I'm a big fan of Kung Fu movies. Both the more realistic ones (Ip Man, Fearless) and those with supernatural powers like Storm Riders. (only the first!) Kung Fu Masters are basically the Asian version of superheroes.
Like how we learned from Spiderman that with great power comes great responsibility, there's plenty of values and lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Kung Fu Masters.
- Motivation and Drive - It takes a lot to get up every morning and go through the same process over and over again. At some point, you are going to get bored hitting a wooden dummy but Kung Fu Masters never give up. They know that the path to success takes a lot of commitment and focus.
- Practice, practice, practice - Even after they master a technique, formed their own school and defeated the villain, Kung Fu Masters never stopped practicing. Practice is the only way to maintain your skill and focus. Life is a constant learning process and practicing is one way to learn.
- Many paths up the mountain - Kung Fu Masters understand that there aren't just one way to reach the summit of awesomeness. There are multiple routes you can take. Similarly, the journey to success for an entrepreneur isn't predefined in anyway. Part of entrepreneurship is to discover a whole new way to success.
- Experiment - It's always extremely cool when a Kung Fu Master reveals his new technique that will blow his enemies away. But how did he come up with it? He experimented! What do you think he was doing hiding inside a cave? Entrepreneurs should never stop trying and testing things to see what works. Eventually, you'll come up with your own special home-brewed technique to defeat your competitors.
- Calm & Wise - A Kung Fu Master is always calm and wise. They don't rush into things and always seem to have the wisdom to get everyone out of trouble. An entrepreneur is a leader for his/her employees. Similarly, an entrepreneur have to be a calm and collected figure for the employees and use his/her wisdom to guide the company. You don't have to be smarter than your employees but at least be smart enough to realize that.
- Everyone has a weakness - No matter how powerful a Kung Fu master is, there's always a weakness to exploit. An entrepreneur must realize that no matter how big or well-established a competitor is, there will be a weakness somewhere to take advantage of. Just remember that you too have a weakness.
- Marketing - A Kung Fu Master knows the importance of marketing. This is why they are so eager to show-off their strengths to others. You must however maintain a good reputation and standing among your peers. Make business not enemies.
- Disciples - When you are passionate about something, you'll want to share it with others. This is why Kung Fu Masters start schools/guilds and recruit disciples. Similarly, an entrepreneur must have the passion and willingness to share. You have to inspire others to follow your lead.
- Competition - This is a fact of life. There's always someone better out there but Kung Fu Masters use it as the drive to push the limits. Let the competition be your fuel for your journey.
- Lonely at the top - There are always sacrifices to be made in order to reach greater heights. Kung Fu Masters know that as you move up the ladder, things around you will change and people will start treating you differently. But no worries, there are 6 billion of us, so surely there will be a few great ones up there to welcome you.
This is by no means all that you can learn from Kung Fu Masters. I'm sure there are many more insights and teachings that can help you in your journey. Now where did I put my Ip Man DVD...