The Wisdom of Bruce Lee, by Paul Rosenberg

The karate master and movie star was a storehouse of wisdom. From Paul Rosenberg at

People remember Bruce Lee as a fighter or as a movie star. But as it happens, he was also a thoughtful man. Bruce had his gaps and flaws, of course, but he also left behind a lot of useful thoughts. And since so few people know about these ideas, I’ll cover them here. (I never knew Bruce, who died while I was a teenager, but a friend of mine did, and a friend of another friend knew him very well.)

Bruce forged most of his ideas while developing and testing martial arts. In other words, his ideas came from direct application to the real world; they faced hard, objective standards. If he stuck to some old technique, merely because of its pedigree, he was likely to be hurt. That’s a must-learn environment, and it refines ideas in a hurry.

The truth is that many people, especially in our time, seek to escape objective standards: they don’t want to get slapped, and especially not to be shown wrong. But there’s a huge problem with people evading pain in that way: They simultaneously escape learning, and ultimately fail to develop wisdom.

And so it’s no real surprise that people who consistently face-off against objective standards (not just fighters, but people like engineers), tend to see the world more clearly that those who escape them.

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