Today, the name Bruce Lee is synonymous with martial arts, self-actualization and worldwide stardom.
But this wasn’t always the case.
As an immigrant to the United States from Hong Kong in 1959, Bruce was relatively unknown in his new country. At the age of 28 with his largest notable TV role, The Green Hornet, flopping harder than a fish on dry land and a family of three to provide for, his chances of success were in limbo.
Frustrated and ready for a change of fortune, he penned the following letter in 1969:
“I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting in 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
From this point forward and before Bruce’s untimely death just 4 years later, his work output was staggering.
He redoubled his efforts, going the unconventional route and returning to Hong Kong where he used his increased level of fame there to his advantage, upgrading from minor television actor to leading man in the full-length films the world has come to know him for.
Not being one to settle he pushed forward, eventually earning the power to write, direct and choreograph the fight scenes in his movies. This lead him to collide head-on with his dreams of stardom when in 1972 one of the biggest film production companies in the United States, Warner Brothers, approached Lee to star in what would be the most successful film of his career, Enter The Dragon, grossing over $200 million dollars worldwide.
Why Motivation Is Useless
What I say next won’t be sexy, unique or groundbreaking.
Bruce Lee wasn’t special.
The traits that made him an international success more than 40 years ago are the same ones available to you, if only you have the courage to seize them.
Bruce realized the power of motivation as a spark, the most amazing catalyst for change that we have available to us. He also realized that this alone wouldn’t be enough, that motivation wasn’t reliable.
Motivation got him started, but what kept him going?
The power of habit. First he created his habits, then his habits created him.
For a moment, reflect on an example from your own life.
Think back to a time when you were motivated more than the power of a billion Suns and Unicorns. You probably felt on top of the world and were ready to make moves!
And then it happens.
After a few days, that feeling fades. With your motivation dwindling dangerously low, any inspired action toward your goal slowed or stopped completely. You got busy, things got in the way. Soon after starting, you’re back at square one, worse off for your efforts.
Why? Because you let yourself down despite wanting nothing more than to succeed.
Motivational build up, physical let down. The more this painful cycle continues, the more likely you are to repeat it in the future when pursuing any worthwhile goal. The less you begin to trust yourself to get things done.
Bruce realized that motivation was fleeting; he didn’t expect it to last. Instead he capitalized on the intense drive that this feeling created inside him, then consistently built his habits in a way that supported the direction he wanted to go in.
You have the power to do this as well.
It won’t be easy and it will take time and discipline to make it happen, but it’s the only way.
Sit back and highlight the goals you want to accomplish, think about the habits you’ll need to cultivate to get there, then get to work on creating them, no matter how long it takes – your life depends on it.
“I am not afraid of an opponent who practiced ten thousand kicks once. What I am afraid of is an opponent who practiced one kick, ten thousand times” – Bruce Lee