Joseph Lee's Perspectives
My view of the world
June 9, 2008 - Kung Fu Panda and the Present

I've written here before that I had run many workshops during my life as a consultant, and that I love using movie quotes.   Star Wars is one of my  favorites, rich with conflicts between good and evil, passion and calm, and the different sides of the force.

Let me start the story by saying that today was a very hot day in Los Angeles, and the mercury was up to 100 and higher in the San Fernando Valley.   Early in the morning, we had to drop off our son at LAX.   My wife had to run an errand in downtown.   On our way back to the Valley, I needed to gas up, and drove into Costco in Van Nuys, the only Costco within a 40-mile radius of my home that had a gas station.  I saw prices for regular gas at $4.59 at some pumps, with others hovering around $4.45.   At Costco, it was $4.33, plus a 25-minute wait in the line.   I must have burned up enough gas running my air-conditioning at max to save the 20 cents per gallon or about $3.00 for a three-quarter tank of gas.

To be frugal on the ever-increasing electrical bill, we decided that $8.50 x 2 was a good price to pay to sit in the comfort of a movie theater to watch the latest CG animation, Kung Fu Panda, starring the voices of super stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and of course, Jackie Chan.

Of course, there is an eternally wise one in any movie with the words "Kung Fu" attached to it, and this one was no exception.   In a critical sequence, the wise one--a turtle of all animals--preaches to Master Shifu to focus on the present.

"Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift," he would say.  "That is why we call it 'Present.'"

"Aha!" I said to myself.  Another masterful quote that I could use in my next presentation skills workshop.   I repeated the words to myself enough times to commit them to memory.   I had no choice, since I wasn't about to start scribbling on a pad in a dark movie theater.

I asked myself, was that exactly what he said?, and then wondered if the turtle character used  "a" in front of the word  "Present."   But then, I figured I could research the IMDB database and look for quotes from the movie. (and I later found out that the movie was released only last week-end so  there no quotes on the IMDB web-site; at least, not yet).

Well, as long as I have the gist of the quote, I would be ok, I figured.   Then I wondered under what context I could use this quote.  It'll probably work well when I describe the "SELF" element of the Six S's of Presentation Skills that I so proudly tout.  Being in the moment and being in the present are important concepts for business executives.  Yes, that would be a great time to use a quote like this.

But wait, I thought.  Unless I get the DVD, the quote won't be as powerful.  Me standing in front of a class pretending to be the wise turtle may not be that entertaining.  Besides most people haven't seen Kung Fu Panda.

My thought process was broken by a loud roar.  I snapped out of my thoughts and watched the Panda snapping at a shaolun bao (bun) with chopsticks.   Whatever the joke was, I missed it.

Gee, I thought to myself.   I missed the Present.

2008-06-10 06:03:39 GMT
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