Life is always better when you take it in stride. When you take no offense, no regrets, no one can possibly harm you. This is arguably what Bruce Lee was trying to tell us in what may just be one of his most famous quotes, ever.
Be Water, My Friend: (full quote)
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.
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. Be water, my friend.
This is an extremely powerful piece of advice, if you can take it to heart. Think about it: you can write a word on a hard surface, and the harder the surface, the longer the word will remain. When you try to write something in water, it subsides just for a brief moment. In this extreme flexibility lays an amazing power, which is available to all who seek it.
“Be Water, My Friend” in the movie… (can you guess?):
If you can shape your mind like water, my friend… you will never be hurt, nor will you be angry. You will never get caught up in negative emotions that stifle your joy of being. Be water, and the world will open up to you.
Verse 8 on the “Tao Te Ching” alludes to a similar idea:
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
Now you’ve seen the master talk about water…
… just you watch how he used to play with fire, my friend.