Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Wu Mengzi

Wu Mengzi (吳孟子) was the name that Duke Zhao of Lu (魯昭公) gave to his wife to mask the fact that he had violated a strict ritual convention by marrying a woman with the same family name (姬/Jī) as his own. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Wu Mengzi

Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Duke Zhao of Lu

Duke Zhao (昭公) was the predecessor of Duke Ding (定公) as the ruler of Confucius’s home state of Lu. He spent much of his reign from 541–510 BCE struggling to prevent his power being undermined by the Three Families, Jisun 季孫, Mengsun 孟孫, and Shusun 叔孫, that dominated the state. Ultimately, he failed in his attempts to control them and spent the last part of his life in exile in the states of Qi and Jin. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Duke Zhao of Lu

Followers of Confucius: Wuma Qi

Very little is known about the follower Wuma Qi (巫馬期), who makes only a single appearance in the Analects of Confucius. Some sources suggest that he was the successor to the follower Zijian (子賤) as the chief magistrate (宰/zǎi) of Danfu (單父) located in modern-day Shandong province. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Wuma Qi

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a short and succinct answer

succinct answer

陳司敗問昭公知禮乎,孔子曰:「知禮。」孔子退,揖巫馬期而進之曰:「吾聞君子不黨,君子亦黨乎?君取於吳,為同姓,謂之吳孟子。君而知禮,孰不知禮?」巫馬期以告。子曰:「丘也幸,苟有過,人必知之。」
The Minister of Justice of Chen asked: “Did Duke Zhao understand ritual?” Confucius said: “Yes, he understood ritual.” Confucius withdrew. With a bow, the minister invited Wuma Qi to come forward and said to him: “I’ve heard it said that a true leader is never biased. But isn’t your master biased after all? The duke took a wife from the state of Wu; but because she had the same family name, he called her Wu Mengzi. If the duke understood ritual, who doesn’t understand it?” Wuma Qi reported this to Confucius. Confucius said: “I’m fortunate indeed: whenever I make a mistake, there’s always someone on hand to let me know about it.” (1) (2) (3)

Don’t let yourself get drawn into an argument when someone asks you a question that is designed to embarrass you. Give a short and succinct answer and shrug off any mock outrage that ensues from it. Life’s too short to waste time getting upset about it. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a short and succinct answer

Leadership lessons from Confucius: the search for goodness

search for goodness

子曰:「仁遠乎哉?我欲仁,斯仁至矣。」
Confucius said: “Is goodness really so far away? No sooner do I desire goodness than it’s at hand.”

The search for goodness is a cumulative process. The harder you work to hone your character, sharpen your skills, and deepen your knowledge, the closer you come to finding it. The key is to keep on striving towards it every day. There are no magical spells or five-step formulas to instant success. The greater the effort and commitment you put into it, the greater the rewards and satisfaction you will reap. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: the search for goodness

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the people of Hu Village

people of Hu Village

互鄉難與言,童子見,門人惑。子曰:「與其進也,不與其退也,唯何甚?人潔己以進,與其潔也,不保其往也。」
The people of Hu Village were difficult to communicate with, so when a boy from there came to visit Confucius his followers didn’t know what to think. Confucius said: “Just because I approve of his desire to improve himself doesn’t mean that I approve of his past mistakes. Why be so hard on him? If people make the effort to improve themselves, we should approve of their progress and ignore their previous missteps.”

Don’t let your preconceptions cloud your opinion of someone before you’ve even had the chance to meet them. No matter what you’ve previously heard about them, welcome them with an open mind and look and listen for the positive in them. The chances are that they will pleasantly surprise you and you will learn a lot from them, especially if they have a very different background than yours. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the people of Hu Village

Leadership lessons from Confucius: the power of a reality distortion field

reality distortion field

子曰:「蓋有不知而作之者,我無是也。多聞,擇其善者而從之。多見而識之,知之次也。」
Confucius said: “Perhaps there are some people who can create something new without really understanding what they’re doing, but I’m not one of them. I listen a lot, pick the best of it, and follow it; I observe a lot and take note of it. This is the best way for me to learn.”

There are a lot of myths surrounding creativity, not to mention a thriving publishing and consulting industry eager to deliver magical insights that will inspire our imaginations to ever greater heights. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: the power of a reality distortion field

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a fair chance

fair chance

子釣而不綱,弋不射宿。
Confucius fished using a line – not a net. When hunting, he never shot at a bird that was nesting. (1) (2) (3)

If you do like to go fishing or hunting, at least be sure to give your prey a fair chance by relying on your cunning and skills rather than your hi-tech weaponry. You would hope for the same if someone was pursuing you. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a fair chance

Great tech industry transitions: from the PC to Mobility

tech industry transitions

If you look back at the history of the tech industry, a major transition takes place roughly every decade that drives new applications, form factors, and usage models and expands the overall user base and market size.

In the 1990s, there was tremendous growth in the PC market as prices went down, notebooks became lighter and more portable, and a wider range of business and home software applications became available. Continue reading Great tech industry transitions: from the PC to Mobility

Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your principles

stick to your principles

子曰:「聖人,吾不得而見之矣,得見君子者,斯可矣。」子曰:「善人,吾不得而見之矣,得見有恒者,斯可矣。亡而為有,虛而為盈,約而為泰,難乎有恒矣。」
Confucius said: “I have no hope of ever meeting a great sage; I suppose I would be content to meet a true leader.” Confucius said: “I cannot ever hope to meet a perfect person; I suppose I would be content to meet someone who sticks to their principles. Yet in an age when nothing masquerades as something, emptiness masquerades as fullness, and penury masquerades as affluence, it is hard enough just to stick to your principles.”

Even if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to give up your own principles. Just because you have no role models around you to inspire you, it doesn’t mean that you can give up on striving to do better. Indeed, their very absence it makes it all the more important that you stick to your principles and values so that you can provide the example that others long to follow. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your principles