Bruce Lee’s Philosophy: “There Are No Limits”

11/19/12 8:03AM EST

Often times, while sweating my ass off at the gym, I have told myself that working out and staying in shape is a lot like doing business. They both require ambition, dedication, and they both hurt like hell at times. Both will push you to your limit and show what you are made of when things get tough. Both are also very worth the effort involved. At first, this was just a bullshit line to help me make it through a few extra minutes on the treadmill. A kind of motivator, you might say, to convince myself that I could do it. The more I said it, though, the truer it became to me…and now, I believe it with every ounce of my soul. So, how cool was it that I was browsing the internet the other day and found a story about Bruce Lee that completely confirmed my theory? About the best thing to happen all hour! Here are the highlights…

brucelee Bruce Lees Philosophy: There Are No Limits

The story begins with Bruce Lee and a running buddy doing three miles everyday. This is working well and providing a pretty good workout. One day, though, Bruce decides to raise the bar a bit and suggests – no, orders – that they do five miles that day. While the other guy is reluctant, he agrees and they get started. Just a few minutes into mile four, the running buddy decides he is done. He tells Bruce that “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” Sounds pretty serious, right? Well, good old Bruce Lee just looks at the guy (who is most likely sweating profusely and breathing hard by now) and says “Then die.”

Of course, no one actually dies and they both manage to finish all five miles. Later on, when asked why he was so harsh in his words, Bruce says something quite profound. He 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.”

Once, in the midst of negotiating a business deal, I had a friend tell me something similar. I was at the bar whining about the fact that I might lose my ass if this contract didn’t get signed soon. He ordered me another round, shrugged his shoulders, and said “so lose your ass…then take what matters, start over, and go further the next time.” Lucky for me, he was right. It wasn’t about that one deal, or that one sum of cash…it was about me pushing my limits. That particular deal turned out to be big…because I proved to myself that I could do things I hadn’t done before.

So, in honor of Mr. Bruce Lee, I challenge you to take off your limits. Run that extra mile, make that new business deal, and never stop going because of a limit. “If it kills you, it kills you.” But who the hell wants to live a life that never goes anywhere anyway?

[Image via Dan Scandal/Shutterstock]

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