I recently listened to a 4 hour podcast whilst driving in Scotland about the life of Bruce Lee. He’s another one of those figures who has shaped a large part of my thinking.
Lee wrote Striking thoughts : a series of reflections on various topics.
This is inspired by Striking Thoughts. Condensed aphorisms as a guide. These are for myself as reference. Please disagree and examine yourself.
Words are fixed. Life is fluid. Examine your own experience because truth is a pathless land.
- Escape competition through authenticity
- Wu Wei : How can you get the maximum results by putting in the least effort?
- Work smart (not necessarily hard)
- Action over words
- Operate within your circle of competence
- Follow your genuine intellectual curiosity
- Learn outside of your field. Having distinct subsections of knowledge is a man made construction. There is a unity of knowledge.It all inter-relates and mixes.
- Create a local net positive
Wealth and Fame
- You want to be creatively living an anonymous life whilst contributing to society
- Micro change > Macro change
- Assets > Expenses
- Compound interest is 8th wonder of the world
- Keep a budget.
- Don’t fall into lifestyle inflation / upgrading. Living below your means holds a freedom those who don’t can’t fathom
- Time is non renewable.
- Trade money for time and experiences.
- You need very little to survive
- Don’t play status games
- Watch your desires- Hedonic treadmill
- Simplicity > Complexity
- If you can’t explain it to a 5 year old, you don’t really understand
- Understanding > Memorisation
- If you have nothing to say. Be silent
- Be curious. Ask questions.
- Don’t force learning. Learn when you are into it.
- When people give you unwarranted advice, it is a reflection of their desires
- Praise specifically, criticise generally
- Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for. No-one likes being preached to. It gives the idea that you understand better’ (which you don’t)
- Ask other people for advice
- Treat people on a peer to peer basis rather than hierarchical
- There is something to learn from everyone
- Read books. 21st century is the best to live in in terms of access to information
- Read old books for old problems (how to be content etc)
- Watch YouTube for modern day (how to code)
- Every problem you have faced, much smarter people have written down
- Any person can learn from experience. Better to learn from the experience of others too
- Be into it. Don’t force. Curiosity is the driver
- Doing > Reading > Watching
- Reason from first principles. Chef rather than Cook in domains that are important to you
- Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast
- Treat life like a series of 5 year experiments. Life is long. Continue to learn
Nutrition and Exercise
- Nutrition and exercise have huge impact physically and mentally. Overwhelming evidence. Few rules:
- Limit/Avoid processed food
- Eat food, mostly plants, not too much
- Eat some meat, fish, not too much
- Avoid seed oils
- Lift weights / Calisthenics
- Strength without mobility is nothing
Modern Day Struggle
- Abundance of information. Information overload
- You have a limited bandwidth
- Don’t consume news. It has become entertainment. Not evolved to be constantly switched on worrying about the troubles in distant parts of the globe
- As with junk food, you have junk information. Don’t read junk
- Use social media actively rather than passively (i.e. create)
- We are habitual creatures
- Every intention, thought, action is born out of habit
- Unconscious habitual processes can cause harm
- Examples of habits : exercise, nutrition, outlook on life, peace, reading, creativity, your emotional disposition
- Do it every day.
- Motivation is overrated. Habit is underrated
- Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world
- Have something that keeps you fit, something that makes you money and something that keeps you creative
- Better to act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than to think your way into a new way of acting
- Discipline is overrated : You don’t rise to the level of your expectation, you fall to the level of your training
- Choose the option that would make a better story
- If you can’t decide, the answer is no (for the big decisions - marriage, work, location)
- Choose the option that will lead to long term peace of mind. Short term may be uncomfortable
- Be honest. Then you have nothing to remember.
- Even white lies. Lying is more prevalent than one thinks. Deeply harmful.
- Temper honesty with kindness
- Kind > Smart
- Observe your thoughts and processes.
- Meditation is a way to transcend thought
- Reflection and introspection (e.g through journalling) is a way to create adaptive thoughts/stories.
- Use both meditation and reflection.
- Psychological time is an illusion
- Just thoughts about the past or the future being projected into the present
- Literally the only moment that exists it the present.
- All else is just projected into the present
- It is possible to be present and also plan for the future.
- Being present is about being aware of the mind in each moment.
- Accept. Life is a river of sensory information, largely up to your interpretation.
- Identifying with any sect/tradition/teacher is the start of unawareness
- We go round creating identities and cling to them e.g. I am a doctor/lawyer/, I am ugly/smart/stupid/funny/ I’m Hindu/Christian/Jew etc ‘I am an unchanging entity’
- Without realising it is all illusory. A story we tell ourselves.
- Then when the ‘image’ is not congruent with reality. You are hurt. The image is not reality
- The self is just an internal model.
- The illusory nature of the self can be seen through- non dual awareness.
- Science and ‘Meditation/Introspection’ are the two sides of the same coin
- Science is an exploration of the physical world through observation
- Meditation/Spirituality is an exploration of the internal world through observation
- Both non -dogmatic
- Both require no ‘a priori belief structures’
- Both require a sceptical but curious mind
- Spirituality is sadly misunderstood, confused with religion or ‘mysticism’.
- What is spirituality? : observe your mind
Jealously, Comparison and the Rat Race
- We all admire people who ‘march to their own drum’
- What this means is ‘internal validation > external validation
- Comparison is the thief of joy
- Jealously disappears when one is playing against an internal scorecard
- Jealously : would you swap 100% your life with the other person? No
- It is no measure of sanity to be well adjusted to a sick society (paraphrasing)
- It all goes to zero in the end.
- Desire is suffering. Striving for the sake of accumulation is madness
- Enjoy the process rather than striving for the outcome
- Quality > quantity
- Core values have to match up. Then all the small idiosyncrasies and differences don’t matter
- You react to an image of the other person that you have created, rather than reacting to the person themselves
- Empty your expectations and images.
- Love and attachment are different.
- Attachment is reacting to an image of the other person. It is expecting them to conform to this image, as a non changing entity
- Love is unconditional. Reacting to reality
- Don’t give advice, unless it’s asked for. No-one likes being told what to do
- When you tell others what to do, its more a reflection of your own desires
- When you don’t hold any images, all judgement ceases
- Treasure the time you have- it’s on loan
- Grief comes in waves. Rather than resist, be curious and look. What is it that causes pain? Potential futures. Reminiscing about the past.
- Time and attention are all you have. Allocate them well
- Be grateful for the time you have. Everything is on loan.
Top regrets of the old “I wish I didn’t work so much” “I wish I didn’t conform to others expectations” “I wish I spent more time cultivating relationships”
Regret is a thought, it is entirely your perception. You can reframe events so that you create meaning or suffer less.