Bruce Lee, the most famous martial artist in the world said …
“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, it becomes the bottle.
You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can flow, and it can crash.
Be like water, my friend…”
This is the famous philosophy Bruce Lee. According to him, there is no set technique, there is no fixed form or system that must be followed in combat. If the opponent expands, Bruce Lee contracts. If the opponent contracts, he expands.
Personally, I think Bruce Lee’s philosophy should be applied not just to martial arts, but to everything we do in life. There is no fixed way to live life. There are no set of rules to follow for a perfect life. It is not necessary to live life the exactly way that somebody tells us to.
“In Jeet Kune Do, it’s not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed from what you have learned. It is not how much fixed knowledge you can accumulate, but what you can apply livingly that counts. ‘Being’ is more valued than ‘doing’.”
Jeet Kune Do was Bruce Lee’s martial art. The above quote is the philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. It rejects all restrictions imposed by form and formality and emphasizes the clever use of the mind and body to defend and to attack. Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch (see Youtube) is an example of this. Changing the game, pushing the possible further all the time.
The more rigid, fixed and set in your ways you are, the more vulnerable you are to getting taken down or knocked out. Just as this applies to martial arts, this applies equally to life. If you are not flexible or unable to adapt to new situations, you get left behind.
The only constant is change
The first time I heard this, it didn’t make sense to me. After thinking about it a little more, it is the most true thing in the world. Everything constantly changes (although many principles remain the same). You start as a helpless little baby, grow into a child, then into a young adult, then an adult, and finally become old and finish your journey on this planet. Friends come and go, problems come and go, good times come and go.
There will be periods in your life that are really good and that you never want to end. Sometimes they do end. For some people this is detrimental, and they spend the rest of their lives living in a shadow of themselves because they cannot get over the fact that that good time ended.
Personally I have adopted the philosophy that everything is temporary. Every moment I do something, could be the last time that I do something. It gives a much greater appreciation for life. This way, I do (almost) everything with much greater passion and interest.
Of course there are things that I do not want to end. In fact there are things I will fight for to remain the same and do everything I can to keep them the way they are (things like friendships and family). Up until I have no control over it anymore.
“Accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you cannot accept.”
If something happens that you have absolutely no control over, and it cannot be changed, you have to make peace with it. There is no sense in wasting your life wishing it will change, or that you could go back in time. We make decisions and don’t look back. That is life. Be thankful for the times that we had what we wanted, and if the time has come for it to end, have a sense of peace about it.
When we accept what we cannot change, we are water. We take the shape of the container we are placed in. We adapt and are ready to live life in the best way we can position ourselves in. This may not always be what we want, but sometimes we cannot choose the container we are placed in.
As for things that we have the power to change, that is exactly what we must do. Even if it will take enormous amounts of hard work and effort, if we cannot accept it, then we must change it. This can be things like your financial independence, your friends, your girlfriend, your freedom. If you are in a situation that you are not happy with you need to do everything in your power to change it. Don’t give up until you get to where you want to be.
“Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.”
This is very important. In the self improvement and personal development niche, many people speak about breaking away from social conditioning. Freeing yourself from the 9-5 wage slave. The thing is, if you do this just because these people tell you to, then you are not changing at all. You are just changing masters, but you are still a slave.
The whole idea behind what we (bloggers about self improvement) write about, is to get you to be truly free. To think for yourself and find out what YOU want with your life. To find your passions and dreams, follow them, and turn them into reality.
Be formless…be water, my friend. Bruce Lee unlocked his passion and formed his reality, you can too.
Have a Rockin’ day