The Insights Of Bruce Lee

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  • The Insights Of Bruce Lee

It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessential.


This quote from martial arts legend Bruce Lee is so simple, yet it says so much of what success is all about, in gym ownership, in business and life in general. You can spend hours doing little things or find the big things that matter; they may look the same at first. But when all the other things drop away you can still take the essential factors and use them to achieve the final outcomes you desire.

This is what sculptors do when they carve a statue. Starting with an initial piece of stone that is larger than the outline of what is to be produced, they simply remove all of the parts that are not the statue, which the sculptor has envisioned in the stone.

How many times in business do you start out with objectives that get dropped along the way? You figure out what matters and what doesn’t, then it’s simply an issue of letting go of all of those things that don’t produce as great a return on investment as the most successful ones.

Increase Value By Decreasing Everything Else

The things that remain when you strip away all the parts that don’t matter are the elements that form the core values of your business. You need to focus on your values and purpose to eliminate anything in your gym business that doesn’t contribute to them. Another Bruce Lee quote comes to mind, in reference to starting and managing a small gym or fitness business:

Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.

Bruce Lee

Isn’t that what fitness is ultimately all about? If you are going to commit to business you have to be prepared to be resilient enough to face challenge after challenge. What could be more rewarding than facing those challenges and over coming them? How about helping your members find the skills, strength and resilience to do the same? When everything is said and done the most fundamental reason to form a fitness business is about helping others reach their potential and finding the strength to overcome adversity. That is the point that remains when you “hack away all that is inessential”.

Bruce Lee gym ownership advice

Daily Decreases Do Not Need To Be Large

In practical terms, when it comes to starting a fitness business you have to be as efficient as possible. You can’t afford to be sitting around in the back office doing paperwork and sorting through spreadsheets to find missing accounts or lost payments. That is exactly what Gym Insight was designed to eliminate.

Doing more with less is one of the most fundamental principles of business. It increases your margin and therefore your return on investment. This is often such a small improvement that you may not even expect to see value in doing it. To use your management software to the fullest potential you have to examine reports and look for those areas where you can make small incremental improvements on a daily basis.

Bruce Lee fitness advice

Small changes add up quickly. For example, if you find that you can increase your reported average length of membership by 3.3 percent month-on-month, that is equal to one paid day for each member in your gym. When you are looking at the reported numbers you are going to see more clearly all of the things that you will be able to eliminate.

The value of management software is only as great as the purpose to which you put it. If you only use it to take over the basics and you don’t look more deeply into the reports available on Insight you will save the time of manually doing the work. But you’ll get even greater return by looking into what doesn’t meet your requirements and what costs too much in relation to the results that it produces.

Bruce Lee’s untimely death in 1973 at age 33 was more of a loss than most people realize. As time passes and we gain a new historical perspective, his words still resonate, long after many of the louder voices of his era have fallen silent. I suspect that, as the noise decreases, what remains is the true wisdom.

Gym Insight

Welcome to our weekly blog series! We are glad to have you here. We’re a gym management software company designing the best, easiest-to-use member management tools in the business. If you found Mr. Lee’s philosophies interesting and would like to share your own business influences, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at 1-855-FOR-GYMS and speak to our awesome sales guy Anthony. He can hook you up with our podcast “The Gym Owners Podcast,” where we discuss what it takes to run a successful fitness center. Thanks for reading our stories and see you next week! 


Good Reads. Bruce Lee – Quotes. 2014. (accessed September 2, 2014).

This blog originally published October 6, 2014. It has been updated and republished.