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16 Motivational Life Lessons from Bruce Lee

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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