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11 Life Lessons Learned From Kung Fu Panda

There’s a little kid inside each and every one of us and I find it to be a sign of authenticity for those that know how to live with that kid in a compassionate and loving way. Most adults tend to neglect the little human inside of them and try their best to be and look as serious and tough as possible, but they fail miserably!

The secret to being an adult is not to totally neglect your childish part, but to learn how to deal with that side of you. There’s nothing wrong with acting childish once in a while; sleeping until noon, watching animated movies (my favorite!) or being upset for no reason.

As long as you don’t do that regularly and you know when you can cross that fine line, you are golden!

I see it as a special skill to be able to act like a child but at the same time to grow a successful business and I would even go as far as saying that knowing how and when to let that little kid inside of you do his job, is crucial in living a balanced life, letting your creative juices flow or growing a business.

So, what better way of connecting with your little self than by watching an animation movie, and probably one of the best, Kung Fu Panda. I’ve outlined some of the life lessons that caught my eye, but feel free to look even deeper.

1. Your Mind is Like Water…

…when it’s stirred it’s hard to see clearly.


Do your best to not judge a situation or, even worse, conclude it, when you are mad, sad or not in your best mood.

The 3-day rule

When you are dealing with a tough situation (not “problem”! – learn to substitute with “situation”) give yourself three days to come up with a first conclusion. When you get bad news, you feel bad and there’s nothing wrong with that – remember that you are a human being and it’s okay that some news will take away some of your energy – it’s just that when you are feeling down it’s hard to see the bright side in anything.

Allow yourself at least a day or night to sleep on it, speak with someone and then think about your situation again – it will feel lighter for sure! Experiment and see what lifts your mood because by feeling down or negative you are not helping at all. Here are 7 ways that help me when I am feeling down (yes, I love comedy!).

2. There Are no Accidents

You can call them accidents or coincidences, it doesn’t really matter.

A few months ago I had to leave the apartment I was currently renting and I’ve started looking online for a new and affordable place. After seeing hundreds of ads online and visited about 10 places, we found one that was pretty okay: the price was incredible, everything was new inside, but it was far from the city center and too small.

We (me & my girlfriend Roswitha) decided that we could make a compromise and move in there at least for six months and then we’ll see further.

The apartment was available in 2 weeks, but the person staying there didn’t want to leave. That evening we paid a visit to a good friend and we ended up staying over for dinner. We knew that the apartment next door would be available in a month, but that was too late for us.

When we got there, they told us that the people moved earlier that day. Ten minutes later we met the owner who decided to give us the apartment.

Accident? No. It was just the Universe/God taking care of us and placing us in the perfect area. We know live on the banks of a river, close to the city center and close to the biggest farmers market in town. Pretty sweet, huh?

Here’s an exercise: start seeing everything that happens to you as “good”, as something that will help you grow or as something that will make you a better human being.

3. The Answer Lies Where you Sometimes Least Expect It

The Bible says “Ask and it is given”, but often times we tend to only look where we expect to find the answer. Everything that we ask for (and believe we can get) it is given to us, we only need to:

  • let the “miracles” happen – we are great at getting in the way of our own happiness
  • open our minds and stop acknowledging things only if they happen as we imagined – there’s beauty in the uncertainty

4. You will Never be Prepared

Yes, you will never be perfectly prepared to start a (new) business or to learn a new language. You just have to take a leap of faith and trust that you will learn everything you need to succeed along the way.

Po (the panda guy) entered an obstacle run by mistake and you might have thought he was not prepared for it, but he finished it anyway. It’s not about how perfect you manage to do something, it’s about doing it in the first place.

Quote by J. K. Rowling


After graduating power engineering at one of the best schools in Romania, I decided (in September 2014) to start blogging full-time and build a career this way. There’s no point in telling you how many people told me I was crazy and how will I ever survive, but there was one man that believed I can make it, that knew that working as an engineer would slowly kill me.

Do you know who that person was? It was me. Sometimes you will be the only one believing in your dream and that’s okay, keep pushing because it will happen.

One year later, I am still alive, happier than ever and fully supporting myself from my online businesses, but I was so not prepared when I first made the decision.

Another reason why you are not following your dream is because of perfectionism, but I am sure this article will help!

5. Attitude is Everything

Po kept his positive attitude even when the furious five were giving him a hard time by kicking his butt. He kept on looking at the bright side of things and he was happy for just being there, slowly working on his dream instead on preparing noodles with his father.

Stop and see which side of the coin you are looking at and question if it’s the only way of looking at things, or you could do yourself a favor and see everything from a more optimistic perspective?

Being an optimist does not mean that you are irresponsible. It just means that you choose to see everything in a brighter and happier perspective.

Some might call you a dreamer and that’s fine because by seeing everything as something good, you will attract more good into your life and soon you will be called “the lucky one”. But it has nothing to do with luck, it has everything to do with the choices that you once made.

6. There’s no Bigger Pain than Doing Something You Don’t Love

No pain doing what you love is going to be as painful as doing what you don’t like.

Po was able to take in all the obstacles that he had to face as a kung-fu warrior and they weren’t as painful as cooking noodles with his father, because even though he was not as great as he’d like to be, he was at least working on his dream and not on his father’s dream for him.

