Leadership Lessons from Confucius: pursue your passion

pursue your passion

子曰:「不患無位,患所以立;不患莫己知,求為可知也。」
Confucius said: “Don’t care about not having an official position; care about making sure you have what it takes secure one. Don’t care about not being acknowledged; focus on what can make you acknowledged.”

It’s never been easier to gain the paper qualifications required for a prestigious, well-paid position in government or business thanks to the massive expansion of higher education that has taken place over the past few decades. But that also means competition for the plummest posts has never been fiercer.

It’s never been easier either to grab your five minutes of fame thanks to the proliferation of the Internet, the smart phone, and social media that has taken place over that period. But that also means competition for people’s eyeballs has never been greater.

Don’t get caught up in the career expectations vortex. Concentrate on what you love most and what you do best without worrying about whether it will result in your dream job. It may take longer than you had initially hoped, but the more you develop your skills and hone your craft the greater your chance of achieving more than you ever thought you were capable of.

Don’t get caught up in the online attention vortex either. There’s no need to thrust yourself into the limelight by saying something that will come back to bite you later. Pursue your passion with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. It may take time, but ultimately you will make meaningful connections that are worth more than thousands of nameless followers and soulless likes.

Note

This article features a translation of Chapter 14 of Book 4 of the Analects of Confucius. You can read my full translation of Book 4 here.

I took this image at the Taipei Confucius Temple.

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