Becoming Stoic

One of my current interest in passions, actually for a long time, is regarding stoicism, philosophy, etc.

Why? I think in the realm of philosophy, stoicism may be the only school of thought which actually is useful in every day living. For example, conquering fear doubt and hesitation, how to advance through setbacks, how to deal with other people etc.

Stoicism 2.0?

I think ever since Nassim Taleb, stoicism has gained a new renaissance. Stoicism is now quite mainstream, and interesting to a lot of people.

First and foremost, we must interact with other people. No no no, even if you were a monk in the mountains, you will still make friends with villagers etc. No man has his own island.

I think it is a good idea to be honest here — and we love people. Everybody loves people. The new ones is which types of people we like and we don’t like.


Having the courage to ask why I can be one of the most courageous things we can ask in modern day times. Why? I think in modern-day times, to ask people why is seen as a threat. Or like you’re being critical or judging them in a negative way.

However for me, I am simply curious. I’m curious why people engage in certain behaviors and activities, and it really isn’t from a space of judging, it is more my personal curiosity about human nature, society, sociology etc.

Even in Vietnamese, one thing I learned which was insightful was that the question, “Tại sao?“, (在牢?) is seen as an affront.

tại (“because of; for; to blame”) +‎ sao (“why; how”)

Therefore, when you ask somebody “Why?” You’re seeking someone to blame?

Also in Korean, the funny thing, when a parent calls upon their child, and the kid is slightly annoyed, they respond by saying, “왜?” Weh (왜) means “why?” or “what do you want?” When I was in college, and I would teach English to kids in Korea over the summer, I remember finding it so striking that when I will try to call the attention of a Korean kid, they would respond by saying, “Why?” Instead of the standard English, “What?”

Tai can also mean “…because”.

Why is to exist?

I think sooner or later, a lot of people, once they retire, achieve all these accolades in life, etc., will often meditate on the meaning of their existence, why they exist, the purpose of their life, etc.

However, to meditate on the purpose of your life is simply a steppingstone. It is not the final goal. The final goal is to gain some sort of deeper clarity about the purpose and why of your life, and then, dedicating all of your strength, balls, chutzpah, audacity and courage to attain those goals.

“For the man who knows the why of his life, he will easily discover the how.” – Nietzsche

Being disliked or hated?

The funny thing is in life, it seems that everyone desires to be liked. Yet, what if actually, the opposite word to be desired? To become more heated, fear, or disliked?

For example, I might be one of the most hated photographers, street photographers, or photography personalities on the internet. Why? People are befuddled by me. People ask me, “what is up with all of these flexing videos?”

The funny thing is people become indignant when you publish things which are not to their liking. However, this is a funny thing,

It is all free. Also, you have the power to unsubscribe, or just not click on it or look at it.

This is this bizarre sense of entitlement people have with the internet:

“How dare you do things which are against my own personal interests!”

The simple strategy is to stoutly proceed, and keep marching on, just imagine like juggernaut from the X-Men movie, busting through the walls.

Or, another visual is imagine the spartan 300, in the movie 300, pushing the Persians off the cliff.

Why is this all so critical?

A lot of people follow me and look up to me. A lot of creators look up to me. I feel like it is my duty, my mission, my missionary duty to empower other people and creators.

I was randomly musing this morning, currently I am 35 years old, born in 1988. When I started traveling the world and doing all this street photography stuff, back in 2010, 2011, I was only 21/22 years old. This means if I do the math, I’ve been in the game for almost 14 or 15 years. Soon this will be 20 years plus.

Also funny enough, I am lucky enough to see the Internet change and evolve. For example when I was just in high school, a sophomore junior in high school, it was all about Xanga in my space. Then I saw the rise and fall of Flickr, and now, The Fall of Facebook, and the overshadowing of TikTok over Instagram.

I was in the car with Cindy, and I was randomly thinking, besides Facebook and Instagram, where else can people share their photos? was my first grand mission—

Creating a proof of concept, a double blind experiment in the realm of photography, that is, if the poster of the photo is anonymous, and the commentator is also anonymous, what type of behavior will this facilitate?

What I discovered is that it actually promotes good behavior. Why? People are more genuine and honest.



One of the great ideas that I got from Peter Thiel from “zero to one” — this notion, missionary or mercenary?

A mercenary mean somebody who works, fights, or laborers for some sort of market determined price on labor. A missionary is somebody who is on a mission, it doesn’t have to be religious. And you don’t have to be some sort of Friar monk with a bald shaved head.