#70 Interview with Chris Hardwick

#70 Interview with Chris Hardwick

The Bruce Lee Podcast is joining the Nerdist Podcast Network! We had the pleasure of talking with Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick for our first episode as a part of Nerdist.

About 12 years ago, Chris Hardwick started to work out, get fit and hired a trainer. He never thought that the process of getting physically fit would teach him so much about how he lived his life, but he soon found out that “the lessons you learn in here, you take out there.” Chris’s experience in the gym aligns with what Bruce Lee said about his own physical training, “everything I have learned about life I have learned through my study of martial arts.”

The first major life lesson Chris learned is when he started boxing training. When boxing, Chris was always on the tips of his toes and leaning forward. He realized that this body posture was a metaphor for how he was living his life. His trainer told him to take a breath and sit back on his heels to feel more stable--and now Chris is able to live his life from this grounded perspective.

Another lesson his trainer taught Chris was the concept of “Line, Speed, Beauty.” You start by learning the basic form, then you practice it enough to make it fast, and then once the move is practiced and fast, you can add style to it. This is very much aligned with Bruce’s philosophy of the three stages of learning: learning, technique, and cultivation.

Chris has interviewed over a thousand people between his podcast and other outlets, and he has consistently found that people who excel may doubt themselves, but they push through and put in the extra time and work to succeed. This is what Bruce would do, he would push himself and when he thought he was maxed out he would push to go beyond his limit. If you put a lot of work into something, you will get good at it. You manifest whatever you put your energy into. This can go for negativity too. If you put in positivity, positivity will come out, if you put in negativity, negativity will come out.

“The mind is a fertile garden – it will grow anything you wish to plant – beautiful flowers or weeds. And it is with successful, healthy thoughts or negative ones that will, like weeds, strangle and crowd the others. Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.”

About ten years ago, Chris realized that even though it’s inevitable he will have negative thoughts, he can just ignore them. He even wrote a chapter in his book called “Ignore your brain,” and his therapist crystallized that idea into the phrase, “You don’t have to believe everything you think.”

Chris and Bruce Lee were both philosophy majors in college and before that both went to all boys schools. Originally Chris was a math major, but found himself not wanting to go to class and ended up switching to philosophy. Part of his decision to switch was when he heard that Steve Martin had been a philosophy major and said that philosophy was great for comedy.

Bruce’s philosophy is applied philosophy, it is meant to be used instead of just discussed or thought about. Everyone knows the name Bruce Lee and they associated it with martial arts and action films. What Shannon is trying to do is share the philosophy side of her father with the world. All of Bruce’s philosophy and self-work created the thrilling person that people see on screen.

Bruce said about himself: “I have always been a martial artist by choice, an actor by profession, but above all, am actualizing myself to be an artist of life.”

Bruce’s true journey was about self-actualization. He was curious about himself and peeling back the layers to truly understand his self and what he could manifest and accomplish in the world. Bruce used these different vehicles of martial arts and acting as catalysts for cultivating the self. He talked about real self-actualization versus self-image actualization.

Chris wonders what Bruce Lee would think about our culture’s obsession with Instagram and other social media outlets because all those platforms are projecting self-image actualization and are not contributing to our real self-actualization. People think that their social media image is their actual self, but that’s not true. Incremental change, such as with fitness, is very helpful in creating long-term success. When Chris first started working out it was just once a week and once he was comfortable doing that he upped it to two days. Now he works out three days a week, which is what he can fit into his schedule. It’s overwhelming for people who have never worked out before, so Chris always recommends just going for a walk to begin. The workouts where you are most reluctant or tired at the beginning, those are the most important ones. Those workouts teach you how to show up, and sometimes just showing up when you don’t want to is the most important part of life.

As Bruce would say, “Walk on.”

A goal is a good roadmap for going in the direction you want to go, but it’s important to be open to what happens along the way. It’s more about the journey than the goal. It’s a never-ending process, Bruce believed in being the eternal student. Material things won’t fix you or fulfill you; you have to do that for yourself.

“Sometimes a goal isn’t meant to be reached, it’s just something to aim at.”

Chris is now at a point in his life where he wants to have fun. He’s achieved most of his goals, and he’s excited to try new things just for fun--even if they don’t work out. His philosophy on the true meaning of success is this: If you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do in order to survive, and you can do things that you enjoy doing, then that is success and it doesn’t matter what the numbers are. If you only aim for material success, when you acquire those things you won’t have peace of mind and will find yourself unsatisfied.

When Chris graduated from college, he applied for all these jobs where he thought, “If I get this job it will change my life.” Then, when he didn’t get them he was angry, but it was ultimately a good thing that he didn’t get those jobs because those failures lead him to create his own projects. He learned that you do not always know what’s best for you when you think those external things will fix you. He now trusts himself and enjoy the process without attachments to the outcome. This way of being is also how Bruce Lee lived his life.


(Awesome Asians and Hapas)

Michio Kaku & Marie Kondo

Chris's #AAHA shout-outs:

Michio Kaku is a Japanese American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science. He’s an educator who is a great communicator; he communicates high-level things about the universe in a very digestible way. He is a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. He has written three NY Times bestselling books, has had over 70 articles published in physics journals, and co-authored the first papers describing string theory in a field form. Kaku has hosted several TV specials for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the Science Channel.

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, author, and creator of the KonMari method of decluttering your life. She wrote bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing which has been published in more than 30 countries. Kondo has written four books on organizing which have collectively sold millions of copies and have been translated from Japanese into several other languages. She created the KonMari method of organizing. This consists of gather together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” (tokimeku in Japanese) and choosing a place for everything from then on. Kondo was listed as one of Time’s “100 most influential people” in 2015.

Michio Kaku and Marie Kondo, we think you’re awesome!


Chris Hardwick shares when he first became aware of Bruce Lee:

“When I was a kid, I’m sure it was through movies. But it wasn’t until I was older that I really understood, and when I got sober, and when I wrote my own book about a self-help journey, that I really discovered how “Oh he was deep.” The man was deep, those waters ran really deep. He has a quote that I think has something to do with he would rather face a man who has practiced 10,000 kicks than a man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. You can parse that out in a lot of different ways. It goes back to what we were talking about earlier how it’s not a big secret that when you focus on something and work on something that’s what you get. So if you’re running around in a million different directions, without any real goal or focus, you’re just going to be this weak, deluded, person.”

Share your #AAHA and #BruceLeeMoment recommendations with us via social media @BruceLee or email us at hello@brucelee.com.


The Bruce Lee Podcast is now on Nerdist.com.