Tag Archives: Education

Leadership lessons from Confucius: quiet determination

quiet determination

子夏曰:「賢賢易色,事父母能竭其力,事君能致其身,與朋友交言而有信,雖曰未學,吾必謂之學矣。」
Zixia said: “If a man values character over beauty, devotes himself to serving his parents, dedicates his life to his ruler, and is true to his word with his friends, I’ll insist he’s learned even if others think otherwise.” (1)

Actions speak louder than words. As a leader you should focus on people who go about their daily work with quiet determination rather than those who attempt to grab your attention by saying all the right words and pushing themselves to the center stage by grabbing all the highest-profile assignments.

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The joy of learning

子曰:「學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」
Confucius said: “To learn something and apply it at the appropriate time: isn’t this wonderful? To have friends visit from afar: isn’t this delightful? To remain unconcerned when others don’t recognize your talents: isn’t this the mark of a leader?”

Even though it’s only three sentences long, the first chapter of the Analects does an admirable job of introducing two of the most important themes of Confucian thought: namely, the importance of learning and guidance on how a leader (君子/ jūnzǐ) should behave. Continue reading The joy of learning

Practical Confucius: Book 1, Chapter 1

子曰:「學而時習之,不亦說乎?有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎?人不知而不慍,不亦君子乎?」
Confucius said: “To learn something and apply it at the appropriate time: isn’t this wonderful? To have friends visit from afar: isn’t this delightful? To remain unconcerned when others don’t recognize your talents: isn’t this the mark of an exemplary person?”

When reading the Analects, don’t be too surprised if some of the passages appear to be rather ambiguous or disjointed. The Analects is a mashup of sayings from multiple sources strung together by many different editors. Narrative coherency is not one of its greatest virtues. Continue reading Practical Confucius: Book 1, Chapter 1