Resources

Hello there,

As asked by many friends, I have put together a resource page for all the life-advice stuff that I’ve been reading, applying and writing about. 

Know Thyself 

  • Enneagram: If you are into the whole personality type thing, in the 18-40 year old range and haven’t heard of the Enneagram, you should definitely check it out. I like it more than the Myer Briggs because it has a lot more dynamic view of human development. The Wisdom of the Enneagram is a great book. Here is a resource guide I’ve compiled that you might find useful. 
  • ULab: Leading from the Emerging Future: It’s not a normal online course; it’s a budding social movement of integrating the intelligence of the head, heart and hand. Highly recommended for those who isn’t sure of what they want to pursue in their life but have a vague sense that they want to do something meaningful for the world (which is most of us anyway). If you have 40′ quiet uninterrupted time for a journaling session, do it here. 
  • Get a regular contemplative practice, best to have both active and still: going for walk, running, swimming meditation, prayer, center etc.. anything with the only purpose of experiencing yourself.
  • For work, you can write a operating guide for yourself from this Manual of Me template. Here is my own example Khuyen 101.

Books

  • Foundational  Worldview
    • The More Beautiful World Your Heart Knows Is Possible by Charles Eisenstein. A must read for those of us who sense that there is something fundamentally wrong about the way our world is and that we are meant for something much more. Watch his 1 minutes message to a young person, it’s electrifying.
    • Wild Mind and Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin are both well-researched and soulfully written (he has a really nice definition of “soul” that doesn’t feel religious or new-agy, which I appreciate).
    • Finite & Infinite Games by James Carse. I gave up highlighting this tiny book – it’s way too dense. The opening line nails it There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play”
    • When you feel existential  and spiritually horny, get Alan Watt. He will slap you in the face and you will feel great about it. For personal development junkies, this is a good whack What if there is no self to improve.
      • By the way, as someone who’s inflicted with a terminal disease called “a desire to live a meaningful life” I hit existential crises quite often too, and riffed about it once here.
  • Work/life/career “practical” stuff
  • Websites

Writing:

My writing for the last few years has been an ongoing personal (and now more public) inquiry into the human condition. A big bold claim, I know, but I can’t find a better terms to describe the various questions I’ve been asking along the way. I do so mostly by telling stories and muse on them (Participant observation, as the anthropologists say)

I do it for two main reasons. First, I enjoy doing it. Second, I would like to believe that we are not alone, and that the troubles I’ve sit with is not unique and therefore may mean something to you.

In college, I almost majored in Philosophy as I got fascinated by Western philosophy (like this Onion article). Then I burned out and decided to just enjoy life without thinking too much about it, aka taking an experiential approach. Needless to say, I failed miserably and ended up philosophizing every step along the way. 🤣 One thing for sure though: my inquiry is not a search for capital T Truth, whatever that means. It’s just fun, interesting and maybe important.

Sometimes I draw on my background as a Millennial, a Vietnamese, someone who went to school in Singapore, college student in America, a nerd, an almost-techie, almost-trickster, almost-spiritual guy an who enjoys mixing, matching, twisting and discombobulating life experiences to share. 

Friends have come to talk to me about life, its joys and sorrows, its celebrations and struggles. I got better at admitting my ignorance, reframing and exploring those questions with them. 

I want to keep asking and living those questions, and I am rejoiced to have you with me. 

Life is a beautiful mess to be wondered about rather than cleaned up. 

Now to stuff I wrote, mostly in 2017.

Dear Jumbo: The advice column I wrote for Tufts students during my senior year.

Personal inquiry

Phew! I will update this page often. Meanwhile, you can subscribe for the weekly Enzymes to help you digest your life experiences here. Do send me a note at g.khuyen [at] gmail [dot]com. I’d love to hear from you!