Water may be soft and yielding, but it will eventually wear down even the largest and strongest rock by embracing it rather than confronting it. In the same way, wise leaders do not fight criticism and resistance; they accept and absorb them while patiently sticking to the correct course.
Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water.
But no force is better at attacking the hard and strong.
For this reason, there is no substitute for it.
The soft overcomes the strong;
The weak overcomes the hard.
Everyone in the world knows this;
But no one puts it into practice.
That’s why the wise say:
“Those who shoulder the disgrace of their country,
Are fit to rule it.
Those who take responsibility for the misfortunes of their country,
Are fit to rule the world.”
The truth sounds like its opposite.