5 Leadership Lessons From The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid is being released on DVD tomorrow.  The following is an updated post of a review I wrote shortly after the movie’s release.  I hope it adds value to you.

The Karate Kid is a very enjoyable movie that reflects well on the 80’s original.  Jaden Smith playing the role of Dre’ Parker does an excellent job in this movie.  As a parent, I am always looking for movies that we can see together as a family and this meets that criteria.

Similar to a post I did on Iron Man 2, extracting leadership principles from the movies always makes the experience more enjoyable for me.  I know, I’m weird. However, when looking through a leadership lens, the following are five lessons that I feel we can take from this movie and apply to our lives. 

  1. Where There Is Great Trouble, There Is Great Opportunity – It was Dre’s difficult experiences in adjusting to a new environment and the people in his life that provided him the opportunity to have a defining moment.  If you are struggling with people or circumstances, please know your breakthrough may be just around the corner.  For more information on this topic, read Options – 4 Practices That Can Change Your Life.
  2. Little Things Have Great Meaning – Whether it’s how or if you hang up a jacket, talk to your mother, pour water, or enter a room, Dre’ learned that fundamentals compounded over time matter a great deal.  My wife was telling me this weekend about how she got her first job.  Others were more qualified, but she said “Yes Ma’am” to the person conducting the interview.  The supervisor figured if she treated her well, she would treat her customers well.  She was right.  Little things matter
  3. Secret Admirers – I don’t mean this in a sexual way.  What I mean is you never know who is watching your life.  They may admire your skills, passion, or your approach to life.  As a result, they may want to make an investment in you or send resources your way.  See Everyone Has Tape On You for more insights regarding this principle.
  4. Private Preparation Proceeds Public Success – Dre’ spends a tremendous amount of time training for the tournament.  The training was hard (sit ups, push ups, running, contact drills) and very creative (jacket, Great Wall).  You will never rise to the level of public success over the price you are willing to pay for it privately.
  5. Everybody Loves A Winner – Just like in the original, when Dre’ wins the tournament (c’mon you knew that was going to happen!), the class bully Cheng hands him the trophy.  Nothing unites people like excellence and winning.  If you feel unappreciated in any area of your life, look for ways to declare victory.

The Karate Kid is a feel good movie that the whole family can watch.  Buy it!  One other thought, Jaden Smith is an unbelievably athletic 12-year old.  I wonder when I am going to be writing about him regarding the sporting side of his life? 

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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