Leadership lessons from Confucius: love of learning

love of learning

子曰:「十室之邑,必有忠信如丘者焉,不如丘之好學也。」
Confucius said: “In a hamlet of ten houses, you’re certain to find someone as loyal and trustworthy as I am, but you won’t find a single person who loves learning as much as I do.”

Thanks to rapid technology advances, it’s never been easier to learn. No matter what subject you happen to be interested in, there is a huge variety of courses and materials online for you to choose from – often at a fraction of the cost of those offered by traditional educational institutions and publishers.

The key challenge is maintaining your motivation once you embark on your program. Even if a subject is interesting and presented in an engaging format, it can be all too easy to let your enthusiasm drop as you juggle the competing demands on your time.

When you are studying at a traditional education institution, you have teachers and fellow students around to help you through the most challenging times – not to mention the promise of accreditation at the end of it. If you are learning on your own, it can be much harder to enjoy similar levels of support and encouragement. Sometimes, there’s no substitute for gritting your teeth and pushing yourself through the slump. You just have to tell yourself that the sense of accomplishment you’ll experience when you’ve got through to the other side will be all the greater for it.

Confucius talks about his love of learning many times in the Analects. It was the flame the kept him burning with enthusiasm and curiosity right to the end of his days despite the many setbacks he encountered along the way. It’s the flame, too, that can fuel your passion for leading a rich and fulfilling life.

Notes

This article features a translation of Chapter 28 of Book 5 of the Analects of Confucius. You can read my full translation of Book 5 here.

I took this image at the Tainan Confucius Temple.

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