There has never been a pop culture icon who transcended his realm more than Bruce Lee. Ask any member of any generation and 10 out of 10 times, they will know who Bruce Lee is.
In fact, there is no doubt that had Bruce Lee lived, he would have been the most successful figure in the world by constantly re-inventing himself to remain relevant and current regardless of time and place.
Lee was a visionary—an anomaly who lived in a world that was not ready to accept his views not just on martial arts but on life in general. Society put up barriers, and Lee did not hesitate to side-kick them down to fulfill his dreams.
Lee put his philosophies down in a masterful treatise called The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Its content remains relevant in this day and age, not just for martial artists but for its significance on life.
In fact, several of Bruce Lee’s philosophies have been dissected and implemented in other institutions including business. A review of some of Lee’s philosophies shows its relevance in building a foundation for successful entrepreneurship.
1. “Don’t fear failure; in great attempts it is even glorious to fail.”
Bruce Lee set a goal that he would propagate the culture and history of China and its martial arts through his teachings and later on through his movies.
However, it was a difficult time for Lee because his views ran contrary to what was acceptable in society.
The Western world was not ready to accept an Asian as a crossover star, while the Chinese did not share his view of teaching their fighting techniques outside their own culture.
Lee was part Chinese and part American yet he could not find acceptance in either culture. However, he persevered and charted his own course to his destiny!
Based on the stories written about Lee, nothing hurt him more than losing the role of “Kwai Chang Caine” in the hit TV show, Kung Fu to an American, David Carradine.
Kung Fu was Lee’s brainchild and his vehicle to showcase the fighting style and philosophy of “Jeet Kune Do,” which is an approach that encourages a free-flowing form of combat.
Distraught by his lack of success in his adopted country, but definitely not discouraged, Lee flew back to Hong Kong and mapped a new road to fulfill his dreams.
Lee began his resurgence through a string of low-budgeted but highly successful action movies, which featured fight choreography that has never been seen before on the silver screen.
Lee’s triumph in Hong Kong has set the stage for his return to America and the production of his biggest and most successful movie, Enter the Dragon.
Entrepreneurs face challenges every single day because we are accountable for all the decisions that we make.
Every decision will not always be the right one; the element of risk and failure lurks in every corner much like the arch villain Han did in the hall of mirrors during the climactic final battle with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
Since failure is a reality of entrepreneurship, we should accept and embrace it not as an enemy but as a teacher. Through failure, we learn to accept human frailty and realize that the journey to entrepreneurial success is not a straight line but one that is fraught with challenges and obstacles at every turn and at every level.
Failure is not meant to destroy us, but it strengthens us by revealing our weaknesses. The ones who can succeed are those who have found the way to overcome these obstacles by working on their strengths while improving their weaknesses.
This is an analogy that Lee could have alluded to in Game of Death where the challenges set at “The Pagoda” culminated in the final stage, “The Realm of the Unknown.”