Be like water.
That was the advice movie star, philosopher, and martial artist Bruce Lee received from his Sifu, Yip Man. (If you don’t know that story, you can read it here.) Lee took that advice to heart and accomplished many great things. But he also caused consternation and confusion, and some of the challenges he faced along the way – are some of the same ones you will confront.
Yes Lee was a world-class athlete and an extraordinary physical specimen. But the things that made him famous – his physique, skill, and martial arts prowess were results of many other qualities he had developed in his ongoing journey to become a more enlightened human being. And you can develop those qualities yourself, without being a movie star or famous. (Unless you want to be.)
Lee possessed formidable determination. Legendary self-discipline. Exemplary empathy for others. But arguably the most noteworthy element about Lee was his supreme self-confidence. He wasn’t bashful about his gifts. He embraced them with wry humor, showmanship and self-assurance. Lee was Ali and Prince before there were Ali and Prince.
Yet it wasn’t all about him…
Lee was open to new ideas, celebrated people different than him, and explored concepts like a scientist. He possessed a strong character that valued loyalty, dignity and respect for others.
And like Ali or Prince – or you and I – he was a complex individual, who made mistakes, hurt others, and did things he later regretted. He also was misunderstood, judged harshly and subjected to criticism.
But he never let anyone else’s limiting beliefs become his...
Like all high-level achievers, his yang could sometimes bleed into yin. Because even your most positive attributes can be overdone. Or misconstrued and judged unfairly.
Some will perceive your confidence as arrogance. Others will see your determination as self-absorption. There are people who will characterize your success as ostentatious.
And some of that may be true. It’s all part of the process of burning away that which doesn’t serve you, and evolving into who you are meant to become. As you progress along the course we call Humanity 101.
That’s all you can do. Take the course and learn the lessons along the way. And that is enough. You, working on you and your craft, just as Bruce did. Without concern for those who don’t have your highest good in mind. Many will be projecting their own insecurities, negative mind viruses, and petty jealousies upon you.
If you’re lucky and you cultivate it, you’ll have one or two people you can trust enough to go to for advice and value their feedback. You’ll know who they are and you’ll accept their feedback with the ultimate discernment.
But you don’t work on you for them, you work on you for you. The way you make the world a better place is to make yourself a better person.
So be like water. Be like Bruce. Work on you. Work on your craft.
Be confident. Be assured. Be bold enough to step into your greatness.
And don’t let anyone else’s limiting beliefs become yours…