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Bruce Lee's Letter to a Friend

Posted on:January 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM (3 min read)

I recently took a bit of time to read an interesting book called Bruce Lee, Letters of the Dragon. The book was a collection of letters to friends, business partners, and family throughout his journey to America, sets of films he was recording, and experiences as he mentored, kept up with, and expressed his love to the important people in his life.

I felt the letter below was worth sharing as it encapsulated the type of person Bruce Lee was!

This excerpt is from page 115-117 of the book:

Jhoon Goo,

Enclosed please find [Chuck] Norris’ ad. This is the most recent one. I’ll try to save them for you in the future. Also, I have included other ads of similar nature, which mgiht be of help.

[Bruce Lee included this poem, which he wrote to help encourage his old friend, advising him not to let adverse circumstances affect him and to realize that each individual controls his own destiny.]


Who am I?

That is the age-old question

Asked by every man

At one time or another.

Though he looks into a mirror

And recognized the face,

Though he knows his own name

And age and history,

Still he wonders, deep down,

Who am I?

Am I a giant among men,

Master of all I survey,

Or an ineffectual pygmy

Who clumsily blocks his own way?

Am I the self-assured gentleman

With a winning style, The natural born leader

Who makes friends instantly,

Or the frightened heart

Tiptoeing among strangers,

Who, behind a frozen smile, trembles

Like a little boy lost in the dark forest?

Most of us yearn to be one,

But we fear we are the other.

Yet we CAN be

What we aspire to be.

Those who cultivate

Their natural instincts,

Who set their sights

On the good, the admirable, the excellent,

And believe they can achieve it

Will find their confidence rewarded.

And in the process,

They will discover the true identity

Of him who looks back from the mirror.


The doubters said,

“Man cannot fly,“

The doers said,

“Maybe, but we will try,“

And finally soared

Into the morning’s glow,

While non-believers

Watched from below.

The doubters claimed

The world was flat,

Ships plunged over its edge,

And that was that!

Yet a brand new world

Some doers found,

And returned to prove

This planet round.

The doubters knew

’Twas fact, “of course,

No noisy gadget

Would e’er replace the horse”

Yet the carriages

Of doers, san equine,

Came to trame to traverse

All our roads in time

But those who kept saying

”It can’t be done,“

Never are the victories

Or the honors won.

But, rather,

By the believing, doing kind,

While the doubters

Watched from far behind.

In conclusion, may I warn you that negativeness very often unknowingly creeps up upon us. It helps to occasionally to stop all thoughts (the chattering of worries, anticipations, etc. in your head) and then once more refreshingly march bravely on.

Just as the maintaining of good health may req the taking of unpleasant medicine, so the condition of being able to do the things we enjoy often requires the performance of a few we don’t. Remember my friend that it is not what happens that counts, it is how you react to them.

You have what it takes, I know you will win out one way or the other. So damn the torpedo, full speed ahead! Remember what this Chinaman says, “Circumstances? Hell, I make circumstances!”

I still believe that this mentality, and philosophy is helpful in life!!