Rank #1: #138 What Would Bruce Lee Do?
In this special episode Shannon and Sharon respond to questions from listeners wondering “What Would Bruce Lee Do?” With a mixture of Bruce Lee philosophy and personal experiences, Shannon and Sharon discuss choosing career paths, clarifying Bruce Lee’s philosophy on goals, how to share spiritual experiences, and seeking validation from those you admire. This is an applied philosophy podcast and these listener questions are real life examples of when we can apply Bruce Lee’s philosophy to our lives. Hopefully these listener questions and Shannon and Sharon's responses are helpful to all of our listeners, especially when they wonder, “What Would Bruce Lee Do?”
Go to our show notes to read the full notes of listener questions and responses from Shannon and Sharon:
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Rank #2: #38 Confidence
Rank #3: #1 One Inch Punch: The tiny startup with a giant global fan base
One Inch Punch: The tiny startup with a giant global fan base The Bruce Lee family company is a tiny family startup in a very unique situation. Millions of fans around the world but they didn’t control the rights to Bruce Lee’s name and likeness due to a bad deal that left a giant media conglomerate in charge. Learn how Shannon Lee tapped into her dad’s philosophy and wisdom to reclaim the rights and create a new company to serve her dad’s mission of personal freedom. We also introduce our other segments: #AAHA: Awesome Asians and Hapas. We give a shoutout to Asians and Hapa peeps doing awesome things in the world. #BruceLeeMoment: Moments of Bruce Lee’s philosophy taking action in the real world.
Rank #4: #2 Be water, my friend.
Rank #5: #68 Defeat is a State of Mind
Rank #6: #95 Transcendence
“A struggle of any nature can never be settled satisfactorily until the absolute fact is touched. Where neither opponent can affect the other – not neutrality, not indifference, but TRANSCENDENCE is the thing needed.”
The dictionary definition of Transcendence is:
Extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience; transcending material existence; universally applicable or significant
The 19th century movement of Transcendentalism had the core belief that there is an inherent goodness of people and nature. Transcendentalists also believed that society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individual and they have faith that people are at their best when truly self-reliant and independent. They believed that man was one with nature, emphasized personal freedom, and also attempted to embrace the empiricism of science. (Some famous Transcendentalists are Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.)
Parts of the movement of Transcendentalism align with Bruce Lee’s philosophies. In martial arts, Bruce rejected reliance on institutions and wanted everyone to create their own style. The focus on the individual, pursuing your own path, and being one with nature are all a part of Bruce’s philosophy.
Transcendence is a useful daily tool for our lives. Transcendence is about seeing the “big picture.” It is a change in perspective where you can take in the whole of the situation to better move through what you are struggling with.
It is hard to have transcendence when you are in the thick of being “for” or “against” something. In that situation the other person has to be “wrong” in order for you to be “right.”
“See that there is no one to fight, only an illusion to see through. Be aware of illusions."
Seeing through an illusion can be difficult because it is hard to give up your position in a fight with another person. It takes practice to be able to zoom out and see the big picture when you are in the midst of conflict.
A way to transcend a situation is to ask yourself, “What am I projecting onto this situation that may or may not be true? How am I trying to make this other person wrong? Why am I doing that? What am I projecting out of myself in order to win this argument?”
Sometimes in order to justify our thinking we have to make the other person “wrong.” We set up our thinking in ways that only show the other person as being wrong so that we can be right. This can keep us in anger and held in a state of confrontation and combat. This way of thinking does not rise above and it does not heal.
“To transcend the dualistic comprehension of a situation, let go at the point where the mind stops to abide – where it attaches to an object and stops the flow; don’t allow your attention to be arrested.”
Instead of fixating on the words or the blame, pull back and let go to take in the full picture and see your part in the situation.
Transcendence is a practice, and it can be difficult, but it is also extremely healing.
Another way to transcend when you are in an “I’m right and you’re wrong,” conflict is to try to see how both of you could be right or both of you could be wrong. This thought practice will give you some headspace to help transcend the conflict.
“Awareness is never exclusive – it includes everything.”
If you want to have a sense of full awareness, you have to include everything, not just your side.
At the Bruce Lee Family Company, when we are looking for partners and collaborators, we want our collaborative work to result in “1+1=11.” This means that when we come together with a partner we make something BIGGER, our work is not just additive it is transcendent. This type of transcendental relationship makes collaboration and working together more fun and produces better solutions.
When you’re confronted with a difficult challenge, it can be easy to shut down, ignore it, or avoid it. But if you shift your energy towards embracing the challenge, whether you succeed or fail, ultimately you transcend the challenge and move beyond it instead of remaining stuck.
