Confucius on Dealing with People

Confucius on Dealing with People The teachings of Confucius (551 BCE–479 BCE) have dominated Chinese traditions and philosophy for centuries. He taught followers to lead a virtuous and righteous life, love others, honor one’s parents, lead by example, and treat others as one would like to be treated:

  • Confucius on keeping one’s wits about one: “The superior man may let others lie to him but not make a fool of him. The superior man encourages what is beautiful in men; the inferior man, what is unbeautiful.”
  • Confucius on the spirit of humanity: “What makes a place beautiful is the humanity that dwells there. He who is able to choose and does not settle among humane people is not wise.” Moreover, “the superior man does not neglect his neighbors” and “the superior man honors the worthy and tolerates all men.”
  • Confucius on showing consideration for people of all ages and from all walks of life: “Let me respect the tranquility of the ages; let me be loyal to my friends; let me love children tenderly.”
  • Confucius on managing parents: “Serve them in life.” It is not enough to feed one’s parents “if respect is absent, wherein should we differ from the beasts?” If parents seem to be mistaken, we may respectfully argue and protest, but we must obey them.
  • Confucius on managing friendships: “Have no friend who is not your equal.” Also, friends should “loyally admonish one another and tactfully set one another right.” Friends should be dependable: “even if the season be cold, we know that pines and cypresses are evergreen.”
  • Confucius on the right conduct toward authority-figures: “A good official serves his prince in the right way; if that is impossible, he withdraws.” Further, a good official “will not circumvent the prince but oppose him openly” and “will not be chary of good advice.” Moreover, “if the country is on the right path, he may speak and act boldly; if it is not on the right path, he may act boldly, but he will speak cautiously.”
  • Confucius on the right conduct toward subordinates: “The superior man gives his servants no ground for complaint that he makes insufficient use of them, but (unlike the inferior man) he does not expect perfection; he takes men’s abilities into account and does not dismiss old and trusted servants without grave cause.”

'From The Great Philosophers, Volume I' by Karl Jaspers (ISBN 0156835800) Reference: German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher Karl JaspersThe Great Philosophers (trans. Ralph Manheim.) I recommend The Great Philosophers for its delightful introductions to the philosophies of four great minds from the “East” (i.e. east of the Danube river:) Jesus, Socrates, Confucius, and the Buddha.

Inspirational Quotations by Pearl S. Buck (#638)

Inspirational Quotations by Pearl S. Buck

Today marks the birthday of Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973,) American author and winner of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize and the 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Buck was born Pearl Sydenstricker to Presbyterian missionary parents in West Virginia. However, she was raised in Zhenjiang, China, where her family lived in a Chinese community. Buck grew up with Chinese customs and traditions and had a Chinese governess. She wandered through the countryside, enthusiastically absorbed the Chinese culture, and learned to speak Chinese before she learned to speak English.

At age 16, she moved to the United States for college and then returned to China where she got married. Her daughter Carol suffered from a severe developmental disability. While still in China, Buck started writing her first novel before a civil war broke out in 1927. She escaped ten minutes before Communist forces destroyed her home and burned the manuscript for her first novel. When violence spread, some American gunboats rescued Buck. After a year in Japan, she returned to China.

In 1929, on a voyage to America to arrange for Carol’s specialized care, she started writing her first published novel East Wind: West Wind (1930.) It achieved little success.

Quotations by Pearl S. Buck The following year, she published her best-known novel The Good Earth (1931.) In it, Buck wrote of a Chinese peasant and his selfless wife who struggle to survive a drought and eventually become wealthy landowners. The book portrayed China as timeless, unromantic, earthy, and ordinary—a view that was refreshing to Americans who pictured China as an exotic land. Her description of desire and hope, good and evil, and the cyclical nature of life amidst the protagonists’ desire to thrive against great odds made The Good Earth an international bestseller.

