I Share Hope

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Story. Action. Hope.

Stories about hope and ways to share hope

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Paul Truong

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‘I still believe in a place called Hope, a place called America.’ -Bill Clinton.

“So, if you are lucky enough to be in this great country, make each day count. My dream is to inspire young people to reach for their dreams, whatever that may be. All they need to do is find their passion, set goals, consistently work to move toward that finish line, and make each day count.” — Paul Truong

Amazing story of escape, survival and life. Award winning and best selling chess author, journalist, and promoter.

Director or Marketing & PR for Webster University / SPICE FIDE Master and 11-time National Chess Champion (South Vietnam and USA). One of the most prolific coaches in the United States. Coach of the Webster University #1 ranked Chess Team which captured 2 world and 28 national titles – 2012 to now. The team has been ranked #1 in the nation since inception in the summer of 2012 until now, which is a record in college chess. In addition, this Webster national championship team has never lost a match.)



 

07: I Share Hope with Paul Truong

‘I still believe in a place called Hope, a place called America.’ -Bill Clinton.

“So, if you are lucky enough to be in this great country, make each day count. My dream is to inspire young people to reach for their dreams, whatever that may be. All they need to do is find their passion, set goals, consistently work to move toward that finish line, and make each day count.” — Paul Truong

Intro:

Welcome to I Share Hope! The podcast where world leaders share their real stories of hope and how you can use actionable hope to start changing your life today and now here’s your host, Chris Williams.

Chris Williams:

Paul Truong is originally from South Vietnam and escaped with his father in 1975. He was eight years old. It took four years and finally made it to the shores of America in 1979. Paul, it is privilege to have you here today. I know there’s so much more about you including a very prolific and very competitive career in chess and marketing and now again delivering a lot of hope to a lot of children who are growing and understanding how to live life through the game that you’re so good at. Paul, tell us a little more about yourself and I can’t wait to hear the story of where you’ve come from and how you’ve grown so strong and taken such strong, active steps in hope.

Paul Truong:

I started chess accidentally when I was about five years old. My father used to work for the US Embassy in Vietnam and one day he came home with one of those like a dollar chess set that he bought from PX. He was reading the rules and he was showing me how to play the game. The reason why he did that was that he had this philosophy that he wanted to introduce me to as many things as he possibly can, not only in chess, but in various sports and to reading and to many different interests. I, for whatever reason, really liked the game and a short time later he told me “Maybe you should try to compete”, but there were not too many tournaments in Vietnam at that time. There was one coming up at the time which was the National Junior Championship for kids under 21 and I was five. I entered with no expectation and I ended up winning the tournament.

Chris Williams:

Oh my goodness.

Paul Truong:

I repeated again for three more years and that’s how my career started. Sometime when I was about 8-1/2 or 9 years old, probably closer to 8-1/2, I was allowed to compete in the National Championship for overall, for adults, for all ages and again I ended up winning that one as well and repeated for another four years after that. That’s how my chess career started. As most people know in 1975, on April 30th, being born and raised in Saigon, South Vietnam, my country lost to the communists from the North. After that, I didn’t have that many opportunities to play. I did compete to defend my title once year, but I didn’t have that many opportunities to play. After that, I didn’t take it very seriously until I came to the United States. That’s how I started.

Chris Williams:

That’s really amazing. The five-year-old competing against teens and young 20s, is that extremely unusual? Is that a gift? Does that make sense, what I’m asking?

Paul Truong:

Yes. If that would have happened in the US or in the former Soviet Union, it would have been a very big deal, but since Vietnam was not exactly a chess powerhouse at that time, to me it was no big deal.

Chris Williams:

Wow.

Paul Truong:

I never really thought much about it. Just to me it was a game.

Chris Williams:

Wow. That’s really cool. I’m sure that IQ is just light-years ahead of mine. So, if I lose you in the conversation and you can tell that I really don’t understand what you’re saying, then you’ll understand why. It’s a privilege to talk to you. We love to ask these five questions about hope.

Question 1: As you’ve seen on your notes there, is what is your definition of hope or your favorite quote about hope?

