Here is a collection of lessons I’ve learned from watching the Kung Fu Panda series. I have written this with the assumption that you have all seen the movies. If you haven’t, go get them (for free from your local library)!
1. Everyone has dreams.
Some people try to live them out, and some people don’t. Regardless, everyone has them. This is important to consider before judging another person or their current occupation. We are not defined by our jobs. Oftentimes, a person’s dreams and aspirations do not translate directly to a (modern) career. Sometimes they do. Po’s goose dad had a dream of making tofu once, but he never pursued it. He was held back by his fear of what other people would think of him. We are our own worst enemies. However, he is still cooking and using tofu, so he’s not too far from living his dream!
2. Sometimes the answer is obvious.
We tend to avoid the obvious simply because it seems too easy to make sense. Life is hard and complicated, not easy and simple! Right? When Po fell out of the sky amidst the flash and roar of fireworks at the Dragon Warrior ceremony, why was Oogway the only one to recognize this as a sign? Sometimes the universe gives subtle messages, sometimes it screams in your face.
3. There is no Secret ingredient!
Sometimes just believing that something is special makes it special! You have more power and ability within you than you know. Expectations often trick our mind, for better or worse.
4. Teamwork+ Cooperation!
Goals can only be accomplished through cooperation. Oftentimes it is a combination of your conscious mind cooperating with your true, inner self, while also cooperating with other people and organizations to help live out your destiny. In Kung Fu Panda 3, the entire village of Pandas worked together to accomplish what no Kung Fu masters were able to do.
We like to think that we are in control of our own life. Kung Fu Panda reminds us that there is much that is beyond our control. In fact, Oogway says that we “must let go of the illusion of control”. After all, a peach seed can’t grow into anything but a peach tree. The destiny of a full grown, beautiful peach tree resides in the tiny seed.
6. Push yourself!
If you have a dream, and you truly believe that it is your destiny, then the next step is to push yourself! Work hard, put yourself out there, learn your strengths and weaknesses. You never know what you’re capable of until you try.
7. A still mind is your most powerful weapon!
Our minds can be our greatest teacher or our worst enemy. If we are consumed with thoughts and anxieties, our mind becomes clouded and it is difficult for us to make sense of anything. If we calm ourselves and try to detach from the endless flow of thoughts, our minds relax and we naturally become more aware of the current moment.
8. Let the past go!
Accepting your past is a major step to achieving happiness in the present moment.
9. Choose your own story!
By fully accepting your past, you lessen the power that it holds over your current state of mind. Don’t stumble over an obstacle that is already behind you!
10. Balance+ Inner Peace!
Inner peace is only achievable by fully coming to terms with our past. All of our ups and downs, mistakes and triumphs. All of the good and bad that we’ve done or had done to us. Sometimes letting traumatic memories flow in our minds instead of struggling against them and trying to prevent them is the best way to actually come to peace with them. This is true mastery of self. Who are you? You are not your thoughts. You are that shining light deep inside; the center of your soul. Your thoughts are a covering accumulated over time. Some are useful but most are useless distractions and harmful criticisms. This covering can be penetrated and unraveled over time. Every single thing that you have experienced in the past has accumulated into the person that you are at this very moment. Who do you choose to be from this point forward?
Photos are property of Dreamworks Animation
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