Do Not Pray For an Easy Life…
Let’s kick off our “Enter the Mind of the Dragon” series with this simple, yet profound quote from Bruce:
This quote by Bruce Lee is one of our favorites. It gets us to take a complete 180 in our view of difficult tasks and what they mean to us. So often we’re met with struggle. It’s a part of our lives, there’s no escaping it. And for many of us, the path to living an extraordinary life means to be able to endure an extraordinary amount of suffering. Can you think of any truly great human being who’s had an easy path? I can’t…
Yet when asked about the perfect life, the vast majority of people will answer with some sort of vision of being on a yacht drinking champagne, or strolling on the beach while having the perfect body and the perfect spouse and not having to work at all. Why is this our idea of the perfect life? Why do we default away from suffering and towards comfort? These perfect lives will never put us in the history books. They won’t change other’s lives for the better. They won’t have any influence on the direction or future of humanity. Yet that is what we desire. And in the end, it’s a cop-out. It’s weak and it’s selfish. It’s us not living up to the ultimate ideal of the Hero’s Journey.
We all revere the hero in the movie. We love the man or woman who endures incredible struggle and overcomes impossible odds to save the world/galaxy/whatever. Yet not many of us want to go through those struggles in our own lives.
Bruce teaches us that the real ideal is not to have an easy life, full of comfort and free of struggles. Instead, what we should wish for is “the strength to endure a difficult one”. The strength and the power to be thrown into even the most trying of situations and to still come out victorious. This is the path to greatness.
Philosophy aside, how can we use this simple idea to change our daily lives and help us to progress more quickly towards our end goal? It really comes down to shifting the way that we view our daily experience. Instead of looking at the difficulties in front of us, we can shift our focus to thinking about how we can get better.
We all have deficits physically, mentally, and spiritually. These deficits are many times what bring us difficulty and suffering. They are the roots, while the difficulties are the weeds that pop up from those roots. If we want to be better equipped to handle difficult situations and be better able to rise to meet challenges confidently, we need to develop our own strength and skills.
Put in the work daily. Eat a clean and healthy diet. Meditate or do your own spiritual work daily. Work out hard, and do the small practices (mobility work, rehab exercises, warm-ups, warm-downs, etc) that will make you able to work out the way that you need to and get the results that you want. By consistently doing so, you are creating the mind/body/spirit that can handle a difficult life, and you may even find that, over time, you begin to welcome challenges.
Play around with shifting your perspective from wishing for things to be easier, to working on what you can do to improve so that you can meet any challenge with confidence and strength. And then be willing to meet those difficulties with a smile on your face, for this is where great men and women are created and where the world is changed for the better!
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