Paul Truong:

I read something, actually I heard it, something from former President Bill Clinton back in 1996. I took his quote and added on a little bit more and made it my own. His quote was “I still believe in a place called hope and a place called America”. I added the second part to it and so if you’re lucky enough to be in this country, make each day count. That’s my hope.

Chris Williams:

Wow. That’s great. If you’re lucky enough to be in this country, make each day count.

Paul Truong:

Yes. Because a lot of people don’t realize and especially people who are born in the US, they don’t realize that they are privileged to be born in the greatest country in the world. This is why so many people want to come here. Sometimes because you have it, you don’t realize what you have. People around the world, they are dying to have this opportunity and many people including myself and millions of other people would risk their lives just to be in this country. Sometimes people just don’t realize that.

Chris Williams:

You’re right. You’re really right. One of the lucky ones who were born here and not had to think too hard about the privileges I have. I may think that I’m appreciative, but I’m sure there’s no way I could really understand what it’s like to have a lot less and then be in a place where you’re provided for so easily.

Question 2: is a really interesting one because we get to understand more about your past or who’s really influenced you. Maybe not even your past, but who’s influenced you for hope? Who’s been the greatest giver of hope in your life?

Paul Truong:

It definitely has to be my father. From a very young age, he made me believe that I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it and nothing is impossible. Another word, I could reach the moon if that’s my dream. I’ve always lived my whole life with that philosophy and it’s one of those attitudes that – never give up. You got to keep trying every single day. I guess make each day count. My father has to be the biggest inspiration for me.

Chris Williams:

That’s great. Tell me again when you were back home where you were born, what was your dad’s position there and when did you all leave the country? The year of leaving the country.

Paul Truong:

He was working for the US Embassy in Vietnam at that time and he was one of the highest civilian in the Embassy. Unfortunately on April 30, 1975, our country was lost. In fact, we were scheduled to leave Saigon by plane on May 1, 1975. We missed it by one day. Our family, the first thing we did was – my father took us and my mother and my young brother who was very, very young at the time, he was about a year and a half or something like that at that time. So, he took us to the US Embassy and of course there were thousands of people outside the gate and there’s no system like today with the IDs or passports and things like that. The regular guards there were no longer there. The military police were basically guarding the place.

Finally when we were there with thousands of people and we kept inching up closer to the gate and finally it was our turn. The gate opened up and I was able to get in, but my mother couldn’t get in because she was holding my brother. She couldn’t squeeze through and my father was behind and then they closed the gate. I could hear my father screaming from the outside saying “Go! Go! Get on the helicopter” because there was a helicopter up in the roof. The military police were also shouting at me saying “Get on the helicopter. This is the last one.” I had to make a decision very quickly at that time. Do I get on this helicopter or do I want to be with my family? Knowing that there’s a chance that we would not live because we don’t know what’s going to happen with the communist regime coming in and especially with my father working for the US Embassy. We don’t know what would happen.

I made a decision and I said you know what – and it was a very difficult decision for a 9-year-old boy, 9-1/2-year-old kid at that time. I said, you know, I cannot leave my family. I think probably I was the only one that walked back the other way and I came out to be with my family. My father tried to go to the airport and already the runway was bombed and planes cannot take off. We went out to the sea port and no ship was left out there so we were stuck. We were stuck living in Vietnam for the next four years and my father was constantly in hiding because if they would have captured him, they probably would have executed him on the spot. In four years he was constantly in hiding and we tried very hard to escape.

At that time in Vietnam there was a program that since there were a lot of Chinese immigrants who lived in Vietnam and the communist regime wanted to get rid of them, they allowed them to leave. What we did was w bought fake IDs from a family that already left. I had to learn some Chinese to pretend I was a Chinese boy and so did my father. We decided to escape on the same date, April 30th, but 1979, exactly four years to the date because we felt that that was the day when a lot of the guards were celebrating, drinking and things like that so the security is not as tight as normal. Basically, we were able to get out of Saigon. We thought of the harbor and we were able to get on one of these boats and it’s approximately about 75-foot wooden boat that was made for shrimping for the river. This is not equipped for voyage on the sea and this is a boat that’s made usually for usually about 10-12 people, the crew.

