“I was in the navy for 12 years. At 18, I signed on, served my country, and then spent five years with the Australian navy. I was concurrently studying at a military school before returning to Singapore to serve my last six years.
During my travels as a uni student, I really enjoyed my times in Spain. That was why I decided to open a Spanish bar when I was 25. About two years later, I opened my second restaurant. These are not success stories, by the way.
My first restaurant didn’t do well, and the second one was even more of a disaster; I was losing tens of thousands a month. So why did I take that leap of faith from a stable career and plunged into the unknowns of entrepreneurship?
When I hit 30, it felt like I wasn’t achieving my full potential. I had sacrificed enough for the country, and I didn’t want to do something for the rest of my life for the sake of a stable career. I had to leave my comfort zone.
I believed that entrepreneurship was my calling, but I wasn’t able to save those two restaurants; I had to sell them off. I was actually advised not to do the second restaurant, but I guess I was crazy. Entrepreneurs are very brave, but sometimes very dumb; they believe they know everything.
To deal with the failure, I had to relook at some of the advices that I wasn’t heeding in the past because of my own ego. I learnt from my mistakes, and when the opportunity to run my third restaurant presented itself, I took it. Now, I’m the Managing Director at Nara Thai in Singapore
My current goal? To discover why I do what I do. When I was in the navy, my why was very simple; it was to protect this country. Right now, apart from grooming the team around me, there is no other why.
Just making money cannot be a why. I hope to someday find something that would help change the world. I admire social entrepreneurs actually, so we’ll see.” – Christopher, 35
This interview was conducted at “The Human Library” event in Singapore where Christopher participated as a human book. Click here to find out more.
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