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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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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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