Chris Williams:

Just trying to get a picture here, so this is 75-feet long. How wide?

Paul Truong:

Wooden. I’m not sure how wide. Probably 15 feet wide, 20 feet wide.

Chris Williams:

Wooden meaning, is this like you stand up in the bottom of it and it’s over your head or has it got a shelter underneath?

Paul Truong:

No. They have different storeys. Not cabins, but like levels where they would store the seafood or the shrimps or the fish in the bottom. They took everything out so that they would put people in and about 600 people were stuck in this very, very small space.

Chris Williams:

How many was it supposed to hold if it was a fishing vessel?

Paul Truong:

10 to 12 usually.

Chris Williams:

Oh wow.

Paul Truong:

A group of 10 to 12.

Chris Williams:

You’re 13 at this time?

Paul Truong:

That time, it was ’79 so I was about, yes, about 13-1/2. Not even 14 yet.

Chris Williams:

Wow. Okay. Keep going. Sorry.

Paul Truong:

Basically, we got out and right after we reached international water, we saw another boat coming. We were trying to flag them to help not realizing that that’s a boat from the Thai pirates. For fishermen in Thailand, they made very little money so it’s much better deal to rob us, to steal from us and they know that we’re sitting ducks. We have nowhere to go. Our boat is too slow, we cannot escape them so they stopped us and they stole everything they could get their hands on. The most tragic part was being from a very conservative country which at that time I didn’t even know how babies were made, I witnessed with my own eyes how these pirates were raping young girls in front of their parents or siblings and things like that, even wives. They would rape anybody that they want and the pretty one they would take over to their boat and would never be seen again. This happened multiple times, let’s put it that way.

Let me backtrack a little bit to give you a better idea because that one actually happened the second time we left because the first time we never even made it that far because the boat, as I mentioned to you earlier, it’s a very, very small boat and the engine was not meant to carry that many people. The engine blew up. We were stuck on the water with very little food and water and luckily another Vietnamese fishing boat saw us and towed us back. When the communist government got all these people, they threw everybody in jail. Luckily, we still had our IDs at that time, the Chinese IDs so they did not know who my father was. We were in jail for about a month and during that time my mother was selling everything she owned at the time to bribe the guards to let us free. During this time, the boats were repaired and bigger engines were put in and we escaped a second time about a month later.

The second time we went out that’s when we faced the pirates and we had to go through this five times. You could imagine what the people went through and the fifth time, the pirates were very angry that they wasted half a day trying to chase us and there was nothing left because the other four boats already took everything.

Chris Williams:

So these are five different groups of pirates?

Paul Truong:

Yes. Five different boats. The fifth time they were so angry that they wasted the day for nothing, they decided to kill us and they sank our boat. The boat went under and a lot of people died and we were very, very lucky that we were – I don’t know how you call it. The spot where our boat sank happened to be in the shipping lane that a short time later an American oil tanker happened to go by and they were able to rescue the remaining survivors in the ocean. They brought us into Malaysia at that time…

Chris Williams:

How long were you in the ocean? How long after the ship sank?

Paul Truong:

Probably within an hour or so.

Chris Williams:

They were really close. How many people do you think died on that ship?

Paul Truong:

I would have to venture about half of them. The problem is – you have to understand that when the boat sank, a lot of people didn’t swim. So, even if you knew how to swim, people would drag each other down so it’s very hard to survive. One of the lucky things that allowed us to survive was I felt that it would have been better for us to jump in the water first and not wait until the boat would sink because we wanted to swim as far away from these people as possible. That was a decision that helped us live. Not that we were great swimmers or anything like that, but we had something just to help us stay afloat. You really don’t know if you’re ever going to live or not because when you’re in the middle of the water, the chance of you living is like winning the lottery and luckily we just happened to have an American oil tanker go by. It was a very, very tragic situation.

