Bruce Lee is a cultural icon, and his martial arts movies were some of the first to break onto the scene in America, and his quotes are still highly relevant.
In this blog post, we will take a look at some of our favourite Bruce Lee quotes from throughout his career - both as an actor and martial artist.
The Greatest Bruce Lee Quotes of All Time
To understand and live now, there must be dying to everything of yesterday. Die continually to every gained experience – be in a state of choiceless awareness of what is.
Love, and you shall be loved – all love is mathematically just, as much as the two sides of an algebraic equation.
Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.
Independent inquiry is needed in your search for truth, not dependence on anyone else’s view or a mere book.
Absence in love is like water upon fire; a little quickens, but much extinguishes it.
Use no way as way. When there is a “Way”, therein lies the limitation. And when there is a circumference, it traps. And if it traps, it rots. And if it rots, it’s lifeless.
My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.
It is the ego that stands rigidly against things coming from the outside, and it is this “ego rigidity” that makes it impossible for us to accept everything that confronts us.
The law of non-interference with nature is a basic principle of Taoism [stating] that one should be in harmony with, not rebellion against, the fundamental laws of the universe.
An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind. It is not satisfied with explanations, with conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another form of conclusion.
The past is no more, the future is not yet. “Now” includes the balance of being here, experiencing, involvement, phenomenon, awareness.
Sharpen the psychic power of seeing in order to act immediately in accordance with what it sees.
Real knowledge breeds “body feel” and personal expression; surface knowledge breeds mechanical conditioning and imposing limitation and squelches creativity.
When you are awake, you must be fully awake and conscious about everything. This is a wonderful exercise.
As you think, so shall you become.
I did love like a madman, but have enough sense to not love as a fool.
I present a possible direction, nothing more. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon; don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.
Recognize and use the spiritual power of the infinite. The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.
The mark of genius is the capacity to see and to express what is simple, simply! The really great Zen artist states the utmost in the minimum of lines or effort.
If he knows how to meet fate with an attitude of acceptance, he is sure to find the right guidance.
If anyone still believes in racial differences, I think he is too backward and narrow. Perhaps he still does not understand man’s equality and love.
The knowledge and skill you have achieved are after all meant to be “forgotten” so you can float in emptiness without obstruction and comfortably.
The essence: free movement of spirit.
Just as the maintaining of good health may require the taking of unpleasant medicine, so the condition of being able to do the things we enjoy often requires the performance of a few we don’t.
There can be no initiative if one has fear, and fear compels us to cling to tradition, gurus, etc.
Real living is living for others.
Suffering itself does less afflict the senses than the anticipation of suffering.
Any idea that is constantly held in the mind and emotionalized, begins at once to clothe itself in the most convenient and appropriate physical form that is available.
The more and more you are aware, the more and more you shed from day to day what you have learned so that your mind is always fresh, uncontaminated by previous conditioning.
You can never step in the same river twice, my friend. Like flowing water, life is perpetual movement. There is nothing fixed.
To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
Sincere thought means thought of concentration (quiet awareness). The thought of a distracted mind cannot be sincere.
Only actions give to life its strength, as only moderation gives it its charm.
The best techniques are the simple ones executed right.
Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
The important thing is that I am personally satisfied with my work. If it is a piece of junk, I will only regret it.
One should get rid of this obtruding self – or ego-consciousness – and apply himself to the work to be done as if nothing particular were taking place at the moment.
Because one does not want to be disturbed, to be made uncertain, he establishes a pattern of conduct, of thought, a pattern of relationship to man, etc. Then he becomes a slave to the pattern and takes the pattern to be the real thing.
Forget about winning and losing, forget about pride and pain.
The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or in defeat.
I’m not a smoker because I don’t think putting smoke into your body is quite the thing to do. As for alcohol, I think it tastes awful. Don’t know why anyone should want to drink the stuff.
Each man must seek out realization himself. No master can give it to him. Click to tweet
Freedom lies in understanding yourself from moment to moment. Click to tweet
Be pliable. When a man is living, he is soft and pliable; when he is dead, he becomes rigid. Pliability is life; rigidity is death, whether one speak’s of man’s body, his mind, or his spirit.
Art demands only immediate, honest and whole-hearted action.
When a man has confidence in himself, when all he wants in the world is to live out his destiny in freedom and purity, he comes to regard all those vastly overestimated and far too costly possessions as mere accessories, pleasant perhaps to have and make use of, but never essential.
Man is constantly growing, and when he is bound by a set pattern of ideas, or “way” of doing things, that’s when he stops growing.
