Full text of YouTuber Khanh Vy Tran’s talk: Challenge yourself to step out of the norm at TEDxVinschoolHanoi conference. In this talk, she talks about her journey to discover her passion, and deliver a beautiful message of challenging yourself to be out of the norm.
Best quote from this talk:
“I realized that the hardest person to forgive on this earth is not someone who betrayed you, and not a friend who wasn’t there for you when you need the most, is not your ex-boyfriend who broke your heart to pieces; the hardest person to forgive on this earth is myself.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Khanh Vy Tran – Author & YouTuber
Hi. Good morning.
Hello. Thank you for having me. So, let’s get started with my TED Talks. My very first time.
So, I am the last born in my family that follows and honors traditional values. My oldest sister is a lecturer, and my second sister is working for the public sector, and their paths are exactly the same as my parents expected –finishing college, getting married at the age of 24, having a job, and then having kids.
And my parents expected me to have the same path.
In my sophomore year of high school, when both of my sisters both got married, my family got a big debt. I still remember my parents, they had to get up every day, work very hard to make sure that I still got a decent life and a good education, regardless.
I still remember my mom, she had to borrow money so that she could have enough 23 million Vietnam Dong for me to pay my tuition fee, when I was the candidate in the National Excellent Student Contest, the subject of English; which was pretty expensive back then.
And then I passed the contest, which meant that I got direct offers from several universities within the country. And when we got the news, my mom was the happiest and she was like, ‘Hurray! Now you are able to get into Security Academy.’ [Foreign language]
So, for your information, to get into that university, you had to get a score of around 29 out of 30 in the entrance university exam; which was obviously impossible for me because I was super bad at Maths. And plus, you were very likely to get a job offer after graduation; and that is the reason why my parents wanted me to study to that university, because they wanted to feel reassured that I got a stable job, I got a foreseeable future. The so-called foreseeable future.
As much as I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, I knew that this path was not for me. I knew that I was not cut out for this job as a police officer, because all I wanted to do was television and communication. And that was my very first step outside the norm which, I think, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the first person to do something in the world; it just simply means that what you are doing is not normal, is not familiar in your close network of your friends, of your family; and you have no idea how things would turn out.
So, I got into college. And on a very beautiful day, I posted a video of me covering a very cute song named [song name in Vietnamese].
So, after one night, that video went viral all over the internet. And wow! After a few weeks later, I got an invitation to film the music video and write some parts to the song with the songwriter. And wow! The song became a hit, and the envy got millions of views.
And wow! A CEO of an entertainment agency contacted me. Everything happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to process it. And the CEO persuaded me into becoming a singer under his company. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I was pretty interested but I still have a college to finish.’
And then he told me his story of dropping out of college in his senior year to become a director, and now he made it. And I was like, ‘Wow! That would be a lot of fun. I think, this would be a very big opportunity for me. My time to shine.’
On the other side of the spectrum, the music video got good response in general but regarding my voice and my singing, people didn’t like it that much. And of course, I was very sad, pretty sad, sad, sad, and discouraged.
I asked my parents for advice and my mom asked me, “So, despite all the opinions of people on your voice, do you still want to pursue a career as a singer?” And I was hesitating. I told mom, “Mom, I’m not so sure.” Another story.
Still during that time, I hosted three English shows on VTV7, which is the national education channel. And everything was going pretty well until I read comments on the internet, and most of the audience did not like my voice; and they complained about my hosting skills, my English. And, you know, these shows were for learning English, so the host is supposed to have good English.
If I was trying to sell you a pen and you didn’t buy it, okay, I could blame the pen is not good. But when the product is me, when it’s me appearing on the national TV and serving millions of audience all across the nation, it is getting harder and harder to sleep at night.
And seeing me getting disappointed, being sad in myself from time to time, then my mom asked me, “Have you ever considered quitting this job? I mean, you’re still a student; you don’t have to work. You can fail. You can try. I just wanted you to be healthy and happy every day.”
And an inner voice in me, right at that moment, told my mom that no mom, I still want to keep working because I know that I can fix it.
And then my mom told me, “Then congratulations, I think that you have already found your passion.”
And I was like, “Passion? I have found my passion?” And yes, I found my passion on that day.
I soon realized that passion is something that pushes you through difficult times, because you don’t care whatever it takes to become better. I like to sing but I didn’t have enough determination to push myself through people’s opinions on my voice and I quit; that means I don’t have enough passion for it.
I like to do the job of a TV host and I know that I have strong willingness to face and overcome adversity for what I love. And as a result, I rejected the offer of the CEO. And a lot of people I know, when a lot of the experts in the industry told me that, “I think that was a bad decision. I think if I were you, I wouldn’t do that.”
But the thing here is that the best advice is the advice that people give you for you, not the advice what would they do if they were you, because everyone is different.
And the lesson I learned hard way from this big event in my life is that people cannot take the right decisions in your life; only you can, by listening more to your inner voice and by staying true to your vision.
And I know that my vision has always been that education. Education has always been my backbone, my family’s backbone. And finishing college and using what I learned, to bring value to people, as a host, as a social influencer, as an author, has been always my ultimate goal.