“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.”
There is always something happening around you, the waters are always in motion, but the goal is to remain serene, still, and secure in your root.
“The mind must be wide open to function freely in thought. A limited mind cannot think freely.”
In order to transcend, you have to pull back and see the big picture. You have to feel the feelings in your body. Part of allowing yourself to feel your feelings, even grief and sadness, is that once you have allowed yourself to feel then you can return to a calm stillness and begin to transcend.
“No-mindedness is not being without emotion or feeling but being one in whom feeling is not sticky or blocked - the non-grasping mind.”
Feel your feelings, but do not hold onto them and get stuck. Once you have felt your feelings you can release them instead of allowing them to create blockages. The sticky feeling is the fear you feel where you want to shut out everything, lock the door, and hunker down. The sticky mind is denial, refusing to examine something closely.
When you are in a conflict with someone, ask yourself afterwards, “What if what this person is saying is true? How could it be possible?” Argue from the other person’s point of view. Let your mind consider it. Even if it turns out that what the other person is claiming is not true, this exercise allows you to have compassion and understanding for them because you can see their perspective.
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self-revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.”
It is hard to transcend if you are not willing to consider a bigger picture or unwilling to examine yourself.
“All movement comes out of emptiness, and the mind is the dynamic aspect of this emptiness. There is no crookedness or ego-centered motivation. The emptiness is sincerity, genuineness, and straightforwardness. Allow nothing between itself and its movements.”
“Scratch away all the dirt our being has accumulated and reveal reality in its nakedness.”
Transcendence is a daily practice. Practice zooming out and looking at the big picture in low-risk situations and it will become easier to transcend in more difficult conflicts. If you find that your thoughts are becoming entrenched in one side of a situation, interrupt your thought pattern by trying to look at the whole situation.
We would love to hear about how practicing transcendence is going for you! Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media @BruceLee #BruceLeePodcast
Rank #7: #46 The Mind is a Fertile Garden
Rank #8: #57 Self-Knowledge
Rank #9: #47 The Six Diseases
Rank #10: #61 Confrontation
Rank #11: #128 Self-Esteem
“The autonomous individual is only stable so long as he possessed of self-esteem. The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual’s power and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day. When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity. He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride, the explosive substitute for self-esteem. All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.”
Bruce Lee had a lot of thoughts around the notion of self-worth and self-esteem. (Many of these quote and thoughts are from The Passionate State of Mind by Eric Hoffer.)
Join Shannon & Sharon as they dive into self-esteem, taking action, and feeling worthy.
Find our full show notes: BruceLee.com/podcast
Check out our Podcast Bundle on the Bruce Lee Store! Follow us @Brucelee & write us at email@example.com
Rank #12: #92 Conquer Yourself Part 1 – The Fetters
“A man is born to achieve great things if he can conquer himself.”
When Bruce Lee says “conquer” it is not about subjugating yourself, but instead it is about knowing yourself in order to liberate yourself.
“Each man binds himself – the fetters are ignorance, laziness, preoccupation with self and fear. You must liberate yourself.“
Fetters are a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner. In this quote the fetters are our own restrictions of ignorance, laziness, preoccupation with self, and fear. These things hold us prisoner, restraining us from being free to be our most authentic selves.
Bruce Lee was a normal person dealing with his personal chains and traps. Here, he was describing his own fetters, describing what was holding him back and what he needed to work on in order to free himself.
Bruce wrote often about how we have to discover the cause of our ignorance. To accept and know that you do not know is a huge initial step. Then you have to ask “What is it that I am ignorant about?”
Self-work is hard work. It can be draining and take a long time, but it is worth putting in the work.
When we have those feelings of love and joy, it feels good in our bodies and our souls, and we always want to get more of that. We return to our fetters because they are familiar and easy and we fear leaving them behind. We fear looking at our chains too closely.
“To understand your fear is the beginning of really seeing.”
“Most of us would rather suffer being self-conscious than to realize our blindness and get our eyes again.”
We are fearful of looking closely at ourselves because that means that there is a part of you that has to change. You have to let go of some story you might have been holding on to your whole life.
Self-work is such hard work because they way that you grow and change is by going through, working through the hard feelings. You cannot just put aside the hard feelings; they will not go away, they must be dealt with.
If you are numbed to a big part of your feelings, it is hard to know yourself.
“Use the ego as a tool.”
We all have an ego. We all have a place in our lives where we do not want to be challenged or told we are wrong.
To use our ego as a tool, we look at the places in our life where we are rigid and do not want to hear that we could be wrong.
Where are you resisting with your set choice patterns?
