21 Badass Bruce Lee Quotes To Help You Kick The Sh*t Out Of Life’s Troubles


Do you remember when, about eight years ago, the world discovered Chuck Norris facts? They were like the second or third biggest thing on the internet circa 2005-06. They were short jokes that played with the idea that Chuck Norris is the baddest motherfucker on planet earth. In case you’ve never heard or read one of these facts, here are few examples:

  • They once made a Chuck Norris toilet paper, but there was a problem: It wouldn’t take shit from anybody.
  • Chuck Norris and Superman once fought each other for a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
  • You know how they say Jesus walked on water? Chuck Norris can swim through land.
  • When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Chuck Norris.

Okay. You get the idea. It’s pretty well-established that Chuck Norris is a legit badass. But do you know who used his face to polish a stone floor?

That’s right. Bruce Lee.

He is the baddest man who ever lived.

But he wasn’t limited to being a badass in just the typical ass-kicking way. He was a metaphorical and philosophical badass, as well. Like, on the real.

He was five-feet six inches tall and weighed less than one-hundred and fifty pounds. But damn, if he didn’t use every single pound and leverage every one of those sixty-six inches. He was born the son of an opera singer. There were no early indications he would go on to become, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter that ever lived. He took what he was given and made himself into an ass-kicking, self-conducted symphony of motion, a creature of constant flow.

Many of you probably think that David Foster Wallace gave the world the greatest speech about water. It’s been all over the internet. It’s called This Is Water. It’s a damn good speech. It was the commencement speech to Kenyon College’s graduating class of 2005 (coincidentally, right around the same time Chuck Norris facts became popular). But I’m here to tell you none of that matters because Bruce Lee gave the world the best speech ever about water. Ever. And he summed it up with these four words.

“Be water, my friend.”

Bruce Lee’s take on water is every bit as brilliant, as life-altering, as deeply-considered as DFW’s. He just doesn’t need as many words. You can check it here.

I don’t know what kind of flying kicks David Foster Wallace could pull off, so I won’t keep comparing these two geniuses. The power of Bruce Lee’s mind was that he was a master of multiple disciplines. And for one very simple reason: He dedicated himself fully to … himself.

That’s how Bruce Lee became one of the biggest movie stars of his day, and one of the greatest icons in recent memory: he kicked each ass he had to and overcame every obstacle he encountered. Doesn’t matter if you wanna be a fearless badass or a boss bitch, I’m suggesting you …

“Be Bruce, my friend.”

Here are 21 pearls of wisdom from the genius of Bruce Lee:

Always be yourself. Express yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
I wish neither to possess nor to be possessed. I no longer covet ‘paradise’. More important, 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 this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, consuming myself.
Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self evaluation and self revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.
Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.
Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all of the heavenly glory.
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.
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.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
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.
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
Time means a lot to me because you see I am also a learner and am often lost in the joy of forever developing.
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.
The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.

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.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Not being tense, but ready. Not thinking, but not dreaming. Not being set, but flexible. Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement. It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.
Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning, a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature, and our love becomes as coals — deep-burning and unquenchable.
You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Be water, my friend.

If you wanna hear Bruce Lee in his own words, here’s an interview from 1971. It was shot just as he was catching the wave of fame, riding high on the cusp of international stardom. Enjoy! 

[vimeo 32200864 w=584 h=390]