Today's post isn't actually inspired by anything. Weird right, it's because this is one of my backup topics. What better topic to write about then one said by Bruce Lee. So let's talk philosophy and dive into this topic.
The original quote from Bruce Lee is "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash." This quote is massive but it contains some of the most profound teachings that I have ever heard. A couple of weeks ago I spoke about adaptability and this quote is taking it to a whole other level. If you take the quote as a whole and try to summarize it you get something like this, water becomes anything it is put into and is very powerful. That is literally what the quote is saying. But how do you make your mind like water? That's what i'm about to touch upon so get ready.
The true meaning of this quote is to have an open mind and to learn from everything around us. If we are thrown into a jungle then learn from the jungle. That makes no sense to most of you so let me break down my example a bit more. If you are thrown into the jungle, before you do anything you must take notice of your surroundings. You have to learn from the wildlife there to survive because unless you are familiar with the jungle you will die. You must see what the wildlife eats, you also must take notice where they obtain water from. That's how your mind becomes like water, you learn from those around you and use those teaching to better yourself. There is the great saying that smart people learn from their mistakes, smarter people learn from other's mistakes. You must observe everything and in the first chapter of Jocko Willink's book Extreme ownership, there is a story in which the seal operative stopped and observed his situation before proceeding.
Okay, so I put my ear to the ground and observed my surroundings what do I do next Josh? Empty your mind now. I'm not kidding, but let me tell you how. Become a student, throw out any preconceived notions you have about your surroundings. In other words, don't be the smartest person in the room. It doesn't matter if you actually are the smartest person in the room, you must learn from those around you. That's what Sam Walton did and it helped him grow and scale his business astronomically. For the few of you reading this who don't know who Sam Walton was, he was the founder of Walmart and Sam's Club and one of the richest men in the past century. Every time he went into a store he would throw out everything he new about running a store and learn from whatever store he was in. He even got arrested in Mexico for taking out a measuring tape and measuring the distance between shelves in one store. Bu becoming a student wherever he went, he ensured that he brought all of the best practices to his business and life. If a billionaire was able to learn something from everyone or place he went why can't we?
Okay, Josh I learned to empty my cup, just like you taught in that video. I have learned from everyone I have met, so now have I become like water. You must also learn how to adapt to your surroundings just like water does. I remember one episode of the hit show Friends where Joey buys an encyclopedia. He purchases the encyclopedia just so that he can partake in conversation with his peers. In Joey's case he didn't fully commit to adapting because he only bought one encyclopedia so he failed to adapt after the topic was changed. Adaptability is powerful and that's why I wrote about it the other day. Don't get me wrong I don't want you to conform because I literally just put out a podcast about being different. I want you to learn the lingos and behaviors the environment you are thrown into and then make them yours. Prime example, I used to fix phones for a living. In the beginning I had no clue what I was doing so I adapted. I used terminology I picked up from my coworkers when diagnosing a problem and I learned how my coworkers fixed phones. After learning for a bit I started doing things my way which turned out to be quicker for me. Another way I adapted was when I started working in Westchester. I had to relearn how to speak to clients because the environment was different. Yes I was still dealing face to face with people but they expected to be treated differently then clients in the city.
Now that you have become like water you have to make sure that you don't crash. What does Bruce Lee mean that water can flow or it can crash? I believe he's referring to water as power. We all know the saying "Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely." Emptying our minds and becoming like water is very powerful, however we must remain grounded. What do I mean that we have to remain grounded, we must take everything with a grain of salt. Josh, you literally have been talking about learning from others and adapting this whole time, now you want me to do the opposite. What gives? Not everything you learn from others will be good. You might pick up a couple of bad habits along the way. Another thing that you must remember when becoming water is to never forget your true form. Your true form is yourself.
Well that's my take on the quote, it might be wrong. But that's the joy of philosophy, it's all up for interpretation no one is right or wrong. That's it for this post. Congrats for making it to the end. If you enjoyed this post thanks, if not oh well. Either way feel free to leave me a comment down below. If you want more content, you can subscribe to the Books By Josh Show on ITunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher. If you want more content then that you can check us out on YouTube. To get notified whenever we post make sure you follow us on Twitter or Facebook. If you wish to support the site, the best way is to tell your friends about us. If you want to show more love feel free to subscribe or support us. If that still isn't enough, feel free to become a patreon or buy a signed copy of my book from our store page. All of the links to everything can be found at the bottom of this post and like always...... I'll catch you guys in the next one, see-ya.