You Will Never Believe the Biggest Factor to Bruce Lee’s Success

5 min read

Case study: Bruce Lee

Take a look at the most famous and my favorite martial artist, Bruce Lee.

Bruce completely and monumentally revolutionized Martial Arts in a way no one would ever have thought possible.

He earned a spot on Time magazine’s Time 100: The Most Important People of the 20th Century under Heroes and Icons of the 20th Century. source: Bruce Lee Official Website

Bruce had been inaugurated into countless Hall of Fames and won incredible awards for his hard work including achieving the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Man of the Year and Martial Artist of the Year and was even honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. source: Bruce Lee Official Website

Bruce even made time for humanitarian causes such appearing on the Hong Kong TVB Operation Relief telethon for typhoon victims. source: Bruce Lee Official Website

How did Bruce Lee become so successful?

Photo by Lina Kivaka on

He read books.

Behind the trophies, the awards, the amazing titles, and the successful film icon is a spirit with a thirst for knowledge.

Bruce Lee read books quietly in the afternoons and even in the evenings. source: The Art of Manliness: The Libraries of Famous Men: Bruce Lee

His bookshelf contains 2,500 books. Bruce loved to read philosophy, American self help books, and of course a lot of martial arts topics like fencing, boxing, etc. source: The Art of Manliness: The Libraries of Famous Men: Bruce Lee

He read so much material and was “actively engaged [in his reading] and [continuously] wrestled with new ideas” he was able to create a philosophy and practice of martial arts, Jeet Kun Do.

How did Bruce Lee read?

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When he read, Bruce Lee would write a ton of notes, annotate, and carefully underlined sentences (sometimes with a ruler!) and write his favorite passages and quotes into a notebook. Source: The Art of Manliness: The Libraries of Famous Men: Bruce Lee

Even before martial arts he was already “frequenting bookstores” and even wanted to open a used bookstore. source: The Art of Manliness: The Libraries of Famous Men: Bruce Lee

Bruce’s Have Read List

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Western Philosophy: 

  • Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas $39 Books A Million
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
  • Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes
  • The Undiscovered Self by Carl Jung
  • On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers
  • The Works of Bertrand Russell
  • The Works of Plato 
  • Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian 
  • Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (and other Campbell titles)
  • Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza
  • Maxims and Reflections by Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Eastern Philosophy:

  • The Works of Jiddu Krishnamurti (whom Polly notes was “one of his more important influences”)
  • Tao-Te-Ching by Lao-Tzu
  • The Way of Chuang-Tzu
  • The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi 
  • The Works of Alan Watts
  • The Analects of Confucius
  • Art of War by Sun-Tzu 
  • Bushido: The Soul of the Samurai
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (and many other Hesse titles) 
  • Buddhism by Christmas Humphreys (and dozens of other Buddhism-related titles)
  • The Chinese Classics compiled by James Legge (all 5 volumes)
  • Living Zen by Robert Linssen (and many other Zen-related titles)

Martial Arts/Fencing/Boxing:

  • On Fencing by Aldo Nadi (plus at least 60(!) other books on fencing and fencing theory)
  • Aikido: The Art of Self-Defense by Ko„ichi Tohei
  • Advanced Karate by Mas Oyama (and many other Oyama titles)
  • A Beginner’s Book of Gymnastics by Barry Johnson
  • Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey 
  • Book of Boxing and Bodybuilding by Rocky Marciano
  • How to Box by Joe Louis
  • US Army Boxing Manual
  • Efficiency of Human Movement by Marion Ruth Broer
  • Physiology of Exercise by Laurence Morehouse
  • Wing Chun by James Lee
  • Acupuncture: The Ancient Chinese Art of Healing by Felix Mann
  • Esquire’s The Art of Keeping Fit 
  • Combat Training of the Individual Soldier by the US Army 
  • Modern Bodybuilding by Oscar Heidenstam

American Self-Help:

  • The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (and many other Peale titles)
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Dynamic Thinking by Melvin Powers
  • The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  • The Success System That Never Fails by Clement Stone
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie $6.95 Books A Million
  • How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger


  • Elements of Style by Strunk and White
  • Playboy’s Party Jokes & More Playboy’s Party Jokes 
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (one of the few novels) 
  • The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis 
  • The Story of Civilization by Will Durant (all 11 volumes!) 
  • The Viking Book of Aphorisms
  • The Works of Shakespeare

source: The Art of Manliness: The Libraries of Famous Men: Bruce Lee

Who is your inspiration?