They took us to Malaysia and we were there for about a month and the Malaysian government changed their policy that they didn’t want any refugees there. They kicked us out and we didn’t have a boat because our boat sank. What they did was they combined our group with another group that came there before us and they put us on another boat from the previous refugees and they basically threw us out. Again, they didn’t push us out in a way where it would allow us to live. They did in a way that they wanted no evidence. They wanted to kill us. The way how they towed our boat out — in a zigzag format to try to break apart. It’s a wooden boat. It was a very, very difficult circumstance because they have a big ship going in a very fast speed and trying to destroy us, trying to kill us.

I don’t remember the name of the girl, but I remember there was a girl approximately about 16 years old. She had a knife in her hand, so she jumped down to the water trying to cut the rope and they were firing at her.

Chris Williams:

Did you say she had a knife in her hand? It cut off for a minute there. She had a knife in her hand?

Paul Truong:

Yes. Knife in her hand. Not a very sharp knife, but a knife in her hand. She was trying to cut the rope that connected our boat to the Malaysian ship. Finally, she was successful. She was able to cut the rope and they just left us there out in the water, out in the ocean with almost no food, no water. Basically, we were left to die in the middle of nowhere.

Chris Williams:

How many people were on this boat?

Paul Truong:

Probably over 600. There is never an exact count, but there were probably over 600 people.

Chris Williams:

So another big crowd. Was it a similar size boat or was it a larger boat?

Paul Truong:

It was about a similar size, because most of these boats are very, very similar in size and we had at that time approximately about 20 liters of water for 600 people and about 20 liters of fuel which is taking you nowhere. We were drifting and drifting in the ocean and we were drifting downward. We drifted toward Indonesia and you could see at the end of the horizon like an island chain. We were trying very, very hard to steer the boat because you have no fuel to get the boat moving. You just try to do whatever you can to steer it toward that direction and out of nowhere you have Indonesian naval ships coming out with guns pointing at us saying that their policy is the same also as Malaysia. They do not allow refugees to enter their country.

My father, being one of the few people who actually spoke English, was able to get on the Indonesian Navy Ship and spoke to the person in charge and he tried to explain to them how dire our situation was and they said no. That’s their order. They cannot help us. My father, when he came back to the boat, he told everybody that they’re not going to help us. They’re going to let us out here and we’re going to die. He made one last attempt and he told the people on-board that anybody who had relatives who died of starvation and thirst, they were trying to hold on to the bodies hoping to give them a proper burial if they get to land. They made an order to everyone who had a loved one who died to simultaneously throw all the bodies overboard. You can see that from the Indonesian Navy Ship, they were looking with binoculars. They saw what happened. A short time later, out of nowhere a helicopter from the Red Cross came and intervened.

The commander from the Indonesian Navy would never admit that he made that call, but we knew that he had to do it because otherwise the Red Cross would never know that there’s a ship there, there’s a boat there. He never admitted it, but thankfully we were able to make it. When we arrived to this island — they had to take us, a small group at a time from our boat to the island, my father being like and old-time… I don’t know how you call it, with a mentality that to allow the sickest, to allow the women and children go in first. So, we were the last one to get into the island. By the time we got in we saw so many people die because a lot of these people hadn’t had anything to drink in a long time and immediately when they went into the island… This was a deserted island. There was no civilization there. They saw water coming from the mountain, from the stream and they were trying to drink that water and apparently, I believe, that was poisonous water or something. I’m not sure. So, a lot of people died instantly.

Luckily, because of my father’s mentality, we were saved once again. You want to talk about hope, I lift it.

Chris Williams:

Yes, you have. You really have. I know that’s not the end of the story. Incredible. Obviously your father was the answer to question number 2, who shared the most hope with you and I get it. It makes sense that he’s the guy.

Question 3:  Question number 3 is a time when you’ve had to use hope or really had to fall back on just hope to make it through and I’m catching on. Keep going.

