I can still remember the day my father first took out an innocent looking video cassette tape and showing me what i thought at the time to be the greatest Martial Arts showcase i’ve ever seen on film. Little did i know that watching it would change the course of my life forever.
Like most children watching martial arts movies, we want to be just like the actors portrayed on camera. We want to be the star kid of the playground, to fend off the bullies and be respected by our peers.
This mindset at the time was what fueled my desire to start training. On the surface, it seemed innocent enough, but as i grew older, my fascination and understanding of Bruce Lee started to manifest itself into what i now believe to be the key influence of my journey towards self improvement and self confidence.
So what made Bruce Lee so great?
Having personally seen all of his movies, documentaries and read all of his books. I believe that to most people, Bruce Lee was simply a legendary Martial Arts superstar who was successful at breaking into Hollywood and making it as a Chinese actor. But to others who looked deeper into his life and Philosophy, he was much more than that. He literally shaped an entire culture; something which very few individuals of the world is able to do. But with all greatness lies misunderstanding.
To most, Bruce Lee was often misunderstood and underestimated until most recently. Something which i can personally relate to and understand since we often need to go through trials and tribulations and often fall out with our fellow peers in order to go against the grain and make radical changes. But what i respect the most about Bruce Lee is that he did what he truly believed in. But here’s the key point behind all of this.
He did what he believed to be true of himself in order to attain complete liberation.
It is often said that the mark of a true leader is to create other leaders. Bruce Lee did this throughout his entire life, both as a Martial Artist, and as an Actor. Perhaps the most tell tale sign was in his quest to ingrain this knowledge into a form which everyone else could understand… Martial Arts.
What use is a style or a way of living, or a belief or anything if it limits you as a human being? Life isn’t really about following other people or following traditions, set values, styles or beliefs. But to consistently explore yourself and to find out what you’re truly capable of.
I never really understood this until recently when i sat down in order to try and understand what truly makes one individual different to another. A concept which was often repeated consistently by Bruce Lee in his movies, interviews and books. It wasn’t until my late teens and early twenties when i really started to understand what he truly meant on a deeper level.
The truth is, we are all the same.
The difference between one person and another is not in his/her natural abilities, but in their desire to achieve their goals through hard work and determination. We are all different in the end not because of our nature, but because of the path we all take to reach our desired goals. We are like water, we flow naturally and adapt to our surroundings, find solutions to problems and overcome life’s adversities.
Isn’t this the mark of a complete human being?
So what has this to do with self-confidence?
I believe that as long as you confine yourself into a box whether it’s through societal expectations, a method or an idea or way of thinking, we will all ultimately suffer from self-confidence, because it’s through complete freedom of expression that will allow us to explore who we are and to ultimately find out what we like, dislike and be true to ourselves without shame.
It’s a path Bruce Lee himself took in order to find his liberation and along the way, managed to touch the hearts of many others after him to achieve similar greatness.
So with all said and done, what steps can we take in order to follow a similar path?
1) Always be willing to learn and absorb new ideas.
Never be content or fooled into thinking that what you know of a certain idea is enough. The truth is, there are many ideas to a given solution. Above all, not all solutions are a ‘one size fits all’. Understand your limits by ‘exploring yourself’ and find out what truly works for you.
2) Limit arguing with others
The truth is, there’s no such thing as an objection or an argument. There is only another way of thinking. The best way to truly get this is to respect a person’s view and to use it to explore other possibilities.
3) Never settle
Like water and everything in nature, we are constantly evolving. Take the time to find out what really fascinates and excites you. What can you do today and tomorrow that will help you grow and evolve? Maybe it’s reading a book or starting an art class. Perhaps it’s joining the gym or making new friends. Whatever it is, make a commitment to yourself to take action.
4) Understand that there is no end goal
Never believe for a second that there’s an end goal to anything you do. Whatever path you decide to take, it is the journey and the person you become along the way that makes all the difference and not the destination.
The path you take in your life is whatever path you choose for yourself in order to find your purpose. There is no way but the way you pave for yourself which will ultimately make you into the person you wish to become. All you need to do is have the courage to take the first step. The rest will flow naturally.
photo credit: Lexinatrix