The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 15

Simply Be Yourself

I’m who I want to be.

Bronco Billy McCoy | Bronco Billy

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
Everybody will respect you.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 8

Bronco Billy, if he were a real person, gives the impression he would be very much like Mr. Eastwood himself. It has actually been written by Eastwood’s own biographer to be the case. He is tough, but humble, and content with doing his own thing; following his own rules.

The movie is the story of a down and out, New Jersey shoe salesman who decides to throw caution to the wind and start a circus like Wild West show. Not necessarily the smartest man, Billy is simple and true in the best sense. He follows his dream at all costs and is compassionate towards his friends and even his enemies. He pulls together another Eastwood make shift family of misfits.

It is not difficult to understand Lao Tzu’s words in this verse, which is aptly suited to this quote. It is distinctly clear that Bronco Billy represents everything the Old Master is teaching here.

“To simply be yourself” sounds basic enough, yes? Yet few can put it into practice. Who has the courage to follow their own path, regardless of what others are doing?

As the brilliant, late mythology Professor, Joseph Campbell would say, “Follow your bliss!”

There is no better thing in the world.