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Bruce Lee’s Letters Reveal How Writing Down Self-Reflections Can Boost Your Personal Growth

Bruce Lee’s Letters Reveal How Writing Down Self-Reflections Can Boost Your Personal Growth

Best known for his films, Bruce Lee was more than an actor – he was a martial artist and philosopher. In the letters he wrote to himself, he revealed just how much he spent time reflecting on his thoughts, his purpose, his goals and his attempt to continually understand himself and evolve.

But what can we learn from his approach to personal growth? Despite our want to improve ourselves we can easily turn to entertainment in our alone time rather than spending this time to self-reflect. It’s this process of self-reflection that can really help with our understanding of self and promote growth.

What Bruce Lee Can Teach Us About The Importance of Self-Reflection

Bruce Lee shows there is an art to writing down our life musings. Many of us feel a sense of accomplishment when we carve out time to sit and write down lists of goals and dreams – maybe even a structured plan to attain them. However, while this is a great way to start self-improvement, there is a problem of whether our progress is slow with no evidence of real insight.

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What we can learn from Bruce Lee’s self-reflections, and more importantly apply to our own self-improvement, is that spending time self-reflecting can allow self-efficacy (our belief in our abilities) to blossom. Self-belief is something we often overlook as the key to success in our personal development, together with being true to ourselves and being willing to make the changes we want in life.

In an extract from his letter, Lee writes:

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    “Recognizing that the power of will is the supreme court over all other departments of my mind, I will exercise it daily, when I need the urge to action for any purpose; and I will form HABIT designed to bring the power of my will into action at least once daily.”

    “I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality; therefore I will concentrate my thoughts for 30 min. daily upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture.”

    It’s his self-reflections that helped him to carve out clear paths and how his daily thoughts and actions truly contributed to his life journey.

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    The Key To Mastering Our Own Self-Reflections

    Making self-reflecting a habit in our own lives can be a game-changer in our own personal growth journey. Writing down our self-reflections on a daily basis will start to improve our understanding of what we’ve learned, allowing us to see how far we’ve come and our potential moving forward.

    From reading Bruce Lee’s letters, personal authenticity and willingness to change are the two key factors that contributed to his self-efficacy.

    So, when penning your thoughts it’s important to keep two things in mind:

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    1. You need to make sure you write as your true, authentic self. By this I mean don’t script what you feel you should be writing, keep it 100% true to your thoughts and feelings as this is the only way to get a full understanding of where you are.

    2. Make sure you keep yourself challenged. The point of self-reflection is to see progression in your thinking and understanding of what you’ve learned – either about yourself or something else. Make changes accordingly. Noticing no real change – whether slight or significant – is a sign you’re off track. Remember, expansion comes from embracing change.

    Anything towards your personal growth and improvement is gold. However, as Bruce Lee shows us, understanding the why behind your thoughts, goals and plans in life is the key to progressing forward on your journey. Meaningful growth comes with expansion and constant discoveries – taking time out to write down and contemplate our self-reflections will help us move forward in a purposeful and expansive way.

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    Jenny Marchal

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Do you like making mistakes?

    I certainly don’t.

    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

    1. Point us to something we did not know.
    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
    3. Deepen our knowledge.
    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
    6. Inform us more about our values.
    7. Teach us more about others.
    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
    11. Remind us of our humanity.
    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
    16. Invite us to better choices.
    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
    18. Can reveal a new insight.
    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
    20. Can serve as a warning.
    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
    24. Remind us how we are like others.
    25. Make us more humble.
    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
    30. Expose our true feelings.
    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
    34. Show us when we are not listening.
    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
    36. Can create distance with someone else.
    37. Slow us down when we need to.
    38. Can hasten change.
    39. Reveal our blind spots.
    40. Are the invisible made visible.

    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
    • Have an experimental mindset.
    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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