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16 Motivational Life Lessons from Bruce Lee

16 Motivational Life Lessons from Bruce Lee

Why Listen To Bruce Lee’s Life Lessons?

If you’re a martial artist, then it’s pretty obvious that Bruce Lee is a person that is worth modeling. The level to which he developed both his body and his mind in the pursuit of martial arts was simply incredible.

However, it’s often overlooked just how much he accomplished in his short life. He constantly battled against racial stereotypes in developing his movie career, and his success in this area lead him to be regarded as one of the most influential martial artists of our time. He started out with huge goals in life and achieved so much that he definitely has some motivational life lessons we can learn from.

Lesson #1 – Life Purpose

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”

You only have one life in this body so make the most of it by creating something that adds value to those around you.

Lesson #2 – Limits

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”

You will only grow to the limits that you place on yourself (and let others place on you). To truly reach your potential you must forget limits and realize you will never reach your full potential in this lifetime.

Lesson #3 – Happiness

“Be happy, but never satisfied.”

Allow yourself to be happy now and don’t wait until you’ve reached some arbitrary goal. However, remember that everything in life is either growing or dying, so choose which one you prefer for your life.

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Lesson #4 – Self Image

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

“As you think, so shall you become.”

You define yourself–no one else. So when you create an incredible self image for yourself you will naturally grow into your own amazing expectations.

Lesson #5 – Goals

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Any goal can be reached when given enough time. So let go and just start moving in the right direction.

Lesson #6 – Learning

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”

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

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

Always be open to the lessons around you no matter where they come from. Everything in life can teach you something if you are open to receiving the lesson.

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Lesson #7 – Action

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

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

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

There are plenty of people in this world who know what they have to do to get what they want. The few that succeed are those who develop a character of constant and deliberate action.

Lesson #8 – Focus

“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.”

There are many paths you can follow to reach your destination. However, you’ll never reach the end if you keep changing paths along the way.

Lesson #9 – Time

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

We all start each day with 24 hours in the bank; the difference is what we do with it.

Lesson #10 – Failure

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

Failure is a natural part of the learning process for anything we do. No parent has ever watched their child fall while trying to take their first steps and said, “well, I guess they’re not a walker.” So why would you do this to yourself?

Lesson #11 – Perseverance

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

You are always going to have problems and challenges in your life. Success in any area is simply learning how to overcome bigger and bigger challenges.

Lesson #12 – Flexibility And Adaptability

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Become flexible and adaptable in your daily life and problems will roll off your shoulders. Tension is only created when results do not met our expectations or perception of how the world should be.

Lesson #13 – Simplification

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

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

When you clear your life and mind of the unessential then amazing things start to happen. Be ruthless in asking, “does this serve my greater life purpose?”

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Lesson #14 – Relationships

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”

Let go of the behaviors and actions of others as you can never change someone else. Instead look at how you interact (and react) with others, as this is a reflection of your own beliefs.

Lesson #15 – Service

“Real living is living for others.”

Realize that anything you want in life can be obtained by helping others get what they want.

Lesson #16 – Live In The Moment

“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”

Always focus your attention on the present moment. Your past does not determine your future–that comes from what you do in this exact moment.

What You Do Next

I hope you enjoyed these 16 motivational life lessons from Bruce Lee. However it’s important to remember that they do little unless you apply them to your life. So pick the lesson above that will create the most impact for you personally right now, post it in the comments below and then take action on it.

Then when you’re ready come back for the next serving of Bruce Lee wisdom and inspiration for a life well lived.

More by this author

Craig Dewe

Craig founded Lifestyle Outlaws, with the belief that everyone should have the time, money and health to do what they want with life.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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