“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are.”
Master Shifu, in Kung Fu Panda 3
If you’re looking for an entertaining, light film with a generous use of the term, “chi,” then Kung Fu Panda 3 will definitely fit the bill. It’s a continuation of the Kung Fu Panda story, that begins with Po, the Dragon Warrior, receiving a promotion of sorts from Master Shifu. Po will now be responsible for teaching Kung Fu to the other Masters. This creates great angst for Po as he believes he is not prepared for the challenges of teaching the likes of Tigress, Mantis, Crane, Viper, and Monkey. When he protests to Master Shifu, he receives the response above.
Honestly, there were so many times during the film that I thought to myself, “I say that exact thing.” Or, “I just said that yesterday!” Maybe there is not so much of a difference between being a Reiki Master and a Kung Fu Master! Maybe they are just different ways of working with energy and for different purposes.
When Shifu said, “If you only do what you [know you] can do, you’ll never be better than what you are.” I realized I had said the exact same thing (just worded differently) the day before. The women’s running group that I’m a part of was in the midst of wrapping up our January 100-mile challenge and let’s just say, it was very challenging for some of us. For some it was more mileage than we usually log in a month. For some, life got in the way – work schedules, illnesses, and injuries – oh, and frigid temperatures.
As we tried to encourage each other, through online messages about the challenge and our monthly total mileage, I offered the following: “It’s a challenge and therefore challenging. If you only did the challenges you knew you would accomplish, what would be the point?”
Shifu is saying a similar thing. We need to assess what we’re being presented with. Is it a challenge? Why is it challenging for us? What are the barriers? Are you not even starting the challenge because you’ve already determined that you will not, or may not, succeed? What if you try? Is this challenge a choice? Does it speak to you? Does it resonate with your soul? Does it align with your values? What if you did give it a try and didn’t succeed? What would be your worse case scenario then? However, if you never try, you’ll never know what you could possibly do.
So I offer to you today, what challenges are you avoiding? What are you not doing because you’re only doing what you can do? How can you stretch beyond your comfort zone and still align with your values and your true self? (Please let us know in the comments below!)
I know for myself there are running, writing, and teaching challenges ahead for me this year. Will I succeed at all of them? Maybe, maybe not. Though, how else will I know except by trying?
Wishing you the joy of trying.