Inspirational Biz Tips from Confucius

A series of Business Tips from Confucius

Confucius September 28, 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. … The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. … It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

I am featuring two quotes from Confucius because I believe they are related…

Each action we take moves us closer to our goals.  But if we don’t reach them, Confucius suggested that we adjust the action steps.  Maybe the steps we are engaged in are not really useful in reaching the goal we want for ourselves.

Notice that he does not suggest we change our goals, but change our action steps to reach those goals.

And, note, this is not a race.  Of course, we have time lines, but speed is not always the best approach.

I am sure you heard the old fable of the tortoise and the hare.  Who won the race?  It was not the speedy hare, but it was the tortoise who continually made progress — even though the pace was slow!


The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

One of the saddest things I see is when young people give up trying to reach their full potential.

Each of us is given a gift (or gifts).  I believe in order to reach your full potential, each person needs to find those gifts to experience and share with others.

With most of us, there is an inner urge to find and declare these gifts.  And thankfully so, or we would not enjoy the many expressions of life, such as beautiful artwork, inspiriting writings, enjoyable music ….. and of course, the list goes on and on.

Confucius says that the urge behind these gifts uncovers the keys that move us into personal excellence.  And who does not experience joy when they are moving and living in personal excellence?

We all have the capacity ….


By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just read a book or take a class and learn all we need to know.  Of course, I am not implying there is a thing wrong with learning in this manner, but most of us cannot always get that learning from our head into our hearts.

I have seen myself learn in the three manners that Confucius describes.

Hands-on experience is always the fastest way we learn as it often accompanies a deep lesson — too often as negative lesson of what not to do!

Imitation is how most children learn as they observe and imitate their parents and family members.  As adults, this is why we follow ‘gurus’ as they teach us by sharing their life successes.

Reflection, in my opinion, is the deepest learning as we can listen and/or read, reflect on what we read, and incorporate it in our lives.  This type of learning often happens after deep inner work within each of our hearts.

One is really not any better than the other.  The important lesson is to learn wisdom!


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