Paul Truong:

I believe that God wanted me to live for a reason because there is really not much you can do humanly to survive. Example, if you’re in the middle of the water it doesn’t matter how good you are as a swimmer. You cannot make it. It’s impossible to swim in the ocean. The situation that the people went to the island first died, things like that, you have no idea. So, I always felt that God had a plan for me. That was my hope at that time. Like I said, I had to look at it in a positive way because there’s no other way to look at it. It meant that he wanted me to be here for a reason.

Chris Williams:

Wow. This is when you were 13. Are you realizing that at that age or are you looking back as an adult where you were able to realize there may be some purpose in all this. What did you feel like when you were 13?

Paul Truong:

At that time, just survive.

Chris Williams:

You’re not thinking about it, you’re just living.

Paul Truong:

Right. I just felt that okay, I was raised the right way, I’m a good person, I’m a kind person so God will protect me. I never thought anything deeper than that. But, when I came to America knowing this, it gave me a motivation to really make something of my life. I didn’t want just to squander this opportunity. I wanted to do that. When I worked professionally, I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to show people. I wanted to share with the people my story and inspire them to show them that yes, they can make it because I came to the US with nothing. I didn’t even speak one word of English when I came. I can tell you, when I got off the plane the first time…We were in the island for approximately six months or so and what happened was a lot of countries, the US and France, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, you name it, each country would take 20, 30, 50 refugees from this boat. We waited because my father worked for the US Embassy, so they were the last one to arrive. We were able to come to the US because of that connection. Also, one of my aunts was living in the US at that time. We had a relative here in the US, in New Jersey.

I arrived in the US with my father. We went from Indonesia to Singapore, from Singapore to LA and LA to Newark Airport and I arrived on December 1, 1979. Mind you that I left Saigon in April 30 and I didn’t arrive to US until December 1, so it’s quite a long journey.

Chris Williams:

No kidding.

Paul Truong:

I remember when I came to the US, it was snowing outside and this is New Jersey, it was cold. My father and I, we arrived in a pair of pants, one t-shirt and a pair of beach sandals. That’s all we had with us. We didn’t have any jacket, we didn’t have money, we didn’t have anything. This is how we came to America, with basically two empty hands. I always tell people that this is hitting rock bottom. If I could make something out of my life, then anybody can, if they want to.

Chris Williams:

Right. So, you had a complete start over and your dad, obviously as a grown man and provider for his family, he really had to hit the ground running and start doing something quick. What did he do?

Paul Truong:

I went to high school full time. I started half a year in my freshman year in high school.

Chris Williams:

An English-speaking high school halfway through and you don’t know English?

Paul Truong:

I don’t know English. I had to use a dictionary to translate each word and at that time I had seven part-time jobs while going to high school full time. Because there’s a law that nobody can hire somebody that young for too many hours a day, I was working one hour here, one hour there and trying to make money. Any money that I made, I didn’t spend a penny of it. I saved everything to send back to my mother and my younger brother because the journey when we escaped, only my father and I escaped. My mother had a medical issue and my brother was too young. They couldn’t go. We had to come to America and had to be alive to send money back and give them a chance to survive because if we don’t make it, they probably would not make it either.

Chris Williams:

How did that go? You were working, you were in high school, you were putting all your money back towards mom and brother, did they get out?

Paul Truong:

Yes. A number of years later they were able to get out. Basically what happened was we tried to send money back, but there’s no direct channel to send money back to Vietnam at that time, so what we did was sometimes you’d stick a hundred-dollar bill, you would take a bottle of aspirin or something like that, you open the seal, you take the pills out, you stick the money in the bottom and then you put the pills back and the cotton on the top and then reseal it hoping that they will not find it. Or let’s say a bar soap, you would cut it in half, you would stick the money in the middle and then you would try to put the soap back, seal it back. We tried. It’s a hit and miss because sometimes they get it, sometimes it was intercepted by the government.

The reason why we had to do it, not only to allow them to be able to live, but they also had to use this money to bribe the officials to give them an exit visa. It was a very challenging situation because if you bribe the wrong people, you go to jail. You don’t know who to bribe. It’s like a guessing game. They didn’t arrive until years later, but they finally were able to arrive to the US and we were united, I believe something like five or six years later.

