Quite a productive start to the year with the Leadership Lessons from Confucius project. In addition to some articles analyzing a few of the key themes of Analects Book 14, I have also added some profiles of historical figures that appear in the supporting cast. Here are the links: Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius Project: Week 1, 2021 updates
Book 11 of the Analects highlights two dangerous scrapes that Confucius got himself and his followers into during his period of exile from the state of Lu from 496 BCE to 483 BCE.
In 11.23, Confucius and Yan Hui are reunited in the rough border town of Kuang, where the sage and his band of merry men had been detained by the locals for five days after being mistaken for Yang Huo (楊貨), a notorious outlaw from the state of Lu nicknamed Tiger Yang who had previously ransacked the town. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius in danger in the borderlands
Confucius said: “None those who accompanied me in Chen and Cai are still with me.” (1)
Life is an incredible journey. Be grateful for all the wonderful people you meet along the way: the family that nurture and love you; the teachers that give you knowledge and inspire you to move on to greater things; the bosses and colleagues who recognize your talent and provide you with the opportunity to develop it; and the friends who stick with you through thick and thin. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: through thick and thin
Confucius said: “I’ve never met anyone who loves virtue as much as sensual beauty.”
Don’t delude yourself: appearances matter. If you can’t be bothered to dress for the role you’re being interviewed for, why should your prospective employer be bothered to hire you? If a company that’s trying to do business with you can’t be bothered to have a clean and attractive website, why should you be bothered to give them an order? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances matter
Confucius said: “Heaven has bestowed me with virtue. What do I have to fear from Huan Tui?” (1) (2)
How to react in a high-pressure situation when even the slightest sign of apprehension or fear from you could send you team’s morale into a tailspin? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: coolness under fire
When Confucius was in the state of Chen, he said: “Let’s go home, let’s go home! Our young people are full of fire and bursting with talent, but they have no idea how to use it.”
What is the single most important piece of advice that you would give to a gifted and ambitious young person who is about to take their first steps into the big bad world? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: “Let’s go home, let’s go home!”
Wangsun Jia (王孫賈) was a noted general and the chief minister of Duke Ling of Wei, the ruler of one of the states that Confucius visited in his fruitless quest for employment during his exile from his home state of Lu.
No doubt feeling threatened by the arrival of the sage in in 496 BCE, he obliquely warns Confucius in 3.13 to go through him rather than directly to his ruler by quoting an old proverb about praying to the kitchen god. Despite Wangsun Jia’s previous opposition, Confucius applauds him in 14.19 for the role he played along with his two fellow ministers Zhu Tuo and Kong Wenzi in keeping the state of Wei functioning under the fickle rule of Duke Ling and his consort Nanzi. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Wangsun Jia
A border official at the town of Yi requested a meeting with Confucius. He said: “Whenever a distinguished man comes to these parts, I never fail to meet him.” The follower arranged for him to meet Confucius. After coming out of it the official said: “Sirs, why worry about his dismissal? The world has been without the way for a long while. Heaven is going to use your master like a wooden bell clapper.”
How to deal with a career-threatening setback? Stay and fight your corner or flee the scene for pastures new? Confucius opted for the latter course in 497 BCE ostensibly out of outrage at his ruler Duke Ding cavorting with a troupe of dancing girls sent by the ruler of the state of Qi but more likely because of the failure of his policies to rein in the power of the Three Families by razing the walls that surrounded their cities. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: like a wooden bell clapper