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Bruce Lee

The Notebook of a Young Bruce Lee, an Unexpected Compilation of Wisdom


If Bruce Lee has become a modern hero, it’s because he brilliantly practiced self discipline and discernment.

There may be no habit that more easily encourages creativity than to always carry a notebook. From childhood through old age, a small blank notebook and a pen or pencil are more than sufficient to fulfill that necessary first step that leads to ideas. What lives merely in our heads can disappear in an instant. In the real world, those same ideas can become literally anything.

This habit has been shared, likewise, by writers, painters, sculptors, scientists, mathematicians, philosophers and even a character who, at least in the beginning, we might have believed had nothing to do with any of these disciplines; Bruce Lee. We associate Lee far more with the martial arts movies he starred in during the 1970s. Less well-known is that he always bore a remarkable penchant for reflective thinking, about life and the circumstances of life.

Proof of this is in the notes he made in one of the books that he carried with him throughout his life. This book-carrying started shortly after he turned 28. It’s an age that perhaps we might consider a last leg of youth and during which some of the doubts about life that characterized the previous period still survive.

Lee wrote:


Recognizing that the power of will is the supreme court over all other departments of my mind, I will exercise it daily, when I need the urge to action for any purpose; and I will form HABIT designed to bring the power of my will into action at least once daily.


Realizing that my emotions are both POSITIVE and negative I will form daily HABITS which will encourage the development of the POSITIVE EMOTIONS, and aid me in converting the negative emotions into some form of useful action.


Recognizing that both my positive & negative emotions may be dangerous if they are not controlled and guided to desirable ends, I will submit all my desires, aims and purposes to my faculties of reason, and I will be guided by it in giving expression to these.


Recognizing the need for sound PLANS and IDEAS for the attainment of my desires, I will develop my imagination by calling upon it daily for help in the formation of my plans.


Recognizing the value of an alert memory, I will encourage mine to become alert by taking care to impress it clearly with all thoughts I wish to recall, and by associating those thoughts with related subjects which I may call to mind frequently.


Recognizing the influence of my subconscious mind over my power of will, I shall take care to submit to it a clear and definite picture of my CLEAR PURPOSE in life and all minor purposes leading to my major purpose, and I shall keep this picture CONSTANTLY BEFORE my subconscious mind by REPEATING IT DAILY.


Recognizing that my emotions often err in their over-enthusiasm, and my faculty of reason often is without the warmth of feeling that is necessary to enable me to combine justice with mercy in my judgments, I will encourage my conscience to guide me as to what is right & what is wrong, but I will never set aside the verdicts it renders, no matter what may be the cost of carrying them out.

Given what he wrote, it seems that, rather than asking explicit questions, Lee had already developed a firm intention to use his available resources in the pursuit of what he wanted.

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