Need a fix for attaining your every goal?
Well like the old laundry detergent ads said, “Its an ancient Chinese secret.”
Its kung fu– but don’t worry; I am NOT advocating for nunchuck training or even for martial art lessons.
I am referring to the literal translation of the words kung fu.
Of course, when we say the words kung fu, visions of Bruce Lee kicking groins and punching throats do come to mind. Or maybe you picture young students trying to snatch pebbles from the old, but quick, hands of wise teachers with giant Fu Manchu mustaches.
But quite simply, the words kung fu, or gongfu, are actually translated to time and effort.
Time and effort…..two things that certainly lead to success.. Wanna improve at something? Apply gongfu! Gongfu will make you an expert in mechanical engineering, cooking, or in mathematics, or in crocheting, or in candle making, or even in martial arts! Because time plus effort equals results, in whatever you want to do!
But somehow, in America, we have been taught a different formula. We have been taught that there can be a way around the hard work and time and patience. Maybe its all this reality television that has skewed our perspective. Maybe watching someone win a million dollars by eating bugs or by living naked in the jungle has increased out tendencies to cut corners. Some of us look for easy ways to accomplish things, without the gongfu.
When we want to lose weight and get healthier, we are quick to buy up gadgets and powders and pills from infomercials, all with the promise of results with no gongfu. When we need money, we invest our limited money into playing the lottery. Again, no gongfu needed.
David Carradine , the star of the 1970s hit series Kung Fu, would be very disappointed in all of us.
Somehow, our society has trained us that miraculously, success and excellence can be achieved by hoping, wishing, or by just pure dumb luck.
But how can we expect to raise smart and successful children in this society of ours if we continuously model behavior that seeks immediate gratification and puts forth no effort?
The question of working (or not) for your accomplishments and accolades is discussed in many popular works of literature and film. My favorite quote on the importance of doing the actual hard work comes from Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcom, played by uber-cool Jeff Goldblum. Describing the accomplishments of the dinosaur park, he sums it up with: “I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it…….You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it….”
Now of course, most folks looking to cut corners, like those seeking easy get-rich-quick schemes or those wanting to change careers without any sacrifice or hard work, are probably not genetically engineering extinct dinosaurs in their basements.
David Carradine would be relieved over that, at least!
Cause while we all need to apply a bit more gongfu to our goals, at least our impatience and laziness won’t rise up and eat us once it gets dark out!
So my challenge to you all and to myself this week, when we are all seeking to improve ourselves, whether it is in the arenas of health and wellness or career aspirations or simply a hobby we’d like to improve at, let’s all employ a little bit of gong fu.
Can we do that, Grasshopper?
And if you decide to apply literal gongfu to training in kung fu, well that might just help with fending off the dinosaurs.
Hollywood Fun Fact: Rumors tell us that Bruce Lee actually came up with the idea for the television series Kung Fu, about a Chinese martial artist traveling the Wild West, but that Warner Bros stole the idea from under his nose. And then instead of casting an Asian or Asian-American actor in the lead, they cast a white man, David Carradine, to play the Chinese hero. Back then, Asians were rarely seen in lead roles in American film or television.
Ultimately, though, both David Carradine and Bruce Lee went on to very successful careers in film and television.
Must have been dumb luck.
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