second opinion - learning from what others have figured out
and what it means to be a human
hi, i’m Le!
Born & raised in Hue, Vietnam, I often see myself as a Vietnamese at heart and community values and as an American in ideologies and ways of working. I’m an avid writer, reader, mentor, and slowly exploring design space. I currently work in Finance, Strategy & Data at Opendoor, a real estate startup. Earlier I worked in management consulting, banking, and education.
I’m currently focusing on building deeper self-awareness, community empowerment, and content development in the education sector outside of work. In college I worked on various youth development projects, organized conferences, and designed educational trips for students all over the world.
I enjoy tasting pastry and bread, listening to music, attending yoga classes and events in the city, wandering around the city and in book stores, exploring the arts. I am a contributor to Thrive Global and various publications on Medium.
I have various role models in life. Right now, they are Ngo Thanh Van, Kina Grannis, and my family.
Topics I’m currently thinking about are emotional fitness/management, empathy, well-being, love communication (to friends/family/partner), and purpose.
I believe in power of authentic, open communication, kindness, forgiveness, humor, and growth mindset.
“In the age of AI and automation, it is—almost ironically— our “humanness” that sets us apart, as individuals and employees. In the face of constant change, it becomes even more important that we learn how to—and are encouraged to—leverage the skills that help us thrive in the midst of the challenges of today and tomorrow. As we have seen, it’s the soft skills—such as creativity, flow, coaching, mindset, and collaboration—that set us up for success and help us up our game when the stakes are high, in life and business.”
“The biggest opportunity our world affords us is to reinvent the very concept of work: away from busy-ness of our to-dos, and inward toward developing ourselves so that we lead more fulfilling lives outside of work, too. As a culture, we’ve become obsessed with quantity and speed, but we spend less and less time doing the important inner work required to drive quality and well-being. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be hard (inner) work, but it will be well worth it”
My wish is that, one day, formal education will pay attention to the education of the heart, teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace. This education is necessary, from kindergarten to secondary schools and universities. I mean social, emotional and ethical learning. We need a worldwide initiative for educating heart and mind in this modern age.
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
In our society today it is easy to get caught on the hedonic treadmill: the belief that happiness is just around the corner if one can only achieve the next milestone, or experience the next life experience. This is a trap. As someone who has achieved more and more success over time, and experienced more and more fun, positive, exciting things, no achievement or experience has ever resulted in a sustained increase to baseline happiness for me.
I’ve been thinking about my parents, who are in their mid-60s. During my first 18 years, I spent some time with my parents during at least 90% of my days. But since heading off to college and then later moving out of Boston, I’ve probably seen them an average of only five times a year each, for an average of maybe two days each time. 10 days a year. About 3% of the days I spent with them each year of my childhood.
Being in their mid-60s, let’s continue to be super optimistic and say I’m one of the incredibly lucky people to have both parents alive into my 60s. That would give us about 30 more years of coexistence. If the ten days a year thing holds, that’s 300 days left to hang with mom and dad. Less time than I spent with them in any one of my 18 childhood years.
When you look at that reality, you realize that despite not being at the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time with some of the most important people in your life.