Increase or Decrease?
The direct lesson for the martial artist:
All of us who have taught the martial arts have seen this truth as many times as we have taught. Movements that were designed and refined over many centuries for speed, power, safety and efficiency are warped and weakened by students who, consciously or unconsciously, throw a bit of their “own thing” into it.
By stating this essential truth, Bruce Lee was not intending to stifle self expression. He famously supported self expression. But there is a huge difference between proper self expression and failing to recognize universal truths and adapt yourself to them. For instance, if I decide to express myself by throwing a straight hard punch with a bent wrist, I will end up with a sprained or broken wrist. No amount of wishing the universe would adapt to my desires is going to help.
The fact is that the very best martial artists lose themselves in their art and become that art. It is only then that they can begin to express themselves in an intelligent and effective way.
The direct lesson for all of us:
It is no different in any aspect of life. At work, you have to do your job the way your boss wants it done. You can’t express yourself and do your own thing in a way that screws things up and loses customers.
Marriage is no different. There are sensible parameters, and you have to adapt to your spouse’s wants and needs or you will end up without a spouse.
Religion is no different. You do things God’s way or go off and do things your way until you are doing them your way in hell.
Writing is no different. i miGHT chooos two espress MYself thsi way! – but then I wouldn’t be having the book sales and great reviews that I have.
There are reality based rules we must operate within if we want to be effective. All the Outcome-Based Education, self esteem lectures and Trophies For Everyone can’t change this reality one bit.
I will leave you with this anecdote:
A man stared at Michelangelo’s David statue and said, “How could you create something so perfect?”
The great artist replied, “I didn’t create anything. I saw David in the marble and cut away everything that was not David.”
Look into the essence of what you want to achieve. Then cut away everything in your efforts that is not of that essence.