The Film That Changed My Life

Sometimes you see something that says it all. Something that, even though you may have seen it before, strikes you differently this time. Buddha is credited with coining the phrase, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have had occasion many times in my life to believe in the truth behind Buddha’s statement.

I had another occasion over the Thanksgving holiday as I watched a movie I’ve seen many times before, first when it was released over the summer of 2008. The movie even contains one of my very favorite quotes. (I’ll let you know what it is later.) This weekend as I watched, it struck me how deep, meaningful and enlightening this film really is.

I am talking of course about the brilliant “Kung Fu Panda”.

The film that can change your life

If you haven’t seen it, let me quickly describe the plot.

Po, a rather clumsy and rotund Panda bear is an avid fan of Kung Fu and especially of the finest Kung Fu team of all time, the Furious Five. Po hears the announcement that  the true Dragon Warrior will finally be chosen! The Dragon Warrior will be able to read the secret Dragon Scroll which contains the ultimate secret to Kung Fu Power.

Through a crazy series of events Po, who has never learned kung fu, is chosen as the Dragon Warrior over each of the members of the Furious Five. He must now train to defeat the evil and powerful Tai Lung, who desires nothing more than to read the scroll and become the Dragon Warrior himself.

No one, least of all Po himself, believes he is capable of defeating Tai Lung until he finally understands what the Dragon Scroll has told him. In an incredible battle he defeats Tai Lung, saves China and gains the respect of his Master and the Furious Five!

IT IS AWESOME!!!

OK. So how can this movie change your life? I’m about to tell you.

1) Do what works for you.

When Po is declared the Dragon Warrior he is a complete beginner at kung fu. His teacher, Master Shifu, attempts to teach him Kung Fu the same way he taught the Furious Five. It doesn’t work. After all, how could you expect to teach kung fu to a panda the same way you’d teach a tiger, a crane, a snake, a mantis or a monkey? That’s silly isn’t it?

It’s only after Master Shifu figures out how to teach to Po’s individual strengths that he really starts becoming the warrior we know is inside him!

The Lesson: We all have strengths, weaknesses and situations that are unique to us. The situation of a working mother with 2 kids that take dance lessons and play soccer is a lot different than that of a 22 year old who works part time and goes to school. When people don’t take these types of things into account it can lead to problems.

2) Go to work.

The big turning point in the movie occurs when Po’s father (a noodle shop owner) tells him the secret ingredient in his special “Secret Ingredient” soup. Do you want to know what it is?

Nothing.

There isn’t one.

This brings us to the quote I told you about earlier:

The Lesson: Everything you need is inside you. There isn’t any special diet, workout or supplement that is going to get you what you want. It’s got to come from you. You know if you’re really working hard. You know if you’re really engaging with the lessons that are trying to be taught. You’ve got to do the work and stop expecting shortcuts.

3) Accept who you are. 

This falls in line with the first two lessons. Once Po realizes that everything he needs is already in him, he fights Tai Lung using the unique strengths he has. He’s no longer trying to be anyone other than himself AND HE’S KICKING A$$!!!! He finally accepts that he’s a Panda and everything that goes with it.

The final straw is when Tai Lung, who is starting to realize he can’t win, desperately exclaims, “You can’t defeat me! You’re just a big fat panda!”

Just before he strikes the final knockout blow, Po shoots back, “I’m not A big fat panda. I’m THE big fat panda!”

The Lesson: The only way to grow and really achieve what you want is to accept who you are. That doesn’t mean you are satisfied with it, but it does acknowledge your situation, your strengths and weaknesses, and if you actually take the time to think about it (and you really need to) it clarifies your values!

It’s also incredibly empowering! How do you think Po felt when he said that?

He feels like a BADA$$!!

Only once you start to really accept who you are, you can start to feel the same.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, Egoscue PAS, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com