Focus is the antidote to average…

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Bruce Lee

Laser-like focus isn’t average or easy. The person who can demonstrate the discipline to say no to of this magnitude is hardly average. What three things should you have said “no” to today?

What scares you more; failure or mediocrity?

“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”

Bruce Lee

What I like about this quote is that it puts the focus on the fear of failure. It is the fear of failure that is our real enemy. Never trying something because you might fail or setting low expectations to ensure you don’t fail is a dangerous precedent to develop in your life.  

Consider this; failure might be the best possible thing that EVER happens to you because it becomes the catalyst event for further learning and growth. When attempting something great, failing might be the very thing that propels you forward to something even better. Not having the ability to stretch and risk failure is a recipe for perpetual mediocrity.

Would you rather set great expectations and fail, or low expectations and achieve them? 

You must let go of what you already believe in order to find the truth.

“All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”

Bruce Lee

The ability to change is rooted in a certain degree of flexibility. Without this, change, growth, and progress are all limited. What is it that you “believe” that is limiting your growth? It is true simply because it is what you believe?

Go past the plateau…

“If you always put a limit 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

How do you know when you are on a plateau? What is it that you need to do to break through?

I love this quote because it speaks to how accepting limits in one part of your life will affect your entire life. Life is too short to be self-limited in any area. Breakthrough whatever platueau you are on and find a way to overcome!

Exceed yourself…

“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

Is it more important for you to live up to your own expectations or someone else’s? Or, said another way, would you intentionally choose to miss meeting your own expectations, but achieve someone else’s?

I don’t know about you, but I have higher expectations of and for myself than anyone else could set for me. Of course, the flip side of this is that I can’t hold anyone else accountable for the standards that I set for myself. That would be unfair as we all have unique and special gifts. Hopefully, your expectations are set based on maximizing every single ounce of your potential and not a drop less.

As I reflect on this I am reminded of this verse from Matthew. ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? ‘ Matthew 16:26

Basing your measures of success on the expectations of others is a false victory. What good is it if you meet the expectations of others yet fail to be the person that you were truly created to become? Instead, turn inward and seek to maximize every possible bit of the gifts and talents you have been given. Constantly seek to exceed your expectations and you will find that there is no one else that can push you harder than you can push yourself.

photo of man doing push ups using yellow kettlebell
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Eliminate drag…

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

Bruce Lee

If you want to go fast you need to remove drag, which means you must cut away anything that is taking energy away from moving you forward.

Without unnecessary drag it takes less effort to go faster, less effort to go farther. So it isn’t about going harder, it is all about getting rid of drag.

How can you focus on cutting drag instead of just working harder? What is slowing you down? Cut it…

Tear it down…

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

Bruce Lee

One doesn’t become stronger without first becoming weaker. One can’t become more without first becoming less.

At first glance this goes against our modern culture. We want life to be instagram perfect and easy. Society emphasizes the value not of the struggle, but of the reward. But the “rewards” are earned through the difficult times.

For example, to improve the fitness in your body you must first weaken it. If you lift weights you intentionally stress and tear down the muscles, that is what allows them to grow and become stronger and more powerful. If you don’t endure the stress and difficult work, the muscles will atrophy and diminish in power. The difficulty is NECESSARY for growth.

The same thing applies to life. What are the difficulties in your life right now that are strengthening you? What are the challenges that are tearing you down so that you can grow back stronger and more powerful?

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is: ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ‘ Philippians 4:13

I used the think of this as a powerful reminder that when the times get tough I can lean on God for strength and perseverance. That is still true but now I realize that it has a larger meaning. God can be the “strength coach” of my life, pushing me into places I didn’t know I needed or wanted to go. Tearing me down, so that I can be built back up as a better and more whole self.

Embrace the difficulties and recognize that they can be some of the very best things that will ever happen FOR YOU. Because it is through the tearing down that the growth occurs…

Why do you have limits?

“If you always put limit 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

How do you know if you have gone too far?  For that matter how do you know if you haven’t gone far enough?  I have always believed that limits we have are completely self-imposed, especially the physical ones.  Everything we can, or can’t, do is within our minds control and the ability to overcome and break through starts with the limits we impose on ourselves.

The question that comes to mind for me revolves around the answers to the ‘why’ questions.  Why are we striving? Why are the limits there?  Why are we trying to break through them? I am reminded of this verse from Galatians as I reflect on today’s quote.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NIV

There are no limits other than those we choose to impose upon ourselves. How we set them, or break through them, will depend on our answers to the ‘why’ questions

Spend your time wisely…

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

Bruce Lee

How much time do we waste every day?  It seems that in todays world everyone is busier than ever.  But being busy does not mean that we aren’t wasting our time.  How many hours do we spend doing things, being extremely busy, but when we look back we can’t see that any value was derived from the time we spent? 

Do we tell ourselves that we are “busy” because that is an easier pill to swallow than to take a hard look at our time and see if we are being effective in how we spend it?   Are we busy doing the right things?  

Be water, my friend…

“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

Over, under, around or through…  Water always adjusts to its environment. It’s too bad it isn’t as easy for us humans.  When I first read this quote I admit that I thought it was a cool one because it was Bruce Lee. But then I really started to think about each sentence and what it can mean from a life and leadership perspective.  The more I reflected, the more I realized that the wisdom expressed here is simply incredible.

How much time and energy do we waste trying to get the world to conform to us, to our wants and needs?  Why is it often so hard to sit back, surrender our ego and simply be as water? The learning and knowledge that dances just out of reach until we humble ourselves and adjust to the world and become aware of the outward things that disclose themselves to us. You can learn so much when you sit back and observe, when you take the time to “Empty your mind, be formless.”

The lesson I take today is just how important it is to just let go of your ego, be humble, be willing to adjust and learn and always flexible in your approach.  Look what grand things happen when the way of water is followed…

arizona canyon deserted geological


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