What Bruce Lee Can Teach You About Life Editing

You might not know this, but I have a bit of a crush on martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.

Not so much for his movies since I’m not really an action movie kind of gal. And not so much for his good looks, although I admit he was super fine.

What I like most about Bruce Lee was his sage (ha!) outlook on life.

He spent his life sharing his Chinese culture and martial arts with the world and breaking down the “us versus them” mentality.

Bringing people together in an atmosphere of love and respect is something I try to do in my life. If you get a chance, check out one of my favorite movies, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.

I also love how he did aspiration writing and imagined himself as the highest-paid, most well-known Asian actor long before he gained fame. It’s fun to reread my old aspiration journals after what I was dreaming about actually happened.

But what I appreciate most about Bruce Lee was his way with words. Seriously, this guy has some brilliant quotes, and they’re much better than anything you’d find in a crummy fortune cookie.

My favorite Bruce Lee quote influences my coaching style and how I instruct my clients. Here it is:

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” Bruce Lee

This quote has even more significance in this world of social media, electronic gadgets, and internet cat videos. Every moment of our lives seems uncomfortably full…kind of like your stomach after Thanksgiving dinner.

I’ve found that my own life becomes richer and more rewarding when I “hack away” at the clutter that’s not serving me.

I help my clients edit their lives to just the people, thoughts, and activities that support their life visions.

One way we do this is by adding things to their Not-To-Do Lists. Nearly all Editor Session graduates say the Not-To-Do List is their favorite part of the program.

Unlike a regular to-do list, a Not-To-Do List holds all the things you have no control over, that don’t need to get done, or can be delegated to someone else. Basically, it gets the inessentials out of your head so you can focus on what’s truly important.

And because I think that self-improvement should be fun, I’m sharing the Not-To-Do List with you absolutely free!

It’s time to karate chop your life’s inessentials. Hi-yah!

Enter your name and email below to download your Not-To-Do List. Part of the Editor’s Toolkit.

The Not-To-Do List is a super-important part of the Life Editing Process. Fill the first column with everything that’s on your plate, anything that you’re thinking about. Then try to organize as many things as possible into the not-to-do boxes. For instance, I stopped visiting websites that waste my time or make me feel bad about myself.

Like Bruce Lee said, you must decrease the number of things that take up space in your mind.

What are you going to delete from your life?

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  1. Sherrie- Kueckelhan Photography on November 1, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Too much junk mail, paper work, answering solicitor calls, and doing too many favors for others bogs me down. I’m going to start putting the oxygen mask on myself first and not be everyone’s “go-to.” unless its vital. Streamline my paperwork will be helpful. I re-enlisted on the do not call list.. I’d like to somehow remove myself from junk mail lists. Any suggestions?

  2. Sarah @ Long Island Nerd on November 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I love this post!! You know I’m a big fan of the martial arts and I agree 100% that there are tons of valuable lessons to be learned from martial artists. Discipline and respect are huge components and so important. I really love the idea of a Not To Do List. I’m so guilty of wasting my time on frivolous activities. Most of it has to do with Internet usage. I think one thing i’d like to do is limit how many times I check my e-mail and social media. It’s so unnecessary and has created such a bad habit so it’s definitely something I’d like to cut down tremendously!

    • Sage Grayson on November 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Ugh, Internet browsing takes up so much of my time! I’ve had to put a bunch of websites on my Not-To-Do List because they’re time-sucks. Worrying about other people’s opinions is also on my list.

  3. Nneka, Working Mystic on November 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Sage, as soon as I read this headline, I thought, “hi-ya!” How did you know that was what I was thinking?

    As far as chopping things away, I don’t know that there’s much left for me. I’ve cut television. (My parents actually brought one from their home because they didn’t see the point.) I am a Grey’s Anatomy fan:-)

    I’ve also cut away a lot of possessions. I like living light, as I call it.

    Can’t seem to let go of the books though:-) Guilty pleasure:-)

    • Sage Grayson on November 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I won’t let go of my books either! They’re just too special. I also have “no TV” months or years too. Not every year, but sometimes we get rid of cable so we have more time to reconnect as a family.

  4. Cara on November 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Hi Sage! It’s been a while since one of your posts has made me sit up and pay attention (which has more to do with me and what’s been going on in my life right now — anything that was not directly related to buying and moving into a house did not matter!), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Not-To-Do list. Sitting down with a pen tonight!

    • Sage Grayson on November 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Haha, I know the feeling about being obsessed with house hunting. I can be all-consuming, but in a good way. Are you having fun looking for a house? I have to add new things to my Not-To-Do List regularly because there are so many distractions in my life.