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

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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.

    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 October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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