Valuable Life Lessons We Can Learn From Start-Up

A lot of people have been gushing over Start-Up for many good reasons. Sure, the love story makes our chests burst (we’re talking about Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, and Kim Seon Ho here!), but that’s not all there is to it. 

A huge part of what makes this K-drama so appealing is that it’s totally relatable especially for today’s youth. It’s in tune with modern times. Its refreshingly unique concept delves into the start-up world, heavily trodden by young enterprising dreamers. Start-Up is about dreams, entrepreneurship, the rocky path to success, and everything in between—family, love, friendships. 

There’s definitely a lot to learn about the nitty-gritty of start-ups, but you don’t have to be business-minded to appreciate Start-Up. Whatever your venture in life is, the show offers a lot of valuable lessons about career, life, and self-realization. 

Warning: spoilers ahead! It’s best to read this if you’ve watched until the latest episode. Here’s one spoiler for a start: you wouldn’t want to watch Start-Up with an unsatisfied stomach. Order K-BBQ from Wagyupsal on KKday to enhance your watching experience!  



A diploma isn’t required for dreaming big

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If certain circumstances prevented you from obtaining a diploma, that should not be a reason for you to hold your dreams back. Seo Dal-mi (Suzy), who is a college dropout like Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), said she aims to be like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. An impossible dream? Let’s not forget, Jobs and Zuckerberg became successful even without a college degree.

It’s important to keep your passion for learning. If you’re stuck at home, you can invest in workshops and online classes that can help you, such as Business English and Mandarin classes



Personality matters as much as credentials

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Remember when Do-san chose Dal-mi as Samsan Tech CEO over Won In-jae (Kang Han-na) who has better credentials on paper? And when scornful Jung Sa-ha (Stephanie Lee) almost got kicked out of the team? In the start-up world—and pretty much any field—it is important to cultivate business connections and harmonious relationships while keeping your ground as a leader and team player.



Keep your ego in check

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Be ready to walk on mud, get some dirt on your hands, and even be stepped on. That’s how you can pave the road to success. When Dal-mi failed with Samsan Tech and found a new opportunity in the company of the sister she resents, she put her pride aside and went for a job interview. The beauty of Dal-mi’s character is in her humility and resilience. Don’t let your ego and insecurities hinder you from taking baby steps to reach your big dream.



Keep your poise in the face of criticism

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No matter how great you think your actions are, there’s no way to avoid criticism. But how you deal with them is what can set you apart from others. As Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) has pointed out, “You can’t make decisions if you’re afraid of criticism. If you can’t make decisions, you can’t be a CEO.”

When criticisms and negativity stress you out, give yourself comforting little treats like Basque-burnt cheesecake, brownies, and milk tea! Or, allow yourself to recharge with a well-deserved spa treatment.



Deliver criticisms positively

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It’s common to tell people on the receiving end to accept criticism positively. However, people providing feedback should also be conscious of how they deliver it. As Ji-pyeong learned the hard way—even though he may have had good intentions, his criticism had led to the suicide of a devastated start-up CEO.

Even if you’re pointing out mistakes, remember that the best things to let out of your mouth are words of encouragement and wisdom.



Don’t be afraid to walk away

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When she felt unappreciated and played on by her former employer, Dal-mi gathered herself together and prepared for the big move: she quit. And that was the start of something bigger for her. Her new chapter started, where she pursued her dream of having her own business.



White lies end in people getting hurt

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Grandma Choi had good intentions for not revealing the identity of “Nam Do-san” in the love letters to Dal-mi. But the lies snowballed and became harder and harder to sustain. Inevitably, Dal-mi found out the truth herself and was brokenhearted. Grandma realized a little too late that white lies weren’t as harmless as they seemed.

To be safe, white lies should probably best end at, “I’m almost there!”



Looking for more inspiring K-dramas? Check out these binge-worthy shows that discuss mental health. 

Enhance your K-drama marathon experience with good food. Order Wagyupsal’s Korean BBQ, Banh Mi sandwiches, and Miss B milk drinks from KKday now!



Words by Rei Leano
Featured image via Netflix