Knowing is Not Enough; We Must Apply…
We’ve reached the end of our series, and this is our seventh and final post in our Enter the Mind of the Dragon series. Today (11/27/2015) is the 75th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s birth. Although he only saw 32 of those years on this planet, his legacy and impact definitely continues today, and it will undoubtedly continue for many years to come.
I chose to save my favorite quote of Bruce’s for the finale. This is the quote that I have hanging on my wall, and it serves as a daily reminder to me. It also seems appropriate to finish the series with this quote as it’s all about putting our wisdom and understanding into practice. We can read and write about Bruce’s wisdom, but unless we actually enact it in our daily lives, it becomes a wasted endeavor.
While this quote is widely attributed to The Dragon, it may have actually come from another source. Some attribute it to a German writer and philosopher named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Others actually attribute this quote to another of the greats, Leonardo Da Vinci. Which of these men actually said it is up for debate.
I don’t, however, think that it matters. I don’t have any reservations about attributing it to Bruce Lee as this idea is so in line with his philosophies that it feels natural for him to have said it. It embodies everything that he stood for and it defined the very way in which he lived his life.
Here is the quote:
For many of us, this quote shines light on our biggest weakness and it exposes the fact that it’s not enough to talk the talk, you have to actually walk the walk.
Every one of us has been in the situation where we want something or we want to become something. We know what we need to do to get there, but we don’t actually put in the consistent work to achieve it. How many times do we read the books, watch the videos, create the goals and the programs, yet somehow when it comes time to actually put it into action, we end up getting too busy or some other reason for not doing it pops up?
Bruce teaches us that no matter how much wisdom we’ve acquired, how many tools we have, or how much we want something, unless we actually put it into practice, it’s all for not.
Now we could talk about goal-setting, creating daily to-do lists, and the importance of doing the most energy-consuming things at the beginning of our day. All of this is good stuff and there are a number of helpful articles out there about these ideas. And while these practices will certainly get us closer to “doing”, they still aren’t where it’s at.
The real core of this doing comes down to that one simple decision that we have to make, that quantum leap from thinking to acting. We have to be able to pull the metaphorical trigger. Our ability to succeed and self-actualize is totally determined by whether or not we can consistently make that leap from thought into action.
It’s very simple. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I like the image of the person standing at the top of the diving platform. We’ve all probably seen and/or experienced this phenomenon. All it takes is to let go and jump, but somehow fear paralyzes the body and makes jumping seem impossible. While this is a very literal, and easily visualized, metaphor for how difficult making that decision can be, it’s no different than what we face every day.
And while the mind is our ally in most scenarios, in this situation, it can actually hold us back. Because thought and action are inherently opposites, the more we think about doing something, oftentimes the harder it is to actually do it. Some people naturally struggle with this more than others, but we all face it at some level. If we didn’t, we’d all be superstar athletes, or rock stars, or whatever else we dreamed of being as a child.
I wish that there was some sort of trick to being able to consistently making that decision of action, but the reality is that the only way to do it, is to do it. That’s why Nike’s slogan “Just Do It,” is so brilliant, and why it’ll always be effective at triggering that part of our psyche.
Each time we choose action towards a desired goal, we’ll be brought closer to achieving that goal. We develop the ability to silence the mind and making that decision to act becomes easier in the future. We begin to gain momentum, and pretty soon, acting becomes part of our DNA. It certainly doesn’t mean that the decision won’t sometimes still be incredibly difficult to make, but having a track record of successfully doing it will definitely give us a boost.
So I wish all of us luck in being able to recognize those situations in which we’re faced with the decision. Furthermore, I hope that we’ll have the strength and the courage to be able to make that leap into action, and ultimately, towards self-actualization.
I hope that after following along with us for a whole week of posts, you now have a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of Bruce Lee. I know that I do and I have read and listened to his stuff almost daily for a number of years now. And what we’ve gone over here is just the tip of the iceberg of what Bruce Lee has given to us.
In case you want to dig deeper, I’ve compiled a few links to some awesome books and documentaries by, or about, Bruce Lee. I’ve also posted a link to the Bruce Lee Foundation website. His family is doing great work in carrying on his legacy and his love of serving others. Please check that out as well.
- Tao of Jeet Kune Do
- Bruce Lee Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living
- Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: The Complete Edition
Bruce Lee Official Sites:
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