Bruce Lee quotes

50+ Bruce Lee Quotes for Motivation to Change Your Life

Bruce Lee was an actor, filmmaker, and martial artist best known for the technique of Jeet Kune Do. He was a man of mental strength, teaching martial art to those looking to change their life with the techniques. 

Born in 1940 in San Francisco, California, Lee Jun Fan was given the name “Bruce” by one of the hospital nurses. He was born during the hour and the year of the Dragon, which is known to be the mightiest of all the signs in the Chinese zodiac; any person born in the year of the Dragon is known to be a leader with much power and knowledge.

In the early 40s, his family moved back to Hong Kong, when it was occupied by the Japanese. While living in Hong Kong, Lee was a child actor and a dance student, and when he became a teenager, he joined a street gang and also began studying Kung Fu. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in 20 films. As an actor, Lee starred in The Green Hornet, as an acrobatic sidekick, as well as some other small films in Hong Kong. Out of all the films he starred in, his most notable ones were Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon (which wasn’t released until after his death in 1973). 

He moved back to the United States–specifically, Washington–at the end of 1953 and enrolled at the University of Washington as a philosophy major. In 1964, he married a woman he had been dating known as Linda Emery and over the years, they had two children, Brandon and Shannon. He opened his own martial arts school, teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts as well as his technique, Jeet Kune Do, which translates “The Way of the Intercepting Fist.” 

Bruce Lee’s legacy will live on forever. He will be remembered as a man of self-expression, strength, and knowledge, all within the craft as a martial artist and a man of wisdom. He is often quoted as a figure of motivation and determination towards success in life. Here are some of the best Bruce Lee quotes and his striking thoughts on fear, success, strength, and knowledge. 

Bruce Lee quotes

Bruce Lee Quotes About Courage and Fear 

“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.”

“Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.”

“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. You must be shapeless, formless, 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.”

“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.”

“Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.”

“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”

“I wish neither to possess nor to be possessed. I no longer covet ‘paradise’. More important, I no longer fear ‘hell’. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it, until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, consuming myself.”

Bruce Lee Quotes About Knowledge, Power, and the Mind

“The possession of anything begins in the mind.”

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”

Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.”

“A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.”

“I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”

Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study one self in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self evaluation and self revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.”

“If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”

Bruce Lee Quotes About Love, Life, and Truth

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.”

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

“Be happy, but never satisfied.”

Real living is living for others.”

Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, un-rhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.”

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”

“If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.”

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

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

Flow in the living moment. We are always in the process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you’ll be flexible to change with the ever-changing.”

Bruce Lee Quotes About Success and Strength 

“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.”

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

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”

“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.”

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.”

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

Bruce Lee Quotes to Influence Your Character 

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.”

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

“The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.”

”It’s not what you give, it’s the way you give it.“

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”

Other Bruce Lee Quotes 

“If there is a God, he is within. You don’t ask God to give you things, you depend on God for your inner theme.”

Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”

”Obey the principles without being bound by them.”

“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.”

“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”

“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”

“The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest.”

“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.”

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong, or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

Further Reading and Information

Bruce Lee Books

Striking Thoughts 

The Art of Expressing the Human Body

Chinese Gung-Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self Defense

Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method

Bruce Lee: Words from a Master

Social Media

Feel free to check out more Bruce Lee quotes that his daughter posts on his Twitter account, @brucelee. Every quote is paired with an image (with the quote as text) so that you can save and share it with friends.

There is also a merch site, where you can purchase Bruce Lee-related accessories and clothing, like a water bottle with his inspirational quote “Be water, my friend” or t-shirts with his face on it.

More Quotes:

About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, dreamer, and occasional exotic dancer and a collective pen name. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

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