Leadership lessons from Confucius: the best you can be

the best you can be

Before mounting his carriage, he stood straight and grasped the hand strap. Once in the carriage, he didn’t turn to look back, talk loudly, or point with his finger. (1)

Put your best foot forward. Screen out the noise and distractions. Focus on the here and now. Even if you’re just taking a short trip from A to B, proceed with grace, precision, and purpose. You never know what might happen or who you might meet along the way. Or what you might learn or experience if you’re paying full attention to everything that’s happening around you.

Ritual doesn’t just consist of huge and elaborate ceremonies venerating the glories and heroes of the past. It’s about making the most of every moment by building up a mindset that elevates the mundane by injecting meaning and magic into it.

In other words, ritual means honing the processes required to consistently deliver excellence across all aspects of your life so that you can be the best you can be.


This article features a translation of Chapter 26 of Book 10 of the Analects of Confucius. You can read my full translation of Book 10 here.

(1) Some versions of the Analects combine Chapter 26 with Chapter 25.

I took this image at the Temple of Confucius in Yilan, Taiwan.

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