it. That’s all fine and dandy.
That means shopping here may get me some stuff that’s not authentic, but at least I’ll probably spending a lot less than you guys in the US.
That seems like a pretty fair deal. It is, assuming you get something that doesn’t break a week after you leave the shop.
Things can get a lot more insidious here though. Add poor consumer protection laws and a corrupt police force and you’ve got trouble. Let’s say you want to have your iPhone fixed here.
Cool. Seems like something that’s simple enough to deal with at the hundreds, possibly thousands of phone repair stores in this city. Wrong. You thought US car salesmen were sleazy, wait until you hear this.
When you get your electronics repaired in Saigon you gotta have your #1 hawk eyes honed in on those repair mofos like it’s a competitive staring contest and you’re trying to win through intimidation.
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about people losing all the valuable parts of their phone in this scheme.
You go to repair your phone. You give it to the guy at the counter. He gives it to another guy. The 2nd guy supposedly has to go to another room to get tools to examine and ‘diagnose’ your phone’s problem.
Little did you know that sleazy mofo was removing all the authentic Apple parts from your phone and replacing them with cheap China knockoff parts. It doesn’t even matter if they repair your phone now. They already made a huge profit off you.
Fucking scumbags deserve to eat shit, but that’s just how things can work in this part of the world.
You can have basically anything ordered from Amazon, and delivered to your house in a few days max in the US. While it’s technically possible to order Amazon to ship to Vietnam, it’s quite limited.
You’ll worry about customs agents stealing anything valuable. And the deliveryman is far more likely to lose your package than in the US. This convenient shipping is one of the top things many expatriates miss about living in the US.
It’s a joke that most people in the US think Spanish is too difficult to learn. I can understand if you think it wouldn’t be worth investing hundreds of hours of your time to learn Spanish. That’s reasonable enough, especially if you’re based out of the US and not planning to travel enough.
Calling Spanish difficult though pssssh. Try Vietnamese. This language is unspeakably hard. Notice I said unspeakably. Vietnamese is actually fairly simply to write. It’s actually probably far easier to learn to write Vietnamese than English.
Speaking Vietnamese is another story though. I’m not a language noob either. I speak conversational Spanish, and basic Esperanto. In Spanish I can hear a word a couple times, begin using it and people will always understand what I’m saying.
They might correct my accent if it’s a language teacher, but it’s clear enough that locals will understand what I’m trying to say. That’s not true at all with Vietnamese.
I’ve known for two years how to say tasty in Vietnamese (ngon). At lunch last weekend my girlfriend’s family asked me if the food was good (ngon không?). I said tasty thanks (ngon cảm ơn). They didn’t understand.
How can you live somewhere for two years, and still be unable to speak even the simplest phrases of the language? Don’t ask me.
Props to you Americans. You probably hear bad English everyday if you’re living in a big city. Maybe that’s why we’re so forgiving and able to understand foreigners with poor English skills. The same cannot be said of Vietnam.
Part of it must be that it’s uncommon for foreigners to learn Vietnamese. Therefore, most people here have never heard Vietnamese words pronounced incorrectly.
I’d really like to go with this answer rather than mental laziness to try to piece together what the other person said.
While some people will just brush you off when you attempt to speak Vietnamese, a lot of Vietnamese people, especially those that speak foreign languages will try to understand you. And due to their effort, often they will! If only more of them would make this effort…
Regardless, USA… you win. English wins. Maybe I wouldn’t be saying that if I was living in a country that spoke Spanish, but for now… English over Vietnamese everyday.
I was reluctant to put this on the list. It’s possible to create a solid career for yourself abroad. In 2017 I’m finally doing well online as one of the main writers at a cool tech startup.
In another year or so I’ll likely make the switch from freelance writer to web developer and be making even more money. With that being said, the amount of money you can make in the US is pretty ridiculous.
Sitting in a cosy cubicle with little risk, and lots of stability is comfortable. A lot of people say it gnaws at your soul, but you’re lucky to even have the opportunity for some soul gnawing in exchange for material comfort.
Having stability, and not having to worry about finding the next client is a pretty sweeeet deal. 2017 is the first year I’ll make a respectable amount of money online (this is great, but I’m not looking forward to finally having to do self-employed taxes hahaha).
If I was still living in the US, I’d probably be making around double per month what I’m making now with a lot more stability. Sometimes that eats at me. If you’re living in the US, be grateful at the abundant opportunities you have available to you.
I know people say the US economy has gone to shit, but there’s still sooooo much fucking opportunity in America if you choose to be exceptional.
Look, there’s a lot of cool stuff about living in the US. You’ve got great jobs, reliable stores, fast shipping, clean air and manners. We can often lack a lot of those things in Vietnam.
That’s why I’m going to take today and say congrats America. I know people like to bash on you a lot these days. I’ve certainly done my fair share, but you got a lot of things right. And I’m confident you’re only going to get better under Trump 😉
You’re going to have a lot of difficult decisions in your life. Should you break up with your girlfriend? Should you approach that cute girl? Should you move to a different city? These are all very difficult decisions.
When making a tough decision, it’s often wise to consider what out mentors would do. Would my mentor go to the gym if he was tired after work? If the answer is yes, you’d better put your shoes on. Would my role model approach and introduce himself to a girl he found attractive? Probably, so I better do it too.
Of course, sometimes you’ll know on an intellectual level what your mentor would do. You’ll say, I know if my mentor was in this situation he would do CHOICE A. However, you may feel emotional resistance because you know this is something that’s very difficult to do. CHOICE A isn’t always the easy choice.
For example, I once knew that I should break up with a girl, but I procrastinated doing so for over a month. I knew my mentor would’ve broken up with the girl if he was in the same situation, but it just wasn’t something I wanted to face.
After more than a month of procrastinating I finally did it. It was a difficult night, but almost immediately afterwards I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. The month after I made that choice I was happier than I’d been in a long time.
Another example was the first time I flew to Asia. There was a large part of me that was excited, but I was also suuuuper scared. I considered intentionally missing my flight. However, I knew on an intellectual level that getting on that plane and coming to Asia was the thing I needed at that point in my soul’s development.
Sometimes you’re going to feel emotional resistance when being forced to make difficult decisions. When you know something is the right choice on an intellectual level, you’ll often feel resistance and try to make rationalizations to avoid making the right choice. It’s up to you to ignore those rationalizations.
Understand that when you make the right choice for those difficult decisions, your life will improve in an amount proportional to the amount of resistance you felt.
It’s that resistance that was intended to keep you in the same place, doing the same thing. Transcend that resistance, and you’ll transcend your current limits. Of course, you’ll have to continually repeat this process, but that’s life 🙂