Most people know Bruce Lee because of his acting career and his tremendous skills in martial arts, but only few know and understand the depth of wisdom he had achieved.
Below is a collection of some of my favorite life-changing quotes from the great martial arts master and teacher Bruce Lee on topics such as happiness and love, God and truth, mistakes and failure, death and immortality.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
“Be happy, but never satisfied.”
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
“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 are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”
“The doubters said,
‘Man can not fly,’
The doers said,
‘Maybe, but we’ll try’
And finally soared
In the morning glow
Watched from below.”
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
“Not being tense but ready.
Not thinking but not dreaming.
Not being set but flexible.
Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.
It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
“The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.”
“Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life! Do not be concerned with escaping safely- lay your life before him!!”
“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.”
“If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.”
“If there is a God, he is within. You don’t ask God to give you things, you depend on God for your inner theme.”
“A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence. ”
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”
Thanks to The Unbounded Spirit for this article