17 Business Lessons from a Conversation with Jackie Chan

A Conversation with Jackie Chan at TIFF 2012

Jackie Chan TIFF2012

We are back for the 4th year in a row to the Toronto International Film Festival, baby. Oh time, why dost thou fly? I still remember the 2009 TIFF films like it was just a week ago! This year’s highlight so far was A Conversation with Jackie Chan. I was engrossed in how much he shared and how much I learned about running a business and being the best person I can be.

Jackie Chan TIFF2012

It was the natural, uninhibited way he connected with the audience that stunned me, not to mention how well he was doing this despite his challenge with fluency of the language. I went in, expecting to enjoy a fun 90-minute interview, with a few laughs and a lot of good stories. I got all that alright and then some. I felt glued to the wisdom Jackie was dispensing through all that laughter and fun.

I wonder if I am the only one who took away the real wisdom he shared on creating your life’s work, running your own business, being who you are and staying true to your essence.

He was real, genuine, sincere, and vulnerable; his stardom did not once give off the air of self-importance or disconnectedness from reality. Now that is quite a feat when you are as AWESOME as Jackie Chan!

Jackie Chan TIFF2012

What Jackie Chan Taught Me About Business and Life

So in this post, I have brought to you the sheer brilliance of what Jackie Chan openly and lovingly shared with us. These quotes are paraphrased at best from what Jackie shared during TIFF 2012 at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Sept 9th, 2012.

Read, study, digest, and if they resonate with you, apply them to your own business and life, and avoid making these mistakes. I certainly plan to do just that.

#1 The Jackie Chan quote:
In talking to his son:
“If you’re capable, then you don’t need any of my money. If you’re not capable, you’ll squander all my money.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Make your own money. Stop expecting someone else to fund your life and your dreams.

#2 The Jackie Chan quote:
” ‘That’s not me, I can’t do that’ I would say to directors who wanted to portray me as a superhero with a hot girl.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Dare to be yourself, even if it means saying no to the hip, cool, hot thing that everyone wants you to do. If it means compromising WHO YOU ARE, then forget it.

Jackie Chan TIFF 2012

#3 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I wanted to stand out so I started to do everything the opposite of Bruce Lee.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Create your own brand, wrapped in your own original voice, enveloping the essence of who you are and not who someone wants you to be or who you think you should be. Be yourself and be totally at peace with it!

#4 The Jackie Chan quote:
“What you see in the movies, that’s really me, the real life me. Funny, happy-go-lucky, broken English. That’s me.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Even as an actor, you can keep the essence of who you are while doing your job and you can stay true to what resonates with you. Don’t be so quick to become a copycat in this life. Your true self is far more interesting.

Jackie Chan TIFF 2012

#5 The Jackie Chan quote:
On how charity impacted him even if he was not interested in it earlier.
“Charity changed my life. You don’t have to do anything big. Just do small. Very small. Do what you can. Start to impact one person.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Giving can be a powerful way to change the world, and you need only impact on a small scale to bring change about. Quantity is a myth. Focus on what you can do and just do it.

#6 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I make my movies now (not just) for China or Hong Kong or America, but for the whole world to watch.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Think big and globally of what you offer, think about the whole world as your oyster. What do you have to give them? Are you proud of it? Do you want them to see it?

#7 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I loved the old way of making film. One camera. One angle. No stunt. No doubles. Many many shots for each scene and real real hard work. Movies today: easy! So easy!”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Don’t be so quick to judge the old way of doing something as archaic or useless. Learn from what came before in your industry or line of work. It prepares you better for what lies ahead.

#8 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I decided I had to choose a destiny, get real good at something. What do I want to do?”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Go through your life consciously, with clear intention and purpose. Don’t be rocked back and forth with the waves. Swim in the direction of your desires. Ask yourself what you want to be your destiny to be and then go out there and create it.

Jackie Chan TIFF 2012

#9 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I want to make films that have great but CLEAN humor and films that have no violence. I want the movies to be so that I can show them to my own children.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
What do you want your work to say about you? And what are the standards that you are not willing to compromise in order to achieve it?

#10 The Jackie Chan quote:
“Learn how to do a little bit of everything – you don’t need to become a pro at it but you need to know your business well. I know how to be a director, actor, producer, stunt man, camera man, lighting guy, you name it …”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Know your business and all aspects of it well – really, really well, if you want to stand above others. Dust off all doubts and be confident. Understand how things work, know what you need, constantly be teaching and educating yourself about your business.

