Determination makes champions, says young adventurer Vu Phuong Thanh

16:04 | 26/06/2018

This month, 27-year-old Vu Phuong Thanh has appeared on national TV to talk about her 1,000-kilometre journey around the world’s four greatest deserts. The young woman has inspired fellow Vietnamese to follow their dreams and do what they love.

determination makes champions says young adventurer vu phuong thanh
Vu Phuong Thanh during one of her tournaments

Vu Phuong Thanh was chosen by Vietnam Television (VTV) this month as one of the three speakers on the “Spread Your Wings” programme. In this programme, the 27-year-old woman has talked about her journey through the vast deserts of Sahara, Gobi, Atacama, and Antarctica. The VTV audience has listened to the incredible story of this young courageous woman who overcame all challenges, living up to the motto “Nothing is impossible.”

The power within

Upon the first meeting, Vu Phuong Thanh always strikes people as an easygoing woman with a bright personality and an earnest smile. At a cursory glance at Thanh, it may be difficult to believe that she was the first Vietnamese to journey through 1,000km of desert land, and one among only 13 women in the entire world to complete this feat. However, as Thanh started talking with zeal about her experience and how she overcame doubts or challenges along the way, a fuller view of a young adventurer started to emerge.

After finishing Grade 7 in Vietnam, Thanh continued her studies in Singapore and Canada. Then, upon graduation from university, Thanh received a job at financial analytical firm Bloomberg in Singapore. It is easy to see that Thanh was heading towards an easy life with a well-paid job and bright career prospects.

However, the young employee kept wondering about life and what it means to live. Everyday, Thanh would try to calculate her own self-worth in numbers: if she continues working in a developed country, she will save up X amount of money every year and then a Y amount in 10 years’ time. Throughout her entire lifetime, she will accumulate Z amount of savings—which can be a huge sum. Nevertheless, when looking at these gigantic numbers, Thanh knew that they could not be her only goal in life.

It suddenly dawned on Thanh that she wanted to discover her inner self, pushing her own limits. She chose the most challenging task for a slender woman: running across the deserts around the world—Sahara, Gobi, Atacama, and most recently, Antarctica. In just a few years, Thanh has one after another checked off each desert on her list.

determination makes champions says young adventurer vu phuong thanh
Thanh at Antacama Desert

In 2017, for her 5,220km journey, Thanh brought along the Number 1 energy drink by Tan Hiep Phat Group (THP Group). During the difficult moments that almost derailed her, Thanh kept thinking of the people who have inspired her to go after her dreams. One of these people was Tran Thi Nu, the woman who supported Dr. Thanh to build THP Group—one of the most influential Vietnamese corporations with global aspirations.

During her talk on VTV, Thanh said she was the most proud of realising her “insane dreams”—not just running across 1,000km of desert. Thanh put down all the medals and had a moment with herself: “You set your own limit. Whether you can or cannot do something, it all depends on your own self and no one else.”

In front of Thanh were two major tournaments to complete the arduous journey across seven continents and the Arctic. Thanh admitted that she was not the athletic type, nor was she a superhero with superpowers, just a young woman with ambitions and a willingness to realise them. Thanh said she would love to see fellow millenials go after their own dreams, no matter how crazy they are.

determination makes champions says young adventurer vu phuong thanh
Thanh, the only Vietnamese woman in the group of adventurers

Thanks to her positive message, Thanh was chosen as the brand ambassador for Number 1 energy drink of THP Group, as the Number 1 brand also encourages young people to set their own ambitions and go after them. With the help of Number 1, four Vietnamese men conquered Mount Everest in 2008. Ten years later, Thanh became the first Vietnamese woman to complete the world’s ultimate running tournaments.

The burning spirit of young Vietnamese people like Thanh goes along very well with the “Nothing is Impossible” motto of THP Group. Starting as a small company, after 24 years of constant development, THP Group is now the home of 5,000 employees who work to bring the company towards new heights. Tan Hiep Phat aspires to be a leading food and beverage group, rising above the current giants in the region.

In Thanh’s words, big dreams often get killed right at the start by intense self-doubt or concerns from other people. Overcoming that little inner cynic requires lots of self-confidence, said Thanh. For THP Group, going overseas and leaving its comfort zone were also big challenges, but the company set up the motto Today must be better than yesterday and tomorrow must be even better.”

determination makes champions says young adventurer vu phuong thanh
Thanh presents the Vietnamese flag

“If we want to reach new heights, we will have to accept challenges. Staying in our comfort zones will not help,” said the founder of THP Group Tran Qui Thanh at a recent meeting with young Vietnamese entrepreneurs.

With this philosophy in mind, the most senior executive of the firm has worked 16 hours a day from a young age to build up THP Group. He believes that similar beliefs can be found in any young Vietnamese person—the next generation to bring the Vietnamese spirit to the world. He said that the road ahead is bright for any person that dares to dream and realise their ambitions

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