Bruce Lee: cultural icon, influential martial artist, and actor. Bruce Lee showed us that strength isn’t determined by the size of the man; strength is determined by a man’s determination, dedication, motivation, and fearlessness. A perfectionist, his precision, work ethic, and discipline captivated millions.
His lightning speed and strength amazed us and made him the most popular martial artist of all time. Bruce Lee’s words of wisdom made him larger than life. His philosophy on life, love, and personal growth has motivated countless people across the world.
I’d like to share 50 of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes with you. I have gathered these from his movies, interviews, and John Little’s, “The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee”, with faith that you will look at life differently.
Bruce Lee Quotes about Goals and Learning
1.) “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”- Bruce Lee
2.) “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” – Bruce Lee
3.) “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily towards your goal.” – Bruce Lee
4.) “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
5.) “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee
6.) “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
7.) “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee
8.) “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee
9.) “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” – Bruce Lee
10.) “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee
11.) “A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee
12.) “Defeat is a state of mind; No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee
13.) “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – Bruce Lee
14.) “Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.” – Bruce Lee
15.) “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee
16.) “Learning is never cumulative; it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee Quotes on Life
17.) “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee
18.) “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” – Bruce Lee
19.) “The doubters said, ‘Man cannot fly,’
The doers said, ‘Maybe, but we’ll try,’
And finally soared in the morning glow
While non-believers watched from below.” – Bruce Lee
20.) “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.” – Bruce Lee
21.) “Only the self-sufficient stand alone – most people follow the crowd and imitate.” – Bruce Lee
22.) “To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.” – Bruce Lee
23.) “Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.” – Bruce Lee
24.) “The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.” – Bruce Lee
25.) “In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.” – Bruce Lee
26.) “Be happy, never satisfied.” – Bruce Lee
27.) “For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.” – Bruce Lee
28.) “To spend time is to pass it in a specific 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.” – Bruce Lee
29.) “Never take your eyes off your opponent… even when you’re bowing!” – Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon (1973)
30.) “A good fight should be like a small play, but played seriously. A good martial artist does not become tense, but ready. Not thinking, yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come. When the opponent expands, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity, I do not hit. It hits all by itself.” – Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon (1973)
31.) “Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!” – Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon (1973)
More Life-Changing Bruce Lee Quotes
32.) “In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup.” – Bruce Lee
33.) “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.” – Bruce Lee
34.) “A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” – Bruce Lee
35.) “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending in the wind.” – Bruce Lee
36.) “It’s not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
37.) “The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical action.” – Bruce Lee
38.) “Be self-aware, rather than a repetitious robot.” – Bruce Lee
39.) “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 become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” – Bruce Lee
40.) “The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.” – Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way
41.) “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 conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies.
To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.” – Bruce Lee
42.) “What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.” – Bruce Lee
43.) “Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee
44.) “Art is the way to the absolute and to 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 be brought into harmony with it.” – Bruce Lee
45.) “Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.” – Bruce Lee
46.) “The second-hand artist blindly following his sensei or sifu accepts his pattern. As a result, his action is and more importantly, his thinking becomes mechanical. His responses become automatic, according to set patterns, making him narrow and limited.” – Bruce Lee
47.) “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.” – Bruce Lee
48.) “Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people live only for their image.” – Bruce Lee
49.) “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 one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.’” – Bruce Lee
50.) “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.” – Bruce Lee
Which of these Bruce Lee quotes is your favorite?
You can see why Bruce Lee is still popular 40 plus years after his death. His philosophy continues to inspire a new generation of fans to seek self-knowledge, strength, and be at peace with the world.
Find YOUR truth and live it. I leave you with these wise words from Bruce Lee:
“Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.”