Bruce Lee: Change Leadership Guru (On Being Like Water)

Published by Chris Oestereich on

Bruce Lee, leadership, change, business

Bruce Lee (flickr/Zanthia)

A brief interaction on Twitter got me to thinking about how Bruce Lee’s philosophy on Kung Fu might translate well for those trying to nudge businesses in positive directions.

I dug up a number of Bruce Lee’s quotes and decided it might be worth framing those ideas in terms of leading change in business.  I hope it resonates.

In researching this post, I found far more material than expected, so I’m breaking this up into a couple of posts.  Here’s the first volley.

Bruce Lee on being like water

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.

The idea is that flowing water never goes stale, so just keep on flowing.

Moving be like water.
Still be like a mirror.
Respond like an echo.

In looking to create change, you will likely meet great opposition. That opposition may seem insurmountable, but it rarely is.  Brace yourself for it.  Being realistic in your expectations and keeping positive are keys.  Keep your mind open. Look for different ways to approach the issue.  Break it up into smaller parts if that helps.  Look to enjoy the journey rather than hanging everything on achieving a goal.  Change that matters almost always takes time.  Pick battles that are worth staying with.  Be ready to spring on opportunities as they avail themselves as those windows may close quickly.