I get it. The simplest life lessons are also the hardest to follow. Most of us can understand these lessons on an intellectual level, but it’s a whole matter altogether to internalize them. To live them. Even so, there is one fundamental outlook on life I feel we should all strive to embrace. And to illustrate this perspective, I’m going to use Ken Jeong as my example.

Yes, he’s the guy who emerged naked from the trunk of a car in The Hangover. And he’s our role model for today. Let me explain.

Take the Work Seriously

It doesn’t matter the line of work that you’re in, and in this context, it doesn’t even matter if you especially enjoy the work. You have a responsibility to your co-workers, your employers, your customers and your community to put in the effort. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Maybe it came from working at my parents’ restaurants all those years. We had difficult customers, and we had difficult days, but we owed it to them to serve a decent meal at an affordable price. This experience instilled a work ethic in me that continues to serve me to this day. As a blogger and freelance writer, I have a responsibility to my readers and my clients to do the work and do it well.

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… which leads me to the second half of today’s life lesson.

But Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

You see Ken Jeong there? He famously quit his career as a family physician to pursue acting. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work and dedication that it takes to get through medical school, let alone run a reasonably successful practice. And yet, he’s the guy who emerged naked from the back of a car in a movie that was seen by millions of people.

Take the work seriously, but you also have to be willing to laugh at yourself too.

If you’ve ever seen Ken Jeong in almost any movie, if you’ve ever seen him on a talk show interview, then you’ll know that he has absolutely no problem making a fool of himself. He loves to dance (and we love to watch him dance).

For my part, I have no problem participating in a dad blogger rap battle or kissing a fish in Newfoundland, posting videos of both for the world to enjoy. Well, for a handful of people to watch at least.

Another shining example of taking the work seriously but not taking yourself seriously is Will Smith. He’s been very public about his ambitions to be the world’s greatest actor. At the same time, his ambition has led to him going “YouTube Stupid” for our amusement. I mean, just watch the opening sequence on this vlog. The Fresh Prince lets loose.

Do Your Thing

I’d actually been meaning to write about this topic for some time. On the one hand, you oftentimes see people get so engrossed in their work that they forget to have a little fun. They get all stuffy and serious and overly concerned about what other people think. On the other hand, you have people who are constantly goofing off and not giving the work the attention it deserves.

As with all things in life, it’s about striking a balance. Take it from me. I’m the master of self-deprecating humor. Too bad I’m terrible at it. 😉

After seeing the new music video for “Waste It On Me” by Steve Aoki and BTS, though, I felt compelled to write this post. I mean, just look at Ken Jeong. We could all borrow a few pages from his life’s playbook, don’t you think?

Fun fact: “Waste It On Me” was directed by Joe Hahn of Linkin Park fame. Can you spot the other Asian celebrities in there? I see Jimmy O. Yang and Devon Aoki. You might remember the latter as deadly little Miho from Sin City.