What is the source of this Bruce Lee quote?

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not related to Martial Arts.
    – coinbird
    Apr 27, 2018 at 14:15
  • 1
    @coinbird - I think this falls into a bit of a gray area - the first bullet in our FAQ on questions is Characteristics, regimens, history, and culture of martial arts systems worldwide. One could argue that this is part of the culture of JKD, as it is part of the philosophy of the founder. If you disagree, maybe this is a question we should look at on meta to determine if it is acceptable or not.
    – JohnP
    Apr 27, 2018 at 14:45
  • @JohnP We absolutely should. Opening the page to questions about the sources of quotes from martial artists invites a lot of nonsense. "Hey guys, when did Chuck Liddell say "I'll fight somebody in my backyard for free, just to see if I'm better than him."?"
    – coinbird
    Apr 27, 2018 at 17:08
  • @coinbird Done, meta discussion here. I presented what I thought were the three options, if you think there are others I haven't considered comment and I will add them into the meta.
    – JohnP
    Apr 27, 2018 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


According to the wikiquote page for this, the origin of the quote is given for the book Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living, published in 2000 and edited by John Little, Part III Part II. (Thanks to @ukemi for the correct section reference)

Part III : On Matters of Existence Part Two - On Being Human - Concepts (Abstracting)

Balance your thoughts with action. — If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done. p. 43

I am not sure what qualifies to be noticed for google's ngram viewer (Searches book instances for phrases), but this does not come up in that search. Looking at the preview in google books, the placard page gives the information that it is copyright 2000 by Linda Lee Cadwell, so the provenance of it is a little shaky, but it appears that it was Bruce Lee's quote as remembered by LLC and entered in the book.

  • I have a copy of the book and it is indeed on p43, though the information on wikiquote is slightly inaccurate. It is from Part Two 🐉 On Being Human - Concepts (Abstracting). (It appears the author of the wikiquote addition mistook the section number for the page number in the index, as section 43 (Philosophy), p108, is in Part III). The introduction mentions in one section the source of the quotes (albeit vaguely), I will post an answer here with the info as the comment character limit isn't sufficient. May 3, 2018 at 21:14
  • @ukemi - That would be great!
    – JohnP
    May 3, 2018 at 21:19

This quote can be found in Part Two - On Being Human - Concepts (Abstracting) of Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living (p43):

Balance your thoughts with action. — If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.

In the introduction, A Book For Free Spirits, John Little writes this of the sources of the quotes:

The title “Striking Thoughts” is taken from a heading that Bruce Lee created for a series of maxims he wrote down after reading the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti’s book First and Last Freedom. However, the committing to paper (and, later, to audiotape) of “striking thoughts” was a habit of Lee’s that extended back to his early days in Hong Kong. Included within the pages of this book are those “striking thoughts” that issued forth in conversations, interviews, and correspondence that Bruce Lee shared with journalism, friend's, and colleagues. Other entries are postulates that Lee had been moved to type out—perhaps with an eye toward one day making use of them—others were quickly jotted down before they escaped his concentration. Still Others were noted in book margins as he read; the result of a “striking thought” that had come to him as he was closely regarding a particular writer or philosopher’s point of view.

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