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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
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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.

    How to Celebrate Small Wins to Achieve Big Goals Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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