Sorrows are our best educator. A man can see further through a tear than a telescope.
Life is something for which there is no answer; it must be understood from moment to moment.
Learning is important but do not become its slave. Above all, do not harbor anything external and superfluous, the mind is the primary.
Love is never lost. If not reciprocated it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.
The point to be made about ego is that man should use his ego and not be used by ego or blinded by it.
Love is like a friendship caught on fire. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
The possession of anything begins in the mind.
Self-will seems to be the only virtue that takes no account of man-made laws.
When there is a particle of dust in your eye, the world becomes a narrow path – have your mind completely free from objects – and how much this life expands.
Only sober moderation lasts, and that persists through all time. Only the midpart of anything is preserved because the pendulum of life must have balance, and the midpart is the balance.
I cannot and will not “scoff” at faith when reason seems to be such a barren thing.
There is an awareness without choice, without any demand, an awareness in which there is no anxiety; and in that state of mind there is perception. It is the perception alone that will resolve all your problems.
To doubt is to think, and thought is the only thing in the universe whose existence cannot be denied, because to deny is to think.
To strive actively to achieve some goal gives your life meaning and substance.
I dare not say that I have reached any state of achievement. I’m still learning, for learning is boundless.
Believe me that in every big thing or achievement there are always obstacles, big or small, and the reaction one shows to such obstacles is what counts, not the obstacle itself.
Life is wise, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.
Mans’s mind and his behavior are one, his inner thought and outer expression cannot contradict each other. Therefore a man should set up his right principle, and this right mind (principle) will influence his action.
Faith is a state of mind that can be conditioned through self-discipline. Faith will accomplish.
Unquestionably man has his will – but woman has her way!
Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.
Loneliness is only an opportunity to cut adrift and find yourself. In solitude you are least alone. Make good use of it.
Every man today is the result of his thoughts of yesterday.
I am constantly discovering, expanding, finding the cause of my ignorance, in martial art and especially in life. In short, to be real…
To understand your fear is the beginning of really seeing.
In ordinary life wu-wei is expressed in “producing and rearing things without taking possession of them” and “doing work but not taking pride in it” – thus the natural “way” stands in complement to all artificial ways such as regulation, ceremonies, etc. This is the reason why the Taoists don’t like formalities and artificialities.
Knowledge is of the past; learning is in the present, a constant movement, in relationship with the outward things, without the past.
What I honestly value more than anything else is quality: doing one’s best in the manner of the responsibility and craftsmanship of a Number One.
Be a practical dreamer backed by action.
Success means doing something sincerely and whole-heartedly.
Let things be what they are, move like water, rest like a mirror, respond like an echo, pass quickly like the nonexistent, and be quiet as purity.
A good teacher cannot be fixed in a routine. He must not impose his student to fit a lifeless pattern, a preformulation.
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Truth cannot be structured or confined. When there is no center and no circumference, then there is truth.
Even though I, Bruce Lee, may die some day without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do and what I’ve done, I’ve done with sincerity and to the best of my ability.
Research your own experience; absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is essentially your own.
The essence of fighting is the art of moving at the right time.
We do not see “it” in its suchness because of our indoctrination, crooked and twisted.
A simple life is one of plainness, in which profit is discarded, cleverness abandoned, selfishness eliminated, and desires reduced.
I am not easily discouraged, readily visualize myself as overcoming obstacles, winning out over set backs, achieving “impossible” objectives.
A purpose is the eternal condition of success.
What is the point of education if you in yourself are not intelligent? If you are not creative?
What we are after is the root and not the branches. The root is real knowledge; the branches are surface knowledge. Click to tweet
The enemy of development is this pain phobia – the unwillingness to do a tiny bit of suffering.
I never wanted a job in an office or any job that I had to work eight hours a day at – day in and day out. I don’t think I could have stood it.
Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you.
A teacher, a good teacher that is, functions as a pointer to truth, but not a giver of truth. He employs a minimum of form to lead his student to the formless. Furthermore, he points out the importance of being able to enter a mold without being imprisoned by it, or to follow the principles without being bound by them.
Opportunities may come your way or they may not. Luck may come your way or it may not. But if they come your way – and you call that luck – you’d better be ready for it!
My only sure reward is “in” my actions and not “from” them. The quality of my reward is in the depth of my response, the centralness of the part of me I act from.
Art is the way of the Absolute and to the essence of human life – creative action, with sensitivity, that positive state of innocence.
Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
One who is possessed by worry not only lacks the poise to solve his own problems, but by his nervousness and irritability creates additional problems for those around him.
