Bruce Lee Knew No Limits

Thursday, January 13, 2011, AM | Leave Comment

One of my favorite people of the 20’th century was Bruce Lee. There is an article on imgur.com in the form of an image about a friend’s experience with Bruce. [On the site, there is nothing else but images.] They both would go on a daily jog together. When he jogged alone, Bruce would do a mile in six-and-a-half minutes. With this particular friend, he would do it in just under eight minutes. I used to do it in 17 minutes. I haven’t tried it lately. I am afraid to jog now since I bought the tire that I strapped around my waist.

In business school, not to mention all blogs about personal finance, the mantra presented to the world is setting goals and limits in your life. Bruce was against it. His logic was by setting goals, you are limiting yourself. [I think as humans, we do need to set goals but strive for more.]

One day, back in 1968, before Bruce Lee and his friend started jogging, the conversation went like this:

Bruce said: “We are going to go five.” [A mile in 5 minutes.]

Friend said: “Bruce, I can’t go five. I am helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”

Bruce said: “When we get to three, we will shift gears and it’s only two more and you will do it.”

Friend said: “Okay, hell I’ll go for it.”

The Friend continues…

“So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I am okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I am tired, my heart is pounding, and I can’t go any more.”

While they were still running,

Friend said: “Bruce, if I run anymore, I am liable to have a heart attack and die.”

Bruce said: “Then die.”

The friend continues…

“It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it.”

Friend said: “You know, why did you say that?”

Bruce said: “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

In a Nutshell
Bruce Lee actually talked about setting limits, not setting goals. I think there is a difference. However, when we set goals, we somehow limit ourselves and Bruce was against that.

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