While we all know Bruce Lee for his incredible physical attributes, his on screen presence, and his major role in Jeet Kune Do, a lot of people do not realize he was a great philosopher. He actually majored in drama at University of Washington, but he definitely had a heavy course load that included psychology and philosophy. You can clearly see how he applied what he learned from his research, martial arts experience, and everyday life into a methodology that transcends Jeet Kune Do. It’s practical yet deep enough to apply to your struggles or triumphs.
Here are some of my favourite Bruce Lee quotes:
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
Great, great quote. We all have a problem with keeping things simple and useful. This is especially the case when adapting a new way of working out, cooking, or any other activity. Certain things do not work for us, so use what you learn and apply it in a way that works for you.
You can see how Bruce Lee took a lot of the restraints from other martial arts and applied his own philosophy to better help his defense and offense outside of textbook fighting.
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
This is a great motivator. Even if you don’t have the money, the talent, or the means yet, it should not stop you from going after something. Your drive, your hard work, and your sacrifices may bring out an inner strength you never knew you had.
Bruce Lee had to deal with the issue of being not only a minority, but someone from the East. No film company wanted an Asian playing a role, but someone that could look Asian playing a dishwasher or an awkward comedic neighborhood had a better chance of being hired. He defied all of that with his starring role in Enter the Dragon.
“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”
It’s all about building a legacy no matter how big or small. You want to leave the world with something positive even if it’s just for your family and friends.
It’s been nearly 40 years since his death, but Bruce Lee still touches people in a way that makes his spirit immortal. Through his movies, his discipline, his philosophy, and influence in video game characters, he will always have a place in the heart of others.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
Sometimes, over-thinking can hold us back from what we truly want in life. One step in the right direction is better than no step at all.
A lot of people tried to hold Bruce Lee back whether it was developing his own art, teaching Kung Fu to people outside of Chinese descent, or even breaking through Hollywood. He never let that stop him.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
Although it’s an added bonus to make people proud, you have to make yourself happy. Focus on what you want and people will see the positivity. That will impact them much greater.
Bruce Lee always focused on his own self improvement and achieved great heights in a short but fulfilling life. By default, he’s inspired others to accomplish their own goals.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
One of the best quotes. Point. Blank. Period. We have a lot of goals we want to achieve, but we have to spend the time to get good at accomplishing these feats.
When it came to martial arts, Bruce Lee dedicated himself by not only practicing his fundamentals but changing his diet, developing a good workout regimen, and studying the methodology of the arts he learned.
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
Failing is a part of life and we learn the most from our mistakes. We can only grow when we challenge ourselves.
Bruce Lee always challenged himself and I’m sure he knew he was taking a chance and risk with all of the endeavors he pursued.
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
Some of your goals may not be quite attainable, but you should definitely strive and use that as fuel to empower your own life. Even if you do achieve a few, it’s better than not achieving anything at all.
When I think of Bruce Lee and this quote, I think of Game of Death. While it was an incomplete film and it did not show the whole message of Bruce Lee’s fighting tactics, the audience did see how he adapted to the tactics of each adversary.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
This can be applied to your daily life. We all go through tough times and we just have to learn how to roll with the punches. Being flexible helps you deal with everyday issues and build your character.
Jeet Kune Do is a perfect example because there is no complete set of fixed movements like other martial arts. It’s more about applying moves that work outside of the tournament because a street fight has no rules.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Always be yourself. You are your own person. While you might get influenced by others, still have your own belief and standards.
Bruce definitely embodied self-expression. He used the teachings and stylized it in a way to express himself.
What are some Bruce Lee quotes that resonate well with your beliefs?