#37 On Being Human


“Being a real human being” is a concept that comes up often in Bruce’s writings, he didn’t want to be considered just an actor or a martial artist, but as a human being who was growing, evolving and creating.

“The function and duty of a quality human being, is the sincere and honest development of potential and self-actualization.”

“Do you know how I like to think of myself? As a human being. Because under the heavens, under the sky, there is but one family.”

There is a unifying quality to Bruce Lee that connects us on a human level.

We are creating our experience and our existence every day, every moment. A human being is a creating entity. From what we wear, how we interact with people, what we do for a living, to what friends we have—we are constantly in process. We are making choices everyday, and we can choose to have consciousness about those choices, or not. The duty of a quality human being is to have consciousness about the choices we make.

This unifying philosophy is very needed now especially because of the divisiveness among people in the world. We are so bombarded with images of fear and fear mongering that it creates an “otherness” about people.

“The simple truth is that these opinions on such things as racism, are traditions which are nothing more than a formula that was laid down by elder peoples experience. As we progress and time changes, it is necessary to reform this formula. I, Bruce Lee, am a man who never follows these formulas of the fear mongers. So no matter if your color is black, or white, red or blue, I can still make friends with you without any barrier.”

If any of your thoughts or interactions or judgments about people bring a sense of fear or panic into your being, that’s not a positive thing. It’s a signal to evolve your perceptions in order to move through it with more calm, ease, and love.

“Not conviction, not method, but perception is the way of truth. It is a state of effortless awareness.”

“If I say that everyone under the sun is a member of a universal family, you may think that I’m bluffing and idealistic. But if anyone still believes in racial difference, I think he is too backward and narrow. Perhaps he does not understand man’s equality and love.”

“Be proficient in your field as well as in harmony with fellow men. If every man would help his neighbor then every man would not be without help.”

It’s not about just knowing the idea, it’s about how you are integrating that idea in your every day.

“Everybody is capable of obtaining happiness but the matter of taking action to obtain it is in question.”

“I’m not one of those guys who can just brush people off. If I can take a second to make someone happy why not do it? A person cannot forget someone who is good to them.”

Most of our anxiety and pain comes from feeling disconnected and just little moments of empathetic human interaction can make us happier and feel like a human being.

“Sensitivity is not possible if you are afraid.”

“The point to be made about ego is that man should use his ego and not be used by ego or blinded by it.”

“Don’t have an attitude, open yourself, focus yourself, express yourself, and in doing that connect with people so that they can share in the expression of who you are.”

It’s important for other humans to witness humans being human.

“What man has to get over is the consciousness of self. The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all action.”

If once a week we did an experiment where we decided to be open, and smiled, and connected, we would feel really great.

“Live content with small means, seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. Be worthy, not respectable, wealthy not rich. Study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, a wait occasions, hurry never. In a word, let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common.”

If you begin to see everyone as part of your human family, you will have more compassion and live a more harmonious life.

Take Action:

Take stock of how you move through the world. Are you open to growth? Open to change? Do you think of people as the “other”? If you find yourself feeling fearful about human connection and vulnerability, why is that? Try to just smile at another person. Find small ways to open the door a little. Pick someone who you already like and share with them something you appreciate about them. If you go out into the world with the perspective that we are all one family, how does that change how you interact with the world?

If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item you can email us at hello@brucelee.com.


(Awesome Asians and Hapas)

Tyrus Wong

This week we have an #AAHA nomination of Tyrus Wong from listener Lauren L.:

“Hello Shannon and Sharon, Let me just briefly say first that I really enjoy your podcast. It's thoughtfully wonderful and gives me something to look forward to every week. For the purpose of this email, I would like to nominate the late Tyrus Wong for the #AAHA segment of your podcast. In his 106 years of life, he was an incredible artist; of paintings, murals, and kites. He comes from rough beginnings where, at the age of nine, he immigrated with his father from China. They spent a month separated from each other while held at the immigration station on Angel Island, before settling in Los Angeles. Tyrus later attended the Otis Art Institute, after a teacher at his junior high school recognized his talent for art. His career as a designer, illustrator, and storyboard artist for Hollywood was most certainly no cake walk; especially as an Asian man in his profession during the 1930's-1960's. The number of times he had faced discrimination and being called "chink" is hard to keep track of. Despite the struggles, Tyrus did succeed in his field. He was the storyboard artist for a number of notable live-action films like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Wild Bunch," and he was the head artist on the Disney animated film, "Bambi." In his retirement, Tyrus took up kite-making after literally taking his irritated wife's advice to "Go fly a kite." From reading kite-making books from his local library, he learned to create these breathlessly beautiful kites that he would take out to fly once a month, at the beach close to where he lived. In the last year of Tyrus's life, a documentary about him, simply titled "Tyrus," made its rounds in the film festival circuit. The film, directed by Pamela Tom, perfectly captured both his struggles as an Asian American artist, and his creativity that has captured the attention of many. Tyrus was surely one-of-a-kind, and he will be deeply missed. I hope you'll consider my nomination for your #AAHA segment, for Tyrus Wong is forever a man worth remembering. Best regards, Lauren L.”


This week’s #BruceLeeMoment comes from Thinh L.:

“Hi Shannon and Sharon, The episode "Medicine for my suffering" thoroughly resonates with me. Early 2012 I developed a spinal condition known as spondylolisthesis, in which one vertebra in my lower back becomes disjointed from the other. Like the quote says, "the ailment came from within myself". Like Bruce Lee, I injured my back exercising. After listening and digesting the episode I realized it "came from within myself" because I pushed myself to try new things and challenged my body. I was my own worse enemy in this instance. But I also realized that I was my own best medicine. After my diagnosis, I clearly thought of Bruce Lee's battle back from his back injury. For while, I experienced severe nerve impingement running down my leg with accompanying back pain whenever I stood for even more than one minute, and I couldn't even walk more than one block without experiencing those sensations. I continued to workout, to keep my core strong, but still the pain persisted. I had the medicine "from the very beginning but I didn't take it". I was too proud to ask for physical therapy help with my recovery until I swallowed my pride and sought it. I'm grateful that I finally did. My PT made the slightest adjustments in the way I exercised and in no time I was able to get back on my feet. Spinal fusion is the normal route for someone with the typical level of spondylolisthesis I have, but a doctor friend told me whatever I was doing is working and to just keep it up. I just re-listened to this episode as I was hiking an 8 mile mountain trail in Pasadena. While the medicine I had within me, it was the help and wisdom of others that empowered me to unlock it and recover. I teach AP Psychology in the Alhambra School District in a suburb of LA, and one of the most gratifying things to come out of this back injury is that I can communicate to my students that they have it within them the ability to overcome pain. Though I do not profess to be a doctor or an expert, I am living proof to them that everyone has the medicine to their suffering. I'm honored when they come in and disclose to me their ailments and to seek help. While I tell them that I can't solve their problems, I will help them seek their own light. One student recently asked me what inspired me. I pointed to the life size Bruce Lee cutout in my classroom. Thank you all for doing what you do and keep inspiring folks. Sincerely, Thinh L.”

Share your #AAHA and #BruceLeeMoment recommendations with us via social media @BruceLee or email us at hello@brucelee.com.


Lydy Walker30