Bruce Lee On Emptiness, The Secret of Life & The Principle of Life

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

The moment we are born our cup is filled with the ideas, beliefs, opinions, and notions of others. Whether it is your parents, grandparents, teachers or friends, we’re constantly taking on other peoples understandings and in doing so, limiting the space in the cup for our own thoughts. In this manner, we’re filled with preconceived notions about what to like or dislike, how to behave, what to think about, what’s considered the right way, what’s the wrong way and so on. All of these limitations then further limit our ability to connect with other people who may be living a life different from our own.

That’s where the conflict comes in. This conflict either shows itself externally where two individuals disagree and fight, such disagreements run rampant on social media because that’s melting pot for individuals from all over the world to interact with one another.

Another way this conflict shows itself is internally. This is when you meet someone who is essentially doing the opposite of what you have been told to do and this person makes sense to you and seems to be fulfilled. Such encounters lead to the examination of oneself which leads to your own growth by shedding certain preconceived ideas. However, sometimes the opposite happens as well where you double down on your beliefs because the uncomfortable process of rewiring your belief system can be a difficult one.

Either way, the advice from Bruce Lee is simple at first but the application is hard. Yet, the fewer fixed ideas and opinions you hold, the more flexible you are and better you will be at handling the twists and turns of life and easier it will be for you to connect with your fellow man.

The secret of life — The aphorism “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he” contains the secret of life. James Allen further added “A man is literally what he thinks.” This might be a shocking statement, but everything is a state of mind.

Your thoughts make and shape you. Whatever you are constantly thinking about, that will be at the forefront of your mind and actions follow what your mind obsesses about. Through action you mold your habits and behaviors and what you repeatedly do, you are.

The principle of life — Life is never stagnation. It is a constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as well as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.

Life can only be improved by action. The reason for this is that life itself is always moving and acting. If you’re not willing to match its stride then you’ll be left behind. The simple principle is true. Life isn’t stagnant and you can’t be either.

The only way to get stronger is by acting.

The only way to get smarter is by acting.

The only way to build confidence is by acting.

The only way to overcome your fears is by acting.

The only way to lessen your anxieties is by acting.

The only way to find someone you love is by acting.

The only way to improve your life is by acting.

The only way to inch towards your dreams is by acting.

The only way to experience life is by acting.

Book Referenced: Striking Thought by Bruce Lee

Youtube: Learned Living


Poem: The Old Rebel

Article: Montaigne On How To Be A Well-Rounded Thinker

Short Story: The Bus


Bruce Lee On How We Can Improve Our Life Through Action

Only actions give to life its strength, as only moderation gives it its charm

Many of us are dreamers, we sit around all-day imagining the different lives we could be living, thinking of what our lives could have been or the opportunities we let slip by because we were too passive. It’s because of this passivity that we find ourselves living a life that we don’t necessarily enjoy. Perhaps if we had acted, been more aggressive in our pursuits, our lives could have been enhanced.

Our lives are then weakened by our passivity and even our character suffers when we don’t act.

Action is a high road to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow towards it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible

Confidence often comes from us remember something we have accomplished. When we look back in our past and think of the scenarios that required us to go just beyond our perceived limitations. It is these scenarios that give us confidence and help build our self-esteem. Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding ourself that “I have done X before, so I can also do Y”. Yet, one can only accomplish anything through action. The more things we achieve and overcome the more our confidence builds. So, if we want to improve ourselves and our lives we must act, we must be aggressive.

However, we can sometimes be bogged down by the large picture when we think about acting. Perhaps you want to run a marathon but can’t even run a mile at the moment so you think it’s pointless to even try. But once again, Bruce Lee advocates acting instead of self pity.

Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand

That marathon will seem daunting if you keep thinking about the 26.2 miles. Instead, we must turn our attention to the action at hand, which is to build ourselves up to run one mile. After that point, we can turn towards two miles, then 3, 4 and so on.

At the end of the day, whatever it is that you want from life will not be handed to you. Nobody is going to present you your dreams on a silver platter, no three wishes or a magic wand. No amount of daydreaming or thinking will change your current situation.

All you have is yourself and your ability to act.

The end of man is action, and not thought, though it be of the noblest. In this world there are a lot of people who cannot touch the heart of the matter but talk merely intellectually (not emotionally) about how they would do this or do that; talk about it, but yet nothing is ever actualized or accomplished

We shouldn’t be one of those people who just talk about it. The easiest way to not be that person is to simply be active, be aggressive, be about action.


Book Reference: Bruce Lee Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living


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