Category Archives: Confucius

leadership Lessons from Confucius: learning without thinking

learning without thinking

子曰:「學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆。」
The Master said: “Learning without thinking leads to perplexity. Thinking without learning leads to trouble.”

We live at a time when knowledge has never been more abundant or accessible to everyone. With a few taps on the screen of our phone or a few clicks of our mouse, we can find out just about any information that we require. Continue reading leadership Lessons from Confucius: learning without thinking

Analects Book 1: Confucius on trustworthiness

Trust

Trustworthiness (信/xìn) is another of the secondary values promoted by Confucius. It means remaining true to your word and being a dependable support for others. In some contexts it can also be translated as “faithfulness”, “sincerity”,  “truthfulness”, or “honesty”. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on trustworthiness

Analects Book 1: Confucius on filial devotion

FilialPiety

Filial devotion (孝/xiào) is one of the best known of the values taught by Confucius, probably because it was so heavily promoted by a succession of imperial dynasties starting with the Han who drew a direct link between obedience to parents and obedience to the ruler. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on filial devotion

Leadership lessons from Confucius: words or actions?

words or actions?

子貢問君子。子曰:「先行其言,而後從之。」
When Zigong asked about leadership, the Master said: “First accomplish what you want to say and then say it.”

Which comes first: words or actions? If you take your cue from Silicon Valley, the answer is to shout from the rooftops that your brilliant idea is going to transform the world as we know it so that you can suck in enough investors to kickstart your dream and keep it going until one fine day it stops bleeding cash and finally starts to make money (or gets bought by a bigger company that wants to get their hands on your technology and people or at least prevent the emergence of a potential competitor. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: words or actions?

Leadership lessons of Confucius: not a mere receptacle

not a mere receptacle

子曰:「君子不器。」
The Master said: “A leader is not a mere receptacle.”

How can I add value? This is the key question that you need to repeatedly ask yourself as you go about your daily work. As Confucius points out in this well-known passage, a leader is much more than a utensil or receptacle such as a cooking pot in the kitchen or a vessel on an altar. Your role is not to passively absorb information and experience but to actively sift and share it with the members of your team so that they can develop their abilities more effectively. Continue reading Leadership lessons of Confucius: not a mere receptacle

Analects Book 1: Confucius on goodness

Goodness

Confucius never provides a single unified definition of what he means by goodness (仁/rén) – the supreme value that he believed everyone should aspire to reach – in The Analects. Instead, he explores its many different facets throughout the text, either with simple statements or in response to questions from his disciples and contemporaries. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on goodness

Analects Book 1: Confucius on governance

Governance

Even though Confucius is best known today as a teacher and philosopher, he could just as easily be described as a politician and policy wonk. Through his teachings his aim was to unite the weak and divided states that were vying for supremacy during his lifetime into a single prosperous country that was governed according to the same principles and practices that his hero, the Duke of Zhou, had implemented when laying the foundations for the growth of the Zhou dynasty five hundred years before his birth. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on governance

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: creative and critical thinking

critical and creative thinking

子曰:「溫故而知新,可以為師矣。」
The Master said: “Bringing new meaning to the old to understand the new makes you fit to be a teacher.”

As AI proliferates, it won’t just be blue-collar jobs like driving that will be replaced by algorithms that never sleep. White-collar positions in legal, accounting, finance, and other professions will also be under threat from super AIs that are way more efficient at specific tasks like sifting through mountains of documents at the speed of light. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: creative and critical thinking