Sharpening the saw

子貢問為仁。子曰:「工欲善其事,必先利其器。居是邦也,事其大夫之賢者,友其士之仁者。」
Zigong asked how to practice goodness. Confucius said: “A craftsman who wishes to do outstanding work must first sharpen his tools. No matter which state you settle in, offer your services to the wisest ministers and make friends with others who cultivate goodness.”

There are a number of passages covering the subject of goodness in Book 15 of the Analects. This one doesn’t need that much explanation: just as a craftsman requires the sharpest tools to do his best work, you need to associate with people you can learn from in your professional and personal life in order to cultivate your character and skills.

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