Tag Archives: Confucius on creativity

Analects of Confucius Book 7: Confucius on self-cultivation

Confucius on self-cultivation

If there’s one central theme of Book 7 of the Analects, it’s the importance Confucius places on the power of self-cultivation. He is so focused on what he saw as his heaven-given mission of restoring the former greatness of Zhou dynasty that he doesn’t have the time or inclination to pursue the power, wealth, fame, honors, and other trappings of success craved by his contemporaries.

Confucius doesn’t claim to have any particular talent for undertaking this mission. In 7.19, he candidly admits “I wasn’t born with innate knowledge. I simply love the past and am assiduous in seeking it there.” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 7: Confucius on self-cultivation

Leadership lessons from Confucius: the power of a reality distortion field

reality distortion field

子曰:「蓋有不知而作之者,我無是也。多聞,擇其善者而從之。多見而識之,知之次也。」
Confucius said: “Perhaps there are some people who can create something new without really understanding what they’re doing, but I’m not one of them. I listen a lot, pick the best of it, and follow it; I observe a lot and take note of it. This is the best way for me to learn.”

There are a lot of myths surrounding creativity, not to mention a thriving publishing and consulting industry eager to deliver magical insights that will inspire our imaginations to ever greater heights. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: the power of a reality distortion field

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a roadmap for the future

roadmap for the future

子曰:「述而不作,信而好古,竊比於我老彭。」
Confucius said: “I transmit but I don’t create. I am faithful to and love the past. In this respect, I dare to compare myself with Old Peng.” (1)

The past provides a roadmap for the future. It shows us the glories that we should aspire to achieve and the horrors that we should seek to avoid. Without knowing where we come from, we have no idea where we should go to. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a roadmap for the future