The days of cartoons being used simply as a gimmick to keep children entertained have all but ended as each brightly-colored film and half-hour program now carry inherent messages within their story line that are designed to teach children more about the world around them. From manners to common sense cartoons are now being used to push forth an idea of how the real world works and what is expected of children as they grow.
While some might claim that this is counterproductive, as parents and teachers are considered to be better role models, the ideas granted by cartoon films such as Kung Fu Panda are designed to give children a better idea of how to treat one another and accept themselves for who they are. While such lessons are best taught by the important figures in their lives, there is nothing wrong with a cheerful cartoon panda taking the reins once in a while.
Here are five important leadership lessons we can learn from Kung Fu Panda.
5. Finding your secret ingredient is key
As Po would say, there is no secret ingredient. Everyone has that one quality about them that makes them special. No matter if it is similar to another, that quality is still unique enough that it makes an individual worthy of note. All that remains upon this revelation is to discover what the one secret ingredient is and how to best utilize it to help the individual and others.
4. Find and unleash the master within
There is a fire that lives within the heart of every person, all it needs is the chance to burn brighter. When the world presses down on a person the natural responses are to fight, or to flee. Those that are able to find this fire and nurture it are the ones that will stand their ground and face their fears, and allow their mastery of that emotion to guide them through the hardest times.
3. The true warrior never quits
Some of us might not think of ourselves as warriors, or fighters, or even being particularly strong in any way. Many times in life it does matter if one is strong, tough, or quick, but only that they are unwilling to simply move aside in the face of adversity. The true warrior will not bow and move out of harms way when they are needed. They will stand true and face whatever the world decides to throw at them.
2. There is potential in every person
In the film, Po is about the laziest figure there. He is overweight, lazy, and seems to aspire to something he can never be. But as the film progresses his outer layers are stripped away and what remains is still the same panda, but with a spirit that can rival even the greatest masters of Kung Fu. This shows that simply because potential cannot always be seen, it is still entirely possible to realize.
1. Always strive for greatness
Despite his shortcomings, Po never quit believing that one day he would be meant for something greater. His belief and perseverance eventually allowed him to overcome his fears and uncertainties, and elevated him to a status he had never dreamed was possible. This is the possibility of belief, that one can change their lives in ways that they might not be able to imagine. The belief in oneself, the determination, and the ability to reach for new heights is a valuable lesson that many would do well to learn from.
Cartoon movies are fun, they’re entertaining, and overall they are an amusing distraction for children and adults alike. Their lessons however are quite clear and can be seen as a rather valuable tool that is better to be taken as a learning experience rather than discounted as mere frivolity.