Iconic actor and martial artist Bruce Lee’s quotes about life and love continue inspiring us to this day.
Li Jun Fan, or Bruce Lee as we know him, was born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California. Lee grew up and lived most of his life in Hong Kong, China, which was where he died on July 20, 1973.
Lee popularized the use of martial arts in the film industry in the 1970s.
At a young age, Lee was introduced into movies as a young child delinquent. He spent some of his teenage years in a Chinese gang where he learned kung fu so that he could defend himself.
Fun fact, Lee also started taking dance lessons at about the same time, which helped him become a master of his footwork and his balance, two things he was very well known for.
At the age of 18, he was sent back to the United States to live with his extended family in Seattle.
He opened his own martial arts studio and then relocated to California where he learned jeet kune do, which is a combination of fencing, kung fu, boxing, and philosophy.
He gained the attention of film producers during one of his demonstrations and he was cast for his first role as Kato in the television series called The Green Hornet (1966-67).
After his death in 1973, Bruce Lee became very popular.
He amassed a great following and he became a huge American cultural icon of the 20th Century, and is known for changing the way Asians were seen in American Films.
Even in the years after his death, Lee has become a major inspiration for people all over the world. Here are Bruce Lee’s most inspirational quotes to give you the motivation to believe in yourself and to follow your dreams.
Bruce Lee quotes about self-doubt
Confidence was a major attribute Bruce Lee constantly promoted in his acting career.
For Lee, he had to practice and reinforce his own confidence daily to stay as positive as he was on and off the set. He wanted to motivate people to understand that to reach one’s goals, you have to have the confidence to do so.
Confidence takes a lot of constant affirmations and visualizations to get to where you want to be without needing other’s approval.
1. “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
2. “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
3. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
4. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
5. “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”
6. Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.”
7. “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
8. “The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.”
9. “Real living is living for others.”
10. “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
11. “Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”
12. “Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
13. “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
14. “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
15. “The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus.”
16. “Be happy, but never satisfied.”
17. “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
18. “In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.”
19. “For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”
20. “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”
Bruce Lee quotes about personal growth
Bruce Lee believed it was important for him to promote the value of one’s self over another, and he valued the power of self-esteem.
Life takes a lot of self-will and internal strength to get to where you want to be.
21. “Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
22. “I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”
23. “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
24. “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
25. “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”
26. “The possession of anything begins in the mind.”
27. “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
28. “Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
29. “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”
30. ”Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
31. ”It’s not what you give, it’s the way you give it.“
32. “A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.”
33. “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”
34. “If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”
35. “Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. To realize that it’s just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.”
36. “For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”
37. “Take no thought of who is right or wrong, or who is better than. Be not for or against.”
38. “To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”
39. “Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self-evaluation and self-revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.”
40. “Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, un-rhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.”
41. “Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.”
42. “Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. There is “what is” only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.”
43. “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
44. “Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”
45. “Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people live only for their image.”
46. “What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
47. “Life is better lived than conceptualized. This writing can be less demanding should I allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I’ve come to understand that life is best to be lived — not to be conceptualized. If you have to think, you still do not understand.”
48. “Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better.”
49. “Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
Bruce Lee quotes about love and faith
Bruce Lee loved his wife with all his heart.
He was such a romantic and he would write poetry about his feelings of love, oneness, and insecurity. He constantly wrote his wife letters and poems about his love for her and how much he appreciated her.
Bruce Lee was the perfect example of the Yin and Yang because he was very masculine in his kung fu, while also being very emotional in expressing his emotional side.
50. “Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
Bruce Lee’s faith is not necessarily religious.
Faith is defined in the dictionary as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
So, for Lee, faith was believing in oneself, trusting oneself, and have confidence in what one is capable of. It’s the power a person has for a will to do something with their whole heart and soul being.
So, for Bruce Lee, it takes a lot of confidence to have faith.
51. “If there is a God, he is within. You don’t ask God to give you things, you depend on God for your inner theme.”
52. “I wish neither to possess nor to be possessed. I no longer covet ‘paradise.’ More importantly, I no longer fear ‘hell’. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it, until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, consuming myself.”
53. “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.”
54. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
55. “Always be yourself and have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it.”
Bruce Lee quotes about truth and leadership
For Bruce Lee, it was always important to inspire others as a leader.
He set the stage for a lot of Asians in the Film industry. And he will never be forgotten.
56. “A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.”
57. “If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.”
58. “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”
59. “Choiceless awareness — do not condemn, do not justify. Awareness works only if it’s allowed free play without interference.”
Emily Francos is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.