Business Lessons Learnt from Monkey King Movie (Part 1 of 2)

I recently watch a movie during Chinese New Year called Monkey King … Before I went, I saw a lot of bad reviews over facebook  … Some say that they left the cinema 10 mins after start of the show … Well, there are also some neutral to good reviews but for me, I just relaxed and view the movie without expecting anything good or bad … it’s entertainment anyway, just relax … 

When I was studying in Kuen Cheng Girls High Secondary School, The Journey to the West was a compulsory book that we need to read and there is like 10% marks based on this book. As a student, I really could not understand what is the significance that our school need to force this book on to us but as I grew older, I start to read and research back … now, I appreciate my school for making this book a compulsory book to read.

Reading this book gave me a different perspective when I am watching the movie … I am able to detect the significance and meaning behind quite a lot of scenes in the movie that is related to the book. And as all Chinese stories, there are deeper meaning behind each stories that we could directly apply to our lives, our business … … I am not doing a movie review … What I am doing is to share with you what are the business tips that you can learn from this book. I am writing this post to use the most laymen English term to explain the scenes that I noticed in the movie “The Monkey King” …

Everybody’s life is like the main character of Journey to the West – The Monkey King … There are many challenges to overcome while chasing our dream … In the book, The Monkey King has 3 unique abilities :-

  1. 72 different transformation
  2. he can travel 108,000 miles with only one flip, faster than superman …
  3. He has a gold stick that follows his command whether to expand or contract in size

In this Movie of Donnie Yen however, it just covers the initial part (maybe the first 10% of the whole Journey to The West), but this initial part has 4 main business lessons that I hope to share with you …

Business lesson #1: Ordinary Monkey from the stone came to Leadership

rock

Goddess Nu Wa sacrificed herself to patch the skies after the massive war at the beginning of the movie

Before Monkey King was a King, he was just an ordinary monkey but with extraordinary origins, he do not have father or mother, but rather he was a product from a stone left by the goddess Nu Wa. This goddess sacrificed herself to patch the skies after the massive war at the beginning of the movie … So, this monkey live a life like any ordinary monkey until one day, all the monkeys decided to play a game (as they were so bored) and the game was to trace the origins of the waterfalls … They all came to the top of the waterfall and all stopped … no monkey dared to leap into the water source to check out and explore what is inside the source of the water hole.

So, all the monkeys agreed that whoever is the first one who is able to leap in the water source and come out safely will be the MONKEY KING …

cave

carving inside the cave 花果山福地, 水帘洞洞天

However, when no one dared to take this challenge as the leap will lead to uncertain , a monkey volunteered himself … he took a deep breath and leap into the water source … when he opened his eyes, he saw a beautiful cave with rock tables, chairs, utensils, fruits … he then went out from the hole again and lead all the other monkeys into the cave … The other monkeys then agree that this monkey that made the first leap is called the MONKEY KING …

 

waterfall

no monkey dared to leap into the water source to check out and explore what is inside the source of the water hole.

Summary of Business Lesson #1: is it by luck or by ability that the monkey is called the MONKEY KING ? I am sure that the other monkeys have the same ability, some maybe higher ability to make the leap … But that monkey was the first one who dare to step out of his comfort zone and explore, it is this spirit that made him the MONKEY KING … Coming back to the modern business world, there are many professionals with high qualifications and degree … However, it’s not difficult to notice that a lot of successful entrepreneurs are not those with high qualification .. some are high school drop outs … It is their entrepreneur spirit that made them successful … And most entrepreneurs are natural leaders …

The difference between a leader and normal people … The monkey was made Monkey King (Leader of Monkeys) because he had contributed significantly to his community, his leap has significantly changed the lives of his community … By discovering this nice and cosy cave, the monkey community do not need to worry about thunderstorm, heavy rains or any natural disaster that they might face … the cave protected them from all the previous danger … A leader is a leader because of his or her ability to lead and resolve the current issues of his/her community …

comfortable cave

The Monkey King found a comfortable cave where his monkey community can live safely

So you see, there’s a whole leadership message behind this simple leap from an ordinary monkey … It also means anyone can be successful … as long as you do not underestimate yourself … you do not need to accumulate a lot of abilities to make the leap … you can also choose to make the leap and then accumulate the skills along the way …

You dont need to obtain an business degree to do business. you can start up a business, fail – succeed – fail – succeed then only go back to study business … do not constrain yourself to the orders of the normal society … 

 

Business lesson #2: Transformation

In the movie, the teacher of Monkey King gave him his full name, “Sun Wu Kong” … But there is a huge difference between the original story and the movie. In the movie, the teacher went into the cave to look for the Monkey King and invite him as his student. But in the original story, it was the Monkey King that has spent 10 years from his original cave to look for his teacher. The reason was after he was crowned the Monkey King, he lived a comfortable live for close to 300 years … partying everyday … then suddenly, one day he had this uncomfortable feeling that life is going to end with inevitable death … a senior monkey then told him that he is able to gain immortality if he learn from another immortal … So, he gave up his comfort as a King, at age of 300 years old, he sail out with a raft into the ocean hoping to find a teacher that could teach him immortality …

The first teacher and mentor of the Monkey King

After 10 years of searching , He then found his teacher …. this is from the original story … but in the movie, it’s the other way round … but the concept of the monkey king willing to let go his leadership as a king to be a humble student in search for the skill on how to be immortal remains …

later part of the movie, Sun Wu Kong had learn new skills and , the naughty “Sun Wu Kong” fought with his fellow classmates and then the teacher seems very angry and knock his head for 3 times and turn his palm backwards walking away from his naughty students .. And Sun Wu Kong doesn’t seem sad after being publicly punished by his teacher … There’s meaning to this scene … In the book, Sun Wu Kong has a slight higer wisdom compared to his classmate to get the hint of his teacher … knocking his head 3 times means that the teacher is telling Sun Wu Kong to meet him at 3am in the morning, turning his palm backwards means he want Sun Wu Kong to use the back door when meeting him at 3am … the teacher then gave him the secrets to achieving immortality is to use his skill to overcome three major disaster Thunder , Fire , Wind … if he manage to overcome all these three disaster, he can then achieve real immortality … shortly, the teacher chased him out from his academy …

Summary of Business Lesson #2: Even the Monkey King at the old age of 300 Years old realised the importance of continuous learning … He left his comfort zone and look out for teacher that could teach him things that he wants to learn … This is a very good attitude to follow, to unlearn, relearn and non-stop absorbing new things no matter how old you are … Do not jump into the conclusion that you should stop studying a degree or drop-out because Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did so …  There’s 180 degrees difference between academic qualifications and continuous learning … Any  successful leaders of business owner might not need a academic qualifications, but he or she is definitely someone who seeks for continuous learning every breath they take … and yes, what we learn from The Monkey King is he fully understood that “Knowledge is Power” …

I hope my sharing is interesting to you … as I extracted the scenes from the movie and tell you the story behind the scenes … OK, I shall share Part #2 of Business Lessons Learnt from Monkey King Movie next week 😀 …

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