52 Inspiring Bruce Lee Quotes
Last updated April 14, 2017
Bruce Lee is one of the most quotable actors the world has ever seen, thanks to his diverse background.
He was the founder of the martial art Jeet Kune Do, a Chinese Kung Fu without form. He became famous for his action films like Enter the Dragon, and he single-handedly changed how Asians were shown in American films in a positive way.
But did you know that Lee was also a philosopher? While his writings consisted mainly of fighting methods, he also penned books on life and philosophy.
Lee left the world too early at the young age of 32, but his wisdom still lives on in his words. Here are some of Bruce Lee's most memorable quotes.
"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. "
"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee
"As you think, so shall you become."
"The possession of anything begins in the mind."
"To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person."
"Be happy, but never satisfied."
"Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one"
~ Bruce Lee
“Time means a lot to me because you see I am also a learner and am often lost in the joy of forever developing.”
“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ~ Bruce Lee
"Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can."
"Remember no man is really defeated unless he is discouraged." ~ Bruce Lee
"Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory."
"Only the self-sufficient stand alone – most people follow the crowd and imitate.
“If I tell you I'm good, probably you will say I'm boasting. But if I tell you I'm not good, you'll know I'm lying.”
"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." ~ Bruce Lee
“The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.”
“In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup.”
“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.” ~ Bruce Lee
“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.”
"After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge."
On being in the moment
The Bruce Lee tribute statue in Hong Kong.
“Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
"The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment." ~ Bruce Lee
“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.”
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail." ~ Bruce Lee
"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."
“Defeat is not defeat unless accepted as a reality-in your own mind.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” ~ Bruce Lee
“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.”
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
“Everything you do, if not in a relaxed state will be done at a lesser level than you are proficient. Thus the tensed expert marksman will aim at a level less than his/her student.”
"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
"Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick."
“Boards don't hit back.”
“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
"Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady." ~ Bruce Lee
"Preparation for tomorrow is hard work today."
“A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.”
“Never try to copy a successful personality.”
"Be self aware, rather than a repetitious robot." ~ Bruce Lee
“A conditioned mind is never a free mind.”
"We have great work ahead of us, and it needs devotion and much, much energy. To grow, to discover, we need involvement, which is something I experience every day — sometimes good, sometimes frustrating. No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness."
"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."
~ Bruce Lee
"It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." ~ Bruce Lee
"To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is."
"Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it."
"The more we value things, the less we value ourselves."
“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
“Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food, move your bowels, pass water, and when you're tired, go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will understand.” ~ Bruce Lee
On Time Management
“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.”
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” ~ Bruce Lee
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