The deal with parents is that they love us so much and they only want what’s best for us, they only want what they believe it’s best for us. And that’s okay because they have their own fears and doubts, plus we live different times now. I do love and appreciate my parents for all they did for me and I am sure you feel the same, but have you ever told them those three magic words? I am on a mission to help people share their true feelings with the ones they love the most. No one deserves to die without hearing “I love you” from his children. 

Read my story on telling my parents how much I love them and do the same – it’s amazing how relieved you will feel and how much it can change your relationship with them.

Being able to make a living writing and coaching people online was my dream for the past five years. During this time, I had several other Summer jobs and, of course, University. Since September 2014 I blog full-time and there were some rough times where I couldn’t pay for rent, but it was not as painful as making someone else rich and not being able to let all my creativity unfold.

There’s no bigger pain than not doing what you’re supposed to do. When you see someone that is not doing his highest purpose it’s for these reasons:

  • He’s doing the job for the money
  • He’s doing it to please other people (read parents)
  • Or he lived in a culture that did not teach him that he has the power to create his own job and make a living out of it

I dare you to do yourself a favor and start pursuing your passion and build a business out of it because it’s possible, even for an engineer from Romania like myself.

7. Everyone Has Their Unique Form of Motivation

When he got to the temple, Po was very slow and his punches were so weak, but when he got to the room with all the sweet stuff, something amazing happened: he was more likely to fight for something he liked (cookies) than for anything else. He smacked a lot of the drawers in order to get some candy.

Quote by Mihai Herman


It’s the same with you, once you manage to find what drives you, you’ve found the key to his success.

Master Shifu used this piece of wisdom on in his training with Po by promising all kinds of food if he manages to finish his training. It’s very important to develop and maintain a teachable attitude in life if you want to be happy – if you’re always stuck in old patterns, it will be pretty hard to move forward and enjoy life.

Tony Robbins talks about how we link pain and pleasure in his book “Awaken the Giant Within” and how this defines our levels of happiness and success. The good news is that once we are able to link pleasure with a healthy habit we will be automatically drawn to that specific practice. The bad news is that it works the same with unhealthy habits – the key is in your hands, though!

8. Learn How to Use Your Own Gifts

We all have our own set of gifts, but often times it’s easier to look at others, see their strengths and become victims because we don’t own the exact set of strengths.

We are all unique, with unique experiences and gifts, it’s just that some of us seem to have mastered their set. Take the time to get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, this will give you a huge advantage in life because this means walking the extra mile.

I talk more about finding your true voice in another article here on PickTheBrain – 12 Enjoyable Steps to a More Balanced Life. Chris Winfield also wrote an amazing guide on becoming your best self where he shares some powerful ideas on rituals and what the pro’s do.

9. There’s no Quick Way to Mastery

It took Tigress 20 years to develop strong hands, 20 years of practicing.

Too many people live under the impression that there’s a quick way to mastery and being legendary, but the hard truth is this: you have to work your butt off in order to reach success.

We live in a world that is full of overnight successes which leave us with the wrong impression of doing something wrong or being a failure if we’re not becoming successful as fast as the other ones.

I love to read success stories, but they usually don’t share the hard truth behind them because it’s not fancy, it’s boring and full of sleepless nights, wet tissues and hopeless situations. Rovio, the company that created Angry Birds launched 51 games that “failed”  until they were able to come up with the brilliant one, but 90{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} of the people believe that it was an overnight success.

Mastery is all about developing healthy habits which will raise your chances of becoming successful, but that takes time and perseverance. Success is a lifestyle change, not a diet!

10. You Don’t Have to Look like a Hero

Your parents, teacher and the media has given you the impression that in order to be loved, to be successful, to be happy you have to be, act or look a certain way.

We are all different and what might work for one, will not work for someone else, that’s why you need to start looking inside, get to know yourself and define what success or happiness means for you! It may be arts, music, writing or speaking, but you will not know until you stop and analyze which thoughts are yours and which thoughts are borrowed.

Po is the last person you’d think to master the art of kung-fu and even though it’s an animated movie, it’s the same in real life. Think about how many excuses you find to not be successful: you’re too fat, young, thin, not educated, poor parents, abandoned, alcoholic parents, bad neighborhood and so on.

All of the above are tough experiences, but they helped you grow in some weird ways that you might never understand. Live with them and with your power in those exact experiences.

11. You Decide How Your Story Will End!

Even though your story had a bad or unfortunate start, or you’ve experienced a lot of pain along the way (like we all do by the way) it’s not who you are. You are bigger than your story, bigger than your past and much bigger than all your suffering.

Learn to let go of the victim mentality and move into an empowering state of being because even though it started badly, you can choose how it will end. You have the power to turn your life around, become happy, change the world and leave a mark on this planet.


The conclusion is pretty straightforward – be more of who you really are. Allow yourself to act like a child every now and then, learn how to use your unique gifts and, most importantly, decide how do you want your story to end.

If you are new to this type of movies and would love a head start on which ones share valuable life lessons, check out my other article “15 Life Lessons Learned From Animation Movies”.

Mihai Herman is a business coach and founder of Male Extravaganza where he teaches men how to be happy, kind and successful. He believes in a better world that’s why he created an email course on becoming a better man in 7 days! Join his free email course here!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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