Bruce Lee Teaches You How To Be A Better You

brucelee-infgraphicWhen people talk about Bruce Lee they mostly talk about his amazing skills as a martial artist, how great his movies are or maybe they quote one of his witty philosophical phrases. They may also talk about what a great teacher he was or his influence in their life.

May I suggest we look at one other attribute that Bruce has that we can all learn from. Bruce was an amazing student and I believe that this was a key to his amazing achievements. Every journey has its beginning and its path. Somehow you need to get from point A to point B. I do not believe that Bruce’s achievements were in accident or a lucky break or even his destiny.You may argue that there was something special about Bruce Lee and that very well may be true. But he was not always a great martial artist or philosopher and a movie star. But he was someone with a lot of dreams and aspirations someone who knew where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do.

I have been a martial artist for over 20 years and have followed Bruce Lee and his philosophy for much of that. I’ve had the privilege of meeting several of Bruce Lee’s friends and students. And I’ve had the privilege of studying under some of his students. Every one I’ve ever talked to that knew him personally had a tremendous amount respect for him. He was the real deal.

One of the things that has always stood out to me was that he was always learning, studying trying to improve and wanting to be the best. You could never say he was complacent, content or satisfied. Bruce worked hard to become who he was and always working to be better.

I love the quote used in this image absorbed was useful project was useless and added what is essentially your own. This really sums it up. There is no doubt the Bruce Lee had some great teachers and surrounded himself with great people. Bruce had a foundational knowledge of martial arts but there was one thing that stood out. He was always looking for ways to improve himself as a martial artist,  Bruce was constantly reading and always questioning what he knew. He did not limit himself by staying within one style, martial arts system or one way of thinking. He was a consummate student when he found something didn’t work he quickly moved past it and looked for something that did making it his own. He also believed that his truth may not necessarily be someone else’s truth meaning everyone’s different we will need to find our own path with our own experiences and knowledge. If you look at Bruce Lee’s students today you won’t find another Bruce Lee he did not teach them to be him, he taught them to be the best self they could be. Not a bunch of Bruce Lee clones but independent thinkers and independent students on their own path.

So in short if you want to find the next level, that better you. The 1st thing you need to focus on is becoming a great student.

Here’s another great quote by Bruce Lee I think is pertinent.
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Here is a related blog about that quote. Empty your mind…

Knowledge is not a passive thing

4k4mUSo true. This quote, to me is pointing out the fact the knowledge is not a passive thing. It is born out of action as all growth and achievements are. To learn we must observe, practice and get feedback.  In Martial Arts and in other sports we often refer to a thing called muscle memory. This is when we have practiced a movement enough that the muscle knows what to do instinctively without the brain having to walk us through. Without mind! Bruce Lee once said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” We should always be students approaching life with an open mind and willing to put effort into something we have been exposed to so we make it our own.

~Jeff

Empty your mind…

i-heart-water“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ~Bruce Lee

This is one of my favorite quotes by Bruce Lee. It is based on a basic Zen philosophy but it could be applied to any belief system. I guess that is the primes of the message. You can apply the above philosophy to anything you wish, religion, politics, people or of course martial arts.

I could shape the message of the quote to many things but my thoughts today have me thinking about people and our wonderful differences. These days it seems there is so much negativity around us it is often difficult to stay positive. An open mind is one way to change this. I believe it is also a healthy approach to life.  It starts by first recognizing and accepting the differences in others. Most of us believe what we believe because of the path we have walked. Everything we have experienced makes us who we are today. That said, the same with the people around you. We have not walked in their shoes and therefor, how can we completely understand why they believe the things they believe. First we must empty our minds allowing us to listen and look at them with an open mind free from judgment.  Now that is the empty your mind part.

The second part is the adaptive part. Let’s call this compassion. Everyone has had their own struggles in life, pains and hardships and lessons learned. These things make us who we are. If we look at others in this adaptive way we start to see they are more like us than we may initially thought. We are all going through life trying to find peace and happiness. We are all basically walking the same path. The path is life.

The last line of the quote is where we become powerful. Looking at others in this way will free you of hate, prejudice, greed and arrogance. I believe these flaws have the potential to destroy humanity and most of all keep you from becoming a better you!

Peace and love,

~jeff