Kung Fu Panda – The Illusion of Control

kung fu panda and shifu
kung fu panda and shifu

The Beeb showed Kung Fu Panda yesterday evening. I’d seen it before and loved it, Carole and Keira hadn’t so we sat down and enjoyed it. The animation is beautiful and the story line is funny and powerful.

This morning I spotted a tweet from Ann Tran quoting from the film. The quote was “Anything is possible when you have inner peace”, and it reminded me of a great passage from the movie about the illusion of control.

Having previously written about the illusion of control, this passage struck a chord with me and I’d like to share it with you here:

Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.
Shifu: Illusion?
Oogway: Yes.
[points at peach tree]
Oogway: Look at this tree, Shifu: I cannot make it blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.
Shifu: But there are things we *can* control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!
Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
Shifu: But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!
Oogway: Maybe it can, if you are willing to guide, to nurture it, to believe in it.
Shifu: But how? How? I need your help, master.
Oogway: No, you just need to believe. Promise me, Shifu, promise me you will believe.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have Oogway as your HRD – just imagine the possibilities.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

7 thoughts on “Kung Fu Panda – The Illusion of Control”

  1. Imagine that in an organisational context…. “Believe. Promise me you will believe.” How powerful could that be in a dialogue with staff?

    I also like “the secret ingredient” theme – there is no secret ingredient but believing there is an assurance to others.

    Believe the impossible.

  2. Once the wave of doubt had passed, I think the results of such dialogue would be extremely powerful – provided the speaker of such powerful talk backed it up by getting out of the way and allowing folks to fulfil their destiny. Control is an illusion, a bit like secret sauce πŸ™‚

  3. I just stumbled across this post, I must have missed it when it was originally published. I have a quote from Kung Fu Panda next to my desk:

    “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that is why it’s called the present.”

    Keeps me grounded when things get manic!

    Alot can be learnt from cartoons πŸ™‚

    1. Splendid! Good quote thanks so much Katie. I’m a big fan of animation. We sat down as a family and watched Ponyo (Japanese animation) last weekend and it was very enjoyable. I don’t recall any memorable quotes form the film, but here’s one from the ever reliable Homer J Simpson:

      Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.


  4. It was on again tonight. It is one of my favourite movies. But the inspirational part for me is
    Mr. Ping (Po’s “Dad”): … To make something special you just have to believe it’s special.
    I look at my old cassette deck and see 1970’s japanese workers skillfully assembling it (Aiwa AD-1250) and I see teenage me looking at it covetously through the shop window. My wife thinks it is just rubbish. My mother thinks my wife is sometimes rubbish but all three are very special to me. I feel blessed to have so many special things in my life.

    1. Hi Steve – what a great comment. Belief matters doesn’t it? I’m glad you drew out Mr. Ping’s point and I’m sure many readers will appreciate and relate to the way you apply it to the Aiwa and your family relationships.

      Cheers – Doug

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