Do you remember when, about eight years ago, the world discovered Chuck Norris facts? They were like the second or third biggest thing on the internet circa 2005-06. They were short jokes that played with the idea that Chuck Norris is the baddest motherfucker on planet earth. In case you’ve never heard or read one of these facts, here are few examples:
- They once made a Chuck Norris toilet paper, but there was a problem: It wouldn’t take shit from anybody.
- Chuck Norris and Superman once fought each other for a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
- You know how they say Jesus walked on water? Chuck Norris can swim through land.
- When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Chuck Norris.
Okay. You get the idea. It’s pretty well-established that Chuck Norris is a legit badass. But do you know who used his face to polish a stone floor?
That’s right. Bruce Lee.
He is the baddest man who ever lived.
But he wasn’t limited to being a badass in just the typical ass-kicking way. He was a metaphorical and philosophical badass, as well. Like, on the real.
He was five-feet six inches tall and weighed less than one-hundred and fifty pounds. But damn, if he didn’t use every single pound and leverage every one of those sixty-six inches. He was born the son of an opera singer. There were no early indications he would go on to become, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter that ever lived. He took what he was given and made himself into an ass-kicking, self-conducted symphony of motion, a creature of constant flow.
Many of you probably think that David Foster Wallace gave the world the greatest speech about water. It’s been all over the internet. It’s called This Is Water. It’s a damn good speech. It was the commencement speech to Kenyon College’s graduating class of 2005 (coincidentally, right around the same time Chuck Norris facts became popular). But I’m here to tell you none of that matters because Bruce Lee gave the world the best speech ever about water. Ever. And he summed it up with these four words.
“Be water, my friend.”
Bruce Lee’s take on water is every bit as brilliant, as life-altering, as deeply-considered as DFW’s. He just doesn’t need as many words. You can check it here.
I don’t know what kind of flying kicks David Foster Wallace could pull off, so I won’t keep comparing these two geniuses. The power of Bruce Lee’s mind was that he was a master of multiple disciplines. And for one very simple reason: He dedicated himself fully to … himself.
That’s how Bruce Lee became one of the biggest movie stars of his day, and one of the greatest icons in recent memory: he kicked each ass he had to and overcame every obstacle he encountered. Doesn’t matter if you wanna be a fearless badass or a boss bitch, I’m suggesting you …
“Be Bruce, my friend.”
Here are 21 pearls of wisdom from the genius of Bruce Lee:
The doubters said, “Man can not fly.”
The doers said, “Maybe, but we’ll try.”
And finally soared in the morning glow,
while non-believers watched from below.
If you wanna hear Bruce Lee in his own words, here’s an interview from 1971. It was shot just as he was catching the wave of fame, riding high on the cusp of international stardom. Enjoy!