Bruce lee, martial artist, also studied drama and philosophy while a student at the University of Washington. He was well-read and had an extensive library. His unique philosophies often mirrored his fighting beliefs, though he claimed that his martial arts were solely a metaphor for such teachings.
“As you think, so shall you become.”
Perhaps the most basic statement of how we work. Think about what you are thinking today. What do those thoughts say about you? About your life? And how well do they really match your plans for your life and your image of yourself?
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
If you want to improve your life then it’s tempting to want to add more. One problem with this may be that you don’t really have the time or energy to do more though. And so your efforts to improve become short-lived.
Adding more and more just creates more stress and anxiety. Removing clutter and activities, tasks and thoughts that are not so important frees up time and energy for you to do more of what you really want to do.
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”
The one person that is the hardest to get to really know may be yourself. Studying yourself while you are alone may result in some insights. But it’s also likely to produce a lot of made up thought loops and doubts in your mind. A good way to really learn more about yourself is study yourself in interactions with other people.
What you see, feel and hear in other people may be a reflection of you. The things you learn by thinking this way may not always be pleasant, but they can be enlightening. They help you to see yourself and also how you may be fooling yourself.
“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”
This is a very useful and powerful thought. It is also one that obviously is hard to live by. Why? I believe it’s because the ego loves to divide and find ways to “add more” to itself. It want’s to feel better than someone else. Or more clever. Or prettier. Or cooler. Or wiser.
To me it seems to boil down to not identifying so much with your thoughts or feelings. That doesn’t mean that you stop thinking or feeling. It just means that you realize – and remember in your everyday life – that the thoughts and emotions are just things flowing through you. You are not them though. You are the consciousness observing them.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”
Validation makes you feel good for a while. But soon you need a new fix. And the problem with being dependent on validation from other people is that you let other people control how you feel. This creates a rollercoaster of emotions in your life.
To find more emotional stability and to take control of how you feel, you need to get your validation from a more consistent source. Yourself. You can replace the expectations and validation of others by setting your own expectations and by validating yourself.
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
It’s easy to get locked into a reactive mindset. You just follow along with whatever is happening. You do what the people around you do. You react to whatever is going on.
A more useful and pleasurable way of living is to be proactive. This feels better and provides better results. But on the other hand it’s also more difficult. It’s easier to just drift along in the reactive stream of life. Still, living proactively is so much more rewarding and exciting.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Just being yourself is a hard thing to do. You may do it sometimes. And other times you may forget or fall back into old thought patterns. Or you may imitate someone else. And that comes through too. And it may work.
But I believe that being the real you will work better. Because there the genuine you is shining through. Without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness. It’s you to 100%. It’s you with not only your words but you with your voice tonality and body language – which some say is over 90% of communication – on the same wavelength as your words. It’s you coming through on all channels of communication.