Bruce Lee is a name that needs no introduction. A world-class martial artist and surprisingly a world-class philosopher too. Time magazine named lee one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
We still binge-watch his movies and get dazzled by his cool moves.
But it’s time to dive into his enigmatic, jaw-dropping philosophy that can change our lives.
- 1)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.”—Bruce lee.
Bruce Lee is famous for this empty cup analogy that he picked up from zen philosophy. This one is a stunner concept to adopt in our life. With a fixed and overflowing mind, all you have are preconceptions, prejudices, and stereotypes. You are never in student mode and this stops learning and growing.
With a full cup, people are not ready to learn but only want to defend their ideas and position. This rigid mindset will limit us and confine us to the cup, like a frog in a well.
- 2)Flow is the way of life.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” —Heraclitus.
Heraclitus also says that change is the only constant thing in our lives.
This was well adapted by Bruce lee in his life. Like water, he asks us to be in a flow, ready to accept the object that gives it the shape and form.
Everything passes away or as Shakespeare puts it in Hamlet—This too shall pass. That sad breakup hangover is not going to last forever and that happy feeling of job promotion also will not last either.
Stay with the change and you shall grow. If you obstruct the water, you become rusty and polluted.
- 3)Concentration is the root.
“Concentration is the secret of strength.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Bruce Lee sees concentration as the root of all the higher abilities in man. As technology is growing at an alarming pace, our concentration abilities are falling off the cliff.
As the famous study points out we have an attention span less than the goldfish. After just 8 seconds, we are distracted away. That’s why it has become hard to do meditation even for 5 minutes regardless of the app we use or the program we enroll into.
Humans have built civilizations and now are venturing into space to colonize them. But if we cannot compete even with a goldfish, then the problem is too serious to ignore.
Master the combative arts of Lee but first, be attentive.
- 4)The point is doing.
“The doer alone learns.”—Bruce Lee.
The only thing that matters is action and nothing else. The mere talk will not bring accomplishments and lee says that the surest way to learn something truly, that is, to get master knowledge not chauffeur knowledge, as Charlie Munger says, is to get some real action.
This is also supported by science—the way of kinesthetic learning. Hands-on learning by action helps a lot more than you assume.
Moreover, action can be meditative and acts as a medicine and antidote to our thought paralysis. Action liberates the soul and gives you strength which the thoughts cannot, no matter how noble they are.
Welcome the way of the dragon.