Let’s Learn To Have Patience Like Chul-Ho Lee, CEO Of Mr. LEE



“It often took 6 hours to finish readings while a couple of hours are enough for natives. I decided to take it easy by accepting that I had to invest triple effort for everything to be done properly. If your ability is not as good as others,’ you must invest more effort and time. Otherwise, it’s just hopeless.”

“I always worked more diligently; I tried to wash double the plates others washed. When others washed about 20 plates, I did about 50. I did my best to wash them cleaner and shinier and to place every plate and spoon tidily. I didn’t have intention to be in others’ good graces but it naturally happened in my bosses’ eyes.”

“The conviction I have always had for work is ‘to be sedulous.’ Even when I had to wash a dish, even when I peeled a potato, I tried to do with all my heart and wanted to do more than I was ordered.”

– Norwegian Ramen King, ‘Mr. Lee’ Chul-Ho Lee


This YouTube video clip is a commercial for Mr. Lee, a well-known Norwegian food company. It might not be familiar in America, but in Norway, it is the most beloved food company. It’s so popular that every Norwegian knows about it. It is equivalent to America’s Kraft. It deals with noodles, soup, pizzas and frozen foods. If you listen to the success story of Mr. Lee, from its inception to the present, you may naturally feel admiration. His success story is even included in Norwegian elementary school textbooks.

Chul-Ho Lee, CEO of Mr. Lee, is South Korean. He said he had nothing when he first migrated to Norway. He knew nothing about the country and the business he wanted to run was to sell instant ramen (noodles soup). Asians are familiar with instant ramen but it was very new to Norway. Every time he promoted his products to companies, he was rejected. He never gave up or felt frustration even though more than 200 companies rejected his proposal. He continuously did legwork by himself; he visited a company, cooked instant ramen there, and offered samples to their staff.

Let's Learn To Have Patience Like Chul-Ho Lee, CEO Of Mr. LEEChul-Ho Lee finally won the approval from one of the companies after continual upgrades to the taste of his products for Norway. At an interview, he made a joke. Because he got rejected so many times, one day he said to the company personnel, “Unless you whack me, I will come back again” Although he got rejected once, he improved the taste and visited that company again the next day. He really had a never-give-up attitude. He kept visiting them until they were satisfied and gave him approval. Thanks to his efforts, instant ramen that used to be foreign to Norwegians became their favorite instant food today.

We give up too easily no matter what we do. And if our way becomes a little blurry we become frustrated. It’s important to read stories of successful people every now and then. Successful people are not that different from us. We are all the same, the human species. Then how could they be different or more special than us? An anonymous celebrity said that there was only one difference between those who succeeded and those who couldn’t: successful ones never give up and even though they face situations bad enough to make them desperate they continue to walk that way silently.  In contrast, others give up immediately and try to find another way. There is also an old saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss. If you discovered what you wanted to do, you might experience so many failures and disappointments along the way to your goal. But it’s what everyone experiences. Chul-Ho Lee was definitely the former. He never stopped trying even in seemingly impossible situations and obstinately stuck to one way, instant ramen. Consequently, he ended up leading a remarkably successful life.

You have to keep in your mind that he also experienced hundreds of rejections and frustrations. His family also tried to convince him to return to Korea hundreds of times up until right before his success. However, he did not listen to their words and kept walking his own way. In the end he gained success. In this year, 2013, let’s silently walk forward not losing that conviction, even if countless frustrations and sufferings come about. One day, we will see great results and see many good days ahead.