Some of the Best Bruce Lee Quotes to Remember

Actor and philosopher Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown on November 27, 1940. He grew up in Hong Kong but would later move to the United States to attend the University of Washington, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy.

Bruce Lee (1)

As a martial arts instructor, Lee started his school, where he trained some of Hollywood’s top stars. During this period, Lee was cast in The Green Hornet and started his acting career, including many well-known martial arts films such as Way of the Dragon and Enters the Dragon.

Bruce Lee

Sadly, due to an adverse reaction to pain medicine, he died in 1973, when he was only 33.

This collection of top 50 Bruce Lee quotes reflects his admiration for humanity and belief that everyone can progress through self-consciousness.

Bruce Lee Quotes

Bruce Lee Quotes

  1. “Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. To realise that it’s just an inconvenience, not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.”
  2. “Art is the way to the absolute and the essence of human life. The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses but the opening of all human capacities – thought, feeling, will – to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard, and the self is brought into harmony with it.”
  3. “Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better. As the great Sun Tzu said: ‘When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win and lose one. However, you will be imperilled every time when you do not know yourself or your opponent.”
  4. “The athlete building muscles through weight training should be very sure to work adequately on speed and flexibility simultaneously. In combat, without the prior attributes, a strong man will be like the bull with its colossal strength futilely pursuing the matador or like a low-geared truck chasing a rabbit.”
  5. “If you always limit what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, morality, and entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
  6. “I wish neither to possess nor to be possessed. I no longer covet ‘paradise’. More importantly, I no longer fear ‘hell’. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until now. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my fuel, consuming myself.”
  7. “Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. A relationship is a process of self-evaluation and self-revelation. A relationship is a mirror in which you discover yourself to be related.”
  8. “If you always limit everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there; you must go beyond them.”
  9. “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.”
  10. “I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that, and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualised. I am happy because I am growing daily, and I honestly do not know where the limit lies. Certainly, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”
  11. “To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”
  12. “Many people dedicate their lives to actualising a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualising themselves. This difference between self-actualisation and self-image actualisation is very important. Most people live only for their image.”
  13. “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
  14. “Everything you do, if not in a relaxed state, will be done at a lesser level than you are proficient. Thus the tensed expert marksman will aim at a level less than his/her student.”
  15. “Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin, and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh, and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones, and you take his life! Do not be concerned with escaping safely – lay your life before him!”
  16. “To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.”
  17. “Art is the way to the absolute and the essence of human life. The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses but the opening of all human capacities – thought, feeling, will – to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard, and the self is brought into harmony with it.”
  18. “Because one does not want to be disturbed, to be made uncertain, he establishes a pattern of conduct, thought, relationship to man, etc. Then he becomes a slave to the pattern and takes the pattern to be the real thing.”
  19. “Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
  20. “The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.
  21. “The second-hand artist blindly following his sensei or sifu accepts his pattern. As a result, his action and, more importantly, his thinking become mechanical. His responses become automatic, according to set patterns, making him narrow and limited.” 
  22. “It is not a shame to be knocked down by other people. The important thing is to ask when you’re being knocked down, ‘Why am I being knocked down?’ If a person can reflect in this way, then there is hope for this person.”
  23. “One should be in harmony with, not in opposition to, the strength and force of the opposition. This means that one should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way.”
  24. “The world is full of people who are determined to be somebody or to give trouble. They want to get ahead, to stand out. Such ambition has no use for a gung fu man, who rejects all forms of self-assertiveness and competition.”
  25. “But neither can you condemn nor justify and yet be extraordinarily alive as you walk on. You can never invite the wind but must leave the window open.”
  26. “Life is better lived than conceptualised. This writing can be less demanding should I allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that, and I’ve come to understand that life is best to be lived — not to be conceptualised. If you have to think, you still do not understand.”
  27. “Love is like a friendship caught on fire. Initially, a flame was very pretty, often hot and fierce, but only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature, and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
  28. “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.”
  29. “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
  30. “Choose the positive. You have a choice; you are the master of your attitude; choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
  31. “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”
  32. “Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. There is “what is” only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.”
  33. “The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest.”
  34. “When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.”
  35. “The knowledge and skills you have achieved are meant to be forgotten so you can float comfortably in emptiness, without obstruction.”
  36. “Time means a lot to me because I am also a learner and often lost in the joy of forever developing.”
  37. “Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.”
  38. “Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.”
  39. “Bruce Lee is arguably the most influential martial artist of all time – and his work as an actor and filmmaker marked a turning point in how Asians were depicted in the film in the U.S.”
  40. “Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
  41. “Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, un-rhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.”
  42. “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”
  43. “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
  44. “I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.”
  45. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
  46. “If there is a God, he is within. You don’t ask God to give you things; you depend on God for your inner theme.”
  47. “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind will ever help you.”
  48. “The doubters said, ‘Man can not fly,’ The doers said, ‘Maybe, but we’ll try,’ And finally soared In the morning glow While non-believers Watched from below.”
  49. “What is is more important than ‘what should be.’ Too many people are looking at ‘what is’ from thinking ‘what should be.”
  50. “Bruce Lee is one of my idols as an entrepreneur. He was a martial artist, film director, producer, screenwriter, philosopher and actor.”
14 Fun Facts About Bruce Lee

14 Fun Facts About Bruce Lee

  1. In one instance, an observer’s arm was broken when Bruce Lee’s opponent fell on him upon receiving a thunderous kick.
  2. Bruce Lee was one of the first to experiment with contact lenses because of his poor vision. It was a pain to wear contact lenses back then.
  3. We all know how swift Bruce Lee’s kicks were. But wait a moment, did you know that in the Enter the Dragon movie, they had to re-shoot a scene so that spectators wouldn’t assume it was phony!
  4. Muhammad Ali was a big inspiration to Bruce Lee, who was a significant follower of the boxer. He used to watch all of his fights on videotape constantly.
  5. Most of the English voices in Bruce Lee’s films were performed by him.
  6. Bruce Lee had a secret passion for poetry writing. It turned out he was incredibly great at it.
  7. In Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was a world-class Cha-Cha dancer! In high school, he won a Cha Cha dancing competition. The epitome of a multi-faceted individual!
  8. Every day, Bruce Lee would exercise 5000 blows. This explains why he was so powerful!
  9. He had the sweat glands surgically removed from his armpits.
  10. Coincidentally, Bruce was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon. And on the Day of the Dragon, and at the hour of the Dragon.
  11. Famous for rigorous exercises, Lee could do 200 pushups on one finger or 100 pushups on one thumb.
  12. Abdul Jabbar trained under him in kung fu, and they often sparred.
  13. Chuck Norris was close friends with Lee and served as a pallbearer at his burial despite their roles in the way of the Dragon as antagonists.
  14. Lee mastered Kung Fu so quickly that he created his martial art, Jeet Kune Do, which he incorporated into his combat style.
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The popularity of Bruce Lee’s martial arts films and the highly motivating words he left behind will live on years after his death.

The above Bruce Lee quotations inspire you to find self-fulfilment in your life.