Born and raised in unique circumstances, we have each become uniquely complex individuals. We are full of desires, dreams, contradictions, tensions, habits, and curiosity. For most of us, there are other possible versions of ourselves that we wish we could be. Minds are thankfully plastic. With effort, we can override our conditioning.

A year and a half ago, I found myself inspired by the Bruce Lee podcast which focuses on his life and philosophy. His daughter, Shannon Lee, and co-host, Sharon Lee, unpack his philosophical writings and tokens from his abbreviated life for listeners to apply to their own. One particularly inspiring item was Bruce Lee’s set of affirmations that he designed and carried around with him to guide his self-cultivation.

After deciding this was a useful tool that I could use for myself, I set about designing my own. I started by listing out all the traits I felt described the ideal persona I wanted to embody. These I grouped by theme. I started to notice relations between them. In particular, some of the traits contradicted one another. Or rather, they needed to be checked against each other. So I set up a list of dyads and trimmed the list down to major ones that mostly encompassed the rest. I was down to three pairs plus one trait that sat on its own. Finally, I noticed that there were still strong relationships between many of the traits, and that these had a pattern.

The result (click here to see it) was quite useful for a few months, but I’ve since largely neglected them. So I decided to digitize them to bring them again into the fore of my attention. I expect that as I engage with these principles more, I will be making edits to clarify ideas or reflect updated goals. The layout is designed to allow me to reflect while on a desktop or my phone*, with details hidden until I hover over or click on each element.

Although this rubric is highly personal to the person I am and aim to be, I am hoping that it inspires others to take a systematic, thoughtful approach to their own development. And maybe to send a few listeners/donors over to the Bruce Lee Family Company and Foundation. (Thank you for your work.)

*There’s a bug when viewing on a phone where tapping displays both the tooltip and the modal. It sounds like this is a tough one to solve, and I don’t care enough to solve it. Sorry.