To refuse to be cast down, that is the lesson.
There is intelligence when you are not afraid.
Learning techniques without inward experiencing can only lead to superficiality.
It is not his task to try to lead – that would only make him lose the Way – but to let himself be led.
Love is a egotism of two.
Faith without work is death.
There is nothing that will enable you to pursue your course in greater peace than the patient bearing of insult. Patience is not passive, on the contrary it is concentrated strength.
Your mental attitude determines what you make of it, either a stepping stone or stumbling block.
That of not being tense but ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being rigidly set but flexible. Aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.
Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.
The inner self is the true self.
Be flexible so you can change with change.
If you are in the now, you are inventive.
Whatever your problems happen to be in the future, remember well that they cannot remain stationary but must move together with your living spirit. Otherwise, you will drift into artificiality or attempt to solidify the ever-flowing. To avoid that, you must change and be flexible. Remember, the usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.
With every adversity comes a blessing because a shock acts as a reminder to oneself that we must not get stale in routine.
The law of averages: put in more, come out with more.
I don’t want to do anything half way; it as to be perfect. Click to tweet
Awakening, self-realization, and seeing into one’s own being – these are synonymous.
Just watch choicelessly and in the watching lies the wonder. It is not an ideal, an end to be desired. The watching is a state of “being” already, not a state of “becoming”.
While we are still alive, we have to discover ourselves, understand ourselves, and express ourselves.
The aim of art is to project an inner vision into the world without.
Negativeness very often unknowingly creeps up upon us. It helps occasionally to stop all thoughts (the chattering of worries, anticipations, and so forth, in your head) and then once more refreshingly march bravely on.
Simplicity is the last step of art and the beginning of nature.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. Click to tweet
Obey the principles without being bound by them. (See also: maturity quotes)
Live content with small means; seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. Be worthy, not respectable, wealthy, not rich; study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
Empty your mind. You know how water fills a cup? It becomes that cup. You have to think about nothing. You have to become nothing.
The human soul is what interests me. I live to express myself freely in creation.
Bear in mind that I seek neither your approval nor to influence you. So do not make up your mind as to “this is this” or “that is that”. I will be more than satisfied if you begin to learn to investigate everything yourself from now on.
Life is an ever-flowing process and somewhere on the path some unpleasant things will pop up – it might leave a scar, but then life is flowing, and life running water, when it stops it grows stale.
It is not daily increase but daily decrease – hack away the unessential! The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.
Art is the perfection of nature and life through the artist, who has supreme control of technique and is thereby liberated from it.
Those who gain, lose.
Open yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the total openness of the living moment.
There is “what is” only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.
A child must be taught early that money is only a means, a type of usefulness, an implement. Like all instruments, it has certain purposes, but it will not do everything. One must learn how to use it, what it will do, but above all what it will not do.
Keep your mind on the things you want and off those you don’t.
I’m not one of those guys that can brush people off. Besides, I feel that if I can just take a second to make someone happy, why not do it?
I’m not one of those who believe in love at first sight, but I believe in taking a second look.
Young love is a flame: very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
The Dominicans have the simplicity of a real human being; there is not so hypocrisy like in the big cities.
Ever since I was a kid, the word “quality” has meant a lot to me.
It is a well-known fact that one comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false. If a man repeats a lie over and over, he will eventually accept the lie as truth.
We all have time to either spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.
To be perfectly frank, I really do not believe in God. If there is a God, he is within.
To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
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Art is communication of feelings.
Only the self-sufficient stand alone – most people follow the crowd and imitate.
The height of cultivation runs to simplicity. Halfway cultivation runs to ornamentation. Bruce Lee
To be on the alert means to be deadly serious; to be deadly serious means to be sincere to oneself, and it is sincerity that finally leads to the Way.
This world is very practical. You do more work, you get rewarded more; you do less work, you lose your rewards.
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Right now I can project my thoughts into the future. I can see ahead of me. I dream (remember that practical dreamers never quit). I may now own nothing but a little place down in a basement, but once my imagination has got up a full head of stream, I can see painted on a canvas on my mind a picture of a fine, big fix or six story Gung Fun Institute with branches all over the States…
In a time when everything goes well, my mind is pampered with enjoyment, possessiveness, etc. Only in times of adversity, privation, or mishap, does my mind function and think properly of my state. This close examination of self strengthens my mind and leads me to understand and be understood.
I am improving and making new discoveries every day. If you don’t you are already crystallized and that’s it.
This achieving the center, being grounded in one’s self, is about the highest state a human being can achieve.