Chris Williams:

Amazing. Are your parents still living today?

Paul Truong:

Yes. They’re both living in Florida right now with my younger brother. I have only one brother and he’s also living in Florida very close to them.

Chris Williams:

That’s great. Wow, that’s an amazing, amazing journey. Amazing journey especially at a young age. I can’t imagine being your parents and being separated and not seeing the other children, I mean that’s insane.

Paul Truong:

We just have to have faith you know and hope that we will be reunited, but there was no guarantee. We just have to live in this hope every single day that it will happen.

Chris Williams:

You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

Question 4: What are you doing now? You’re obviously very, very busy – an educator and a coach and obviously and inspiration to many, many people. What are you doing now as you’re delivering hope and sharing it with the world that’s around you?

Paul Truong:

After college, I worked in marketing and PR for a number of years. I had my own company, but what happened was I faced a life-changing moment on 9/11/2001. That was the day when Susan and I – we were only friends at that time and we’ve been friends since the 80s when we met each other in a chess tournament in New York City in 1985 or 1986.

Chris Williams:

Who won the tournament? Did you beat her or did she beat you?

Paul Truong:

We didn’t play with each other, but we met each other at that time and we were friends throughout all these years and I was trying to help her because her dream was to promote to bring the game of chess to basically every child in America because chess offers so many different benefits. That was her mission and I wanted to help her, but I had my own job so I was doing it at a part-time basis just to help a friend.

On 9/11, we happened to have a scheduled meeting right in that area that morning at about 8:00 in the morning and the night before the other party called and asked if they could push back the meeting for a couple of hours. Because of this we missed it.

Chris Williams:

Wow, you did.

Paul Truong:

We missed the two planes going to the World Trade Center.

Chris Williams:

Another slim miss.

Paul Truong:

Yes. After this, I felt that I’ve worked all these years, I was working seven days a week, 16,17, 18 hours a day and 365 days a year for all these years. I felt that I’ve done all these things to make money to support my family and everything else, now I felt that it was a sign that maybe I should do something I’m really passionate about. That’s when I decided to sell business and I told Susan that I would go in full time to help her. After that, that’s when I started to get back in chess because I gave up chess back in the mid-80s. I had to make a decision to proceed and to try to become a chess professional or to give up that dream and to pursue a college education and a career in business afterwards. I felt that given the circumstances, I didn’t have an option. I had to make money and chess wasn’t something that I could rely on to have a steady income so I had to give it up completely and I had to walk away from the game. I didn’t get back into the game until 2001, after 9/11. Since then I’ve been in chess, trying to promote chess for young people of all ages and helping her and her foundation now with college chess and everything.

Chris Williams:

That’s a great story. It’s a great way to share hope not just with the girl that you love, but with so many younger people that are growing and learning from the two of you. Not just learning chess, but learning life.

Paul Truong:

That’s the unique part about SPICE. Not only do we teach the kids about chess, how to improve on the board but also off the board through our personal experiences over the years. I think that’s a valuable experience for these very young, talented people.

Chris Williams:

Wow. I’m impressed. You’re extremely busy, you’ve done a lot in a very few years. It’s really impressive. It’s a privilege to talk to you.

Question 5: We’re after some easy steps, some basic 1,2,3s that as a person who’s trying to grow in hope that I can take and practice today, what can I start doing to change the way I’m thinking, become more hopeful and also share hope with other people?

Paul Truong:

I’ve always had this philosophy that in order to be successful in anything you do – I always tell the kids that the first thing you have to do is you have to look for the passion in life. Whatever you have a passion for, whether to be an artist or somebody working in Wall Street or whatever it is, do something that you love. Do something that you’re passionate about that it’s no longer a job, that each morning you’re looking forward to get up and experience this wonderful thing that you love so much. That’s the number one thing.

