Enter the Dragon: Bruce Lee’s Secret to Greatness
What inspires greatness? It’s ideas. What inspires ideas? Philosophy. What is philosophy? It’s the love of wisdom. Greatness begins when you love wisdom and ideas as a man hopelessly in love with a woman.
You’ll have to forgive my “sexism” here, but sophia (philo+sophia) is in the feminine gender, so it’s like a man in love with a woman. That aside, the greatest in any field of life are those who bring ideas—a philosophy of life—into what they do.
Bruce Lee the Philosopher
Bruce Lee was such a man. Although most people know him from his martial art films, Bruce not only acted but was a devout practitioner of martial arts—so much so that he created his own system, Jeet Kune Do. However, what impresses me most about Bruce Lee was his passion for knowledge, wisdom, and the study of philosophy.
I was a huge fan of Bruce as a kid, but I didn’t learn of Bruce’s life as a thinker until I was an adult. I wasn’t aware of the breadth of his reading, or his careful note-taking. I saw him only as a martial artist and an actor. In the clip below, Bruce’s daughter Shannon gives a brief tour of her father’s sizable library:
When Ideas Invade Action
What really made Bruce Lee great was his passion for philosophy, because it is when ideas invade action that heroes and movements are born. It is ideas that turn the simple acts of an individual into an example for millions. A standard has been lifted up, and men and women will seek to follow it.
For me, it is the passionate pursuit of wisdom and understanding that is the real fuel that motivates me. This is why I find it difficult at times to see myself as simply a motivator. I want to do more than that. I want to help inspire people to be stronger human beings—to step away from the cultural currents and be who they never imagined they could be.
Inspired by Something Greater Than Yourself
In this sense, “Enter the Dragon” is what happens when you’re inspired by an idea or philosophy of life. Dragons are mythic creatures that evoke power and authority, and when you are inspired by something greater than yourself, you become something more than you are.
My simple challenge for you today is to pursue wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I want to challenge you to turn off the television and read something that will stretch and exercise your mind. Is there an area you’ve always wanted to study? Now is the time to “take some time” to do that.
If we don’t use our brains, they will deteriorate over time. We must keep them active and sharp—books are an effective way to do that.
What areas interest you? If you had more time to read, what would you study? Tell me in the comments below.
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