Personal development lessons from Bruce Lee

I’m not a big fan of martial arts films so am not particularly familiar with the wisdom of Bruce Lee. A client recently brought this quote to a session:

 Absorb what is useful.

Discard what is not.

Add what is uniquely your own

I asked Paul why he’d brought it and he said it appealed to him and that he’d like to work out how to apply it to his work and life. So we took it phrase by phrase –

Absorb what is useful

Notice this doesn’t say ‘grab a load of ideas from all over the place and never do anything with it’ like some kind of mental Pinterest board. To absorb an idea is going to take some discipline, some study, some reflective thought and maybe some practice. Let’s say that your goal is to move into a new role: maybe you will choose to shadow someone at the office who’s already working in that area. Perhaps he would agree to mentor you as work towards that new role.

Discard what is not

As you go through this process of absorbing a new idea or method, you will start to realise that not every aspect of your role model’s style will work for you. If she’s a very confident networker and you’d rather stay at home and play Twister with the cat, a weekly business breakfast may not be the perfect plan for you. That’s where step three comes in …

Add what is uniquely your own

So you’ve learnt a new way of working, you’ve taken on board what is helpful, and jettisoned what isn’t. Now it’s time to add your own finishing touches. How can you make use of your strengths and honour your values on your way to this goal?

By the end of our discussion, Paul had decided how he wanted to apply Bruce Lee’s wisdom to his specific goal but also to use it in a reflective way at the end of each day.

Today’s pebble for you to contemplate:

Look back at this week. What has been useful? What hasn’t? What have you brought to the week that’s uniquely yours? Now what will you do? 

What do you think?

ps I’m taking a bit of a screen break: I’ll be back with another pebble in mid-July.

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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One Response to Personal development lessons from Bruce Lee

  1. Pingback: Looking for advice? | Turning over pebbles

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