Bruce Lee’s Thoughts on Adversity

“Adversity causes the mind to think properly.

In a time when everything goes well, my mind is pampered with enjoyment, possessiveness, etc. Only in times of adversity, privation, or mishap, does my mind function and think properly of my state. This close examination of self strengthens my mind and leads me to understand and be understood.

To be able to do the things we want sometimes requires the performance of a few we don’t.

Just as the maintaining of good health may require the taking of unpleasant medicine, so the condition of being able to do the things we enjoy often requires the performance of a few we don’t. Remember my friend that it is not what happens that counts, it is how you react to them. Your mental attitude determines what you make of it, either a stepping stone or stumbling block.

The world is full of troublemakers.

The world is full of people who are determined to be somebody or give trouble. They want to get ahead to stand out. Such ambition has no use for a man of Tao, who rejects all forms of self-assertiveness and competition.

Inner resistance is not the solution.

Whether I like it or not, circumstances are trust upon me, and being a fighter at heart I sort of fight it in the beginning but soon realize what I need is not inner resistance and needless conflict (in the form of dissipation); rather, by joining forces to readjust and make the best of it.”


 – Striking Thoughts, Bruce Lee