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Bruce Lee's Profound Philosophy of Life: 7 Mind-Shifting Insights That Will Awaken Your Inner Warrior

There’s more to Bruce Lee than martial arts

He was also a philosophy badass.

From a very young age, Bruce Lee was obsessed with learning how to make the most out of his life - by the age of 30, he possessed thousands of titles in his library, most of which on self-help, philosophy, and martial arts. He tries to apply what he learned in real life.

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Bruce Lee's Profound Philosophy of Life: 7 Mind-Shifting Insights That Will Awaken Your Inner Warrior

Bruce Lee's Profound Philosophy of Life: 7 Mind-Shifting Insights That Will Awaken Your Inner Warrior

https://theunboundedspirit.com/bruce-lee-philosophy/

theunboundedspirit.com

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Key Ideas

There’s more to Bruce Lee than martial arts

He was also a philosophy badass.

From a very young age, Bruce Lee was obsessed with learning how to make the most out of his life - by the age of 30, he possessed thousands of titles in his library, most of which on self-help, philosophy, and martial arts. He tries to apply what he learned in real life.

Self-discovery

Martial arts was not merely a competitive sport for Bruce Lee, but in essence a means of self-discovery and self-expression.

By learning to fight, he was able to better understand who he was — he could force himself out of his comfort zone, test his limits, and confront his fears. 

Be like water

Bruce Lee saw life as being in constant change.

Unless we learn to adapt to it, we’re bound to experience tremendous resistance that will entrap us in a constant state of suffering.

Kick dogma out of your life

Bruce didn’t subscribe to a dogma of any kind.

Although he was an avid reader of religion, philosophy, and martial arts, he viewed religious or philosophical ideologies at best only as signposts pointing to the truth, but not as the truth itself.

The truth for him was multi-sided and beyond what words can express.Therefore, it can't be named, packaged, and presented in a certain way without losing its essence.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential. The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.”  

Love more than romance

Bruce Lee pointed out that in order for a relationship to go on past that stage of initial excitement, plenty of time is required. Once this happens, love can grow deeper and take root in two people's hearts. 

Love is like a friendship caught on fire." 

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

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

Keep on growing

Bruce Lee saw life as an ongoing journey to wisdom.

Through everyday experiences, including mistakes, you get to better understand who you are.

Don't just talk. Do!

For Bruce Lee, knowledge that isn't applied is useless, for it serves no actual purpose.

  • Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
  • If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

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Bruce Lee as a philosopher

He studied poetry and philosophy in school. He focused his studies on Asian and Western philosophy, incorporating elements of Jiddu, Buddhism, Taoism, and Krishnamurti. 

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Bruce Lee's impressive life
  • He wasn't a master of any standard form of martial arts. He was closest in mastering Wing Chun.
  • He invented his own style of martial arts. He based his style on the teaching of Man and what he learned of Wing Chun. He called his style Jeet Kune Do "the style of no style"
  • He starred in 20 films in Hong Kong before the age of 18.
  • He popularized the "1 Inch Punch" as seen in Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • He was a prolific poet and philosopher. He studied poetry and philosophy in school and was even published several times.
  • He was so fast, his moves were often too fast for a camera to catch.
  • He only made 5 feature films in the US, his last released posthumously.
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Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.

Do not be restricted by forms

To be successful, your mind and body should have the ability to flow and adapt to any situation. 

There should be less rigidity and structure in strategy and more flexibility and mobility. 

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Be Water

While trying to diffuse his anger, Bruce Lee once started punching in the sea and had a profound realization.

Water, he understood, is of a neutral nature, having no form or shape of its own. He realized that to be invincible, he had to be as formless as water.

Giving Form To the Formless

The continued fascination with Bruce Lee and the never-ending need to capitalize on the man and the myth is the opposite of what he really intended.

His insights of being like water showcase his philosophy of having no philosophy at all. The formless structure that has to be assumed to live one’s life is destroyed the very moment anyone is influenced or tries to emulate Bruce Lee.

Breathing Is Everything

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Slow It Down

Being proficient at anything at full speed takes the willingness and patience to first go slowly, literally and figuratively.

 Any professional athlete will tell you that the ritualistic nature of slowing down your craft is the key to success in that craft. You have to walk before you can run.

Words Only Have the Power We Give Them

Words inspire, words inform, and words can destroy - if we let them.

The martial arts will teach you not to react to other’s problems, but to pay attention to your own. Learn not to react to words that are meant for harm.

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“The Art of Dying” is a metaphor and describes the Zen idea of letting our ego die. The ego is the whole set of experiences, accumulations, and memories that make up our view of ourselves. The ego holds our prejudices and distortions.

Death of the ego means we are open to criticism. We are embracing the process of learning to develop our abilities.

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“Do not think about winning or losing, do not think about pride and pain. (…) The biggest mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the fight. You should not think about whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your weapons will be used at the right time.“

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Artist Of Life

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Be Water

Nothing is weaker than water, and in that weakness, there is immense strength. Water is fine and impossible to grasp. It does not suffer any hurt, and cannot be stabbed, or cut. It has no shape of its own but molds according to where it is placed. It can be hard as a rock and also invisible as vapor.

Being like water, humble, adaptive, resilient and ever-changing, we become masters of our surroundings.

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We've all been there when where you are on the verge of throwing in the towel – perhaps just 5 minutes before class ends or in the middle of the most intense part of training. 

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You are never truly right or wrong

Like almost everything else in life, there are different variations to certain techniques, which ultimately lead to the same outcome. 

Understand that everyone has his or her own way of achieving a similar goal or outcome.

You’re not as much of a badass

... as you might initially think.

You will also find yourself in situations where you basically get overcome by others – even when you initially felt like you had the upper hand.

No one is truly invincible, so it helps to always be humble and learn from everyone you train with.

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Leave no holes in your game

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Get used to discomfort

A business, like a fight, will push you beyond your comfort zone. You will eventually venture into unfamiliar territory.

Understand that it’s possible nothing will go your way, and you’ll have to take a vicious beating. But prepare for a fight and swing to win anyway.

Set up your squad

Although MMA fighters are in a cage by themselves, a team of highly specialized professionals -- from massage therapists to sparring partners -- is essential for them to succeed in the ring.

In business, you need a team similar to an MMA outfit -- one comprised of people who can see things you can’t and make you strong where you are weak.

Minimalizing Your Life

To minimize your life is choosing to live by design, not by default. You decide where to allocate your time, focus, and efforts.

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“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
Why Minimizing Your Life

What minimizing your life will bring you:

  • More Efficiency: You finally have enough time to do what’s truly important.
  • More Time: Owning and doing things carry high costs. Doing less frees up your time to focus on the essential few.
  • Less Stress: No more overloaded schedules, running from one place to the next, always rushing.
  • Better Health: having and doing less calms your mind and brings clarity.
  • Freedom: things don’t own you anymore, you only own things you love. 

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Use Your Opponent's Force Against Them

To defeat an armed opponent when you yourself have no weapon or only a small weapon, you use the attacker's force against himself or herself, instead of confronting it. 

When something comes at you, you don't just push back against it. See everything that comes at you as an opportunity. Ask, "How can I leverage this? How can I flow with this? Where is the opportunity in this?"

Mastery Takes Time and Practice

You can't move past the beginner level unless you first get good at the basics. You first have to practice the beginner moves 10,000 times or more.

If you want to develop real competence in business, it's not about constantly looking for new things. It's about developing a deeper level of understanding, of insight, of the things you already know and do.