The Choice To Live Deliberately, Money Concerns and #HoodieStory – Part 2

Robert Vo - #HoodieStory
In part one of this interview we talked about: life perspective, leveraging your luck, dealing with setbacks, how to find your core strengths and an intro to Rob’s #HoodieStory project. If you missed it, you can read it here. (It’s a shitload of good stuff!)

We continue with Robert Vo’s fascinating story of transformation with loads of insight on taking the leap into high octane living. Rob is a world traveler, photographer, a gallery curator at Market Street Gallery and works in technology as a marketing consultant & strategist. And now you can add Catalyst to the Force to that resume.

We wanted to suck more out of Rob’s brains-full-of-wisdom so today we continue to grill him on his choice to live deliberately, his advice for artists, dealing with money concerns and being the catalyst to the FORCE. Rob is screaming for a timeout and wants to get out of the basement where we locked him in for this interview. But NO! This has to happen. Sorry Rob. Let’s start with one of the last thoughts from part one to give this some continuity, shall we? Lets do this!

In this journey of self-exploration how do you deal with setbacks and challenges?

I’ve run into that many times with certain jobs that I’ve had. I’ve had to identify challenges early on and make the hard decision to step away from the situation.

Fortunately I’m very good with my money, so I have the ability to do that. But I feel that if you plan right, you can do that. Even if you have to struggle, you still can do that. Because bottom line is it is your choice. Life is your choice. If you see it the other way around then you are not really living life, you are just letting life live you.

I make choices to either stay or go because I feel that you have to be able to identify that for yourself. It really comes down to your health too. At a security technology company where I worked for two years, the last six months was the hardest because I was trying to hang on to the money. But I just did not enjoy it. I did not enjoy the people. I did not enjoy the technology. It was zero enjoyment. I felt that in my body. I needed to step away from this for my health.

It was scary still. It’s not an easy decision to make but you have to think about it as an investment for you. For your life. Because you don’t want to work at a job where you’re on your deathbed and you go, What have I been doing all my life? You’re not going to say, I wish I was at work right now.

The choice to live deliberately

If everyday you wake up, you go to work and at the end of the day throughout the year you say that it’s mostly a horrible day, change it. You have to change it. Even if you have a long-term strategy for it. It might not be tomorrow that you can make the change but think about steps to change that because you are hurting yourself.

Sometimes you can’t make that decision, you just need to step away and then once you identify that, have some sort of plan. Maybe you have to start saving, stop going out, stop eating out, whatever. Kind of have a safety net then step away. Or if you already have that safety net, step away, figure it out, look for another job. There are many options; you just have to come up with a strategy that works best for your situation.

Like I said that last six months was the worse and I knew it in my core. It definitely was a hard decision. Every single one was a hard decision but I feel much better about it now because I know it was deliberate. I’d rather have the choice and live deliberately.

What advice can you give artists who want to get their work shown at your gallery but still struggle to find their voice?

I want to open up their minds because people put a lot of constraints on themselves. They think I have to do it like this, I have to do like that. In reality you don’t have to do it like anyone else. You have to do what you feel. That’s when you really leverage your passion. Leverage your strength and take away those barriers. Take away those constraints, and really open your mind to do what you feel is right and not what you feel other people think is right.

You have to absolutely remove societal constraints to really understand your pure being and energy. Your pure creativity. I’ve talked to a lot of artist and whenever they get the structures removed, all of a sudden it’s amazing, their eyes just open.

It’s not about trying to produce stuff for others, it’s really about trying to do it for yourself and then others will gravitate toward it.

On Art, Money Issues and Flow

If they are focusing on money, I say re-evaluate what you are trying to do. Not only try to re-evaluate what you are trying to do but re-evaluate yourself and understand where you could leverage your passion, your strength. Sometimes it could be slower because you don’t have the finances to do that. But I feel, if you are genuine just like most of the artists that I talk to, people will connect with that. Take a look at the project that you are trying to do. Take a look at what your long-term goal is. What are you really trying to do for this world? If money is too big of a hindrance then change your strategy. Maybe its a slower strategy or create something that is so powerful and so passionate that others would invest.

Don’t think about the money. Think about the project. Think about what the core is. Think about really where you want it to go and how you feel it will become. Then that’s more powerful than to think that I don’t have this amount of money so this is all I can do. You’ve already limited yourself. It is just perspective, think about it from a different perspective. It is really about your passion that shines so that people cannot look away. That’s where the power is. When you understand that, you will be able to get in flow.

Being the Catalyst to the Force

The ideas that you’ve thought about a long time ago, if your still thinking about it now, it’s part of you’re core. Going all the way back and thinking about what I want to do for a website, it’s always about promoting people or at that time –artists. Same with what I’m doing with galleries. I want to be the catalyst for people to get their stuff out. I’m laying the framework and I’m trying to create the energy. That’s how I see it. It’s the energy. To get their energy out there to share with the world. GETBIZI is my force.

Bringing the Force to New York

New York - #HoodieStoryI’ve been to New York three times before, maybe four times now. Every time I’m there I feel it’s me and I feel I need to be there. It has the right energy, very high energy and I’m a very high-energy person. It just feels right.

I travel a lot but very seldom do I get that feeling. In Saigon when I landed in Ho Chi Minh, I felt very comfortable, I felt very familiar but I didn’t feel I need to be there. I wanted to explore but it’s not like I wanted to go back there to settle. New York is the only place where I had that feeling. It was instantaneous when I landed. It felt like I’m in the right place and frequency. I need to be there. That’s a part of my plan next year (2015) to have a place in New York. I see what needs to happen, then I make it happen. Just kind of putting your stepping-stones in place.

Part of the artist book is also a framework to help me get there. When I get there, I want to have that story. I want to have that already in play. I want to have that energy already happen so that when I reach out to people in New York, when I reach out to artists in New York, I already have the framework to say; Hey, lets do this. Let’s make this happen.

Let’s wrap-up with a recap on Rob’s latest project #HoodieStory

I like digging into the passions of people because passionate people have this energy about them. I want to harness that energy and put it into a book. You read about passionate people and it makes you think about your own passions.

Hoodie Story Postcard Front

I’m always curious about people, I’m always curious about subcultures. Wherever I have curiosity, I’m going to use that as a platform to get into learning about it. This is what it’s about for me. Learning about the world, learning about different subcultures that are interesting.

Hoodie Story - Friendz

Every person has a unique story. I want to uncover the subtleties in the identities of the people that you don’t read about. I want to make it available for people to read. When you walk down the street you see people and you have already formulated an impression. Say this person wearing a hoodie, urban hipster style, you may be thinking he’s a coder or something like that but who knows, he may not be.

Jackie Murray - Hoodie Story

Jackie Murray – Hoodie Story

This is all about people. It is about people connecting and how people respond to passionate people. I’m sure you have curiosity about people in general and if you have a good collection of passionate people, hopefully it also inspires you to be passionate.

Hoodie Story - Postcard Back


That was a very inspiring talk. It makes me want to jump out and GETBIZI. You really are a catalyst to the force. Thanks for being such a good sport Rob! You are now free to leave the building. : ) See you at the show!

If you want to be a part of Rob’s #HoodieStory project, you can get in touch with Rob at

About Pablo Sanchez

Enjoys crafting simple animated business videos that get your big ideas across to a larger audience. Honey, I Can Explain! is the place to go.

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