Duke Ding asked: “Is there one single saying that can ensure the prosperity of a country?” Confucius replied: “No single saying could have such an effect. There is a saying, however: ‘It is difficult to be a ruler, it is not easy to be a minister.’ A saying that could make the ruler understand the difficulty of his task would come close to ensuring the prosperity of the country.” “Is there one single saying that can ruin a country?” Confucius replied: “No single saying could have such an effect. There is a saying, however: ‘There is nothing I love more about being a ruler than never having to be contradicted.’ If you are right and nobody contradicts you, that’s great; but if you are wrong and nobody contradicts you, then would this not come close to being a case of a ‘single saying that can ruin a country?’”
Great leaders approach their task with humility. They do not underestimate the complexity of the challenges they face and they welcome the opinions of others.
How many young leaders have started out with such ideals only to end their days in loneliness and paranoia after losing sight of them due to the harsh realities of power?