“To be worthy, not respectable and wealthy…” Bruce Lee

This morning this picture flashed up on my FB Stream from The Official Bruce Lee Facebook Page. It is a postcard written to Bruce Lee’s future wife, Linda, just a few weeks after they started dating.

Bruce Lee postcard to his future wife, October 1963

In case you can’t read what it says,

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In other words, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. - Bruce Oct 20 1963

There was a day when I probably would not have posted this. After all, this Asian guy name Bruce has had to grow up with folks often making some Bruce Lee reference when meeting me and the last thing that I wanted to do was fan the “do you know martial arts?” fire, invite lame Asian-accented “grasshopper” references or otherwise deal with well-intentioned people creating painfully awkward moments.

Seriously, this stuff still happens. No, seriously.

Over history, the image and perception of Bruce Lee has been a winding one. From his popularity on TV and Screen (Kato in the Green Hornet and arguably the best martial arts movie ever, Enter the Dragon) to being a caricature used to taunt Asian Americans boys in hallways across the nation, to being respected as an artist, innovator and teacher, his life and legacy play an important part in the history of Asian American culture.

So, I offer this small glimpse into some of the wisdom that was woven into his life and work. Enjoy.

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  • Lenz

    thanks for the quote.