Category Archives: Confucius

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the path of goodness

path of goodness

子曰:「不仁者,不可以久處約,不可以長處樂。仁者安仁,知者利仁。」
Confucius said: “A person who lacks goodness cannot endure adversity or enjoy happiness for long. A person who possesses goodness finds contentment in it; a wise person profits from it.”

How to keep going when you’re on the point of giving up because the odds are stacked against you? How to maintain your zest for life when all the bright and sparkling objects you’ve accumulated as a result of your success and wealth have lost their shine? In other words, how do you stay balanced when you’re being buffeted by powerful winds from all sides?

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Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on filial devotion

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Filial devotion (孝/xiào) is one of the best known of the values taught by Confucius, not least 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 of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on filial devotion

Analects of Confucius 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 work towards – in the Analects. Instead, he explores its many different facets throughout the text, either with simple statements or in response to questions from his followers and contemporaries. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on goodness

Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on learning

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Although this may come as a surprise to people who have experienced or even just heard about the rigors of China’s so-called “Confucian” education system, Confucius himself believed that learning should involve much more than simply imbibing and regurgitating the ancient classics. Rather, it should be focused on the practical application of the timeless principles found in the texts to your daily life so that you can make a positive contribution to your family, your community, and ultimately the whole society you live in. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on learning

Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on leadership qualities

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Leadership wasn’t a theoretical concept to Confucius. It was rather a set of qualities and behaviors that you as a leader (君子/jūnzǐ) should cultivate in order to guide your thoughts and actions. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 1: Confucius on leadership qualities

Leadership lessons from Confucius: filled with goodness

filled with goodness

子曰:「里仁為美。擇不處仁,焉得知?」
Confucius said: “It’s beautiful to live in a neighborhood that’s filled with goodness. How can someone be wise if they choose to live in a place that lacks goodness?” (1)

Think carefully before choosing which organization to work for. While reputation, salary package, and future prospects are important, the key factor in your decision should be its culture. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: filled with goodness

Leadership lessons from Confucius: making the most of every moment

every moment

子曰:「居上不寬,為禮不敬,臨喪不哀,吾何以觀之哉?」
Confucius said: “How can I bear to even contemplate someone who lacks tolerance when in high office, reverence when performing ritual, and grief when in mourning?”

How do you make the most of your day? Are you warm and friendly towards the people you work with or do you only talk with them about business? Are you fully “present” when you’re at meeting or are you distracted? Do you react calmly when things go wrong or do you explode in anger? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: making the most of every moment

Leadership lessons from Confucius: considering the moral component

moral component

子謂韶,「盡美矣,又盡善也。」謂武,「盡美矣,未盡善也。」
Confucius described Shao music as being perfectly beautiful and perfectly good and Wu music of as being perfectly beautiful but not perfectly good.

Is there a moral component to deciding whether someone or something has attained perfection? Confucius certainly thought so. That’s why he gives Shao music the edge over Wu music in this passage. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: considering the moral component