Be the Dragon Warrior

If You Wait for Change to Happen, It Never Will

I love the 2008 movie Kung Fu Panda from DreamWorks. If you haven’t seen it, it’s The Matrix with fur instead of black leather. Same story.

Po (the panda) loves kung fu–absolutely loves it. When he has the chance to join his heros, the Furious Five, he is thrilled. Then reality sets in—being a kung fu master is lots of hard work and people are depending on him. He almost goes back to his father’s noodle shop instead of overcoming his doubts, fulfilling his destiny, and living his dream.

Kung Fu Panda, © 2008 Dreamworks Animation Studios

Kung Fu Panda © 2008 DreamWorks Animation

So how do you overcome your doubts and fears to reach your goals? These six principles will help you become the Dragon Warrior at work, at home, and at life.

(Spoiler alerts follow. If you haven’t already seen it, go watch it. I’ll wait.)

  • Identify your dreams. Po loved kung fu. It was his dream (literally) to become the greatest kung fu legend of all time. He didn’t share his father’s passion for noodles. Po was certainly good at making soup, but he would never have been great at it. It wasn’t his dream.
  • Study the masters. The Furious Five were Po’s heroes. He drew great inspiration from their skill and the battles they had fought. He knew their history and their fighting styles. When Po had the opportunity to train with them, he enthusiastically threw himself into it, learning everything he could from them.
  • Recognize your unique strengths. Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Viper, and Mantis each had their own style of kung fu. Po’s skill and confidence grew dramatically once he started to relax and be himself. Not only did he become the greatest kung fu warrior ever, he had a lot of fun doing it.
  • Get to work. Before training with Master Shifu, Po had a great academic knowledge of kung fu. But that knowledge wasn’t enough. He had to train intensely for his body to catch up with his mind and heart. It was hard work, but he kept going because he knew it was the only way to change his fortune.
  • Stop searching for a secret ingredient. The great secret is that there was no secret. Po had the passion, the spirit, and the skill to be a great kung fu warrior, but he didn’t think he was capable of doing anything special. Once he gained that confidence in himself, he was unstoppable.
  • Share your success and help others. Po was willing to share the secret of the Dragon Scroll with Tai Lung. He would have gladly accepted the leopard as a brother and fellow kung fu master. Po didn’t feel his success had to come at the price of Tai Lung’s failure.

These principles are the mainstay of Po’s journey from a big fat panda to the big fat panda (I love that: be yourself—be your best self). These principles are universal and you will see them at work every step of the way. Have fun applying them, Dragon Warrior.

Question: I enjoy finding life lessons in odd places, like cartoons. What are some of your favorite animated inspirations? Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

About

Colter writes software and blogs about personal growth and productivity. He lives in Silicon Valley (California) with his wife and children, recently took up golf, and watches mostly British TV shows.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. For more information, see my comments policy.