The hopelessness of self-improvement

Exactly somewhat I am feeling right now.

I am now 22 years old, graduating last year from an international university in my country- Vietnam with High Distinction. I am holding an interesting entry-level position in a multinational ads company. Just recently, my team made it to the Final in New York city of an ads competition.

To the elderly, my future is bright and huge of potential. The company's Board of Management realizes my “talent" and has been investing in me (training workshops overseas). My friends respect the company's name I work for. And university students admire me. Everyone sees a great future.

But I am scared. I know no where to improve.

Because I learn that there are so many greater friends out there, at my same age, who achieve much greater things.

I am aware of those who have the opportunity to go overseas and have their eyes and mind wide open. They have better land to grow, and are much more competitive than I am.

I am aware of those who are born smart, who just need a glimpse to figure out the solution, whereas it takes me decades.

I feel stupid in the way I communicate in my mother tongue language. I am not a very fluent and interesting natural speaker.

I feel innocent in the way I approach problems.

I feel I am not born for analysis and logical stuff.

All of what I have achieved so far is just based on hard work and luck. I am unsure if continuous hard work and luck will still support me in the future.


Go on. Go on. Keep going.

I am determined to improve myself in my career pathway. But the problem is I don't know how and where to go. That's why I feel hopeless.

One cannot base on determination and hard work, like a boat with strong engine and unlimited fuel but not knowing where it's heading. I feel just like that right now: full of ambition, full of passion, full of enthusiasm, but don't know how and where to spend it. That's why I feel hopeless.


It is the New Year of 2016. I am now 23. I have felt much better. I appreciate the feeling of hopelessness, because it gives me power. That tension is healthy to keep pushing me forward.

For this New Year, I am yet knowing where to head. But I feel like embrace all those uncertainties. It reminds me of the mindset that IDEO- a design firm approaches: It takes persistence and keeps believing that you are on the right track, despite not knowing where you will come up with; Expect uncertainties, wait for surprises and embrace the unknown.

I am motivated for a new year. Welcome myself to 2016!

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Tran Thanh Lam’s story.