*Some plot details ahead! Not all are mentioned though.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching Kung Fu Panda 3 after waiting almost 5 years since the last installment. With this one in particular, I found a life lesson that never really meant anything to me until now, and it can most definitely apply to everyone in the world today.
Kung Fu Panda 3, which was released just a few days ago, focuses on Po, our beloved dumpling-eating, noodle-swirling, butt-kicking panda coming across Li Shan, his biological father and learning that he really isn't the last of the panda race. With his father, Po heads to the village he was born in following an attack on the Valley Of Peace by the past kung fu masters, now in green statue form and controlled by Kai, a wildebeest. Kai, the main villain, stole the chi of all the kung fu masters and plans to use them to take the chi and life of Po and the lives of all the other pandas in the village.
During the peaceful time that Po spends in that village, he remembers a powerful message that Shifu spoke to him days before. Shifu proclaimed that Po would become the new teacher of kung fu but unfortunately does not know who he is. This meant that Po, as The Dragon Warrior, didn't really know what it meant to be a Dragon Warrior at all, despite being destined to fight Kai. Master Shifu goes on to say,
"If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now".
When I heard this, I couldn't help but wonder how true those words really are, and believe me, they really are true. At one point of the movie, Tigress is the only surviving Master and meets up with Po at the panda village to inform him of Kai's impending attack. Po realizes he must become a true master of Chi in such a short time, but to fully take on Kai and his warriors, he must make an army of his own. He trains the other pandas in the art of kung fu and tells them "I'm not teaching you how to be me, I'm teaching you how to be you". This phrase also stuck with me throughout the movie, and it is a powerful one indeed. In the end, the army of pandas was able to hold back the attack and Po defeated Kai after becoming a true master of Chi, and was given a staff by Grand Master Oogway, who came back to life.
The lesson that really stands out from this film is that we as humans must never compare ourselves to others, not even if we are trying to be "perfect", for there is no true perfection and there is always a chance to improve. Master Shifu wanted Po to realize what his role in the world was about, what he was born for and who he was meant to be. Po knew that he was already a good fighter, but that didn't mean he couldn't become better and work harder to improve his potential. We can do that too, we really can, as long as we try both physically and mentally.
Too often, even as a young man, I've come across people who have been sad they couldn't reach their full potential in school, sports, fitness, relationships, or even social interaction with anyone in general. These people might, at times, just need some words of wisdom and a warm hug to let them know that the world hasn't ended, and other times they might not even have a slight bit of hope and confidence in themselves at all. But the truth is, no one can ever reach their full potential in anything, for there are no limits. As the saying goes, "the sky is the limit", and to our scientific knowledge the sky really has no ending no matter how far you go. That's to say that the limits that stop us are nothing more than the barriers we put in front of ourselves either consciously or subconsciously.
I've too been someone who has gone through rough, personal events in life; events that made me feel i couldn't keep doing what I was doing anymore and i had to give up, but after watching powerful movies, listening to music, listening to wise people and all that fancy motivational stuff, I was able to stand up again and say "No, I won't fall today, and I won't fall tomorrow". Anyone can do that, and you can too! Anyone has the ability to succeed and do well in whatever they do as long as it's all about them.
If you want to become a great basketball player, you won't be able to do so unless you constantly practice your shooting form, passes, and learn the plays, not to mention being a good teammate as well. Now, not everyone can dunk, but that doesn't mean they can't be good at everything else. If you want to bench 30 pounds more or curl 20 pounds more in the next couple months, then you need to understand that you must take your time and gradually work your way up and have an effective meal plan. If you want to make more friends, then talk to people on Facebook who go to your school, get to know them well and meet up with them to hang out. Talk to more people in your classes, be you, but don't be shy. Come out of your comfort zone and great things will happen. If you want to go to an Ivy League university, then do your best to keep getting straight A's throughout high school. Challenge yourself and take an AP course or several. Stay focused, stay positive, have fun. Start strong your freshmen year and stay that way for the next four years and you'll definitely receive that scholarship and letter of acceptance through the mail!
My point is, you got to know who you are; that means, you know what you want in life, and you know what you want to do. Po did that at the right time and he was able to defeat Kai. The message this film sends is visible to those who truly understand it, but Kung Fu Panda 3 is an action packed, visually appealing, and humorous film that is sure to earn a place in every viewer's heart worldwide.