Code of Conduct to Living: 4 Rules You Must Follow To Achieve Personal Growth

The Jeet Kune Do Emblem

Bruce Lee’s concept of Personal Growth

I’d just like to open this post by asking you a question – how many of you out there know who Bruce Lee was?  I think the answer will obviously be “everyone” because of his legendary status as the greatest kung-fu movie star (he would kick both Jackie Chan’s and Jet Li’s ass if he were alive today) ever to grace the big screen – he became a superstar after the release of the major Hollywood produced movie “Enter The Dragon“.

However, other than the hardcore fans I can hazard a guess that many of you may not know anything much about the real Bruce off camera.  I won’t go into too much detail regarding Bruce Lee the man, but all I will briefly say is he was a totally driven person who strived for success in every facet of his tragically short life (died of a cerebral oedema aged 32).

Success for Bruce was in the form of him reaching the ultimate peak of achievement, be it; in financial terms; in world stardom; in physical perfection; in his own personal growth, mentally and spiritually.

Bruce was not only a movie star and martial artist; he was also a voracious reader of philosophy (achieved major honours in the subject at the University of Washington) and materials on all combative styles.   Being the innovator Bruce was, he used the knowledge and wisdom gained to create his own concept of a philosophical martial art called Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce the inspirational teacher

Personally, Bruce has been one of my biggest inspirations for me to empower myself towards self improvement in all areas of my life and to attain total harmony of mind, spirit and body.  You may be all wondering by now, “what’s this all to do with the title of the post?”  But don’t get too bored just yet – please bear with me as I will explain to you the important relevance of Jeet Kune Do in regards cultivating your own personal growth towards successful living.

Bruce Lee in familiar pose

Code of Jeet Kune Do: “Truth In Combat Is Different For Each Individual In This Style”

Jeet Kune Do is what Bruce called a concept, and not a style.  Bruce was very much against styles or forms that can restrict one’s freedom of expressing themselves naturally.  The code of practice that Bruce Lee created was a way of life that he encouraged his students to adhere to while studying under him.

These important precepts of Jeet Kune Do epitomized the message Bruce wanted every human being to follow, which was that the true essence within Jeet Kune Do was Freedom of Expression.  This freedom enabled  a person to adapt and to achieve continuous growth through their own self discovery without the restrictive external  teaching of forms and katas.

The four rules of Jeet Kune Do are:

    1. Research your own experience
    2. Absorb what is useful
    3. Reject what is useless
    4. Add what is specifically your own

How can I apply the 4 rules of wisdom to my own personal growth?

What we can learn from Bruce’s concept is that we can fully adapt the code of Jeet Kune Do to our own personal lives.   We can apply the rules as follows:

Code of Living: “Truth In Self-Growth Is Different For Each Individual In Their Life”

The four rules of personal growth are:

1. Research your own experience

Self-knowledge is the key towards continuous growth of your mind, and you alone must take the necessary steps to attain this goal.  Through this research of learning about yourself, you will gain the daily experience necessary to cultivate your personal growth, which will provide you with the blossoming ability to live a more wiser and fulfilling life.  Researching or self-learning can take the forms of:

  • being conscious about yourself and surroundings
  • being attentive and observant of your emotions and behaviour in certain situations and relationships
  • liberating your mind by eliminating all conditioned actions
  • reading and watching enlightening and inspirational material
  • spending time self-reflecting
  • independence of mind – not to be too influenced by outside forces when making decisions for yourself
  • learn from another person – although this is limited.  You should know yourself better than another

2. Absorb what is useful
We cannot know everything and we should endeavour only to learn what will be useful in our lives.  Life is too short to waste time with things that are not conducive to our personal growth.  Rule one should provide you with the practical wisdom of being able to ascertain what forms of everyday things will be useful and beneficial to your life.  Finding out what is useful for you is a unique experience because what someone may find is good for them may not be good for anyone else.  What I find beneficial for me are:

  • self-knowledge
  • family and friends
  • time management
  • helping others
  • practical wisdom

3. Reject what is useless
Should be self-explanatory after reading rule two.

4. Add what is specifically your own
For your mind and spirit to grow you must carry out the action of watering it periodically with creativity and originality so that they will continue blossoming throughout the many seasons.  Being original or in other words, being yourself is perhaps the most important remedy for personal growth and becoming the best you can be in life.  What can one do to be both original and creative?

  • independent thought – think for yourself at all times
  • write down your own thoughts and observations
  • create something original which will go on to benefiting you and others
  • be true to yourself in everything you do or create


Hopefully these four rules to living will help you all towards achieving success in personal growth that will provide you with a wiser mind and an indomitable spirit, able to adapt to whatever life throws at them – in fact, be as adaptable as water…

“Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless. Like water.
Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
You put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or creep or drip — or crash!
Be water my friend.”

~ Bruce Lee


  1. Good article. I always admired Bruce Lee, but this is new knowledge, The four rules aren’t too far away of how I live my life.

  2. Fatima Da says:

    Wisdom ~ wiser mind yeah! I do agree powerful tool to help us all to adapt…. Great post….:)

  3. magdiy says:


  4. Jason Cooper says:

    Hi Magdiy,

    Glad to know that there are still passionate Bruce Lee fans out there.

    I have also practiced the Wing Chun style which is one of the most philosophical, beautiful and economical art to learn.