Every day, people just like you take charge of their destiny by committing to their dreams and being bold in the pursuit. At revolution.is, we share stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives. Each week for eight weeks, we’ll share one of those stories here, in hopes of inspiring you to begin your revolution. Enjoy!

Amber Rae

“Practice Semi-controlled Recklessness”

by revolution.is contributor, Peter Nguyen

In early 2009, soon after signing the lease on a “surprise” apartment for me and a girlfriend, I ended the relationship, broke the lease, and inherited a hefty fine. One night, a few weeks later, I scrapped the first collection in my clothing line because I didn’t like the direction it was going. In total, with both failed investments, I was in for over $10,000. I felt like a failure.

The same night that I trashed my clothing line, I went home and posted all of my belongings on Craigslist, and eBay’d my favorite leather jacket. Less than twenty-four hours later I was boarding a plane to Paris with no plans, no place to stay, and no clue how to say anything other than “Yes” and “Please” in French.

You might think I was having a nervous breakdown of sorts, but I wasn’t. I was practicing an exercise in something I like to call “semi-controlled recklessness.”

When you’re working in a career or in the midst of a relationship that you’re not truly in love with, the things that you own somehow become a way to justify the life you are living. People work overtime in jobs they hate so that they can purchase a new car that they don’t have time to drive. We move in with our significant other because we’ve been together for so long and it’s the next logical step, regardless of whether or not the relationship is actually working.

I have a question: Why are we so picky when it comes to the little things in life and yet we stop the sliding scale of what is acceptable when it comes to what’s most important?

“This job sounds like it’s life-sucking—but it’ll pay the bills.”

“We can’t breakup because we’ve been together for so long and leaving now will just mean all those years we spent together were a waste.”

When was the last time you walked into a salon and demanded that the stylist give you a terrible haircut?

Have you ever eaten terrible food at a restaurant and then proceeded to go back there every day to experience the same tasteless food?

We’ll ask the barista at Starbucks to remake a drink because it tastes funny or the temperature is slightly off, but we’ll allow ourselves to be overworked and under-loved. It’s time to move the sliding scale of what is acceptable, to demand for ourselves what we truly want and deserve, not only in our careers, but also in our personal lives.

Realize that failure is not as bad as you think it will be, nor is it the absolute end. And if you need a little reminder, just practice some semi-controlled recklessness.

Peter Nguyen moved from California to New York to study Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design. He left during his senior year to work with CFDA award-winning Robert Geller with whom he’s worked as an Assistant Designer for the past four years. He is currently relaunching his own label, LÉON, which is focused on handmade women’s leather jackets.


Amber Rae is a passion catalyst, authority challenger, and motivational muse. In the last 365 days, Amber worked with Seth Godin to launch The Domino Project, helped Derek Sivers turn his book into a best-seller, created revolution.is which shares stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives, and launched a “Passion Experiment” program where she helps people give their dreams direction. She’s been seen in The New York Times, Inc., Forbes, BBC, and on ABC World News. For more about Amber you can visit her website orTwitter.