Without respect, love cannot go long.
Knowledge will give you power, but character respect. Bruce Lee
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Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable; however, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.
A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard. Click to tweet
Do not have an attitude, open yourself and focus yourself and express yourself. Reject external form that fails to express internal reality.
Only eat what your body requires, and don’t become carried away with foods that don’t benefit you.
Time means a lot to me because, you see, I, too, am also a learner and am often lost in the joy of forever developing and simplifying. If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
The mind must be wide open in order to function freely in thought. For a limited mind cannot think freely.
Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.
Can you neither condemn nor justify and yet be extraordinarily alive as you walk on? You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open.
Head toward self-expression and self-actualization and not just a means of mediocre functioning or repetitious drilling on a chosen pattern.
The waters are in motion all the time, but the moon retains its serenity. The mind moves in response to the ten thousand situations but remains ever the same.
Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
If you want to truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease.
Be proficient in your field as well as in harmony among fellow men.
What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better. Bruce Lee
Artists in all fields must learn to observe choicelessly, to digest their observations, and to express them in their work.
Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Bruce Lee
Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win. But never to accept the way to lose. To accept defeat – to learn to die – is be liberated from it.
It is not a shame to be knocked down by other people. The important thing is to ask when you’re being knocked down, “Why am I being knocked down?” If a person can reflect in this way, then there is hope for this person.
Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.
Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.
I couldn’t go wrong because what I always like about myself is this stickability toward quality and the sincere desire to do it right.
Nobility of character manifests itself at loopholes when it is not provided with large doors.
Don’t think – feel. Feeling exists here and now when not interrupted and dissected by ideas or concepts.
Go bravely on, my friend, because each experience teaches us a lesson. Keep blasting because life is such that sometimes it is nice and sometimes it is not.
Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
There is no such word as “maturity”. Rather: maturing. Because when there is a maturity, there is a conclusion and a cessation. That’s “the end”. That’s when the coffin is closed.
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Meditation is the freeing of the mind from all motives.
Humility forms the basis of honor, just as the low ground forms the foundation of a high elevation.
Let friendship creep gently to a height; if it rushes to it, it may soon run itself out of breath.
People have to grow by skillful frustrations, otherwise they have no incentive to develop their own means and ways of coping with the world.
The round of summer and winter becomes a blessing the moment we give up the fantasy of eternal spring.
One must not merely copy but try to convey the significance of what you see.
Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
Intelligence is the understanding of self.
Growth is the constant discovery and understanding in one’s process of living.
Please observe the adaptability of water. If you squeeze it fast, the water will flow out quickly. If you squeeze it slowly, it will come out slowly.
. I might be able to help you to discover and examine your problem by awakening your awareness of their cause and effect, but I cannot teach you, for I am not a teacher, and I have no style.
To be one thing and not to change is the climax of stillness. To have nothing in one that resists is the climax of emptiness. To remain detached from all outside things is the climax of fineness. To have in oneself no contraries is the climax of purity.
Truth comes when your mind and heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become somebody; it is there when the mind is very quiet, listening timelessly to everything.
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The true stillness is the stillness in movement.
It’s not what you give, it’s the way you give it.
No man is defeated unless he is discouraged.
A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.
Religions divide people, just as styles [in martial arts] divide people.
Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame, all awareness of one’s bodily. And, finally closing the avenues of sense perception, let the spirit out, as it will.
Not conviction, not method, but perception is the way of truth. It is a state of effortless awareness, pliable awareness, choiceless awareness.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.
Fluidity is the way to an empty mind. You must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.
It is the life of perfection which seems to be incomplete, and of fullness which seems to be empty. It is the life which is as bright as light, but does not dazzle. In short, it is a life of harmony, unity, contentment, tranquility, constancy, enlightenment, peace, and long life.
It is the creative ability of a human being that separates him from all other animals.
I like light rain. It gives one such a sense of calmness and tranquility. I enjoy walking in the rain. But most of all, I like books. I read all types of books – fiction and nonfiction.
You cannot hurt that which is formless. The softest thing cannot be snapped and emptiness cannot be confined.
Do not precede others, always follow them.
Art is never decoration or embellishment. Instead it is a constant process of maturing (in the sense of not having arrived!). (See also: art quotes)
Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man.
But then, how important is school? I barely made passing grades while attending the University of Washington.
A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough. (See also: patience quotes)
There will be calmness when one is free from external objects and is not perturbed.
Drop and dissolve inner blockage. A conditioned mind is never a free mind. Wipe away and dissolve all its experience and be “born afresh”.
