Dec 27, 2017
For our end of year episode we asked our listeners to submit questions they wanted us to answer or advice they wished they could receive from Bruce Lee. We had many, many questions submitted and we noticed that many dealt with finding motivation when you’re stuck. People were feeling stuck and unmotivated in a range of topics from their work and jobs, to dealing with injuries and feeling isolated.
From listener Anthony:
“I’ve had an empty feeling in me for as long as I can remember. It’s not what I would call depression, more like an unmotivated feeling. Like a “nothing really matters” feeling. It’s been with me since early years (I’m 20 now) and I’ve had problems feeling any belonging. Bruce has written about this type of thing. How loneliness is an opportunity to find yourself. I was wondering, were there any rituals Bruce would find himself doing when things were rough?. For example, when he was struggling to land genuine movie roles that weren’t discriminatory to him in his early years.
Best wishes from Ireland.”
Shannon shares that she knows this sort of low-grade depression well, and remembers feeling this way during her childhood. She remembers her mom telling her that when things wouldn’t work out for Bruce, at first he would be really angry and frustrated. Then, he would get really quiet and give himself some space and time to contemplate and “go in.”
For many of us, the problem with feeling stuck is that we do not want to feel stuck and we want to fix it right away. We feel judgment if we cannot fix it immediately and be rid of it. This is a natural reaction, but it prevents us from really experiencing what the “stuckness” is and looking at it. Instead we push it away and we beat ourselves up when it comes back. If you allow yourself to be with that feeling, it has information for you. When you allow yourself to feel the feelings fully, it can help it pass through.
The first step: be gentle and kind with yourself. Let go of the judgment you have about what you’re feeling and don’t beat yourself up or push the feeling away. Just say, “Ok, this is where I am right now.”
The second step: feel your feelings. When Bruce would become quiet he would sit with the problem, allow himself to feel it, and investigate it. Some of Bruce’s greatest philosophical realizations and writings came from these times of hardship.
The third step: take action. After sitting with your feelings and investigating, you have to take a step towards action. Do not skip the first two steps and go right to the action item because then you are trying to fix the problem before knowing what the problem is. For some it works to come up with an aggressive action plan, but for others we do not know what action to take at all. The actions you can take can be small, and they should not be viewed as a fight you have to make to overcome your problem. These action steps should be towards your wellness and wholeness, and that bring you joy. What works for someone else might not work for you, so you have to customize and personalize your action steps for yourself.
Affirmations and journaling can be actions that you can take. Affirmations are statements you read aloud everyday, which are meaningful to you that you want to make a part of your life. Then it becomes a part of your everyday thoughts and you’re planting a seed in you mind that will grow.
If you're having a difficult time thinking of anything that brings you joy, remember the things that brought you joy as a kid. Or remember the last time that you felt joyful. When you're depressed it can feel impossible to think of anything that makes you happy, which is why you might have to go way back to think of a thing that brings you joy.
Doing these small actions will not immediately solve your problems or how you feel, but they create space for you to start to energize and heal. Creating this space helps you tackle the next bigger action steps to address your larger problem.
Bruce Lee had tools to help him such as to be quiet, to meditate, to write, to move his body, to laugh and tell jokes. Find out what your tools might be. Bruce’s lesson is that YOU are the medicine and you have to participate in your own healing. You have to be willing to engage in your own wellness and healing.
“The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see I will never find the light unless, like a candle, I am my own fuel.”
“Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”
When we are talking about our own healing and unsticking of ourselves, you are the most important thing. Take the focus off of “I have to be well so that I can participate in this other thing.” You have to treat yourself as the most important thing in your life. We often put ourselves last in the wake of our obligations to our family, job, and friends. The truth is all those people might need you to do things, but without you as a whole, functioning human being, they are not going to get those things or a very partial version.
Read our full episode show notes for “#78 Motivation When You’re Stuck” at Brucelee.com/podcast. We share more about healing from injury, time management, feeling stuck in your job, and letting go.
Share your #AAHAs, #BruceLeeMoments, and #TakeAction progress with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.