Bruce Lee’s Impossible to I’m Possible Story
Bruce Lee got into many fights when he was growing up in Hong Kong so he started training in Kung-Fu. One fight landed him at the police station so his parents sent him back to America where he was born to live with relatives. He never stopped practicing his martial arts. He went on to major in philosophy at the University of Washington. To make extra money, he taught Kung-Fu to other students. He eventually dropped out of college to open a martial arts school. He faced harsh criticism from the Chinese community for teaching non-Chinese people because they felt the teachings were a sacred and secret martial arts style. Regardless he taught anyone that wanted to learn.
Hollywood came knocking and he was approached to do a screen test for a television show called The Green Hornet. Producers loved what he had to offer but they decided not to offer him the lead role because they felt viewers would be turned off by his “oriental looks”, even though he would be wearing a mask. They did give him the supporting role as Kato where he showed off his superhuman martial arts skills which impressed audiences so much that they favored him more than the leading actor. The show became a huge hit in Hong Kong and was renamed The Kato Show.
You would think that this would be the end of him facing racism in Hollywood but it wasn’t. He worked hard and closely with producers on a show they were creating called Kung-Fu. In the end, the producers decided to give the role to a Caucasian actor because they felt audiences weren’t ready for his “oriental looks”. He was angry and frustrated but he wasn’t discouraged. He decided to write a letter to himself, “I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”
He suffered a back injury that not only left him bedridden for six months; doctors told him he would never be able to kick again. He spent his time writing a book called Tao of Jeet Kun Do which encouraged him to heal mentally and physically. He proved the doctors wrong and it only took him a year to get back to his prime physical condition.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Lee was offered starring roles by a Hong Kong film studio – The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, and The Way of the Dragon which catapulted him to an icon status in Hong Kong. Shortly after, Lee got the break that he had been waiting for when a joint American/Hong Kong production was set to shoot titled Enter the Dragon, which was the movie that would make Bruce Lee a Hollywood star. Unfortunately, Lee suffered his untimely death only days before Enter the Dragon hit the big screen, but it elevated Lee into American stardom that he had been working so hard to achieve. His legacy lives on and he is still inspiring others to work hard and have faith in their abilities.
Bruce Lee had to overcome many obstacles in his life – poverty, racism as well as prejudice within the Chinese community, financial difficulties, injuries, and lost opportunities but he never stopped working hard towards his dream. Bruce Lee was POSSIBLE and so are you!