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The Most Outstanding Students’ Secret Weapon? Books.

5 min read

Why do successful people read books?

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Bruce Lee, arguably the greatest Marital Artist of the century. Whose success and mastery of his craft has won him countless awards, titles, and Hall of Fames.

Bruce owned about 2,500 books. Philosophy, American self help, and Martial Arts were his top three biggest genres.

How can books help you in college?

Photo by La Miko on

In a study entitled, Beyond Books: The Extended Academic Benefits of Library Use for First-Year College Students researchers investigated whether “first-year college students’ use of academic libraries” affected four academic outcomes: academic engagement, engagement in scholarly activities, academic skills development, and grade point average.

Here are 3 of their conclusions:

  • Students who used academic sources, journals, and references (collection loans, e-books, and inter-library loans, and web-based services, database, journal, and library website logins) had the most positive and
    significant relationships with academic outcomes
  • Enrollment in library courses was positively associated with grade point averages.
  • This study supports the ongoing importance of students’ use of academic libraries and the critical roles that libraries play in students’ academic development, engagement, skills, and achievement.

Biggest Benefits of storytelling

1. Mental Health

Books for stress relief?

Researchers including one from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, studied stress levels of students in demanding health science programs and concluded that “30 minutes” of reading “lowered blood pressureheart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor did.”

Sources: Healthline and Research Gate

Books for depression and anxiety?

Anyone who has minor symptoms of Major depression can use Bibliotherapy (book therapy) to improve symptoms. Source: Good Therapy

Bibliotherapy can have positive effects on children and adolescents with anxiety and depression. Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine | National Institutes of Health

A study conducted by the Research Agency concluded that reading “increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety and stress” Source: Independent

2. Be a better human

Reading stories can increase empathy, character, and understanding

According to the South African College of Applied Psychology, storytelling can improve feelings of “connectedness and fellowship.”

Reading fiction can help us understand and empathize with the viewpoints of other people.

If books connect and not divide us, how would issues such as racism and discrimination change if we all picked up a book and learned about each others’ cultures and perspectives?

Wrestling with poetry may even foster creativeness.

According to Professor Philip Davis, Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool, through reading poetry people can better “adapt thoughts and behaviors” to novel circumstances. Source: South African College of Applied Psychology

People are also better led to look for different ways to fix problems rather than using a standard solution. Source: South African College of Applied Psychology

Confidence to express yourself

Reading great books allows you to see into the minds of master writers.

You unveil the greatest of writing. You see their methodology, how they describe things, and a peek into their inner world.

Great literary masterpieces are models to imitate for expressing your own writing.

Practical tips on reading

Schedule a designated reading time.

Reading is a lifestyle.

Read in the morning, afternoon, and in those small moments in between.

Read in the morning, before bedtime, and during breaks.

But, make sure you read daily.

Why you should read daily?

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

The famous reading 20 mins a day study

It’s been drilled in my minds as a student that reading 20 mins per day can significantly increase “vocabulary for fluency and comprehension”. Source: Phoenix Academy

Students who scored 90% better than their peers on reading tests, read for more than 20 minutes a day – exposing them to 1.8 million words a year. Source: Phoenix Academy

see Britannica’s 12 Novels Considered the “Greatest Book Ever Written”

Art of Manliness’ 100 Books Every Man Should Read includes 1984, Plato, Roosevelt, Wealth of Nations, and Brave New World

Genius Note-taking Strategies You Need Right Now

5 min read

5 Genius Ways to Take Notes

  1. organize your notes efficiently
  2. increase active recall of information
  3. Have fun doing it

Lesson #1 Textbook Notes

Textbook notes have a different approach compared to the lecture or powerpoint notes.

You have to take a huge chunk of extremely detailed information and be able to translate it into your study language which is a skill in itself.

Tip #1: Write the title, header, and date

Write the day and date.

For example, Tuesday, 8/11/20

This will help you to know when you took your notes so you can refer back to them when you are studying for an exam.

Next step is the big header: Unit: Chapter, Topic on the top of the page.

Under that are tiny headers or sub-headers.

Tip #2: Write in Q&A format

Writing in questions promotes independent thought and may prompt you to research by going deeper through Google or asking your professor.

Higher thought distinguishes successful students.

Writing questions and answers will help you to increase active recall of information.

When you go back and study these notes, look at the questions and test yourself.

