Confucius said: “A scholar-official who pursues the way but is ashamed of their threadbare clothes and coarse food isn’t worth talking to.” (1)
Follow the path that you believe in – not the one that you think will help you make the most money and bring you the greatest fame. That might mean making some minor sacrifices to begin with, but you will be much happier and more fulfilled over the long term because you are following your passion and doing something worthwhile.
Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: threadbare clothes and coarse food
Confucius said: “Know the way at dawn; die without regret at dusk.”
Don’t jump to conclusions! Take some time to think before rushing to judgment – no matter how tempted you are to open your mouth or tap away at your keyboard to enlighten the world with the brilliance of your insights.
Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: know the way at dawn
Even on the rare occasions that women are mentioned in the Analects, it is generally in reference to their role as a mother or wife rather than as an individual in their own right. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on women
Confucius never promised a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for people who followed his way. He regarded it as everyone’s duty to cultivate their learning and behavior in line with his teachings. It probably never occurred to him to offer them any encouragement or incentives to help them along this lonely and difficult path. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on motivation
The character 文 (wén) originally meant “patterns”, though it is more often translated as “culture” or “civilization” as it refers to arts such as literature, calligraphy, music, ritual, mathematics, and even archery and charioteering. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on culture
Judging by his limited comments on economics, Confucius was a proponent of low government spending and limited state intervention. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on economics
Deference (讓/ràng) literally means “to yield”. Although the term is rarely mentioned in the Analects, the principles that govern it play an important role in ensuring smooth and courteous interactions between people of different walks of life. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on deference
Throughout the Analects, Confucius repeatedly raises his concerns about people who fail to back up their promises with meaningful actions and behave in superficial ways designed to impress their peers with their morality and kindness rather than out of any genuine desire to follow the principles that they purportedly ascribe to. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on affectation
Reverence (恭/gōng) is one of the smaller stars in Confucius’s moral firmament, and can also be translated as “respectfulness”, “solemnity”, “gravity”, or simply “manners”.
Reverence entails working hard at your studies and career and acting in a humble and serious manner when interacting with other people and attending ritual ceremonies. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on reverence
The sort of love (愛/ài) Confucius refers to in the Analects is driven by duty rather than emotion. When he advises in Chapter 5 of Book 1 that a ruler should “love your people”, he is essentially saying that the ruler has a responsibility to make sure that his subjects do not lack the basic necessities of life: nothing more and nothing less. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on love