Bruce Lee was one of the most iconic public figure. He was not only serve as a martial artist and actor, he was a charismatic philosopher, a fantastic leader. Heck, I would say he was the best martial artist during his time, he even created his own martial art. Jeet Kune Do. A fighting style that uses no style as a style. Which means discover the best fighting style, or method for one individual.
The voices and messages he left to this world are quite influential and became inspiration to millions of people around the world. Here are 10 quotes by Bruce Lee to trigger the best of you for personal growth.
1. Be water my friend
Bruce Lee, as a movie star, he has been interviewed a hell lot of time and has proven that he knew how to lead a conversation in a clever and exciting way. He always used that opportunity to share his philosophical view about every questions that thrown at him. Now this line he said, where the full version is “Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Be water my friend.”, is the most popular quote he ever spoke to public and the most memorable one. This line was short and simple, where to him, living like water would give us peace and freedom, even in the darkest time.
Water is the softest substance in the world, yet it could break the hardest rock within some period. So it doesn’t matter how hard or fast you go, as long as you don’t stop. As long you stay on the flow and break through every obstacles. Either by slipping through the gap, facing it one on one, searching for alternatives or different routes. But the important key is, don’t ever give up and stay on track like how water can flow or crash.
This quote is also about adaption, in order to liberate from stress, confusion, discomfort, and all of those terrible things, we need to learn how to adapt ourselves in different environment and situation. The flow of life keeps going on and on, it will never stop so we have to know the correct action and reaction so we won’t mislead ourselves.
“You pour water in to a bottle it becomes the bottle. You pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You pour water into a teapot it becomes the teapot.”
2. Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own
This is another quote from Bruce Lee which is controversial, not because it was mentioned in an interview, but because the public does not know for sure whether he spoke this quote or not. If you surf the Internet you will see many different versions of this quote. Like, add what is useful, reject what is not, and add what is special for your own. As a matter of fact it is still a mystery did Bruce Lee spoke this quote or not.
But the origins of it isn’t our topic today, in my personal perspective, this quote tells us about how Jeet Kune Do is created. Long before he discovered the martial art, he once a student of Wing Chun Kung Fu master, Ip Man. Under his teachings, Lee continued to share the art to the Western. A Shaolin master named Wong Jack Man did not appreciate what Lee did and paid him a visit, to punish him. It was a miserable mistake for Wong to do that, Lee managed to beat his ass out under 5 minutes. Wong didn’t even had a chance to notice his lightning fast strikes. However, during the fight, Lee noticed that his Wing Chun techniques are no longer effective to fight him off. After the battle he begun to increase his workout intensity and looked beyond his knowledge.
He observed, and learned from different fighting styles such as Karate, Judo, Fencing etc. He didn’t let his Kung Fu style limited him to learn something his Kung Fu style couldn’t. Often time, not little of us feel limited by example we saw, by what our teacher, mentor or parents taught us, and probably by the tutorial we read or watch. Well if you feel like on of those who is being chained by that limited feeling. It’s time to break free out of it.
Don’t ever be afraid to look beyond your window. And don’t ever feel doubtful about the knowledge all around you that offer you a chance to be wiser and opened. Like Bruce Lee said “All type of knowledge is ultimately self knowledge.”.
3. Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
To all of you who knows how to shift your mind and change your life, what is the value of those knowledge if you don’t apply them to yourself? And to all big dreamers out there, you’ve dreamed a lot about how you would have fun with the dream car of yours, but when will you start acting to transform your dreams into reality?
Intention, decision, aspirations, goals and all those things you keep, don’t just keep them – it’s like owning a Lamborghini in your garage but never wanted to drive it – love and live them!
4. I do not fear a man who can do 10.000 kicks once. But I fear a man who can do a kick 10.000 times
The first time I read this, I had no idea what it means, I couldn’t notice the fine line. Now I’m sure I was too naive to process such statement, but I also sure my mind know how to perceive Lee’s words.
