Bruce Lee: The Student of Life


One of Bruce Lee‘s films, Game of Death, was being screened on a national TV – and then I tweeted right away, “Why is Bruce Lee so hot?”. Apparently it triggered a question to come from my fellow Andreas Arianto – a talented young conductor, as if he did not really believe that I think Bruce Lee was hot. To be honest, I don’t know much about his “martial arts” side of life – what I know is that he invented Jeet Kune Do and taught a lot of successful martial artists. He was also an actor, and accomplished tons of things in his relatively short life.

One of the things that attract me the most when I see a man is his intelligence, yet I think Bruce Lee is one of the most intelligent and wise male public figures I’ve ever read about. He inspires me a lot through his words, his legacy.

He’s said a lot of things, but here are my favourites – the most inspiring ones:

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

He always emphasises that we must not limit what we do. This quote has made me stop limiting myself. I now think that I can do everything I want – if I really want it, and work hard for it. It made me accomplish loads of the things I could never thought about!

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.

Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.

The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.

Since the first time I read this, I began to shift my mindset – that I have to make a life worth remembering. I have to create moments I would never forget, do great – awesome things! Don’t you agree?

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not you go out and look for a successful personality an duplicate it.

This quote motivates me in a way that the most important thing is to be myself. There are a lot of people who has role models and would like to be like them. I could never, ever find a perfect role model for myself – but now, I know why. All I have to do is be myself, and be a good self, become the best of myself. If I have faith in myself, I would be able to do anything.

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.

One of the most important things in life is to be flexible and adapt well.

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.

Real living is living for others.

So true. If I only live for myself, I am not living.

As long as I can remember I feel I have had this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. It is all these combined. My brain becomes magnetized with this dominating force which I hold in my hand.

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.

I think this is the main reason why he was able to accomplish a lot of things in his 33 years of life. It keeps me smiling whenever I am busy (and tired) – because I know that my exhaustion would be all worth it. I am not wasting time at all.

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.

This one’s the most powerful one to me. I don’t really believe in circumstances. If I want something, I have to make it happen. I have to help myself accomplish it. I have to do something instead of waiting for something to come and get me.

Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.

To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.

Emptiness the starting point. — In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.

Yet again, a different perspective from Lee. Most people think that a cup is only useful when it is full… But then, when it is full, we cannot do anything about it, right? I think Lee wanted to emphasise that we have to be humble if we’d like to learn something, so our teachers and peers would be able to fill more and more knowledge into our brain,

Life is wide, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.

The sentence that made me name my blog as: “Eliminating the Limits”!

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

We live for others, yes. But, I think we have to live up to our expectations instead of others. This is something I frequently face – people expect too much of myself and I don’t want to disappoint them. This quote made me think a lot about it, and now I think I can at the same time live up to people’s expectations as soon as I have live up to mine.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough: we must do.

Can’t agree more with this one. Most of the time, we only know and we are only willing to do something. It’s not enough. It’s useless. We have to apply, we have to do.

Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.

I think Lee’s concept of learning is simply beautiful.

The measure of the moral worth of a man is his happiness. The better the man, the more happiness. Happiness is the synonym of well-being.

Happiness is a state of mind!

To grow, to discover, we need involvement which is something I experience everyday, sometimes good, sometimes frustrating.

C’est la vie. That’s life. Shit happens – and that’s okay. I think we need both good and bad things to learn about something. And I personally think that we learn better when we have to face the “bad” ways.

Even today, I dare not say that I have reached a state of achievement. I’m still learning, for learning is boundless.

See the spirit? This mindset is something that has made him successful. We must not be satisfied in any kind of way in order to learn. We would stop learning once we think that we are successful already.

What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE. To many people are looking at “what is” from a position of thinking “what should be.”

I gotta keep this in mind. I often see “what is” from a position of thinking “what should be” – and I start becoming unrealistic, selfish, egoistic, individualistic, obsessive. I have to change it – because “what is” of course is more important, it is something that really exists.

Sorry if it is short and not that insightful, but I do hope that more and more people would be inspired. As Bruce Lee once said, “We are the students of life.”

Care to share who is your role model? :)