"Kung Fu Panda 3,"the third installment in the popular animated series, is a great film for both children and adults. While children will laugh at the hilarious plotlines and jokes, adults will be able to appreciate the excellent voice work and impressive animation. But these aren’t the only things that Kung Fu Panda has going for it. At face value, the Kung Fu Panda series looks silly, but you’d be surprised at how much great motivational material is packed into these films. In fact, there are a few lessons to be learned from Kung Fu Panda 3. These are three great motivational lessons that "Kung Fu Panda 3" taught me.
Growth takes change (and mistakes)
Near the beginning of the film, Kung Fu Panda’s main character, the noodle-eating panda named Po, takes on a new role. Po, who spent the previous two films mastering the art of kung fu, now has the chance to rise up to the position of teacher, guiding less experienced fighters on the path he himself took. However, things go wrong and Po fails his students. He takes this personally and becomes very downtrodden about his failure, questioning whether he has what it takes to be a teacher.
We all know the adages about learning from our mistakes. While you might think of them as cliche, remember that a cliche always has a kernel of truth to it. Whenever we’re faced with a new challenge, we’re bound to face struggles, and we’ll probably make many mistakes. It’s a challenge, after all! By definition, it can’t be easy. But what makes our character is how we respond to these challenges. And almost always, we learn from our mistakes, do better next time, and grow as people. In this movie, Po makes mistakes, but in the end, he doesn’t let them get him down. By the end of the film, we can see how much he’s grown and how he learned from the challenges he faced.
Don’t be jealous of another person’s happiness
Partway through the film, Po learns some startling news – spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the film yet – his long-lost father, Li Shan, is alive, well, and happy to meet him. Naturally, Po wants to spend a lot of time with his father, and in doing so, his adoptive father, Mr. Ping, becomes jealous. Mr. Ping begins to think that Li Shan has replaced him, and that now Po has been reunited with his real father, there’s no need for his adoptive father.
This surprisingly deep plot point offers a lot of wisdom. We all become jealous at times of other people’s lives and their relationships with others. Indeed, there can be times when you might feel replaced or left out. But, as Mr. Ping learns, the best way we can support our loved ones is by accepting them and accepting others who make them happy. By the end of the film, Mr. Ping understands that Po still loves him and that Li Shan only makes Po happier than before. Similarly, we should be aware of what makes our loved ones happy and choose to support them. And by supporting our loved ones, we give them the strength to support us.
Of all the messages of this movie, as well as the series as a whole, “be yourself” is the one that is most important. Throughout the Kung Fu Panda series, Po struggles to live up to his expectations of what a warrior, or in the case of this film, a teacher, should be. By focusing too much on these labels, he ends up making mistakes, making him feel like he isn’t good enough to be these things he wishes to be.
This movie teaches us not to let labels define who we are. In Po’s case, those labels are “warrior” and “teacher,” but for you and me, that could be “great worker” or “best mother.” These labels we make for ourselves are unrealistic and unattainable, and when we (unexpectedly) fail to live up to them, we can feel defeated and unworthy. Rather, as we learn in Kung Fu Panda, you should just focus on being the best “you” that you can, and the rest will follow. #Hollywood