To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.
It is a fact that labor and thrift produce a competence, but fortune, in the sense of wealth, is the reward of the man who can think of something that hasn’t been thought of before.
One should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way.
You just wait. I’m going to be the biggest Chinese star in the world.
Sincere and serious learners are difficult to come by. Many of them are five minute enthusiasts, some of them come in with ill intentions, but unfortunately, most of them are second-hand artists; basically conformers.
The inability to adapt brings destruction.
Do not hold to what you have. It is like a ferry boat for people who want to get across waters. Once you have got across, never bear it on your back. You should head forward.
I believe a couple should develop a kind of friendship. Linda and I have this kind of friendship. We understand each other, like a pair of good friends.
My wife and I aren’t one and one. We are two halves that make a whole. You have to apply yourself to be a family – two halves fitted together are more efficient than either half would ever be alone!
When man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled.
Art is an expression of life and transcends both time and space.
The poorer we are inwardly, the more we try to enrich ourselves outwardly. Bruce Lee
Anxiety is the gap between the “now” and the “then”. SO if you are in the “now”, you can’t be anxious, because your excitement flows immediately into ongoing spontaneous activity.
To be humble to superiors is duty; to equals is courtesy; to inferiors is nobleness; and to all, safety!
See also: strength quotes, education quotes, zen quotes
Instead of buying your children all the things you never had, you should teach them all the things you were never taught. Material wears out but knowledge stays.
The growth aim is to lose more and more your “mind” and come more to your sense. To be more and more in touch with yourself and the world, instead of only in touch with the fantasies, prejudices, etc.
Ideas are the beginning of all achievement – in every industry, in every profession.
False teachers of the Way of life use flowery words.
When a man seeks your advice he generally wants your praise.
Preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don’t interfere.
I really dig exercise. When I’m jogging early in the morning, boy! It’s sure refreshing.
There is no weapon more deadly than the will.
One must always strive to be better. The sky’s the limit.
I’m not the type of guy who can sit in the office doing the same routine day in and day out. I have to do something that is creative and interesting to me.
Gather materials. Masticate the facts. Relax and drop the whole subject. Be ready to recognize and welcome the idea when it comes. Shape and develop your idea into usefulness.
I don’t like to wear stuffy clothes and be at places where everyone is trying to impress each other.
Character is to the soul what outward appearances is to the body. A man’s genuineness and refinement should not reveal themselves directly; they should express themselves only indirectly as an effect from within.
If you are in the now, you are creative.
I can walk away from millions because it’s not right, but I’ll be damned if I’ll back up an inch from a dime because it has to be so.
A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence. It is easy to teach one to be skillful, but it is difficult to teach him his own attitude. Each moment during teaching requires a full alert and sensitive mind that is constantly adjusting and constantly changing.
We can see through others only when we see through ourselves.
Mind is an ultimate reality which is aware of itself and is not the seat of our empirical consciousness – by “being” mind instead of “having” mind.
Remember never to assert your self against nature; never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but to control it by swinging with it.
Give recognition where it is due. Complements definitely stimulate more effort and desire to improve. Be generous with honest praising.
I think when a couple marry, they either go into heaven or live in hell.
An intelligent mind is one which is constantly learning, never concluding – styles and patterns have come to conclusion, therefore they have ceased to be intelligent.
When one wishes to expand, one must first contract. When one wishes to be strong, one must first be weak. When one wishes to take, one must first give. Everything in this world has the alternative of existence and nonexistence (positive and negative).
The source of trouble in religion is to attribute to the cause with doctrines, rules, and prejudices.
We are always in a process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you’ll be flexible to change with the ever changing.
I don’t believe in pure luck. You have to create your own luck. You have to be aware of the opportunities around you and take advantage of them.
Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
If every man would help his neighbor, no man would be without help.
To live is to express, and to express you have to create. Creation is never merely repetition. To live is to express oneself freely in creation.
Education consists in cultivation of intelligence (not cunning, passing exams, etc.).
An idea, by itself, is not erroneous but judgment makes it.
Self-education makes great men.
Yesterday’s dreams are often tomorrow’s realities.
When one is not “expressing” himself, he is not free.
If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
The subconscious mind favors thoughts inspired by emotional feelings. It also gives preference to dominating thoughts.
No accidents are so unlucky but that the wise may draw some advantage from them; nor are there any so lucky but that the foolish may turn them to their own prejudice.
Who is there that can make muddy water clear? But if allowed to remain still, it will become clear of itself. Who is there that can secure a state of absolute repose? But keep calm and let time go on, and the state of repose will gradually arrest.
