I’m not sure where this story originally came from, but I always found it to be motivating. Training with Bruce Lee…
Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile].
So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”
So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-“if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.
Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
Since I’m already on the topic of motivation and Bruce Lee, here are some of my favorite inspirational quotes about life from Bruce Lee as well.
“Be happy, but never satisfied.” – Bruce Lee
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” – Bruce Lee
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee
“If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.” – Bruce Lee
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee
“Defeat is not defeat unless accepted as a reality-in your own mind.” – Bruce Lee
“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.” – Bruce Lee