#101 The Complete Human
“The conformer seldom learns to depend upon himself for expression; rather he faithfully follows a pattern.
As time passes, he will probably learn some dead routines and be good according to his set patterns, but he has not come to understand himself.”
If you follow patterns in life to seek approval and to be “good” you can be shutting down your true essence. This is just going through the motions of living life, and then we do things we do not want to because we are trained to please.
In the business and career world, there is a lot of focus on productivity and efficiency. This can create dead patterns that are automatic responses to situations in order to achieve a certain level of efficiency. When we follow dead patterns we miss out on connecting with people.
To be a complete human, you show up in the full aliveness of your experience, you show up with the availability of all your attention to engage in an intimate and real way.
It can be scary to move away from the prepared pattern and be fully present because you do not know what someone will say or how they will react.
This is where all your self-work comes into play. All the work that you have done on knowing yourself, and discovering what you are passionate about, will serve you in these situations.
“A live person is not a “dead” product of this or that; he is an individual. And the individual is always more important than the system. Drilling on set patterns and routines will eventually make a person good according to the routine, but only self-awareness and self-expression can lead to truth.”
It feels safe to have a routine because you know that it works. This routine may work for a while, but eventually you will run into a situation where it will not work because the circumstances have changed while you have not.
“Many people derive their techniques and principles from intellectual theories and not from application. He can talk about (and there are some master talkers), but he cannot teach it.”
Instead of just regurgitating Bruce Lee’s quotes, we have to apply his philosophy to our lives. These inspirational quotes make us feel good, but it is important to integrate that lesson into our actual lives, which can be challenging.
This requires you to really think about what you say and ask, “Am I walking the walk or just talking the talk?”
While it can be challenging at first to live the principles, ultimately it takes less energy to live authentically than to be living a performance.
“An excellent guide should be excellent at what he does. And inactive or mediocre guide might be of some help to the mediocre student but he can never truly understand.”
“Of this I am certain: superior performances will rest in future development and not on existing methods.”
When Bruce Lee says performances, he means the ability to execute. With future development you have to be open to change, growth, and evolution of oneself.
Every time Bruce broke out of a dead routine or a set pattern or an establishment, he would get negative feedback from others, and because he was so grounded that negative feedback did not affect him as much. However, we are not all Bruce Lee, and for most of us we have fear around being exposed and vulnerable to outside criticism. This fear causes a hindrance as we do things in order to avoid that criticism.
When you start to feel uncomfortable in a situation or something that you’re choosing, is your response to withdraw or explore?
“You can employ a systematic approach to training and practicing but never a method of [living]. [Life] is a process, not a goal; a means but not an end; a constant movement rather than an established pattern.”
Without thinking we can let these productivity systems take us over. The rhythm of our daily life should not feel like a machine.
“Mechanical efficiency or manipulatory skill is never as important as inward awareness.”
It can feel painful to take an honest look inwards, but it is in the looking that you get real information. There is a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In the fixed mindset we believe that our abilities, talents, and situations are fixed and we cannot have expansion. In the growth mindset we have the openness that anything is possible.
The Conformer = Fixed Mindset
The Complete Human = Growth Mindset
“A true warrior “listens” to circumstances, while a conformer “recites” his circumstances.”
If you ask a question and a person responds with a canned response that is unspecific, this is them acting as a conformer reciting their circumstances. However, if you ask a question and a person is a complete human and listens, then if they do not know the answer they can answer honestly or help figure out the answer.
“As a person matures, he will realize that his skills are not so much tools used to conquer others, but tools used to explode his ego and all its follies. All the practice is to round him up to be a complete man.” When you fully engage with life in all its scariness and uncertainty, then you become more comfortable with the unknown and start to find the unknown exciting.
“In short, the idea is to enter a mold yet not be caged in it, or to obey the principles without being bound by them. This is important, for a pliable, choiceless observation without exclusion is foundation of a [complete human being].”
Are there any cages you are stuck inside? How can you go from conformer to complete human? We’d love to hear from you! Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us @brucelee on social media with #bruceleepodcast.
We get many emails requesting advice with “What would Bruce Lee do?” and would like to start a “What would Bruce Lee do?” section of the podcast where Shannon and Sharon respond to your emails for advice. If you need advice and are wondering, “What would Bruce Lee do?” write to us at email@example.com
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