It is later than you think! Know yourself!
No one can hurt you unless you allow him to.
Through art our own souls are what we must employ to give a new form and a new meaning to Nature or the world.
Life is simply what our feelings do to us.
Philosophy is itself the disease for which it pretends to be the cure: the wise man does not pursue wisdom but lives his life, and therein precisely does his wisdom lie.
I will never prostitute myself in any way that I do what I don’t believe in.
To me, defeat is anything is merely temporary, and its punishment is but an urge for me to greater effort to achieve my goal. Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success and truth.
The main thing is not to expend one’s powers prematurely in an attempt to obtain by force something for which the time is not yet ripe.
In a cup, it becomes the shape of the cup. In a vase, it takes the shape of the vase and curls about the stems of flowers. Put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Recognizing the influence of my subconscious mind over my power of will, I shall take care to submit to it a clear and definite picture of my Major Purpose in life and all minor purposes leading to my major purpose, and I shall keep this picture constantly before my subconscious mind by repeating it daily.
If you want to do your duty properly, you should do just a little more than that.
A concentrated mind is not an attentive mind, but a mind that is in a state of awareness can concentrate. Awareness is never exclusive, it includes everything.
I will play with my children and joke with my children, but business is business. When the subject is a serious one, you don’t go around trying to keep from hurting their feelings. You say what must be said and set the rules which must be set without worrying about whether they like it or not.
Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. Have faith in your ability. You will do just fine.
Jogging is not only a form of exercise to me, it is also a form of relaxation. It is my own hour every morning when I can be alone with my thoughts.
What is real is seeing the truth instantaneously, because truth has no future.
Those who distrust the life-giving force within them, or who have none, are driven to compensate through such substitutes as money.
Thoughts backed by faith will overcome all obstacles.
Remember my friend that it is not what happens that counts, it is how you react to them.
I never believe in large organizations, with their domestic and foreign branches, affiliations, etc.
Realizing that my emotions are both positive and negative, I will form daily habits which will encourage the development of the positive emotions and aid me in converting the negative emotions into some form of useful action.
Emotions – the most important motors of our behavior.
The spiritual power of man’s will removes all obstacles.
Some people fight with others because they believe in different religions. If, however, they only gave the matter a bit of thought, they would never fight for such a foolish cause.
The function and duty of a human being, a “quality” human being, that is, is the sincere and honest development of potential and self-actualization.
Faith can be induced or created by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind through the principle of autosuggestion. This is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.
The way to bring back the dream is to relive the dream as if it were happening now.
Stupidity assumes two forms, it speaks or is silent. Mute stupidity is bearable.
To understand, surely, there must be a state of choiceless awareness in which there is no sense of comparison or condemnation, no waiting for further development on the thing we are talking about in order to agree or disagree – don’t start from a conclusion above all.
It is not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed in what you have learned.
A self-willed man has no other aim than his own growth. He values only one thing, the mysterious power in himself which bids him live and helps him to grow. His only living destiny is the silent, ungainsayable law in his own heart, which comfortable habits make it so hard to obey but which to the self-willed man is destiny and godhead.
The world is full of people who are determined to be somebody or give trouble. They want to get ahead to stand out. Such ambition has no use for a man of Tao, who rejects all forms of self-assertiveness and competition.
Don’t be in a hurry to “fix” things; rather, enrich your understanding in the ever-going process of discovery and finding more the cause of your ignorance.
Life is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.
Since life is an ever-evolving process, one should flow in this process and discover how to actualize and expand oneself.
Life is never stagnation. It is a constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as well as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.
What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.
The moment we stop analyzing and let go, we can start really seeing, feeling – as one whole.
The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. Click to tweet
To many, the word “success” seems to be a paradise, but now that I’m in the midst of it, it is nothing but circumstances that seem to complicate my innate feeling toward simplicity and privacy.
To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself; that, my friend, is very hard to do.
The fact is that we live only on such a small percentage of our potential: you do not allow yourself to be totally yourself, society does not allow you to be totally yourself.
Do think of the past in terms of those memories of events and accomplishments which were pleasant, rewarding, and satisfying.
Not “what” to think but “how” to think.
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Click to tweet
One great cause of failure is lack of concentration.
In Buddhism there is no place for using effort. Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food, move your bowels, pass water, and when you’re tired go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will understand.
Your mind is the result of a thousand yesterdays.
What’s amiss I’ll stop to mend, and endure what can’t be mended.
Realize the fact that you simply “live” and not “live for”.
