Tag Archives: self-cultivation

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: troubled by bandits

troubled by bandits

Ji Kangzi was troubled by bandits in the state of Lu and asked Confucius how to sort out the problem. Confucius replied: “If you could get rid of your own avaricious desires, they wouldn’t steal even if you paid them to.”
季康子患盜,問於孔子。孔子對曰:「苟子之不欲,雖賞之不竊。」

People don’t listen to what you say. They look at what you do. No matter how fancy the words and rituals are that you use to wrap your desire for wealth and power in, they will quickly see through them and take their cues from your actions. If you show that greed and theft are acceptable behavior, you can hardly blame others for doing the same. Moral cultivation starts with improving the self – not complaining about what others are doing. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: troubled by bandits

Leadership lessons from Confucius: time flows like a mountain stream

time flows

子在川上曰:「逝者如斯夫!不舍晝夜。」
Standing on the bank of a stream, Confucius said: “Thus it flows, never ceasing day and night.”

Time flows like a mountain stream, never ceasing day and night. Before you know it, you’ve graduated from college and started your first job. In a few years, you’re married and buying your first house. After that, the kids come along and when you’ve raised them to adulthood you see them strike out on their own after graduating from college. Perhaps grandkids are somewhere on the horizon. Only time will tell. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: time flows like a mountain stream

Rigorous self-cultivation

子路問「君子」。子曰:「修己以敬。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安人。」曰:「如斯而已乎?」曰:「修己以安百姓。修己以安百姓,堯舜其猶病諸。」
Zilu asked what makes a leader. Confucius said: “Rigorous self-cultivation.” Zilu asked: “Is that all there is to it?” Confucius said: “He cultivates himself to bring comfort to the people. He cultivates himself to bring comfort to the people: this is something even Yao and Shun would have found very difficult.”

You can read all the “pearls of ancient wisdom” and “inspirational quotes” you like, but there’s no substitute for the daily grind of cultivating your thoughts and behavior. In the end, it’s all down to you. Continue reading Rigorous self-cultivation