Words from Bruce Lee’s Letters

Quotes from “Letters of the Dragon” that spoke to me

Photo Credits: Bruce Lee Enterprises — Bruce Lee was an avid and prolific writer.
Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee in “The Way of the Dragon” — 1971
“It can’t rain all the time.”
Listening to Bruce Lee speak gives a voice to the quotes that follow. You can also hear his famous “Be water, my friend,” speech in this interview.

“Some have said that theater is what literature does at night. If so, then letters are what the creators of such literature do and think in the evening of their thoughts. For it is there, in the darkened, innermost recesses of one’s mind, well behind the glare of superficiality and trivia, that the passions, desires, and truest selves reside.”

— John Little and Linda Lee Caldwell

On making a good living, work, and ideas:

“There are two ways of making a good living. One is the result of hard working, and the other, the result of the imagination (requires work, too of course). It is a fact that labor and thrift produce a competence, but fortune, in the sense of wealth, is the reward of the man who can think of something that hasn’t been thought before. In every industry, in every profession, ideas are what America is looking for. Ideas have made America what she is, and one good idea will make a man what he wants to be.”

“I know my idea is right, and therefore, the results would be satisfactory. I don’t really worry about the reward, but to set in motion the machinery to achieve it. My contribution will be the measure of my reward and success.”

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.”

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

On process and being:

“Wishing to cultivate oneself, one first rectifies his heart (mind).
Wishing to rectify his heart, one seeks to be sincere in his thoughts.
Wishing to be sincere in his thoughts, one first extends to the utmost of his knowledge — such extension of knowledge lies in the investigation of things.”

1. To be one thing and not to change, is the climax of STILLNESS.
2. To have nothing in one that resists is the climax of EMPTINESS.
3. To remain detached from all outside things is the climax of FINENESS.
4. To have in oneself no contraries, is the climax of PURITY.

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

A poem on realizing your destiny and being a doer:

Who am I?
That is the age-old question
Asked by every man
At one time or another.
Though he looks into a mirror
And recognizes the face,
Though he knows his own name
And age and history,
Still he wonders, deep down,
Who am I?
Am I a giant among men,
Master of all I survey,
Or an ineffectual pygmy
Who clumsily blocks his own way?
Am I the self-assured gentleman
With a winng style,
The natural born leader
Who makes friends instantly,
Or the frightened heart
Tiptoeing among strangers,
Who, behind a frozen smile, trembles
Like a little boy lost in a dark forest?
Most of us yearn to be one,
But fear we are the other.
Yet we CAN be
What we aspire to be.
Those who cultivate
Their natural instincts,
Who set their sights
On the good, the admirable, the excellent,
And believe they can achieve it
Will find their confidence rewarded.
And, in the process,
They will discover the true identity
Of him who looks back from the mirror.
The doubters said,
“Man cannot fly,”
The doers said,
“Maybe, but we’ll try,”
And finally soared
Into the morning’s glow
While non-believers
Watched from below.
The doubters claimed
The world was flat,
Ships plunged over its edge,
And that was that!
Yet a brand new world
Some doers found,
And returned to prove
This planet round.
The doubters knew
’Twas fact, “Of course,
No noisy gadget
Would e’er replace the horse.”
Yet the carriages
Of doers, sans equine,
Came to traverse
All our roads in time
But those who kept saying
“It can’t be done,”
Never are the victories
Or the honors won.
But, rather,
By the believing, doing kind,
While the doubters
Watched from far behind.

Day 3 of 60 for developing a writing habit.



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David Drake

Accomplished Father, Leader, Engineer, Writer, and Wannabe Chef. @randomdrake