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Behind the Success: What motivates Tor Thanapob in life

Tor Thanapob is known to be a pro off and especially on the screen. His wit, personality, and charm always leaves fans and audiences asking for more. We may often wonder: how does he make it look so easy?

But it isn’t easy. In fact, it hasn’t ever been easy. 

Expectation is a double-edged sword. While the right amount of expectation can be a fuel for motivation, on the other hand, too much expectation can often lead to burnout. Tor’s incredible work ethic and dedication towards his roles are unparalleled – that’s a given – and they’ve been widely known across the entertainment industry for a decade. While these are the very traits that have led to his success, we also learned that they also led to his own detriment and ultimately, several long bouts of burnout.

From sleepless nights, unrelenting working hours, and sleeping in the van, to breaking down from taking on too many roles, it’s pretty obvious how much pressure the actor places on himself. 

Tor Thanapob wearing a colourful yarn jacket with a zipper from Loewe; Watch from Seiko 5 Sports

These traits of his are not going anytime soon. In fact, it seems like they’ve been there forever. 

One might wonder: what made Tor Thanapob such a force to be reckoned with?

Our interview, which began in a lighthearted manner, naturally got deeper and more intense the more we learned about the actor and just how seriously he grapples with life.

“I place very high expectations on myself,” Tor admits. “It’s too much responsibility to take on, too unrealistic. In fact, I don’t even know why I have to do that either.”

The real driving force

Tor, we soon learned, is a family man at heart. The dedication he has for his acting is directly a result of the dedication he has for his family.

While being the youngest of three boys, the 28-year-old has, from a young age, decided to steer away from the usual role of the youngest child, and is determined to be the one taking care of his family. This notion of his is one that he’s unable to remove from his head – the conviction that he has to take care of his family to the best of his abilities.

“The reason why I carry such a heavy load is because I have witnessed my family struggle during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Our family fell apart,” he confesses. “The memories where I would see my older brothers living and growing up comfortably like other kids – that didn’t exist.” 

Young Tor Thanapob (left) with his mother. Image Credit: @thanapob_lee via Instagram

The Asian Financial Crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped most of East Asia in 1997, which ultimately led to an economic meltdown in many countries including Thailand. Although much was recovered in the years that followed, the image of his family struggling and falling apart during those times never left Tor’s head.

Tor was only 3 years old at the time, but those formative years have stuck to him to this day.

“My family has been through so much heat and cold, my high school self was also not the best years in my life either,” the actor continued. “I’ve been through a lot during my childhood up to the point where that boy, who has made countless mistakes, has now grown up and realised many things.”

“A lot of time has passed, and a lot of things have changed. I just want to repay and give back to all that my parents have given me as soon as I can. I want to now be the person to embrace the people that have embraced and loved me unconditionally.”

The actor went on to explain further the driving force behind the self-pressure he had for himself in order to take care of his family – during a period of time when he knew very little about how to balance his life and career, what that truly meant, and how it actually worked. 

“I started having those thoughts when I was around 19-20 years old. In reality, we know that’s too soon,” Tor said. “All of these thoughts have made me put too much pressure on myself to work hard. I keep having these thoughts that no one in my family is earning any money – which is completely false and unhealthy. I carry so much more than I should because of these assumptions, when in reality, everyone in my family is working and earning money.”

“The only thing standing in the way is the pressure I place on myself, because I want to see everyone in my family living comfortably.”

While Tor continues to work hard for his loved ones today, he’s finally learned to let go of the unrealistic expectations and pressures he’s previously had on himself. With love being the motivation behind all that he does, Tor, at 28 years old, now realises that to be able to love fully and find the balance is to realise the importance of time.

Behind the Success: What motivates Tor Thanapob in life

Pear Maneechote

Pear is Senior Writer for Prestige Thailand Online and Lifestyle Asia Thailand. A Communications and IR graduate, she's passionate about storytelling. She covers fashion, entertainment, beauty & makeup, the arts, and spends too much time writing articles that are way too long. Prior to Burda, she was a news journalist covering culture, politics, science, anthropology, and history. When not working, she loves to spend hours on Tiktok, sleep, and go to the beach.

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