Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Crazy Rich Asians

A Reel Leadership Article

What do you get when you cross My Big Fat Greek Wedding with a cast of Asians? You get the hilarious, entertaining, enjoyable movie Crazy Rich Asians.

Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of the extremely wealthy and good looking Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as they travel to Singapore for Nick’s best friend’s wedding. From there, antics ensue.

quotes and leadership lessons from crazy rich asians

Rachel learns the truth about Nick’s family (they’re crazy rich and cray cray). A crazy bachelor party is thrown for the groom, Colin Khoo (Chris Pang). And Nick’s family tries to break Nick and Rachel up.

It’s a great date-night movie for those tired and weary leaders to take their wives out to and have a great laugh. Crazy Rich Asians is also a great movie to learn leadership lessons from.

Caution: Crazy Rich Asians spoilers below

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Crazy Rich Asians

1. Treat people well:

When Elanor Young (Michelle Yeoh), her children, and a nanny arrive at a posh, luxury hotel, the staff turned her away. They told her she did not have a reservation and needed to find another place to stay.

What the hotel staff didn’t realize was Elanor wasn’t a peasant off of the street. Elanor’s husband was buying the hotel from its current owner.

Uh oh Shaggy… They made a big mistake in trying to treat someone poorly because of what they looked like.

Have you ever thought of treating someone differently because of how they looked, acted, or talked? If we’re honest, we will probably say “yes, I have…”

We all make judgments about people based on the way they look, act, or talk. While we have these judgments in our mind, we can still control the way we act.

We don’t have to treat someone rudely. We can choose to treat them with the same respect we’d like to be treated with.

2. Rachel Wu:

Curtis wasn’t playing to win. He was playing not to lose.

In Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel was an economics teacher. During one of her classes, she was playing poker with one of her students. This student had a great hand. Rachel had a crummy hand. Yet Rachel was able to get Curtis to fold.

Why? Because Curtis wasn’t in the game to win. He was in to not lose.

So many leaders of organizations work the same way. They are working not to win but not to lose. They’re fearful their business is going to go under and they hedge their bets.

While leading an organization, you do have to be careful. You also have to take chances, know when your cards are better than others, and keep moving forward.

3. When you ask for help, listen:

Rachel had asked her mother, Kerry Chu (Kheng Hua Tan), for help in picking out a dress for meeting Nick’s family. Kerry offered a stunning red dress to Rachel. She gave her reason for the dress… And Rachel shot the dress down.

We often go to people and ask for help. We ask for their insights into how best to lead an organization. Then we do what Rachel did… We shoot down the idea and go with our own suggestion.

Why even ask for help if you’re not willing to hear the person out and take their advice? You have to be willing to listen to the people you have sought for counsel. They’re not out there to hurt you. These people want to see you succeed.

Listen to those you seek out. Take their advice. Apply it. And see where their advice takes you.

4. Great leaders have the biggest hearts:

Astrid Young Teo (Gemma Chan) is Nick’s cousin. She loves fashion and high-end clothing. She also has a big heart.

While shopping for new clothes, she sees a young girl with a stuff bunny rabbit. Astrid approaches the young girl and has a brief conversation with her.

You can see the thrill in the young girl’s eyes as Astrid asks about her life. The young girl shares the bunny’s name is Bunn Bunn. Then they carry on with their shopping trip.

Through this brief interaction, you can see Astrid cares for people. She wants to take time out to meet and interact with people.

Do you have a big heart like Astrid? Are you willing to talk to people who aren’t on the same “level” as you are?

Great leaders have big hearts. They are willing to interact with anyone regardless of their status in life.

Be willing to get to know people. Discover who your employees are. Find out the story of the grocery clerk who bagged your groceries.

This will help you grow your heart. It’ll also form connections you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

5. Astrid Young Teo:

You’re not a captain in the military anymore. You’re the CEO of your company.

Michael Teo (Pierre Png) was Astrid’s husband. He’d come from humble beginnings and struggled to fit into the lifestyle of Astrid’s crazy rich family.

He still saw himself as a lowly peasant. Someone who hadn’t properly moved into the level of wealth he currently possessed due to his marriage.

Astrid wanted Michael to begin acting like who he should be. He should be acting like the CEO of the company he was running.

How we act has a direct impact on the way we can lead. If you act like you don’t deserve to be in your position, you weaken your ability to lead. On the other hand, if you’re confident, you will earn a different level of respect.

Begin acting like you are a leader.

6. Always be prepared:

Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) was Rachel’s best friend from college. She was a little awkward and new-school rich. She wasn’t old-school rich like Nick’s family.

But she was a great friend to Rachel. And you could see it.

When Rachel went to a party at one of Nick’s family’s house, Peik Lin accompanied her as her driver. Nick invited her to the party but she couldn’t go in the way she was dressed.

No problem! With the opening of her car’s trunk, she had her choice of outfits.

She carried with her a varying array of outfits. There were outfits for cocktail events, clubbing, and more.

Great leaders know they have to be prepared for what’s coming. This doesn’t mean they have all the answers or know what to do in every situation. What it does mean is they’re prepared to take on challenges as they appear.

They know who to go to. They know where to go. And they know how to get the answers they need.

7. Invite people into new experiences:

Nick’s grandmother had a rare flower in her house. The Tan Hua flower (also known as Bunga Bakawali or Epiphyllum oxypetallum) was said to only bloom once or twice a year. And then the blossoms would be gone by morning.

Ah Ma Shang Su Yi (Lisa Lu) knew the flower would bloom and invited her guests to view the flower’s blooming. This was a once in a lifetime experience.

Great leaders know they have the opportunity to give people once in a lifetime experiences. They hold the power to help them see and do things they wouldn’t be able to without help.

Be a leader who invites people to experience new things. Help them see life from a new perspective and give them a chance to do something different in life.

8. Nick Young:

It can’t just be one thing or the other…

Nick was talking to Collin about his choices. He loved Rachel. He also loved his family and wanted to do right with them.

But he also knew life isn’t about making a single choice. Life can allow you to make multiple choices at the same time. He didn’t have to choose between love and business.

The good news is you don’t need to choose either. You can have a thriving business. You can have an amazing family. The choice isn’t an either or.

9. People get upset when you hold back important information:

The people Rachel would meet in Singapore were not the nicest. They didn’t want to see her with Nick. They believed he was destined to be with someone of wealth.

Because of this, Nick’s family and friends were down-right mean to Rachel. They placed a dead fish in her hotel bed, they spoke rudely to her face, and more.

Rachel learned Nick knew they wouldn’t take kindly to her. She wondered why Nick withheld this important information from her. If she had only known, she could have braced herself for the attacks. Instead, she was hit unaware.

Withholding crucial and important information from your people is damaging to your reputation with them. Giving them the information they need to make wise, informed decisions helps improve your reputation with your team.

Be willing to give them the information they need to know what they’re getting into. They will respect you for this.

10. There’s different teaching methods:

Nick was taught to make dumplings in a specific manner. You put the baby in the bed (the innards of the dumpling go on the dough). Next, you tuck the baby in. Lastly, you kiss the baby.

Oliver T’sien (Nico Santos) learned to make dumplings differently. He was taught to put the Botox in. Then you pinch, pinch, pinch.

Both methods got the job done. Yet the teachings were different.

Be careful of judging the way someone else teaches. Just because they don’t teach the same way you teach doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them different.

That’s okay. People are different and teaching methods are no different. As long as the information is transferred, it’s a valid way to teach.

11. Chose to fight:

Because of Nick’s family’s attacks on her, Rachel had a choice. She could run away. Or she could fight.

She chose to stay and fight.

You have a choice. When the going gets tough, do you stick it out or do you run?

You have to know what’s right. Sometimes running is right. More often than not, choosing to stay and fight for what is right is the right choice to make.

12. It’s wise to have pain partners in your life:

Elanor hired a private investigator to look into Rachel’s family. What she discovered was a bombshell. Rachel’s mother had an affair and she was the byproduct.

This drove Rachel away. She chose to flee this time around.

Where did Rachel go? To her pain partner, Peik Lin.

Peik Lin’s family took Rachel in. They cared for her. Tried to feed her. They gave her encouragement.

Peik Lin and her family became Rachel’s pain partners.

Every leader needs a pain partner. They need people in their lives who will encourage them when they’re down. Leaders need people to care for them after a brutal battle.

Look for people in your life you can consider pain partners. Choose them wisely and invite them into your life.

13. Games can be full of life lessons:

One of the games Rachel’s mom taught her was Mahjong. She taught her this because of the life lessons you can learn from the game.

How to make wise choices. Learn that some choices are wise and others are bad. You must live with the consequences of your choices.

These are but some of the life lessons Mahjong teaches.

While many leadership gurus and personal development experts will discount games, I embrace movies and games for the life lessons they can teach.

Don’t through out games because you see them as a waste of time. Instead, see the lessons games can teach you.

14. Plans have to be altered:

Nick wanted to propose to Rachel in fantastic fashion. He had plans to propose to her in a crazy rich way.

Those plans fell through. Instead, Nick proposed to Rachel in a packed airplane.

You may have grand plans. You may think everything’s going to go your way.

They’re not. You’re going to have to change plans again and again.

Get ready to go with the flow. Change as you need to. Alter the plans that need to be changed.

Question: Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians? If you have, what leadership lessons from Crazy Rich Asians did you see? If you haven’t seen the movie, which leadership lessons from Crazy Rich Asians that I shared resonated with you? Let me know in the comment section below.

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