Write your unanswered questions for your professor on a sticky note in the top right corner of your notes under the date.

That way, you can ask them the next day in class. Make sure to write the answers on the sticky note too.

Tip #3: Draw next to your notes (if not all over them)

Visuals and quick diagrams helps you to remember the topic better especially during recall on exams.

Draw stars and arrows to convey importance and compare different ideas.

Draw diagrams and pictures for science classes like Psychology, Anatomy, Biology, and Chemistry.

Tip #4: Write key details on the left margin

Write main ideas on the left side of the margin for easy reference.

Write key topics and summary points for when you get mentally drained from studying.

When you begin to flip through your notes, you will be able to see the main ideas on the left hand side of the page easily.

Tip #5 Use 1 color theme and highlight

Using a color theme makes your notes look aesthetic.

Besides a black-inked pen, choose 1 color for your theme.

You can use green for the header, sticky notes, and even the ink.


5 Genius Ways to Take Textbook Notes

Tip #1: Write the title, header, and date

Tip #2: Write in Q&A format

Tip #3: Draw next to your notes (if not all over them)

Tip #4: Write key details on the left margin

Tip #5 Use 1 color and highlight

How do you take notes?

Garden Pesto Salad

Recipe 1 box cooked whole wheat rotini basil pesto sauce 1/2 red onion diced baby spinach cherry tomatoes red bell pepper sliced Directions Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain and mix with pesto. Combine all vegetables and pesto. Serve pesto salad hot or cold. Notes Add more vegetables and pesto to the salad if … Read More

food wood spoon dry

Fancy Filipino Java Brown Rice

Recipe Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 min Ingredients 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 cloves minced garlic 1 minced red onion 12 oz mixed vegetables 1/2 tsp salt 1- 2 1/2 cooked brown rice 1 tbsp annatto seed oil 1 tsp turmeric Directions Brown garlic and cook onions in olive … Read More

How to Level Up Your Planner Game

5 min read

The secret antidote to forgetting dates, homework, and tests is a planner.

A planner will keep you organized, efficient, and on track to your short or long term goals.

Before you start the day, sit behind your work desk, grab your morning coffee or tea, and start planning your day’s goals; events; and to-dos.

How to level up your planner game to skyrocket your productivity and grades?

1.  Write all due dates in your planner

When you receive your syllabus from your college professor, make sure to jot down all the tests, projects, and assignments so you don’t skip a major grade.

This will also see how much time you need to study and prepare everyday for that next big test or project.

2. Jot down all class details

In a blank section of your planner or a sticky note, make sure to write down your:

  1. professor’s name
  2. email and or phone #
  3. location of class
  4. time of class
  5. office hours
  6. the days of the week you have that class

This way you have a quick reference on how to contact your professor or when you can drop by to ask a quick question on that anatomy homework.

3. Grade Tracker

As Ruby from Lavish Life says, make sure to have a section in your planner comparing the grade breakdown of your class on the left side and what you actually received on the right side. At the end of the semester, you can calculate your grades to see if you met your A+ goals!

4. Schedule study hours

Colleges say, “for every 1 credit hour you have to put in 2-3 study hours outside of class.” source: University of Michigan Flint

The University of Michigan Flint also recommends this:

“Rule of Thumb: 2 hours of study per 1 hour of class; if going full time (12 hours), that equals 24 hours of studying per week ” source: University of Michigan Flint

I have 17 credit hours on my schedule which means I have to study for about 34 hours per week. (17 credit hours x 2 hours of studying)

College is overwhelming.

Stay organized, aim for your daily goals, and plan your study time.


How to Level Up Your Planner Game:

1. Write all due dates in your planner

2. Jot down all class details

3. Grade Tracker.

4. Schedule study hours

How do you use your planner?

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that works for you when planning your college and personal life?

College Organization Tips You Can’t Learn From Books

+ How to organize binders

5 min read

Here are some tips on organizing and decorating your binder

How to decorate your binder?

  • add name & class
  • pick a color theme
  • design collages 
  • add calligraphy

1. Create collages

Design collages with photographs and quotes.

I chose a sophisticated black and white theme for Anatomy and Art:

photo by Bianca Soriano

2. Organize your subjects by color

It is easier for you to know which notebook is for what subject when you have different colors.

For example, I have blue for anatomy and green for art:

photo by Bianca Soriano

You can use Crayola markers like the one below or a calligraphy pen.

photo by Bianca Soriano

How to organize your binder?

