Letters From Leaders
Yue-Sai Kan

Yue-Sai Kan
Emmy-winning Television Host and Producer,
Successful Entrepreneur, Fashion Icon, Best-selling Author and Humanitarian

As a young girl, I looked up to both my loving parents. My father was an educator and a talented artist who embraced his craft with passion, while my mother was a hardworking housewife with a big heart. They taught me to find my own passion in life. I soon discovered, however, that my career would not be as linear as I thought. In 1972, I created the television series, “Looking East,” the first of its kind to introduce Asian cultures and customs to American audiences who at that time had very little interest in Asia. The series led to my groundbreaking TV series “One World” on China Central Television in 1987. It was the first time a non-Chinese produced and hosted a TV show and it was the first time the vast population of a totally closed China saw sights and sounds from 16 countries and met extraordinary people around the world, opening the eyes of 300 million Chinese each week.

In 1992, I successfully transformed myself from a TV personality to an entrepreneur by creating Yue Sai Cosmetics, cementing myself as a businesswoman. I have written nine best-selling books, spreading the knowledge of beauty, etiquette, health, and success among Chinese readers, and now I am working on my own memoir.

Every day of my life and everything I’ve done, I’m reminded of what my parents have taught me. Since they were so important in my life, I thought that I would share with you some of the principles that have guided me. The one common theme to my many careers is that I have true passion for them all. To find your own passion, here are 10 things you should consider at a young age:

1. What should you do in life? Unless you are the small minority that always knows what you want to do, you need to think hard about what you want to study. It should be something you love! You are the master of your life and please make every one of your choices in life carefully because choices decide the direction of your life.

2. How do you make decisions? I recommend thinking in these three steps: 1) Ask yourself what your special talent is. Ask a friend to figure out what you are good at. It could be as little as you’re a great cook or you are extremely good at speaking in public or extremely good at having good friends. 2) Do you have a passion for it? What is passion? Passion is that something you love so much that you can be doing it all the time. With passion, you lose track of time. 3) Ask yourself if what you have chosen to do is going to be good for other people. If it is only good for you and not good for other people, then you shouldn’t do it.

3. Work hard. You need to put time into what you do. There is no other way to excel in your field. Success doesn’t come to people who watch TV, stay on social media or play video games all day. Some people complained about being bored during COVID lockdown, but I took this opportunity to learn a lot more Spanish, how to cook, swim and drive a car and organized a number of virtual charity events.

4. Take good care of your body. Sleep well, eat healthy and exercise regularly.

5. Learn the difference between being a human being and being human. Always be charitable and generous. Don’t look for repayment. I learned from the Mormon religion to give away 10 percent of what I make each year. When I started doing that, I was making less than $100 a month! I thought that was an enormous amount of money to give. I have done this all my life and the universe always rewards us back if we give.

6. Never lie. Live a life one hundred percent honest. People will remember what you say.

7. Learn to make friends. A friend is a resource, so surround yourself with positive, motivated and talented people who inspire you.

8. Be adventurous and curious throughout your life. Try new things and don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone.

9. Learn to be grateful. My mother always said if someone does one thing for you, you have to do two things back. Thus, I am always very aware of the good that people do for me. I try never forgetting anyone who has done anything nice to me. I make sure I keep them very close.

10. When I was young, my mother said, “You are young, and right now it seems things are going your way and you probably feel you are successful, but true success can only be judged by how you live the last 20 years of your life. At that time, are you healthy, are you financially independent, are you surrounded by people you love and people who love you?” In order to achieve this, all my life I’ve been mindful that I need to cultivate healthy eating habits, to exercise, to learn how to let money make money, and to love people who love me. You need to prepare yourselves and learn all these good habits while you are young!

If you can achieve all 10 points, I guarantee that you will have an abundant, happy and successful life.

Yue-Sai Kan
Emmy-winning Television Host and Producer,
Successful Entrepreneur, Fashion Icon, Best-selling Author and Humanitarian