Embracing the Messiness in Search of Epic Solutions

There are no Limits…



Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile].

So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”

I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”

He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”

I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”

So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out.

I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.

Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.

– The Art of Expressing the Human Body by Bruce Lee and John Little



One response to “There are no Limits…”

  1. jmr Avatar

    Good story. I honestly believe that pushing yourself, and sometimes even putting yourself in somewhat uncomfortable positions on purpose, is the only real way to find your true potential. I also find that having failure present in your life at times, although unpleasant however, can bestow some of the greatest lessons a human can ever learn. Lastly, sometimes you need your butt mentally kicked by a good friend or yourself more often than people think.

    Came here for some shitty code, was delighted with a nice shift of mental gears. Thanks for the quick read.

Leave a Reply