In self help you often hear that if you are doing what everyone else is doing, you will likely end up doing what everyone else is doing, too — and probably feeling like them as well.
When I was just starting college this was my greatest fear. Not so much ‘ending up’ like everyone else per se, but rather the idea that I was on a path that would lead to doing something I just had to accept — finishing college, getting a job, and then doing the whole house and family thing. Let me be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of this, and I’d love to have a family, but something didn’t feel right inside about the fact that my life would involve doing the same thing day in and day out. I’d be ‘living the dream,’ so to speak, but it wasn’t really my dream.
I realized promotion of ‘the dream’ was a control technique to sell the general public into doing what would benefit the rich. It was convincing everyone to be cogs in the machine that would keep the game running for those who ran everything at the top. Of course, this idea seems crazy, because that’s the other part of the sale, that we somehow just ended up here like this. There couldn’t possibly be anyone calling the shots up top, it’s just human greed, ego, and power that got us here. Right?
I’m glad I learned that wasn’t the truth early on.
I began to realize that I had to wake up from the illusion, and truthfully, it’s what we’re all going through. In that, beginning to think unlike the masses is what got me from a state of a bleak life outlook to one of pure potential, and soon enough I was doing what I loved for a living. Nothing could stop me.
Bruce Lee was someone who lived by many of the same ideas and understandings I was coming to through my journey of leaving behind the old ways, patterns, habits, ways of thinking, and consciousness. Here are a few that are important for us to consider in today’s world.
I truly believe that if we want to live the life we desire deep down in our heart and soul, we have to clear out the B.S. in our heads, get aligned with our hearts, and begin to take action from there. When we chase dreams from the mind, we’re often chasing an illusion, as we’re not clear on what we truly want.
1. Build True Intellectual Confidence
One of the biggest things I feel we struggle with in today’s age is wanting everything immediately — including mastery. No matter who tries to sell you on the idea that you can achieve mastery overnight, they are lying to you. Harsh I know, but true!
Bruce Lee believed that his incredible physical abilities began in his mind. It started with such a strong confidence in having a sharp mind about what he was doing that it allowed him to do unbelievable things with his body.
I view this as him not denying the aspects of his whole self that help someone master something. We are made up of mind, body, and spirit, and when all used in unison, we begin to reach our potential. When we deny one or the other or don’t exercise it, we remain limited. In a letter Bruce wrote to himself while in his 20s, he spoke about his belief in a “creative and spiritual force” within himself that guides everything he does. This of course is not just in Bruce, but in all of us.
For myself and my journey, I always found myself visualizing, seeing, and understanding how something was done from a mind level. I learned all I could about things I wanted to master and I matched that mental learning with a spiritual alignment or desire to do it as well as the physical practice of bringing it to the body. When all three are working together, you begin down the path of mastery.
With this, you can begin to innovate on ideas, create new directions, and lock in your own unique contribution to the world. This is precisely what Bruce Lee did.
We sometimes want to simply do what someone taught us, or do what’s quick and easy and then expect to become a master. But it truly takes practice to lock down the following:
1. A mental understanding and mastery of what you want to do or are doing
2. Connection to a deeper spiritual push you have to do something, coming from within you!
3. Mastering the physical side or the action side of what you want to do
Each ingredient is important. I teach how to create a connection between your mind, body, and soul in our Explorer Lounge Mastery Program.
2. Know That No Dogma Contains All Answers
Now when we think of how to view our life, or our learning of something, it’s important to look around. We often can get caught up in wanting to identify with something simply because of our culture, gender, background, or anything else we choose to identify with. But this will only create limitations, as these aren’t who we are.
Bruce Lee was always aware of this fact. He saw that you will have limitations if you’re sticking to one culture or tradition. This is why he made it his goal to mix and match different ideas before coming to a limited conclusion.
Although Bruce Lee was heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy, he was also very fond of people like Alan Watts, who also brought a lot of Eastern values and ideas to the West. Humanity is a mixture of many people, ideas, and consciousnesses, and when we have the opportunity to see what everyone has contributed to where we are right now, and then expand upon that, it’s a beautiful thing.
We are all potential teachers for one another, and while our egos can sometimes get caught in wanting to OWN an idea or philosophy, this is often simply the ego wanting to hold on and define us. Instead, realize that we truly own nothing. Our ideas are likely mixtures of contributions many people have brought to the world and collective consciousness for us and our ideas are a gift and contribution as well. As we expand upon and add to this collective consciousness of ideas, we evolve humanity as a whole.
When we get stuck in one set of ideas or culture and simply live out what we are told or believe from that one place, there is no evolution. There is no expansion, and often times we end up mindlessly following something that was never meant to stay stagnant. We, in essence, get in our own way of progress and mastery.
The solution here is to expose yourself to new ideas, fresh theories, and others’ experiences. Learn from the incredible breadth of perspectives and values humanity is always adding to the collective consciousness and be a leader in evolving our ideas at all times. It’s in our very nature to live this way, we simply block it.
3. Choose Self-Expression Over Imitation
As mentioned above, it can sometimes feel like everything has been done out there, and that no matter what we do we are copying or imitating in some way. Bruce Lee believed that improvement and development of oneself weren’t acts of imitation or copying someone else’s mastery, but were about observing and then innovating in your own personal way.
This is why I believe, and have found, that it is so important to get in touch with YOU. I was astonished 10 years ago when I learned how little I knew my true self. I was always a fairly self-aware individual, but to what extent? We often think we know everything or are at a certain level, until we realize how much deeper we can truly go.
I began down a journey of exploring who I truly was and what I truly wanted in my life. Not from my mind, but from my heart. I worked to understand my soul’s desires and differentiate between what my mind was chasing and what my heart and soul were here to do. From this space within myself, I gather my personal and unique innovation I can apply or bring to anything I do. Because I know it deeply and truly from within myself as opposed to doing what I see others do.
Perhaps it begins with doing what others do, but that personal touch comes from this knowing of ourselves. Reflect on yourself — do you see yourself doing your own unique thing? Or are you often striving to do what others are doing? Following their dreams? There is no right or wrong here. It’s simply about observing.
I always like to say, have fun with personal exploration and evolution. We can get so stressed about whether or not we are doing something right or wrong and begin to compare ourselves to others, and the next thing you know, we drive ourselves crazy. You are already a perfect and unconditionally loved being… truthfully. Recognition of the love that we are inside already is one of the hardest things to do, but also the most powerful for avoiding negative self talk and getting stuck.
Inside our Explorer Lounge you can also take our 5 Days of You Challenge, which sets out a five day journey to begin discovering more about YOU and where you want to go. A perfect pre-class for our Explorer Lounge Mastery Program.