A serious commitment

子曰:「君子不重,則不威,學則不固。主忠信,無友不如己者,過則勿憚改。」
Confucius said: “If a leader isn’t serious he will inspire no awe and lack a solid foundation for learning. Hold loyalty and trustworthiness as your highest principles; don’t make friends with people who are not your equal; and when you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to correct yourself.”

Confucius wasn’t afraid to remind his disciples and the rulers he met that leadership requires a serious commitment to living up to fundamental principles such as loyalty and trust and constantly examining your behavior for areas you can improve on.

His advice not to “make friends with people who are not your equal” may sound more than a little harsh to the modern ear, but he is most likely simply making the common-sense observation that you should only get close to people who share the same principles and values as you do rather than ones who might tempt you to go astray.

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