#11 The Jackie Chan quote:
“At the beginning, I was nobody, I followed Bruce Lee and a large film crew, I was at the very back, but I watched the directors and what they were doing, I wanted to be the best stunt man, I wanted to do a better job than everyone else. And I did, and it worked.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Whatever your current job or task, do it so well that they can’t ignore you. Take pride in it even if it’s the lowest job in the business or industry in which you want to excel, do it with excellence. You’ll get noticed alright!

#12 The Jackie Chan quote:
“Everyone watches the film but when the premiere comes out, I am watching the audience and their reaction. In a drama, for example, you don’t want the audience to move in their seat – you want them staring at the screen. In an action movie, you want them to move with energy in and around their seats.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Make sure to listen to your market, your readers, your fans, and your potential clients. What do they really want? What is their reaction to what you offer them now? What can you do to make them watch you and want you like fans do Jackie Chan?

Jackie Chan TIFF 2012

#13 The Jackie Chan quote:
“It took us 3 months to shoot a 6-minute clip once!”
The Business and Life Lesson:
That finished product you just bought may look easy to you but more hours and sweat went into it than you can imagine. So don’t look at someone else’s work and think to yourself, “Oh, I could do that myself!”, without first knowing exactly what goes into creating great stuff.

#14 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I may be old but I’m still fast!”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Stop letting age get in the way of your dreams. You can have the time of your life with your passions at any age, if you simply commit, decide and do.

#15 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I don’t think of myself as a big deal or a hot shot.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Being humble after meeting massive success along the way has got to be one of the greatest achievements of all. Stay humble. Don’t let the fluff of self-importance get into your head, no matter how wildly successful your business gets.

#16 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I never wanted to be Bruce Lee. There’s only ONE Bruce Lee, no second Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be Jackie Chan, I wanted to be me.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
Please understand what it means to be you, and not a copycat of someone you like or admire. Learn what it is that they do and then go do it even better in your own original and authentic way. Accept that the best version of you beats the second-rate version of anyone else, so just be the best you.

#17 The Jackie Chan quote:
“I want my legacy to be so that in 100 years, people still watch my films. Still laugh and still enjoy my films.”
The Business and Life Lesson:
What will your legacy be long after you are gone? What will you leave behind that will stand the test of time and stay relevant years into the future?

Jackie Chan TIFF 2012

Your Thoughts on Business Lessons from Jackie Chan?

So did you enjoy these thoughts and golden nuggets from Jackie Chan? Might you wish to share something about it on the comments section below? Let’s talk about what matters when you are creating your life’s work and legacy!

If you want to learn more about creating the life and business that is ideal for who you are and more importantly, whom you wish to become, hop on the list below, and I’ll inspire you to no end until you get there.

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  • http://ChaseVictory.com Leon

    Amazingly good, Farnoosh! Jackie Chan is one of my favorite favorite action stars. And what I loved about these points is how they so well express who comes off as being in his films. He is genuine on screen and he was genuine here. I never think of comparing him to Bruce Lee or any other star because he DOES stand out. It is amazing to hear him say how much thought and work he put into making sure he was portrayed as the person he sees in the mirror. He did not let others’ opinions either change him or shape his image differently. I always knew he was determined and a true expert and now this article connects the dots.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Leon, Leon, I know you wouldn’t be here unless I really wrote something amazing so I am patting myself on the back :)! Ah my! Who doesn’t LOVE Jackie! He is the kindest, the nicest, the most considerate and I was in awe of him the entire time. Love that you resonate with his message too – may you run into him someday in your life, Leon. Thanks ever so much for stopping by!

  • http://www.jungleoflife.com Lance

    Love these quotes and the lessons you’ve tied them to, Farnoosh!! And the pictures are great, too!!!

    Awesome lessons, and an awesome way to live!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Lance, my dear friend, thank you – Jackie is awesome and the lessons were awesome too….. !!!

  • http://www.grapevineenergyonline.com Cheryl

    I would have enjoyed watching and listening to Jackie Chan. He gave some awesome true lessons. No one can be you, except you. If you try to be Rhianna or Gladys Knight or even Patti LaBelle, you can’t . They are who God intended them to be, sing and act. They don’t have to try to be someone else because, then, it wouldn’t be who they are. I am grateful for where I am in life also. No matter my age, my ethnicity, my life because,…. it’s MY Story. Lots to think about as we live each day to the fullest. Do it with all the Gusto you have because there is only one you and you are Unique. People will see who you are without tricks and props and makeup. I heard one day, the lesson is in the Practice, not the dance. Thanks for listening to Jackie and bringing his wisdom to each person that reads this. Be true to you and people will have faith in you.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Cheryl, you’d have loved Jackie. Practice is often overlooked, it’s not sexy or glamorous but it’s terribly essential. :) What a lovely comment, Cheryl, thank you. Jackie has worked so so hard over 5 decades. The results speak for themselves. You are so welcome and I am glad you enjoyed the insights here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…..