When Bruce Lee talks about being a flowing entity, capable to flow with whatever comes at you, this means you cannot be in resistance with your ego or your story.
Look at the ego rigidity within you, and ask, “How am I resisting?” Investigate why there is rigidity and as yourself if you really want that.
The first step is being willing to see the ego rigidity.
Have a willingness to listen. In our present culture, there is a push to debate in order to force your point to be heard, but when you do this you are not listening to the other person. Be present. Be willing to listen.
It is important to engage in these conversations even if you do not think the other person will listen to you. Even if someone does not listen to you, you still were able to express yourself. You got to practice being in relationship in conversation with someone and practicing these things helps you grow.
“One should get rid of the obtruding self or ego-consciousness and apply himself to the work to be done.”
Fear is a heavy chain. We are often fearful of being hurt so we do not engage. If we are fearful and defensive all of the time, we cut off connection and growth.
Do not put so much energy into guarding against being hurt, especially if the hurt might not even come. It requires so much of your time and personal power to stay defensive against hurt. It is uncomfortable to be anxious and tense, tiptoeing through life out of fear.
“Sensitivity is not possible when you are afraid.”
Truly seeing and really listening is not possible when you are coming from a place of fear because you are on guard. Sensitivity is about having mastery of your senses.
“There can be no initiative if one has fear. Fear compels us to cling to traditions and gurus, etc.”
If you are fearful, you seek other people or structures to make yourself whole.
If you cling to others for validation then Bruce says, “We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.”
You do not want to get stuck in the esteem of others because then you will not know yourself.
“The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all action.“
If you are always self-conscious about how you do something, even if the desire is to do it well, but you want to do it well to receive esteem from others, then you will never achieve flow in that action. That self-consciousness prevents you from truly doing the task the best that you can and expressing yourself.
Striving for perfection will prevent you from starting something or prevent you from finishing something.
“Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.“
If you fear sharing something because you fear the impression that you will make, your projected self is in conflict with your true self. If you can always be your true self then you have freedom to create and share anything.
“Secretiveness plays the same role as boasting – both are engaged in the creation of a disguise. Of the two, secretiveness is the more difficult and effective.”
Secretiveness is dishonesty to yourself and those around you. If you’re secretive you are engaged in the creation of a disguise because you are not comfortable in your own skin. It is ok to come out and be yourself.
Laziness is heaviness and paralysis. It is a result of not dealing with your fear, ego, or self-consciousness. You feel that you have no energy to do anything productive.
Ask yourself: Where is my energy going? How can I reclaim that energy?
“Use the ego as a tool rather than a possession. Inwardly, psychologically, be a nobody.”
Know yourself, look inside yourself, develop yourself to be a better master of yourself.
Use you ego, be in relationship, have sensitivity.
“It is the ego that stands rigidly against things coming in from the outside.”
This ego rigidity makes it impossible for us to meet where we are and who we are in every moment. Ego rigidity is the source of losing energy.
“The ego boundary is the differentiation between the self and the otherness. If the ego boundary is fixed, then the character becomes an armor. Inside the ego boundary, there is love and cooperation, and outside the ego boundary, there is suspicion and unfamiliarity.”
The boundary should be limitless; you need to dissolve the boundary so that the love and cooperation that is within can flow out.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us @brucelee on social media with #bruceleepodcast
Rank #13: #36 Gung Fu
Rank #14: #135 Health
What does it mean to be healthy in our mind, body, and spirit? Health is not limited to our physical wellbeing, but encompasses our mind, body, and spirit. In order to get to optimal health, we have to be willing to look at the unhealthy parts of ourselves.
Bruce Lee pursued not just his physical health, but also his mental and spiritual health.
“Health is an appropriate balance of the coordination of all of what we are. A healthy person has both a good orientation (sensoric system) and ability to act (motoric system). So if there is no balance between sensing and doing, then you are out of gear.”
We all experience the issue where we know in our heads what we should be doing for our health, but avoid acting on it because it is hard or inconvenient.
“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. Remember, my friend, it is not what happens that counts; it is how you react to them. Your mental attitude determines what you make of it, either a stepping stone or a stumbling block.”
We can complain about the tasks that we do not enjoy, but we enjoy the results. Such as not wanting to do laundry, but enjoying having clean clothes, or not wanting to go to the gym, but wanting to be more physically fit.
In order to maintain good health, where good health is the health of the soul, it is going to require us complete the tasks which stepping-stones towards the bigger picture of what we want.
The aesthetics of physical health are heavily influenced by our society, but even though those ideals are what we think health looks like, if it is not total wellbeing of mind, body, and spirit it is not true health. It is important to take stock of how we feel physically, mentally, and spiritually on our health journeys. Be sure to ask yourself, “What is healthy for me?” Find out what works for your individual health instead of following along with what everyone else is doing.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you because it will tell you what it needs. Do not listen to just what your mouth craves, but what your whole being needs.
