Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the thief of virtue
Confucius said: “The village worthy is the thief of virtue.”
Why are the locals complaining so much about a few potholes on the roads? Surely, they understand that you have much more important work to do like crafting the council’s zero-carbon strategy. In fact, if you really think about it, the locals should be happy about the potholes because they will help the council in its efforts to save the planet by discouraging people from heading out in their pollution-spewing cars.
Anyway, it is about time that they all made the switch to electric vehicles. Never mind that there are no charging stations in the area yet. Everyone will just have to suck it up until you find a budget to pay for their installation. The sacrifice will be worth it.
It probably will not be until next year that you will be able to find the money, however. That is because this year you have some vital overseas conferences to attend where you will share your learnings and get to witness at first hand the threat that some of the world’s most beautiful coastal regions face from the rising oceans. Fighting for a better future is a tough job, but you are more than ready to lead the charge. If only people would show you a little more appreciation for your grand vision instead of going on about trivial matters like potholes on the roads.
This article features a translation of Chapter 13 of Book 17 of the Analects of Confucius. You can read my full translation of Book 17 here.
(1) A pithy swipe at the “do as I say, not do as I do” brigade: the vapid, self-satisfied moralists who see it as their mission in life to inflict their beliefs on everyone else while signally failing to live up to them themselves. These days of course such people have no need to confine their virtue signaling to the village they live in. They can take it global. A sign of progress, I suppose.
I took this image in the Four Beasts Scenic Area in Taipei.