What Does Mulan Teach Us About Success and Self-Development?

What Does Mulan Teach Us About Success and Self-Development?

"A flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest of them all."
Mulan's Father, from the movie, Mulan

Tonight I came home and felt like watching a classic Disney movie, Mulan. I love this animation, not just because of its story, music and humour, but mainly because of its hero, Mulan.

I believe that Mulan isn't just a fictional character based on a real story. I believe Mulan is a metaphor for each of us. As a girl, Mulan didn't fit into the ideals of her times. According to her ancestors, parents and society (in the animated story) she does not bring 'honour' to anyone, including herself. She does an unthinkable thing and poses as a boy, learns to fight like a man and then saves China like a warrior, just to keep her injured father from going to war. And still she is shunned by her peers and family until the emperor crowns her a hero. Until someone with authority tells her 'you bought your family honour.'

I believe in a way we are similar to Mulan. How many times have we been shunned by our family's, society and our peers for standing up and standing out? How many times have we been told that we need to learn 'our place in life' and submit to it? How many times have we been guilt-tripped into thinking that we are different and by being different we bring dishonour to ourselves and those around us?

Mulan teaches the importance of following our difference. The movie shows that we were born to stand out and in doing so bring honour to ourselves by knowing who we really are and what our purpose in life is. And when we are true to that purpose, we bring honour to ourselves and in doing so, we shine. When we shine, people naturally radiate a light and this light glows so bright that people are summoned to it: they honour it. 

So let us take a lesson from Mulan. Girls, boys, men or women, stand up and stand out your difference. Discover your identity and honour it. Find the light and purpose to your life and live it out. You don't need to prove yourself or conform to anyone's ideals except your own because until you do, no one can really honour you.

If Mulan could learn to fight like a man and save China, you too can learn to fight for your beliefs and save yourself.

Anna Krjatian is the founder and director of The Butterfly and the author of Unmasking Depression. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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1 comment

Love this! Mulan is one of my favourite Disney movies because it’s the first one where the girl (disguised as a guy) fights for her family, she doesn’t go to a ball or do something with the intention of winning the guy’s affections as most of the other stories seem to teach, she does what feels true to her, even though, as you said, it essentially shames her family.
I love at the end where the Emperor basically tells Chang or whatever the leader’s name is, an idiot for not immediately seizing the opportunity to be with Mulan. “A girl like that doesn’t come along every dimas day!”. Plus the grandmother, she’s the best! :-)
It’s also similar to Ever After: A Cinderella Story (with Drew Barrymore) where although it follows the same storyline, the girl fends for herself when she needs to and would rather protect the people in the house she grew up with and let her step-sister marry the Prince than to be like the other girls vying for his attention. At the end she threatens to rip her captor with one of the swords he’s got as her father taught her well, then the prince is all “I’m here to rescue you!” as she’s walking out.
I think both movies/stories have great messages especially for females who I think are most affected by the media and status quo that they have to be or act a certain way rather than just doing what feels right and true to them.
Thanks for sharing this post! :-)


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