Full Notes: BruceLee.com/podcast
Check out our Podcast Bundle on the Bruce Lee Store! Follow us @Brucelee & write us at email@example.com
Rank #15: #60 Choiceless Awareness
Rank #16: #63 Research Your Own Experience
Rank #17: #30 Purpose
Rank #18: #40 Real Truth
Rank #19: #34 Living the Oneness of Things
Rank #20: #78 Motivation When You're Stuck
For our end of year episode we asked our listeners to submit questions they wanted us to answer or advice they wished they could receive from Bruce Lee. We had many, many questions submitted and we noticed that many dealt with finding motivation when you’re stuck. People were feeling stuck and unmotivated in a range of topics from their work and jobs, to dealing with injuries and feeling isolated.
From listener Anthony:
“I’ve had an empty feeling in me for as long as I can remember. It’s not what I would call depression, more like an unmotivated feeling. Like a “nothing really matters” feeling. It’s been with me since early years (I’m 20 now) and I’ve had problems feeling any belonging. Bruce has written about this type of thing. How loneliness is an opportunity to find yourself. I was wondering, were there any rituals Bruce would find himself doing when things were rough?. For example, when he was struggling to land genuine movie roles that weren’t discriminatory to him in his early years.
Best wishes from Ireland.”
Shannon shares that she knows this sort of low-grade depression well, and remembers feeling this way during her childhood. She remembers her mom telling her that when things wouldn’t work out for Bruce, at first he would be really angry and frustrated. Then, he would get really quiet and give himself some space and time to contemplate and “go in.”
For many of us, the problem with feeling stuck is that we do not want to feel stuck and we want to fix it right away. We feel judgment if we cannot fix it immediately and be rid of it. This is a natural reaction, but it prevents us from really experiencing what the “stuckness” is and looking at it. Instead we push it away and we beat ourselves up when it comes back. If you allow yourself to be with that feeling, it has information for you. When you allow yourself to feel the feelings fully, it can help it pass through.
The first step: be gentle and kind with yourself. Let go of the judgment you have about what you’re feeling and don’t beat yourself up or push the feeling away. Just say, “Ok, this is where I am right now.”
The second step: feel your feelings. When Bruce would become quiet he would sit with the problem, allow himself to feel it, and investigate it. Some of Bruce’s greatest philosophical realizations and writings came from these times of hardship.
The third step: take action. After sitting with your feelings and investigating, you have to take a step towards action. Do not skip the first two steps and go right to the action item because then you are trying to fix the problem before knowing what the problem is. For some it works to come up with an aggressive action plan, but for others we do not know what action to take at all. The actions you can take can be small, and they should not be viewed as a fight you have to make to overcome your problem. These action steps should be towards your wellness and wholeness, and that bring you joy. What works for someone else might not work for you, so you have to customize and personalize your action steps for yourself.
Affirmations and journaling can be actions that you can take. Affirmations are statements you read aloud everyday, which are meaningful to you that you want to make a part of your life. Then it becomes a part of your everyday thoughts and you’re planting a seed in you mind that will grow.
If you're having a difficult time thinking of anything that brings you joy, remember the things that brought you joy as a kid. Or remember the last time that you felt joyful. When you're depressed it can feel impossible to think of anything that makes you happy, which is why you might have to go way back to think of a thing that brings you joy.
Doing these small actions will not immediately solve your problems or how you feel, but they create space for you to start to energize and heal. Creating this space helps you tackle the next bigger action steps to address your larger problem.
Bruce Lee had tools to help him such as to be quiet, to meditate, to write, to move his body, to laugh and tell jokes. Find out what your tools might be. Bruce’s lesson is that YOU are the medicine and you have to participate in your own healing. You have to be willing to engage in your own wellness and healing.
“The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see I will never find the light unless, like a candle, I am my own fuel.”
“Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”
When we are talking about our own healing and unsticking of ourselves, you are the most important thing. Take the focus off of “I have to be well so that I can participate in this other thing.” You have to treat yourself as the most important thing in your life. We often put ourselves last in the wake of our obligations to our family, job, and friends. The truth is all those people might need you to do things, but without you as a whole, functioning human being, they are not going to get those things or a very partial version.
Read our full episode show notes for “#78 Motivation When You’re Stuck” at Brucelee.com/podcast. We share more about healing from injury, time management, feeling stuck in your job, and letting go.
Share your #AAHAs, #BruceLeeMoments, and #TakeAction progress with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.