  • Amirpasha

    Very good article. Thanks for sharing. I always knew Jackie Chan has a great personality but this conversation shows not only he is a nice guy but he is also smart and prudent.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Amirpasha, you and Sepideh should’ve been there – he was amazing. I am glad you enjoyed this and so happy that you read the blog. Love seeing you here. Talk soon and thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  • http://www.richmeme.com/ Dennis the Richmeme

    Arrrrhhhh… I want to be there so badly!! :(

    I can feel the ‘awesomeness’ from your sharing. If I could be there LIVE, that would even great.. But really Thank You for sharing this. Classic quotes but really meaningful. It makes me think a lot!

    And I love the the first quote to his son: ““If you’re capable, then you don’t need any of my money. If you’re not capable, you’ll squander all my money.”

    Emm.. I can conclude that Jackie Chan wants us to BE OURSELVES. Be Real. No Imitation. Always stay original. Always be who you are.

    Again, thanks a lottttt for this posting! :)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Dennis, he really was awesome – I hope you meet him somewhere, live, you will enjoy it immensely. The comment about his son was the reason I started this blog post – because it had so much so much wisdom that I went back to everything else he said …. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed this.

  • http://www.vidyasury.com Vidya Sury

    Oh, how I loved this, Farnoosh – was looking out for this very eagerly. I only wish I had been there too! Jackie Chan is one of my all-time favorite heroes and what a fantastic human being he is. His goodness just comes off him. Special thanks to you for sharing the wonderful wisdom here. I shall cherish this post – what beautiful life lessons.

    Thank you VERY much. And do I get to see your photos with Jackie Chan? Would so love that! Hugs, Vidya
    P.S.: You are a champ!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Vidya, wish you were there. I didn’t get a chance to meet Mr. Jackie, but I was truly fulfilled with the conversation. I think he is one universally loved and adored actor, and that alone says so much about him. Thanks for sharing this. I wish you a meeting in person with Jackie sometime in the near or far future, my friend.

  • http://widism.com/ Clay

    That is an awesome post, both the content and the way you turn these great quotes into insightful life-lessons, thank you for sharing this!
    I particularly appreciate the 5th one on charity. We tend to believe that if we are not able to impact on a large scale, it is not worth doing so and would just equal to doing nothing. But every small step or action counts, I totally agree when you say quantity is a myth :)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hello Clay? You a Jackie Chan fan too? :) Thanks so much for your comments. Jackie spoke a lot about how he changed as a person when he got involved more on charity and especially when he wanted to get involved – rather than when his marketing team was telling him it would make him look “good” to get involved, you know? I loved the distinction. Small tiny scale makes a large difference, so well-said yes. Thanks for stopping by.

      • http://widism.com/ Clay

        I saw Rumble In The Bronx when I was 10 and was HUGE Jackie Chan fan ever since! He’s always struck me as a humble and down-to-earth guy and his on-screen and off-screen personalities are refreshingly consistent.

        I work with a small non-profit in Toronto that coaches high-risk young offenders and although we aren’t vanquishing crime and poverty entirely, we’re transforming the lives of one lost youth at a time. One person out of millions may seem small to some, but to me and to each youth and their families, it’s HUGE! Small tiny scale makes a large difference indeed :)

        Thanks again for an awesome recap of an awesome talk by a awesome guy!

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          What a small world – did you say Toronto? I am writing you this email from my condo in Toronto where we are staying for your fabulous TIFF 2012. I love this city – it’s my home away from home.

          And what you are doing is incredibly INCREDIBLY noble. Imagine also not just transforming but also preventing that lost youth to cause potential damage to himself/herself and to those around him/her later in life. Now that’s really valuable.

          You are most welcome, Clay, and hope we talk soon again. So glad Jackie brought you here.

          • http://widism.com/ Clay

            Yup! The good ol’ T.O. I was born and raised in Etobicoke (the tall borough on the west end of the city). It’s a pretty happening town, but since I’ve been here so long, it’s kinda lost its luster.

            And thank you so much for the recognition Farnoosh! Noble is a word that resonates with me deeply and I appreciate that you see my doings as such :)

            Looking forward to chatting again soon!

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  • Rachael T

    Wow, Farnoosh! I felt like parts of my dad was speaking to me while reading this and I wish I was there in person to hear him impart such wisdom onto his audience. As a young kid, I absolutely resonated with Numero Uno!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Oh that’s great. Your Dad is like Jackie Chan. That’s super awesome :)! @disqus_11qeoY8MAF:disqus