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Bruce Lee quotes

My martial arts
are solely a metaphor for my life philosophy.

Bruce Lee



Pearls of Wisdom



Bruce Lee (1940-1973) was a Hong Kong and American martial artist, actor, philosopher and filmmaker. He is the most influential martial artist of all time. Bruce Lee believed that any knowledge ultimately led to self-knowledge.






Bruce Lee quotes

Be happy, but never satisfied.

Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee quotes

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless,
and add what is specifically your own.

Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee quotes

Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.

Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee quotes

A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.

Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee quotes

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.

Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee quotes

Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.

Bruce Lee



Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, 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.

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

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.

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.

It is the life of perfection which seems to be incomplete, and of fullness which seems to be empty.

To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. 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. If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open.

A fat belly cannot believe that such a thing as hunger exists.

Nothingness means “no thingness” — there is only process, happening. When we accept and enter this nothingness, the void, then the desert starts to bloom.

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 to be liberated from it. Once you accept, you are free to flow and to harmonize. Fluidity is the way to an empty mind. You must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.

You know how I like to think of myself? As a human being.

We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything which has its root in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone; we are not alone when we imitate.

When I look around, I always learn something, and that is to be always yourself. And to express yourself. To have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it, which seems to me to be the prevalent thing happening in Hong Kong. Like they always copy mannerisms, but they’ll never start from the very root of his being, which is ‘how can I be me?’

Most people can talk without listening. Very few can listen without talking.

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.

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.

There was a fine butcher who used the same knife year after year, yet it never lost its delicate, precise edge. After a lifetime of service, it was still as useful and effective as when it was new. When asked how he had preserved his knife’s fine edge, he said: ‘I follow the line of the hard bone. I do not attempt to cut it, nor to smash it, nor to contend with it in any way. That would only destroy my knife.’ In daily living, one must follow the course of the barrier. To try to assail it will only destroy the instrument. And no matter what some people will say, barriers are not the experience of any one person, or any one group of persons. They are the universal experience.

Oftentimes people come up to me and ask, ‘Bruce, are you really that good?’ I say, ‘Well, if I tell you I’m good, probably you will say I’m boasting; but if I tell you I’m no good, you’ll know I’m lying.’ I have the absolute confidence not to be number two, but then I have enough sense also to realize that there can be no number one.

To be humble to superiors is duty; to equals is courtesy; to inferiors is nobleness; and to all, safety!

The method for health promotion is based on water, as flowing water never grows stale. The idea is not to overdevelop or to overexert, but to normalize the function of the body.

If I say that ‘everyone under the sun is a member of a universal family,’ you may think that I am bluffing and idealistic. But 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.

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 with life. 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. You can’t expect much more from life.

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.’



A learned man once went to visit a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher talked, the learned man frequently interrupted to express his own opinion about this or that. Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. ‘Stop,’ said the learned man. ‘The cup is full, no more can be poured in.’ ‘Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions,’ replied the Zen teacher. ‘If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?’




"By learning from Bruce Lee's teachings, we can transform our mindset and overcome these impulses for self-preservation, leading to more effective responses, and, as a result, more success in work and life."

~ JD Meier


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