Always Be Yourself…
The second of Bruce’s ideas that we’ll explore is based on this quote below:
In our intro post for this series we talked about the uniqueness of Bruce Lee, and how that made him so great. Bruce Lee was unlike anyone who came either before or after him. Other people certainly display behaviors and personalities which have parts of Bruce in them, either through conscious or unconscious emulation. But the reality is that nobody is a better version of Bruce Lee. He was a standalone figure.
This didn’t happen by accident. Family and friends of Bruce talk about his obsession with self-actualization. Everything that he did was about becoming the best Bruce Lee that he could be. He was obsessed with perfecting his own personality, his own skills, and his own confidence.
Bruce wasn’t the only one to adopt this mentality. In fact, it’s a trait that most of the greats have adopted. Imagine for a second if Bob Marley tried to duplicate someone else’s personality. We would’ve lost out on one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Or what would’ve happened if Muhammed Ali had tried to emulate the great boxers of the prior generation. He most likely wouldn’t have become who he was, or have been considered “The Greatest”.
The list could go on and on. These great men all decided to, as Bruce would say, “express oneself honestly, without lying to oneself”, and this allowed their own unique light/talent/whatever to shine out. Not only that, they all had faith in themselves that they had something unique and great to present to the world, and didn’t feel the need to conform to other’s expectations or what society felt was trendy or cool.
We live in a world today of idol worship. Our kids grow up wanting to be famous for being famous. We see someone famous (possibly talented, possibly not) and we wish that we were them, or had their life. This is a sad trap to fall into.
Bruce invites us to stop looking externally for the answer, but instead to go inside ourselves and find the answer there. We must explore the core of who we really are, what is truly unique about us, and what differentiates us from the billions of others who came before us. In these unique talents, passions, and energies lies the gift that we can give to the world and the answer of who we are.
Once we find these things out, we can learn to cultivate our own gifts and, without a shred of doubt, confidently express ourselves to the world. This is the basis for greatness.
By no means should we stop learning from others. We can always learn new techniques, practices, and skills from other people. This whole series is about learning from the wisdom and practices of a great man. But none of us should seek to be the next Bruce Lee. We should only seek to use his teachings and wisdom to further our own ability to express ourselves in a truthful and honest way.
So don’t ever try to be a copy of someone else. Find out who you really are, cultivate that, have faith in it, and learn to express it honestly. The world will take notice.
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