Confucius said: “When native substance wins out over cultural refinement, you get the coarseness of a peasant; when cultural refinement wins out over natural substance, you get the pedantry of a clerk. Only when native substance and cultural refinement are in balance do you get a leader.”
There’s no doubt that weight-training is great for making you healthier. A regular program enables you to build up both physical and mental strength through exercise and discipline and can provide a platform for achieving more than you imagined possible in your personal and professional life. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: native substance and cultural refinement
Confucius said: “Meng Zhifan isn’t given to boasting. When he and his soldiers were in retreat, he stayed with the rearguard. It was only when they reached the city gate that he spurred his horse and said: ‘It wasn’t courage that kept me at the rear. My horse wouldn’t run.’” (1)
If you’re willing to put yourself in the firing line, your people will be more than happy to fight the good fight alongside you. They’ll be even more willing to support you if you refuse to play the hero and downplay any contribution you make with a self-deprecating joke or two. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: when the chips are down
Zigong asked: “What do you think of me?” Confucius said: “You’re a utensil.” “What sort of utensil?” “A precious sacrificial utensil.” (1) (2)
Just because someone asks you a straight question, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want you to give them a straight answer. Consider the possible reasons they may be raising the question before blurting out an answer and having to hastily correct yourself like Confucius does in this passage. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a precious sacrificial utensil
Confucius said of Zijian: “He is a true leader! If there were indeed no leaders in the state of Lu, how would he have reached this level?” (1)
Are great leaders born or made? While there’ll probably never be a definitive answer to that question, creating an environment that promotes personal growth and development can certainly help people to acquire the necessary skills and attributes for taking on a leadership role. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: nurturing leadership talent
The Analects of Confucius Book 4 begins with an exploration of the meaning of goodness. Only people who practice it constantly in their daily lives without a desire for personal profit are able to enjoy true satisfaction and contentment.
Even though Confucius claims that he has never seen “anyone whose strength is insufficient” to devote themselves to goodness for a single day, he despairs that he hasn’t ever seen anyone who “truly loves goodness and truly detests evil” either. The path to goodness that he urges everyone to follow is indeed a lonely and difficult one! Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: overview
Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 4 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. Its main themes include goodness, leadership, filial devotion, and the need for restraint.
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?”
Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: new English translation
Confucius said: “A leader should be slow to speak and prompt to act.”
Instead of talking about that great idea you have in your head, why not just go ahead and carry it out? Even if you don’t manage to succeed in achieving your original goal, you will learn a huge amount in the process and be better equipped to take on your next big challenge. After all, given that it’s never been cheaper and easier to prototype an idea for a business, product, or creative endeavor thanks to ubiquitous connectivity and myriad online tools and communities, what have you got to lose? Except perhaps some time that you would probably have spent lamenting the opportunities that you’ve missed in your life.
Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: be slow to speak and prompt to act
Confucius said: “A leader is concerned about what is right; a petty person is concerned about what is in his own interest.”
When you’re preparing a proposal, take some time to understand the needs and motivations of the person you’re going to pitch it to.
Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: tuning your pitch
Here is a list of resources covering Book 2 of the Analects of Confucius. You can click on the links below to learn more about the main themes of the book, including governance, leadership, and learning: Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 2: resources
Confucius said: “People who act out of self-interest cause great resentment.” (1)
Whenever you are about to make a difficult decision, take a step back and examine your motives before pulling the trigger. Have you chosen a particular course of action because it is the right thing to do or because it is in your self-interest?
Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: self-interest and great resentment