Confucius said: “A fine horse is admired not for its strength but its heart.”
Talent can only get you so far. You need to develop a host of other qualities to achieve long-term success in life. Strength and determination are vital if you are to overcome obstacles along the way and complete tasks that other people think are impossible.
Courage and calmness when you are under pressure also come very high on the list. So too are the curiosity to find out what is really going on and the wisdom to make the right judgment about a particular situation…
Weisheng Mu said to Confucius: “Qiu, why do you run around preaching all over the place? Is it to show off how clever you are?” Confucius said: “I wouldn’t dare presume that I’m clever; I simply can’t stand willful ignorance.”
Are you willing to pay the price of standing up for your beliefs? The mockery, the derision, and perhaps even the hate of your detractors? The feelings of doubt, worry, and perhaps even futility that invade your mind when you are lying sleepless on your bed at night?
Or would you prefer to retire from the fray and lead…
Confucius said: “Without anticipating deception or suspecting bad faith, but still to be able to sense them beforehand, is that not what wisdom is?”
Always be committed to seeing the best in people but be sure to watch out for signs of the worst. That friendly reporter you bumped into at a networking event may just be digging for dirt on the hot startup you work for amid the snarky messages you are exchanging with them. …
Confucius said: “Don’t be concerned if people fail to recognize what you’ve accomplished; be concerned about what you haven’t been able to accomplish yet.”
Focus on what you can control. Forget about what you cannot. Of course, you want millions of people to buy the book you have put your heart and soul into writing, but there is no way you can guarantee that will happen even with the best publicists promoting it.
If it does become a bestseller, enjoy the moment and then get back to work. If it does not take off, understand that it is not…
Zigong was in the habit of criticizing other people. Confucius said: “Zigong must already be perfect. I have no free time for that.”
Why bother going through the pain of addressing your own weaknesses when you can achieve so much more by criticizing other people? After all, you are already performing at a much higher level than everyone else. They are the ones who would benefit from some timely guidance and advice from a proven winner like you. …
Confucius said: “A leader adheres to three principles that I haven’t been able to live up to: the good are never anxious; the wise are never perplexed; the brave are never afraid.” Zigong said: “Master, you’ve just described yourself.”
There is no harm in admitting to others that you are not perfect. Like everyone else you have your strengths and weaknesses. Better to show people that you acknowledge the aspects of your character that you need to improve rather than try to hide or deny them. Anyone who cares about you will respect you for it.
It is even…
Confucius said: “A leader is ashamed if their actions don’t match their words.”
How many times have you told your family and friends that you are finally going to get in shape or write the book you have been talking about for years? Of course, you are being totally serious when you announce your plan, but somehow life seems to get in the way before you actually get into gear. Before you know it, you are back to square one, quietly hoping that nobody will remember your good intentions.
More important, you find yourself wishing that you too could…
Confucius said: “Don’t concern yourself with the affairs of an office that you don’t hold.” Zengzi said: “A leader would never consider overstepping the bounds of their position.”
Your time is precious. Make the most of it. Focus on what you can control and impact. Do not waste your energy worrying about issues that you have no influence over. You will just end up wearing yourself out — not to mention annoying your colleagues by sticking your nose into their business. Let them get on with what they need to do and concentrate on the work you need to…
Qu Boyu sent a messenger to Confucius. Confucius sat together with him and asked: “How is your master?” The messenger replied: “My master wishes to reduce his faults, but he hasn’t succeeded yet.” The messenger left. Confucius said: “The perfect messenger! The perfect messenger!”
Everyone in your organization is an ambassador. Have you trained them to make sure they represent it in the appropriate manner? That does not just mean at formal events and meetings, but on the phone and social media. As personal and professional lives become ever more closely integrated, this is becoming an increasingly tough challenge…
Confucius said: “In ancient times people learned to improve themselves. Nowadays they learn to impress others.”
Why do you learn? To improve yourself or to impress other people? Do you imbibe the latest leadership wisdom because you want to become a better manager or because you want to make sure that you are fully armed with all the latest buzzwords when you make your presentation at the next senior management meeting?
Perhaps it does not really matter what your motives are for learning as long as you are doing it. New knowledge and ideas will sharpen your thinking and…
I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.