Bruce Lee was truly a phenomenal human being, not only for his martial arts prowess, but also for his deep understanding of philosophy, Optimal Living, and his desire to share his knowledge with others.
Lee, who learned martial arts in Hong Kong before moving to Seattle in High School (fun fact: he went to the same HS as Jimi Hendrix!), studied Philosophy at the University of Washington. During his life, he has written extensively on how we can excel in everyday life, and therefore rock our greatest life.
He certainly practiced what he preached, becoming one of the greatest athletes of all time, a very succesful actor, and one of the most respected philosophers of his era. The volume and quality of work he created despite passing away at an early age (32) is simply prodigious.
Today I want to go back and share some of his best ideas, so we can all learn from this great master and apply his teachings to our life.
To start things off, here is a great video summarizing his Feel Good philosophy. Below are 10 of the greatest quotes from his books Striking Thought: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Excellence.
Top 10 Greatest Quotes from Striking Thoughts:
#10 “Be a practical dreamer backed by action”.
There are a lot of dreamers out there, and countless people working their asses off at their job. But it’s only those who do both, dream big AND act big that really shine and change the world. Choose to be one of them.
#9 “If you love life, then do not waste time, for time is what life is made of.”
Time-management & Personal Productivity are hot topic these days. If you haven’t already, I urge you to make this something you strive to get better at. My personal method is a mix of Tim Ferriss’ ideas , Leo Baubauta’s “Zen Productivity”, the Productivity/Meditation technique, and most recently, Fixed-Schedule productivity.
Learn different methods & principles, try them, see what works for you, and come up with your own style (exactly Bruce Lee’s approach to martial arts). But please take this stuff seriously, for it’s what life is made of.
#8 “Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.”
This is one of the utmost principles of Optimal Living. Learning is not something we do only in a classroom. It’s something we do everyday, as we try new things, analyse the results, and constantly tweak how we think and act. And that’s how we evolve and get better at life.
#7 “The power of will is the Supreme Court of my mind.”
Willpower is the engine behind living a great life and making things happen. The good news, it can trained and developed. In new his book aptly named “Willpower”, Florida State University Professor Roy Baumeister tells us: “If you exercise it, you can make it stronger. There’s nothing magical about it.’’ How do we do that? Best way I’ve found: take on The 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge.
#6 “Remember my friend, that is is not what happen that counts, it’s what you make of it. It can be stumbling block or a stepping stone.”
Everyday, stuff happens. Some is awesome, some… not so much. I’ve personally developed a strong faith that everything happens for a reason, and as Steve Jobs says, we simply can’t connect the dots forward. When something bad happens to me, I make it a game of seeing how quickly I can start looking at it in a positive lights, and even turn it into an opportunity.
#5 “There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself.”
Persistence, persistence, persistence. It’s without a doubt one of the most essential human traits for life excellence. It’s a better predictor than talent and intelligence in the quality of the life we create. Whenever I get scared about my plans to start a business next year, I remind myself that failure is impossible because I simply won’t give up until I make it work and achieve my goals. Plain and simple.
#4″When I look around, I learn one thing: to be yourself, and express yourself.”
We each can offer wonderful gifts to the world but do so, we need to let our through colours shine through. Sadly, we live in a society that makes this way harder than it should be, but the truth is that we’re all unique beings, and we should embrace our uniqueness, not hide it. So live for yourself, do what feels right to you, and don’t worry about what other think.
#3 “Concentration is the root of all higher abilities in men.”
Concentration is a lost art in today’s world. Distractions come in more shape and forms than ever before, and this is affecting many of us. But without concentration, nothing great gets done. In my opinion, the best way to build our concentration ability is without a doubt the daily practice of meditation.
#2 “Real Living is living for others”
We all have these phases when we get all caught up in our own stuff (I’m certainly prone to that), but we need to keep remembering ourselves that, as my friend Amber Rae says, “Lasting happiness is rooted in helping others“. Sometimes, it’s good to pause and reflect on how we’re living, and whether we’re really offering our full gifts to the world.
A little bonus: It’s been shown that whenever we help someone, it significantly boosts our levels of serotonin, one of the main feel good neurotransmitters in our brain). It also boost the serotonin of the person we help, AND anyone watching our good deed. How cool is that!
#1 “I’ve come to discover through earnest experience and dedicated learning that ultimately, the greatest help is self-help. It is the only help.”
We are in control of our life. We write our own story, and and everyday, through all the small decisions we make, we shape ourselves into the best version of ourself, or a diluted version of it. The moment we realise this, we can seek the best resources, and use them to build up our abilities, become extraordinary, and make our life a masterpiece.
These are all very powerful pieces of wisdom, and the best way to integrate them into our lives is to focus on one at a time.
Personally, these days I’m working on #3 “Concentration is the root of all higher abilities in men.”. I really need to focus all my mental resources so I can finish my MBA and wrap up the Australian Dream in style, before setting off for some travelling adventures and returning to North America for the next chapter of my life.
How can YOU use some of Bruce Lee’s wisdom to achieve daily excellence in your own life?
Think about it… and let me know!