I was lucky many years ago that a friend introduced me to the teachings of Bruce Lee of martial arts fame. Hi martial arts success is not my focus as I am more interested in what he was able to do, particularly the speed and control he achieved but also the wide ranging philosophic teachings he had learnt and applied.
Bruce is known for a famous quote known as “Be water, my friend”
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around 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 friendBruce Lee
In the following vide Bruce reads the quote and hearing it in his own words really helps to understand the meaning behind the words
His biography is full of varied teaching from west and east, from older philosophies and more modern, all blended into a personal approach that fit Bruce and could fit others. The concept of being water is, I understand, a very Chinese and eastern philosophy that I relate strongly to and relates in a lot of ways to being relentless and pragmatic. It is a trait of character that the Chinese attribute people with water reflecting
Belonging to water in five elements, this kind of people is very gentle, smart and competent. Water people are mainly intelligent, frank and quick-witted and they have good memory and always think twice before they act.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses and those with a tendency to act like “water” adjust their approach to the task at hand because water can go up and over, around, under and even through as it seeps into things so it has an amazing ability to change things to its will over time. An epic example is ice glaciers carving a valley shows water can do given time and weight.
In people this represents adaptability, pragmatism, patience and intelligence. The value I find is that this analogy helps focus my mind and change my expectations of what I want to achieve. Instead of focusing entirely on the end goal I think about the journey and how to overcome each obstacle and I start to listen and watch, pay attention to the problem at hand. I start to work the problem and ask what is needed right now.
What Did Bruce Lee Mean When He Said, “Be Like Water, My Friend. by Prakash Joshi Pax