Bruce Lee was a once in a lifetime personality who became one of the most iconic people of the 20th century. It’s a pity that he passed away at only 32.
Yet his philosophies still inspire the world and I feel that the philosophies that he has past down are going to be timeless.
Within his philosophies, he had a overriding perspective on the power of ideas.
In a letter written by Bruce Lee when he was only 21 years old, he wrote:
“It is a fact that labor and thrift produce a competence, but fortune, in the sense of wealth, is the reward of the man who can think of something that hasn’t been thought of before. One good idea will make a man what he wants to be.”
Bruce Lee empathized on the value of ideas mentioning how ideas are the beginning of all achievement in any industry.
It is with this belief in ideas that Lee would become a superstar in the U.S. with his iconic films and having established a new form of martial arts which he referred to as Jeet Kune Do.
The ideas that he came up with, be it for his own form of martial arts or the ideas for his films, Lee had a set of principles and a process that he followed.
As a practitioner of design thinking , I’ve come to realize that Lee’s version of coming up with ideas can be compared with design thinking. He has a simplified method which I believe could help innovators improve upon their own methods.
The Bruce Lee Way for Ideas:
Four idea principles
- Find a human need, an unsolved problem
- Master all of the essentials of the problem
- Give a new ‘twist’ to an old principle
- Believe in your idea — and act!
A five-step process to formulating ideas
- Gather materials
- Masticate the facts
- Relax and drop the whole subject
- Be ready to recognise and welcome the idea when it comes
- Shape and develop your idea into usefulness
Two important parts in this process:
Value of Understanding
The innovator must master all that is to be understood about the problem that is to be solved.
Understanding the user to the tiniest of details and taking into consideration all the factors that are going to affect the solution is the first and foremost step.
It is only with such clear understanding would we be able to clearly define the “problem statement” having digged as deep as possible regarding the problem.
This is the part of his process that is distinctive.
Lee was a big believer in the power of intuition, which is the creative tide, a natural instinct in all of us. To “activate” intuition, we must look within ourselves and have a deeper perception.
Our thinking mind is limited to the five senses. However, intuition, the sixth sense is limitless and free in alignment with the nature of the Universe
We often have a gut feeling, which is giving us an “internal instruction” about what to do. Sometimes, we should just do it!
Even Steve Jobs mentioned how intuition is more powerful than intellect.
When we decide to hear this internal instruction, sometimes ideas just come to us. This is what Lee is trying to say when he mentioned to “Be ready to recognize and welcome the idea when it comes”.
This process can come across as foreign to many and that is understandable. Yet, by staying open to new methods and exploring them, I believe that we can improve upon our own ways to come up with new ideas and innovations.
This article was originally published in my Linkedin profile here: