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Bruce Lee’s Advice to the Free, Creative Artist

Bruce Lee’s Advice to the Free, Creative Artist
Angelo Coppola

Bruce Lee died 42 years ago, and he remains one of the most well-recognized people on the planet. The legendary icon helped stitch together the cultures of east and west. He was also a renaissance man: athlete, martial artistphilosopher, teacher, actor, poet, and founder of Jeet Kune Do—a pragmatic, individualized fighting system, very much in line with his own philosophy.

A highly quotable man, this is one of my favorite Bruce-Lee-isms. He dedicated his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do to the free, creative martial artist, and followed it with:

Research your own experience; absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.

With this simple advice, Bruce Lee tells us there is no script that we can follow. We must determine—based on our own experience—what is useful or useless to us. Then, in order to get all the way there, you’ve got to add something that is uniquely you.

Applied to a single area of life—such as health, fitness, work, play, or music—this advice can help us push boundaries and make remarkable progress. Applied more generally, our entire lives become art.