This is about focus and mastery. I believe in the eyes of Lee, there is no such great value someone would have if they could show off countless techniques, tricks or kicks once. A person who’s willing to master one foundation or aspect wouldn’t concentrate their goals to different areas in their field, instead, they concentrate on one area to master it. Then, they move on to the next one. I mean it takes real intention, guts and love from the heart to perform a single kick 10.000 times to master it. Heck, even I failed to achieve 10.000 Karate front kick. I had to start over, because such mastery can only be accomplished by a consistent process.
5. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
And why you’ll never get it done? Because the only way to get it done, is to act. Not just think or daydream about it. Often we spend our time dreading the consequences, risks, terrible experience we will face if we pick one decision, and that’s the problem every human being have, we waste time by letting ourselves suffer in our own imagination. We let the darkest side of our fantasy take over, which, it gives higher chances of possibility such terrible thing could happen in reality.
Our mindset determines how we perceive the world, how things fall to us and how we react. So from now, spend less thinking and do more action. And be sure to think positive.
6. Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
Life was never easy, it is not easy and never will. Life will always be difficult and was determined to be. So don’t complicate things since life itself is already complicated. Help ourselves by strengthen our spirituality, ask God for the power to face this crazy world because overtime, shit gets harder and it won’t stop. You need endurance, to endure and survive the crazy ride, that’s how you become the legend of your own.
Besides, if your life gets way too easy for the rest of your life, it’ll get boring. Your body will be formidable to face challenges but your mind won’t. There will be an imbalance inside of you. The harder the level, your triumph will be more fantastic and worthy than ever.
7. For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.
It takes like 20 years to build a business, and it takes less than a minute to destroy its reputation. The issue with us, well most of us is that we prefer to destroy than build. Because evil deeds always glorify but never satisfy. IT’S TIME TO STOP. I strongly believe Lee puts the “criticize” as destructive criticism. It makes sense the context that destructive criticism tear apart the spirit of others.
People like this should be criticize themselves instead of others, because the main root of such terrible deed is self hatred. They hate themselves because they can’t be the person they criticizes, and that’s ironic, such a negative personality. The blame their disadvantages to those who have the advantages.
Get to know yourself means to do self mastery, which means to truly know who you are, what you are, why the hell you are like this and so on. And beneath those questions, another questions await. It takes a lifetime full of philosophical thinking to answer that. Because for every second you grow, the tiniest detail in you change, let it be your blood stream, your height, mindset and stuff. So taking a quick guess of who you are and believe such answer is ultimately precise is terribly foolish.
Criticizing people is not a forbidden thing to do, but the destructive one is. Give a person constructive one, especially when they ask for it. Get to know yourself, create and discover yourself. You won’t get anything if you shift your attention to other individuals and tear them apart every single chance you got.
8. Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
You are currently getting to know Bruce’s personality through his quotes, and now you read this one, how do you react? If Bruce told us not to look for a successful personality – knowing he is one successful personality himself – and not duplicate it, then why would he even share his quotes to us? Well, it’s simple. Every people in the world have lessons, either by self taught, experience or shared by others. We can’t just keep them all to ourselves, we need to share it, it can be a guidance to other people.
Like you. And me.
So the point of this quote is, no matter how many advice, quotes, successful personality and all other motivating stuffs you knew, never let them to become something you want to create, instead, create the “my” version of it. Be yourself and be someone better, express the way you do, unlimit yourself from what you see and heard. Be original, that’s what this quote means.
9. I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
This is a win-win quote. And can be perceived as “every man for himself” kind of message. Although, it makes sense that we hold expectations and sometimes we expect someone else to live it up, well, time to wake up and smell the coffee. No one will ever truly live up your expectations, and you shouldn’t live up someone else’s.
Everyone is busy with their own wish list and dreams, so mind your own business.
10. A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.
The truth is, not every single thing our teacher taught us is 100% true. And your teacher can be anyone, partners, friends, even life itself is a teacher. Truth is relative. On one angle, person A may perceive the symbol on the floor as number 9, while person B on different position sees it as a number 6.
We all have our own experiences and each steps we took, had a lesson for us and for every steps we’ll take, more lessons and obstacles are waiting for us. Our teacher is only here to guide us, to point us to the correct direction, to warn us about the danger of the ocean wave on the other side.