Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching: “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.”
This quote is representative of the power and wisdom that this great leader has passed down through the ages. There are many lessons that can be had from reading this book, but the following are 21 of our favorites. You may find that they are life-changing little nuggets of wisdom!
Only Fools Rush In.
“He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.”
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
Let The Your Light Speak For Itself.
“He who tries to shine dims his own light.”
The Last Will Be First And The First Will Be Last.
“The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast.”
“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.”
Everything You Need To Know Is Right In Front Of You.
“Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window one can see the way of heaven. The further one goes the less one knows.”
Let It Go.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.”
“Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.”
“He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.”
Hardship Leads To Strength.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
Wisdom Arises From Not Knowing It All.
“The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.”
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
The Answer Lies In Its Opposing Force.
“If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must first allow it to be given. This is called the subtle perception of the way things are.”
“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”
“He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Don’t Be A Slave To The Opinions Of Others.
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”
No Need To Fear Death.
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
Having Power Over Others Is Not True Power.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
“He who has power over others can’t empower himself.”
“All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”
You Already Have Everything.
“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
“When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.”
“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”
“Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.”
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Don’t Follow The Leader.
“The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
“If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.”
You Get What You Give.
“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.”
Love Gives Us Strength And Courage.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
You May Not Want To Go Where You Want To Go.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Kill Them With Kindness.
“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.” (H/T)