There is no secret ingredient

The movie Kung Fu Panda was on cable recently. It’s interesting how you can sit and watch some movies over and over again. This was a very cute movie – but I won’t give you a synopsis of it here.

However, I will share with you the gold nugget buried in this movie it’s one that many struggling adults also need to hear. “There is no secret ingredient” is the key to unlocking the next level for whatever stage you are at in life.

Some of us are simply “surviving” and are just thankful that we’re able to make ends meet – at least, most of the time.

Others have reached the stage called “contentment.” We are just continuing to do what we are doing because life is easy and it makes sense for us at this stage. We know we haven’t reached our full potential – but hey, we’re happy.

Some of us have reached the level where we actually begin to know that we are worth something. We may have thought we have some worth before, but situations and circumstances have happened to us – and we’ve seen some victories.  Now we think we have it all figured out.

But this is where the frustration begins.

At this level, we begin to assess where we are in life – and we see that we have the potential to be farther along than we are now. We’re frustrated because we want our current job to make that happen for us, but it doesn’t happen. We feel trapped because we have bills to pay and a family to support. We can’t just keep jumping around from job to job — we need stability!

But at the same, we’re not sure we can handle the pressures that achieving the next level may bring. Oh, we talk tough when we’re angry—like when something happens on the job that makes us want to pack up and leave. But deep down, we know we can’t – because we’re trapped. The next stage is comfortable – which is just another form of contentment. After that comes (finally!) success – the real deal!

So how do we reach success? What’s the secret? In the movie, we learn that the secret is: THERE IS NO SECRET! It is YOU!

To succeed in anything, we must first believe we can do it. We can have all the skill, ability, talent, gifts – even a great smile – but the magic doesn’t start until we believe we can do it.

Problems are like math. There is a process to them. No matter how difficult the problem, the process of solving them remains the same. If you can multiply 2×2, then you understand the process and can multiply 13,658 x 27,498. One takes a little more time than the other, but the process is still the same.

If we were to take this approach to surmounting the obstacles we encounter in our lives, we would gain the confidence we need to tackle bigger problems.

Then – before we know it – we can handle anything life throws at us!

Case in point: Michael Jordan was probably one of the greatest basketball players ever to compete in the NBA. He always wanted to take the last shot and he thrived on high pressure situations. He would often hit the winning shot during the last few seconds of the game – devastating the hopes and confidence of the other team.

We always hear about the end result – how he hit the game winning shot. But what we don’t hear about is why. The answer is always clouded with statements like, “Wow! He’s just the greatest!” and “Gosh, how can he do that?” and “Oh my! Did you see that shot!?!”

If we could hit the slow-motion button just as Jordan is dribbling down the court to take the shot – and ask him WHY he is taking that shot, he would say, “Because I know I can make it.”

I’ll never forget that last shot in Hoosiers when the movie’s character, Jimmy, is in the huddle. The coach calls a play that shocks the team. He proposes using Jimmy as a decoy so someone else can take the last shot. Seeing the looks of dismay on the players’ faces, the coach frantically asks the team “What’s wrong?” Jimmy looks at him and says what the rest of the team was thinking.

“I’ll make it,” he said.

I still get chills thinking about that line.

I’ve made a few of those shots – both on and off the court. I hope you take away from this article the secret to the secret ingredient: YOU!