What I detest most are dishonest people who talk more than they are capable of doing.
Right conduct is governed by reason and creativity.
If you don’t aim at an object, how the heck on earth do you think you can get it?
We are told that talent creates is own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
Failure is what your mind acknowledges.
I try to live freely from moment to moment, letting things happen and adjusting to them.
I no longer cover paradise. More important, I no longer fear hell. If you ask me what I will be in heaven, I will say this: Why should I think about something so far away when there are so many things in this life I have not finished learning about?
Art, after all, is a means of acquiring “personal” liberty. Your way is not my way nor mine yours.
I don’t drink nor smoke and those events are many times senseless.
There is no need to exert oneself in special cultivation outside the daily round of living.
Joy and suffering are the fruit of right and wrong thinking. Suffering, especially, is mostly self-manufactured; we are never so happy or so unhappy as we suppose.
I have no religion whatsoever. I believe that life is a process and that man is a self-made product. The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.
Intensity and/or enthusiasm is this god within us – one that instinctively becomes the art of the physical “becoming” and within this transition we no longer care to know what life means. We are indeed furnishing the “what is” by simply being.
If I tell you I’m good, probably you will say I’m boasting. But if I tell you I’m not good, you’ll know I’m lying.
The important thing for you is to be alert, to question, to find out, so that your own initiative may be awakened.
I’ll not willingly offend, nor be easily offended.
Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.
Faith makes it possible to achieve that which man’s mind can conceive and believe.
In all things, it is important to forget your “mind” and become one with the work at hand.
There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself, but not until then!
The superior man lets himself be guided; he does not go ahead blindly, but learns from the situation what is demanded of him and then follows.
Faith backed by action is applied faith.
Completeness, the now, is an absence of the conscious mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible.
Being able to find the correct conduct for a special situation is happiness – not a strict standard for every situation.
See also: hard work quotes, positive quotes
I feel I have this great creative and spiritual force within me that is greater than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. It is all these combined. My brain becomes magnetized with this dominating force which I hold in my hand.
The doer alone learns.
You know how I like to think of myself? As a human being.
Many young couples live a very exciting life when they are in love. So, when they marry, and their lives are reduced to calmness and dullness, they will feel impatient and will drink the bitter cup of sad marriage.
If you knew you had to fight for your life tomorrow, would you change your training today?
When tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.
He who wants to succeed should learn how to fight, to strive, and to suffer. You can acquire a lot in life, if you are prepared to give up a lot to get it.
Shut down all forms of distraction. Eliminate all opportunities for rivalry. Click to tweet
Prosperity is apt to prevent us from examining our conduct; but adversity leads us to think properly of our state, and so is beneficial to us.
To change with change is the changeless state.
Stand at the neutral point between negative and positive, no longer directing one’s mind to anything.
When you are in the now, you can’t be anxious, because the excitement flows immediately into ongoing spontaneous activity.
Choiceless awareness – do not condemn, do not justify. Awareness works only if it’s allowed free play without interference.
Are you doing to make your obstacles stepping stones to your dreams, or stumbling blocks because unknowingly you let negativeness, worries, fear, etc., take you over?
Thoughts are things, in the sense that thought can be translated into its physical equivalent.
See that there is no one to fight, only an illusion to see through. Be aware of illusions.
Marriage is a friendship, a partnership based solidly upon ordinary, everyday occurrences.
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Living exists when life lives through us – unhampered in its flow, for he who is living is not conscious of living and, in this, is the life it lives.
The true artist has no public; he works for the sheer joy of it, with an element of playfulness, of casualness.
True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns; freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond system.
All thought is partial, is can never be total. Thought is the response of memory, and memory is always partial, because memory is the result of experience; so thought is the reaction of a mind which is conditioned by experience.
If you make an ass out of yourself, there’ll always be someone ready to ride you.
The happiness that is derived from ordinary life last longer; like coal, it burns gradually and slowly. The happiness that is derived from excitement is like a brilliant fire – soon it will go out.
Happiness is good for the body, but sorrow strengthens to spirit.
The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest.
Art lives where absolute freedom is, because where it is not, there can be no creativity – art has no ego rigidity.
Logic’s central problem is the distinction between correct and incorrect argument.
A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.
Life lives; and in the living flow, no questions are raised. The reason is that life is a living now! So, in order to live life whole-heartedly, the answer is life simply is.
We realize that manipulation and control are not the ultimate joy of life – to become real, to learn to take a stand, to develop one’s center, to the support of our total personality, a release to spontaneity – yes, yes, yes!
Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick. Art is never decoration, embellishment; instead it is work of enlightenment. Art, in other words, is a technique for acquiring liberty.
I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education. Bruce Lee
There is another bit of Chinese philosophy that has a bearing on problems common to all human kind. We say, “The oak tree is mighty, yet it will be destroyed by a mighty wind because it resists the elements; the bamboo bends with the wind, and by bending, survives”.
Don’t strive to become, but be.
If all the religions were one, the world would be united in brotherhood.
To bring the mind into sharp focus and to make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere, the mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought process, and even ordinary thought itself.
Concentration is a narrowing down of the mind – but we are concerned with the total process of living, and to concentrate exclusively on any particular aspect of life, belittles life.
Empty yourself! Open up! After all, the usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.
In order to realize our true self we must be willing to live without being dependent upon the opinion of others. When we are completely self-sufficient we can have no fear of not being esteemed by others.
There is a difference: the world, our reaction to it.
True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like autumn leaves, found everywhere
The present? Well, think of it in terms of challenges and opportunities, and the rewards available for the application of your talents and energies.
All types of knowledge, ultimately mean self knowledge.
In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all of your preconceived fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is so useful? Because it is empty.
Are you a flowing entity, capable to flow with external circumstances, or are you resisting with your set choice pattern?
Do not seek “it”, for it will come when least expected. Let go. Don’t seek or run away.
Be “self-aware” rather than a repetitious robot.
Without frustration you will not discover that you might be able to do something on your own. We grow through conflict.
Behind every motion is the music of his soul made visible. Otherwise empty motion is like an empty word; no meaning. Postures without proper channeling of your emotions behind them are dead movements.
The measure of the moral worth of a man is his happiness. The better the man, the more happiness. Happiness is the synonym of well-being.
“A man is literally what he thinks”.
As for the future, that is a time and a place where every worthy ambition you posses is within your grasp.
A person cannot forget someone who is good to them.
Here now, forever more our lives must part. My path leads there and yours another way; I know not where tomorrow’s path may lead, nor what the future holds.
The more we value things, the less we value ourselves. Bruce Lee
Art must originate with an experience or feeling of the artist.
What does self-willed mean? Hell, isn’t it knowing above all, that, indeed, one is the captain of one’s soul, the master of one’s life?
With adversity you are shocked to higher levels, much like a rain storm that is so violent, but yet afterwards all plant grows.
Action is a highroad to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible.
It’s the will that makes men – success takes perseverance.
The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, and it is not to be traded and conceptualized and squeezed into a pattern of systems.
Education: to discover but not merely to imitate.
I believe that anybody can think himself into his goal if he mixes thought with definiteness of purpose, persistence; and a burning desire for its translation into reality.
Those who are materialistic still hold onto the ego as though it were a possession, rather than using it as a tool. Inwardly, psychologically, be a nobody.
At this moment stop inwardly – when you do stop inwardly, psychologically, your mind becomes very peaceful, very clear. Then you can really look at “this”.
All in all, the goal of my planning and doing is to find the true meaning of life – peace of mind. In order to achieve this peace of mind, the teaching of detachment of Taoism and Zen proved to be valuable.
Don’t be forecasting evil unless it is what you can guard against. Anxiety is good for nothing if we can’t turn it into a defense.
The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination. Click to tweet
When my tutor assisted me in choosing my courses, he advised me to take up philosophy because of my inquisitiveness. He said, “philosophy will tell you what man lives for”.
Art is really the expression of the self. The more complicated and restricted the method, the less the opportunity for the expression of one’s original sense of freedom.
Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
Pleasure is the flower that fades, remembrance is the lasting perfume.
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. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
You will never get any more out of life than you expect.
Persistence, persistence, and persistence. The power can be created and maintained through daily practice – continuous effort.
Remember my friend to enjoy your planning as well as your accomplishment, for life is too short for negative energy.
Look for ways to raise the pupil’s mind above duality, to the absolute awareness which transcends it.
Masters in all branches of art must first be masters in living, for the soul creates everything.
I, Bruce Lee, am a man who never follows there formulas of the fear-mongers. So, no matter if your color is black or white, red or blue, I can still make friends with you without any barrier.
Nothing exists except the here and now.
Seek freedom from the conformity of styles.
I don’t know what is the meaning of death, but I am not afraid to die – and I go on, non-stop, going forward.
The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.
The more we understand, the greater and deeper will be our contact with all that is around us.
So, there you are. The Ultimate list of Bruce Lee quotes.
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