The Tao of Bruce Lee
Absorb What Is Useful, Reject What Is Useless, and Add What Is Essentially Your Own
Bruce Lee is one of the most iconic martial artists in history. What made him so successful? Some would say it was his natural talent, while others claim that it was due to his rigorous training regime. However, Bruce Lee himself believed that the key to his success was something different.
He once said,
“absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.”
Today we will explore what this means and how you can apply it to your own life!
I remember when I first started practicing martial arts. I was very eager to learn and absorb everything that my instructor taught me. However, there were also a lot of things that I rejected because I didn’t think they were useful. For example, my instructor taught me how to do a backflip. But after trying it a few times, I decided that it wasn’t for me and I never used it again. I mean, who needs to know how to do a backflip in a real fight?
On the other hand, there were also things that I added to my repertoire that weren’t taught to me. For example, I started practicing meditation because I found it helped me focus and control my breath better. This is just one example of how I applied Bruce Lee’s philosophy to my own life.
Let’s break it down a bit further.
Take what you like, leave the rest
When Bruce Lee says
“absorb what is useful,”
He was not afraid to take what he liked from different disciplines and make it his own. For example, he was a big fan of boxing, but he also incorporated techniques from other martial arts into his style. In your own life, you should be open to learning from new experiences and people. Don’t be afraid to try something new — you never know where it might lead! “Absorb what is useful” does not mean that you should blindly accept everything that you come across. Just because something is popular or has been around for a long time does not mean that it is automatically good.
Take the time to question things and figure out what works for you. What are your goals? What do value?
Once you have answers to these questions, it will be easier for you to filter out the noise and focus on what is truly useful to you.
Bruce Lee’s wisdom for your life, the way you live it
“Reject what is useless,”
This part of Bruce Lee’s philosophy is about learning to let go. There will always be things that we are not good at, and there is no point in dwelling on them. Instead, focus on your strengths and find ways to work around your weaknesses. For example, if you are not naturally athletic, you can still find ways to get exercise by walking or doing yoga instead of trying to force yourself to run a marathon.
In your personal life, there will be people and situations that are not a good fit for you. It is okay to let them go!
Make it your own. Add a little of yourself to each thing you do.
“Add what is essentially your own”
This final piece of advice from Bruce Lee is about taking what you have learned and making it your own. In martial arts, this means developing your style and techniques. In life, it means finding your voice and using it to create something new. What are you passionate about? What can you share with the world that is uniquely yours? When you find your answer, don’t be afraid to go after it with everything you’ve got!
Bruce Lee’s philosophy is one of constant learning and growth. He never stopped absorbing new information and using it to improve himself. In the same way, we should always be open to learning new things and rejecting what doesn’t work for us. When we find something that does work, we should add it to our toolkit and use it to achieve our goals. What have you learned lately that has helped you grow as a person or professional?