If You Must Fail, Then Fail Pho-Nomenally

When I was growing up, my parents used to take me to a local Vietnamese restaurant called Pho 75.  The atmosphere was quite simple with its cafeteria style setting, bare floors and the cheapest chairs and tables I had probably ever seen in a restaurant.

But their pho (pronounced “fuh”) … oh man. The sweet smell of Thai basil, the fresh and crispy mung bean sprouts, the spicy hints of star anise, cloves and cinnamon, the burning sensation of the jalapeños, and the aromatic steam gushing towards my face as I dive into the broth with my soup spoon filled with a swirl of hoisin sauce and Sriracha.

There’s something about this noodle soup that makes you feel like everything’s going to be all right. Pho is comfort food that cleanses your soul and uplifts your spirit when you need it most.

The last time I made Pho at home, I served a bowl to a friend who was miserably depressed. She had started her own business 2 years ago, but recently decided to close the doors because she was losing too much money. She felt like a complete failure.

I have to admit, I kind of know the feeling. I believe we all do. We proceed through life as if failure is not an option, and when it shows its face, we crawl into our little corner not wanting to face the reality that we’ve let ourselves down.

Contrary to the old saying, I think failure MUST be an option. Let’s say you have a goal, and you know that there was a possibility that you could fail, but you embrace it anyway. You just made yourself utterly unstoppable. Whether you end up failing or not is irrelevant because you’ll just pick yourself up and keep on marching until you reach your goals.

When you decide that failure is an option, you have nothing to lose.

So, while slurping our steaming hot pho noodles, I told my friend that at least she tried and took a risk. Most people won’t even make the attempt. She said she did, and she learned things about herself that she never knew existed.

Then all of a sudden, she sat up from her slump. “You know what, F— it! I’m going to figure this out.  If I fail, I fail so I might as well try something phenomenal.” And just like that, she finished her bowl, gave me a hug and off she went.

Two months later, she called me to let me know that she had to close the doors on her business. But it was odd that she sounded so happy on the phone. She explained to me that another company had bought her business and wants her to manage it from within their company.

Just goes to show you … a bowl of Pho really does make you feel like everything’s going to be all right.

pho recipe FINAL


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