Friday, October 21, 2016

‘Always Be Yourself’: Bruce Lee Lives On

10/21/16 brush pen
Always be yourself. Express yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

The Wing Luke Museum is now showing Part 3 of a traveling exhibition honoring Bruce Lee’s life. While the previous parts focused on his TV and movie roles and family life, Part 3 of “Day in the Life of Bruce Lee” is more about the man’s internal life. Through facsimiles of journals, poems, letters and daily planners, visitors gain an intimate glimpse of his philosophy, desires and self-improvement regimen as well as mundane to-do lists and appointments.

Delicate drawings on wide-ruled school notebook paper and poems drafted on restaurant letterhead had an off-hand, bittersweet quality, as if nothing he put on paper was worth saving. As a lifelong journal writer and daily planner keeper, I found it fascinating and slightly voyeuristic to peek at the handwritten pages of his Day Timer and small memo books that were similar to what I use myself.

Particularly heartbreaking was a goals statement he had written through year 1980: Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the age of 32.

These were some of the other quotations found in his personal writings (advice to himself) that I jotted in my own notebook:

“Stop wasting time in playing a role or concept. Instead, learn to actualize yourself, your potential.”

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality. Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success and truth.”

“It is compassion rather than the principle of justice that can guard us against being unjust to our fellow men.”

Since the exhibit consisted of two-dimensional photos and ephemeral papers, I couldn’t find anything to sketch. However, I used a brush pen to try to capture his iconic stance that was shown in an enlarged photograph on one wall of the exhibit. 


  1. So, I've been trying to find some more info about Bruce Lee's poems and journals and came across this on Brain Pickings:

    I also found clips of The Green Hornet on YouTube. If not for segments aweful 60's tv shows, what is YouTube for! (well, ok, instructional videos, product reviews, and lots of other stuff).

    Anyway, thank you for posting about him here and on IG! I'm finding him very intriguing.

    1. Bruce Lee is indeed intriguing, and his life was inspiring on many levels! Glad you found interesting info about him (Green Hornet notwithstanding!).

      - Tina


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