The Ken Jeong School of Success

Most of you probably know Ken Jeong best for his role as the over-the-top Mr. Chow in The Hangover movie franchise. Or maybe you liked his character on the TV series Community. For those of you who aren’t so familiar, Ken Jeong started out as a licensed medical doctor practicing with Kaiser Permanente in the United States.

After playing a small role in Knocked Up with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, he has his huge breakout role in The Hangover where he emerged from the trunk of a car completely naked. Apparently, that was even his idea. These days, he has a humble estimated net worth of about $14 million and is doing very well for himself as an actor and comedian.

But what does this mean for those of us who are making money online? As it turns out, the supposed “recipe for success” regardless of industry is based on starting with the right mindset. And as aspiring entrepreneurs, we can certainly glean a lesson or five from Leslie Chow. (“But did you die?”)

Do What You Love

To most people, the life of a physician sounds pretty prestigious. It’s a decidedly very difficult profession to pursue — Ken Jeong apparently failed his exam three times — but once you get there, it’s prestigious, fulfilling, and lucrative. At least, that’s what those of us on the outside looking in believe.

But for Ken, at least on some level, it was just some job and he was fulfilling the dream of his father. Ken Jeong may have had a day job as a family doctor, but he really want to make it as a comedian. Of course, he wasn’t really to do that if it made no money; he’s no fool.

It was only after he got a sizable nudge from his wife, who was in the middle of battling breast cancer at the time, that he decided to take the plunge. As a blogger, Internet marketer, or other online business owner, you must first decide that you want to do what you love to do, not necessarily for the money, but because you actually love doing it. This isn’t “just a job.”

Rekindle Your Passion

Some of you may already be familiar with this “origin story” for Ken Jeong and his rise to fame these last ten or so years. The common misconception, however, is that his role in Knocked Up and his subsequent work in The Hangover were his first foray into comedy. He was just some doctor who wanted to try something different.

And that’s completely wrong. Ken Jeong was actually a stand-up comic for some time, going on that comedy club circuit with a lot of other guys we know (and many more that we don’t). He just chose to pursue the “safe” path of a career in medicine. That is, of course, until things turned around (as we briefly described above).

I’ve written before that you shouldn’t chase your passion. This gives the false impression that your passion will lead you to some sort of destination. Instead, explore your passion, uncovering new opportunities and avenues for expression and growth. Without this exploration, we would’ve never been introduced to Mr. Chow.

And when that opportunity comes up, seize it. Grab it with both fists. You’ll never know when another opportunity to jump out of the trunk of a car in the middle of the Nevada desert could pop up.

Laugh at Yourself

It’s obvious enough that Ken Jeong has absolutely no problem making an utter buffoon of himself. His on-screen characters are typically way over-the-top and the way that he presents himself as a stand-up comic is much the same. He’ll joke about his genitalia without skipping a beat. Anything to get a reaction from the audience.

As you make your way through life, both personally and professionally, you need to have a sense of humor about these sorts of things. You need to be willing to laugh at yourself and your shortcomings. That’s just life. You’ll experience hardships and failures just like everyone else. But you’ve got to laugh it off, learn what you can, and keep moving forward.

Take the work seriously, to be sure, but don’t take yourself so seriously. We could all stand to lighten up a little, don’t you think?