It’s no secret – after over a decade of practicing and eventually teaching Jeet Kune Do and being involved in parkour for nearly as long Bruce Lee is a huge role model for me.
It’s not just his discipline, martial arts skill and fitness that inspire me though. Bruce Lee was fascinated by philosophy (it’s even an enduring legend he was a philosophy major, although technically he majored in drama) and it shows in his interviews and writing – he had a lot to say on how he best thought to live a good life.
In that spirit I’ve collected seven of his lessons here for you to make your life better.
I do my very best to be in the presence of people who are much smarter than myself as often as possible. One such person, Jonathan Fass, recently posted an interesting thought on Facebook.
Paraphrasing a bit, he asks whether you’d rather have a fingernail torn off or get an unexpected punch in the stomach. He surmises most people would choose the punch – something I agree with. The pain of a blow to the stomach seems mild and temporary compared to the shudder inducing thought of having a nail torn off.
This is extremely irrational though. Tearing a fingernail off, while painful, is not extremely threatening outside of the ever present risk of infection to exposed tissue. A strike to the stomach on the other hand can be deadly. Outside of Jonathan’s example of Harry Houdini there are plenty of other examples of punches to the stomach causing internal bleeding and ruptured organs which are easily fatal.
Even with that information, I think a lot of people would still chance death to avoid the pain of having a fingernail removed. Ask your followers and see. This kind of behavior isn’t just limited to physical pain though, and that’s where it starts to ruin your decision making.
Not only is thinking it probably false in relation to whatever it is you’re working toward, it’s probably directly sabotaging your progress.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking this way – stories of how every little bit helped someone in their endeavor are popular. You hear about candidates winning by a single vote, or people taking small, seemingly insignificant steps toward their goals which add up over time into something huge. People like to hear about these types of things.
The problem is it puts the focus on the wrong areas and leads people to make bad prioritization. Bad prioritization leads to failed goals.
I used to hate taking notes.
As more of an experiential learner sitting and taking notes did not come naturally to me. It was boring, tedious and seemed like a complete waste of time compared to other ways of studying – even in a traditional classroom / lecture environment where my other options were limited.
Other people in class could sit through one lecture, take fantastic notes and have everything learned inside and out. It was basically sorcery to me.
That is, until I learned a better way to take notes.
Everyone does it. Day in and day out, mostly subconsciously, and it sabotages everything you do. Worst of all it’s so ingrained into our basic natures that you do it all daylong without realizing how you’re shooting yourself in your own foot. You’re probably doing it right now.
No matter what you do you worry about what people think of you.
How do I look? Do they like me? Do they respect me? What do they say about me behind my back? Will they think this is a stupid thing to do? What if they find out about this, or that?
It’s exhausting. It’s crippling. It’s absolutely stupid too.
The fact is you don’t matter – and that’s a great thing.