After that, also to set goals. Not goals that are impossible to reach, but one small goal at a time and try to reach that goal and then go on to the next one, the next goal and accomplishing that goal and one step at a time. If you do that, then I believe everybody will have a chance to succeed. It’s that as long as you have that hope, as long as you have that dream and as long as you have the passion and you continue to do it every single day and make each day count, you will make it. I hope that somebody like me or Susan can make an impact for these young people because they will then take our message and spread it on for the next generation. That’s always been our dream.

Chris Williams:

That’s a good dream. I mean sincerely, I’m very blessed to have been able to spend time with you and Susan over the past several months to experience the hope that you’re delivering and to hear both of you reinforce in my heart to follow this passion that I’ve got for several key things in life and then dividing those up into very simple, achievable steps. Not the whole goal at one time, but simple one step. For instance, I’m doing a thousand interviews with leaders of hope around the world and I’m so glad you agreed to be one of them. That’s daunting. I think it will take five years or so to get the interviews done and it’s been a huge process just turning it into a podcast. It wasn’t the original intent, it was just me learning from people who are willing to share hope. I didn’t even have a thousand in mind originally. So, it’s growing and growing and now it’s just this monster project that keeps me up until 2:00 in the morning last night just getting things done.

Paul Truong:

It will make a difference because it will impact lives.

Chris Williams:

I really hope so. I really do and it seems overwhelming, but I think your point about just taking that little step. All I have to do is talk to Paul right now, record it, get it turned into something shareable, I adjusted myself so I can then grow today then move on. Move on to the next one.

Paul Truong:

Exactly.

Chris Williams:

If I do that enough times in a row, I’ll be there.

Paul Truong:

The problem is, a lot of people, they dream so big. They said, “My goal is to be rich”. Well, that shouldn’t be the goal because that’s not something that’s… I always tell people, okay, so you want to be rich, how do you get there? So, make goals to go step by step to reach that goal. Don’t just say I want to be rich. If you want to be a good basketball player, go take a thousand shots a day.

Chris Williams:

Sure. (Laughter)

Paul Truong:

But, you have to make goals that is achievable because the worst thing that could happen is, when you make goals that’s unreachable, then you get frustrated, you give up and you’re lost.

Chris Williams:

You’re right. You’re so right. I’ve done that too many times and that makes you even more hopeless. It does. Paul, this is incredible. I really appreciate your time and your story. The last question which we always ask which is not one of our five questions about hope, but it sure is a fun one, what is your favorite bit of music or sound that you stick in your ears when you need to feel a little sunnier than you might feel on any certain day?

Paul Truong:

There’s an old song, I don’t know how many years ago, I’m not sure of the exact title, but To Dream the Impossible Dream? I know many artists sing that song and I believe it’s also on Broadway, if I’m not mistaken. That’s always in my head.

Chris Williams:

To Dream the Impossible Dream.

Paul Truong:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

You just got this thing figured out. I’m impressed. I think you’ve had a few of those dreams and you’ve accomplished them.

Paul Truong:

I try one step at a time. Make each day count. That’s always to me – as long as you improve a little bit each day, it will work.

Chris Williams:

As this goes live, where can people find you to reach out and say thank your or ask you a question?

Paul Truong:

I don’t have a website and I don’t use Twitter, but I have a Facebook account, just my name Paul Truong and I’m sure they are – I think Facebook gave me something called 1466 or PaulTruong1466, I believe. People can find me there.

Chris Williams:

I’ll look it up and I’ll put the link in the show notes. That’s Paul Truong.

Paul Truong:

Correct.

Chris Williams:

Excellent. Can you tell me your quote about hope one more time just on the way out?

Paul Truong:

Bill Clinton said that “I still believe in a place called hope, a place called America” and I added the part that says “If you’re lucky enough to be in this great country, make each day count”.

My name is Paul Truong and I hope you enjoyed listening to my story and I hope that this is something that could inspire you. Whatever you want to dream of, whatever you want to reach, whatever goals you have, you can make it, you can do it if you don’t give up.

I’m Paul Truong and I Share Hope.

You’ve just listened to I Share Hope. If you’re ready to make a change, head to our website at isharehope.com and claim your free copy of the Top Ten Actions of Hope from World Leaders to use hope in your own life. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

About Chris

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