I’m a huge Bruce Lee fan. If you’ve ever seen him in anything, you probably are, too. Go watch Enter the Dragon or Fist of Fury. Read The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Find any one of a dozen YouTube videos featuring Bruce Lee doing something that doesn’t look possible or even real, in a time before computerized special effects.
Lee’s talent and athleticism are astounding. But that’s not it. Every once in a while somebody comes along with true magnetic star quality, and he had that. But that’s not it, either.
For me and so many others, Bruce Lee stands out as iconic not because of his status as a Kung Fu master, but for deeper reasons. Sure, we all started admiring him for the way he fought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death. But digging a little deeper into his story reveals a tale of real victory. Lee dealt with racism within and outside his community, triumphed over debilitating injury, and overcame odds and adversity at every turn.
The reason that Bruce Lee is a hero is that he was completely and radically dedicated not to besting an opponent, but instead to being his best self. Through reading his books, I learned that the phrase “Kung Fu” simply means mastery, and it’s something we should strive for in all areas of life.
Bruce Lee taught me to absorb what is useful, to find the cure and teacher within myself, and, most of all, to walk on.
In this phenomenal article by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon, you’ll get a better sense of what I’m talking about. I particularly liked the section about writing a “Definite Chief Aim.” I’m working on mine right now.