Tag Archives: Confucius in Exile

Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius in danger in the borderlands

Confucius in danger

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

Leadership lessons from Confucius: through thick and thin

through thick and thin

子曰:「從我於陳蔡者,皆不及門也。」
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

Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances matter

appearances matter

子曰:「吾未見好德如好色者也。」
Confucius said: “I’ve never met anyone who loves virtue as much as physical 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

Leadership lessons from Confucius: coolness under fire

coolness under fire

子曰:「天生德於予,桓魋其如予何?」
Confucius said: “Heaven has bestowed me with virtue. What do I have to fear from Huan Tui?” (1)

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

Leadership lessons from Confucius: “Let’s go home, let’s go home!”

Let's go home

子在陳曰:「歸與!歸與!吾黨之小子狂簡,斐然成章,不知所以裁之。」
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!”

Leadership lessons from Confucius: like a wooden bell clapper

wooden bell clapper

儀封人請見,曰:「君子之至於斯也,吾未嘗不得見也。」從者見之。出曰:「二三子何患於喪乎?天下之無道也久矣,天將以夫子為木鐸。」
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