12 Timeless Truths from Bruce Lee, Master of Self Mastery

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering”.  – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, an influential martial artist, teacher, actor, film director, a master of self-mastery.  In his work and life, he lived true to his philosophies and teachings, and in my mind he is immortal.  He has left countless simple, inspirational, and powerful wisdom that remains with us today, and will continue to influence generations to come.

As a fan, I want to share with you the 12 timeless truths that I’ve learned from Bruce Lee and believe we can all learn and apply it to our daily lives, as we create our own legacy.

1. “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely yours.”

Throughout your life, you’ll be inundated with information and people telling you what you should or shouldn’t do.   Take everything with a grain of salt and decide for yourself what works for you.  In life there are countless ways of doing things, there’s no right or wrong.  Learn from others and discover what works for you and make it your own.

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

It is our birthright to live a life that brings us joy.  What brings us joy is to do what we love and not live out someone else’s expectations.    To think we can win the likes of everyone is unrealistic, because you’ll always have people who will be for or against you, so why not be true to yourself and do what you love and live up to your own expectations.

3. “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.”

Pick one thing you want to get good at. Do it well, instead of trying to get good at multiple things all at the same time.  I find that when I focus on one thing, it increases my productivity and my efficiency in mastering the skill at an exponential rate, whereby I can then use it more effectively in creating a positive impact in my life.


4. “Don’t set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”   

Change is a constant in life.  It’s important to learn how to explore and dance with change. Embrace it.  Be flexible in order to make the best of the circumstances in life. This leads to Bruce’s next famous saying:

5. “ To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.

When you can adapt to circumstance around you, you can create opportunities.

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

We are all unique in our own way, so just be you and do you.  It adds to the great mix of diversity in the world.  Stop comparing yourself to others, as there will always be someone who is better than you or not as good as you in something.  Life gets easier, when you love yourself and be yourself.

7. “Seek to understand the root. — It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branch, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.”  

This is about creating self-awareness and reflecting on your core values to make sense of what it is you attract and create in your life.  It is about choosing your thoughts and actions deliberately to create the fruits that you desire.

8. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”  

To achieve what it is we want in life requires us to take action.  We can’t just rely on what we know or think positive thoughts hoping the universe will give us what we desire.  It’s a combination of cultivating the right mindset, and taking resourceful actions to create the life we desire.

9. “The function and duty of quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”  

You are the constant in your own life.  If something is not going the way you want, you need to get real with yourself.  It is your duty to look within to discover what is keeping you stuck or holding you back.  The new awareness is your key to achieving your full potential.

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

As human beings, it is in our innate nature to grow and want to expand.  The reason we are here is to live out our purpose.  When we put limitations on us, we stifle our growth and nothing changes, life becomes stale and eventually we die with the music inside of us. The world is your oyster.  Choose to live out your purpose.

11. “Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”

 To reach your goal, you need to take action.  Make it a practice to do something each day to get you a step closer to your goal.  Don’t wait. Just start.  Ask yourself, what is the first thing I need to do?  What is the one thing I can do right now? Start small, start somewhere.

12. “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

This is about applying 80/20 rule to our life. Identifying the 20% of activities that are the most important to focus on that yields the most results so that you can save and spend your energy doing things that matter to you.  You can start by examining different areas of your life. What habits help improve your life?   What relationships help enhance your happiness?  What thoughts occupies your ming throughout the day? Are they empowering or disempowering? What can you do to hack away the negative to make room for the positive?  What activities at work help you improve your productivity and showcase your performance?

What is your favorite timeless truth from Bruce Lee?

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Theresa is an 80’s music lovin’, Old Fashioned drinkin’, freedom livin’ travel junkie sent to zap living a double life right outta you. Get your free insights on life lessons for a work in progress here. You can find her on Instagram @gettingmyshit2gether and Facebook.