3 lessons from Kung Fu Panda

I watched both the Kung Fu Panda movies this weekend. Every time I watch them, I either learn something new or re-learn something valuable. This time, I learnt –

1. There is a natural learning cycle – understand yourself, play to your strengths, practice intensely and find peace within. When Po is initially selected as the dragon warrior, everyone focuses on what he’s not. He doesn’t seem to have it in him until Master Shifu realizes that everyone needs to re-configure their inherent assumptions on what makes a great fighter. We have to play to our strengths. Once he did that, the next frontier was “inner peace.” This has got to be my favorite all-time movie lesson. It takes a deep concept and makes it simple – understand who you are and be accepting of it.

2. Family is who cares. Po goes through an identity crisis in the second movie as he finally realizes that he’s adopted. As he understands his past and understands that it is our choices that make us, he realizes that he really is his foster father’s son. It is a lovely, poignant moment. And, it is a moment in which we’re all taken to that incredible realization – our family constitutes of people who care about us.

3. Staying excited. One of Po’s most endearing characteristics is his enthusiasm for all things Kung Fu. Despite becoming the dragon warrior, he responds to every new thing he learns with – that is AWESOME!

That was one of the ideas that stood out to me. Despite his excellence and learning, he never forgot that child-like enthusiasm and love for Kung Fu. He didn’t become a jaded know-it-all who lost his excitement at doing so.

I know I’ve been that jaded know-it-all many a time and I’ve learnt that it gets in the way of learning, gratitude and happiness. This was a great reminder of the importance of staying child-like, curious and foolish.