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If Bruce is right, then what is the opposite called, the one who can’t listen over their own voice, thinks only what they’re told to think, and blind to the world around them.


Fill in the blank with your favorite, even if advice from Bruce Lee isn’t best for you.


I like people who listen, at least those who listen to me, but they are special. They listen while they interrupt, which isn’t always easy. They talk over my talk, then circle back to the original point so I know they listened.


Makes me feel special, the same way you make others feel special when you listen.

A friend of mine once explained his job. It only took an hour and it was non-stop. I asked him about his work because my wife shamed me into being a better friend, one interested in more than me, me, me.


So for an hour I listened, practiced my active listening skills so they wouldn’t think I dozed off, and came away better for the experience.


I was surprised by his willingness to talk at length, instead of going to guy-talk with, “I’m not at work. I don’t talk about work unless I’m at work.”


Instead, he got chatty and it was more than I asked for. I still think he’s a spy, or in witness protection. The guy knew way too much about way too much. And shared. The nice part was when he finished he didn’t say, “And now I have to kill you.”




Time goes on for Bobby D and you and me. His call to action ignores the Bruce Lee Rule of listening, thinking, and observing. More action, less thought, but the problem comes from bad action.


Not bad actors, not that. Robert DeNiro is not a bad actor. Maybe a few bad movies, but a guy needs to work.


His encouragement isn’t the best advice for wood workers who cut a board three times and it’s still too short. Or the marksman who follows the rule of “Ready, shoot, aim.”


Don’t wait to do what you need to do, but take a moment to get organized before you hit it with a new better.



I’ve said the same thing for years, or at least since my kids have learned to listen to a ‘new better.’


At a teacher conference in middle school the science teacher, a man who looked and sounded like he’d rather be somewhere else, like most of the parents, had some disappointing news on my kid.


“He finishes his work quickly and looks for other things to do, which often ends up interrupting other students,” teacher said.


“I’m sorry for that. We’ll work on it at home. How are his grades?” I asked.


“He’s the top of the class.”


Later on at the house I found the boys doing homework together.


“We talked to your teachers,” I said. They knew which one I was talking to.




“The science teacher said you’re disruptive. Are you disruptive?” I asked.


“He gave the class a handout to fill in one day. I finished fast and asked to go to the bathroom. He said I was disrupting the class by asking to go to the bathroom,” he said.


“Did you hop around grabbing your crotch when you asked?” I said.




“Then what?”


“I left to go to the bathroom and came back. He said that was disruptive, too.”


“Did you slam doors and scrape your desk when you said back down?” I asked.




“Do you like his class?”




“Then keep up the good work.”


In the end I learned a new better from a contemplative martial arts legend, a movie tough guy, and Neo from The Matrix, who all have more to offer than being movie stars.
About David Gillaspie

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