1. Add tabs and dividers

  • keep quizzes, tests, or reviewers in divider pockets
  • or add tabs per unit

Keeping summarized papers of units like quizzes, tests, or reviewers in divider pockets helps you to visualize all the main ideas of your subject.

Sticking tabs helps to mark the location of a new unit on your binder.

2. Order your notes

  • syllabus
  • powerpoint/printed notes
  • handwritten lecture notes
  • order from oldest to newest

The first page in your binder is the syllabus.

It is an easy reference to your teacher’s contact info when you need help this semester. Remember to reference to the weight of tests and assignments to help you meet your academic goals.

Next is your notes.

Put powerpoint and printed notes first along with any handwritten notes you took during a lecture. That way all notes relevant to a concept is in one place.

To stay organized, keep your notes in order from oldest to newest.

Pro tip: Use sticky notes for questions you have and don’t forget to ask your professor.


pin it for later

How do you take notes?

3 Quick Secrets on Starting Your Journal

5 min read

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I tested and approved of. All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that are no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thanks.

How can I start my own journal?

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind

Natalie Goldberg ( author of Zen Living, Writing and Eating)

1. What is my goal through journaling ?

Having a purpose for your journal can lead you in the right direction and look back to see if you grew and met your goals.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my journal for mental health, productivity, or to express my feelings in a positive and healthy way?
  • How do I express my thoughts? Do I enjoy writing them? drawing? or both?
  • Do I like to keep souvenirs from places, people, or events?

Here’s a quick reference guide on journals for creative students:

Art, health & fitness, productivity and goal setting, and personal writing are essential towards a happy and healthy mind and body. As college students you and I need to take care of our mental health because college can be an especially stressful time.

Types of journals you can start today:

1. Art Journals

Do you like to express your emotions through images?

  • art collage – a collage of photos, art, souvenirs, memorabilia, magazine and image clippings
  • sketchbook – your own drawings, paintings, sketches of people, urban sketching, lifestyle
  • nature – a collection of pressed flowers, art, drawings, dried foliage, poems, or any observations, feelings, thoughts, or studies inspired by nature.
  • travel – a collection of photos, souvenirs, drawings, sketches, thoughts, ideas, and writing about where you’ve been.

2. Health & Fitness

  • food log – keeping track of your intake and diet, water consumption, healthy recipes, dishes you’ve tried from different cultures, your own favorite recipes
  • exercise tracker- track your workout routine, weight loss plans, goals for your sport (ballet, track, martial arts etc.)
  • women’s health – period tracker, hormones, mood swings, feelings, fertility cycles etc.

3. Productivity

4. Personal Writing

  • personal log & feelings- a record or observation of daily events that resonated with you, interesting thoughts, ideas, goals, events, what you felt, people you met etc.
  • creative narrative- story writing, describing your own life or small moments in details, and short stories
  • poem- writing songs, haikus, writing down a moment or something that inspired you through the art of poetry.

Your journal is a reflection of yourself.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say”


Don’t feel pressured to follow the bullet journal trend or confine yourself to a set of rules.

I personally have multiple journals that are a mix of all the above: a planner for tracking my college studies, deadlines, assignments, tests, projects as well as my social and personal life like parties, birthdays, and events. I also keep my goals, daily to-dos, and fitness plans. I have a pocket sketchbook for drawing quick sketches of people or scenes that inspire me while traveling. A bullet journal for dumping creative ideas, souvenirs, and pressed flowers and foliage. And a prayer journal for my daily life.

The most important thing about journaling is to relax and have fun!

2. Find Your Aesthetic

Finding your aesthetic may be more for creatives.

It may take some time but “find” what you like. In art, the more you practice, the more you start to develop your style.

Here are some of my favorite themes:

  • vintage theme
  • black and white
  • minimalist
  • floral
  • Brown, black, white, and gold
  • pastel
  • asian
  • glam or girly
  • travel
  • or a mix of your choice

3. Find Supplies

To me, this is the fun part.

Finding a notebook or journal that you love will make you want to write more. Here are some materials I love:

Materials ideas + recommendations

I got a lot of these from my local craft store like Michaels


Writing Supplies:


Note: you don’t have to purchase a lot of materials to journal. Just be creative with already existing papers, photos, pens, and materials.

“When it comes to art, it’s important not to hide the madness.”


How does journaling help you?

Comment down below and check out other posts on mental health here: