Bruce Lee: The Ultimate Human Being

April 18, 2011

“To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.” –Bruce Lee

“As you think, so shall you become.” —Bruce Lee

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits.” –Bruce Lee

Here at Self-Making Man, there couldn’t possibly be more love for Bruce Lee.  Seriously, on paper, he reads more like a superhero than a real man.  For instance, he could execute a punch at a distance of three feet in only 5/100 of a second, could deliver a punch from one inch away that would knock a grown man back several feet, and could take a penny from someone’s outstretched hand and replace it with a dime before the person could close their hand.

However, it’s not just his physical feats that set him apart.  He also possessed a personal library of over 2500 volumes, majored in philosophy, created his own martial art (Jeet Kune Do) and wrote a book on the philosophy thereof (the Tao of Jeet Kune Do).

Frequently, I feature quotes from great thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci, spiritual leaders like Thich Nhat Hanh, and focus on physical endeavors and nutrition.  Bruce was an incredible example of a man who mastered all these things.  So often, even in going about being a jack-of-all-trades, we pigeonhole ourselves and, thereby, limit what we can accomplish.  Mastering many intellectual fields is a great accomplishment, but in some ways, it’s still a deeply segregated focus.  How often do we think of the stereotypes of the “weak nerd” or “meathead jock?”

Bruce was a true revolutionary, a man who bucked all limits, boundaries, expectations, and tradition to develop everything about himself.  He was as accomplished an inquiring mind as he was a powerful body.  How many philosophers can you name that looked like this:

Bruce Lee

Ultimate jack-of-all-trades and professional badass

I encourage everyone to go out and read up on Bruce Lee.  Read a biography, even a short one, to get a sense of how dedicated he was to his craft.  Search for quotes to gain some insight into his philosophy.  To close out the post, I’ll list a few of the lessons I’ve learned from Bruce that are the foundation for my self-image, and the basis for this blog:

Other people’s opinions, as well as convention, are meaningless in the well-lived life.  This is the most important, as it is the basis for all the lessons that follow.  Don’t spend your time doing what’s conventional for convention’s sake.  Do what you feel is right or good, even if other people don’t understand it.  Live for yourself.  Not for others, not for society: for yourself.  Living according to people’s expectations and conventions will do nothing but limit you.  “Norm” necessitates “normal;” “extraordinary” is inherently unconventional. 

You get out of anything what you put into it.  This applies to everything you do.  Everything.  Bruce was dedicated, training many hours a day and doing extensive reading on many subjects.  He spared no pain to maximize his own abilities and knowledge.

Prioritize the fundamentals.  Make a point of understanding what your goals require, and make sure that you have a solid foundation.  You can not achieve at a high level without mastering the basics.  It is, in fact, often dangerous to try.

Eat well.  The paleo/primal diet is still a minority movement, but long before it was even that, Bruce Lee was advocating it.  He ate large quantities of greens, vegetables, and fruits daily and loads of protein.  Even more salient: he eschewed grains and refined sugars because they represented calories with no nutritional content.  Look at the picture above.  If you want to look like that, or get closer to it, give up grains, starches and sugars.

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Feedback: Bruce Lee is my all-time hero.  Who do you admire?

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