In 1934, Pearl S. Buck bought a farmhouse in the United States and never returned to China. She wrote two sequels to The Good Earth: Sons (1933) and A House Divided (1935,) 82 other books, hundreds of short stories and nonfiction articles, and biographies of both her parents. Her writing spanned a variety of topics including women’s rights, Asian traditions, child-adoption, missionary work, war, and violence. In her later years, Buck was very active in the women’s liberation movement and founded the first international, interracial adoption agency in the United States.

Inspirational Quotations by Pearl S. Buck

Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns how to be amused rather than shocked.
Pearl S. Buck

To know what one can have and to do with it, being prepared for no more, is the basis of equilibrium.
Pearl S. Buck

Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.
Pearl S. Buck

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.
Pearl S. Buck

If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.
Pearl S. Buck

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: a human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him, a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create—so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.
Pearl S. Buck

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.
Pearl S. Buck

I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to earth.
Pearl S. Buck

There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts being broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream—whatever that dream might be.
Pearl S. Buck

To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.
Pearl S. Buck

The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.
Pearl S. Buck

We need to restore the full meaning of that old word, duty. It is the other side of rights.
Pearl S. Buck

Once the “what” is decided, the “how” always follows. We must not make the “how” an excuse for not facing and accepting the “what”.
Pearl S. Buck

Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life. If there is no other life, then this one has been enough to make it worth being born, myself a human being.
Pearl S. Buck

Praise out of season, or tactlessly bestowed, can freeze the heart as much as blame.
Pearl S. Buck

I love people. I love my family, my children… but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.
Pearl S. Buck

A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.
Pearl S. Buck

We must have hope or starve to death.
Pearl S. Buck

It is better to be first with an ugly woman than the hundredth with a beauty.
Pearl S. Buck

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.
Pearl S. Buck

Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.
Pearl S. Buck

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.
Pearl S. Buck

Be born anywhere, little embryo novelist, but do not be born under the shadow of a great creed, not under the burden of original sin, not under the doom of Salvation.
Pearl S. Buck

The Best of the Chinese Proverbs (Inspirational Quotations #362)


Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival

The Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, is the most important festival on the Chinese calendar. The festivities traditionally begin on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar and end with the Lantern Festival celebrated on the 15th day of the New Year.

The Chinese festival year follows a lunar calendar and consists of twelve moons; each moon lasts about 29 1/2 days. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year cycle and each year relates to an animal in the Chinese zodiac. Year 4708, the year beginning February 3, 2011, is the Year of the Rabbit.

Dragon Dance at Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival parade

Festivities and Traditions

For the Chinese, the New Year is a time of great renewal. They devote the last few days of the old year to intense preparation. They clean their homes in a belief that, along with the dirt and debris around their homes, they can sweep away the mistakes and misfortunes of the past. They hang protective ornaments in their homes to welcome the good fortunes that the New Year brings.

The Chinese New Year is also a period of reunion. Scores of migrants return home to share the festivities with their families. The Chinese celebrate by partaking in divinatory readings at temples, sharing gifts, and bonding over elaborate family dinner parties. Children receive “lucky money” in red envelopes as part of the New Year’s gift-giving.

Outside of the Far East, ethnic Chinese celebrate the New Year in Chinatowns around the world with community parades and extravaganzas featuring fireworks, lion and dragon dance-shows, acrobatics, lanterns, and illuminated floats.

Chinese Proverbs

The tongue is like a sharp knife; it kills without drawing blood.
Chinese Proverb

Never try to catch two frogs with one hand.
Chinese Proverb

When you go to dig a grave for your enemy, dig two.
Chinese Proverb

Who thinks an inch, but talks a yard, needs a kick in the foot.
Chinese Proverb

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.
Chinese Proverb

A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.
Chinese Proverb

I dreamed a thousand new paths… I woke and walked my old one.
Chinese Proverb

Man fools himself. He prays for a long life, and he fears an old age.
Chinese Proverb

Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men.
Chinese Proverb

Those who cause divisions, in order to injure other people; are in fact preparing pitfalls for their own ruin.
Chinese Proverb

Talk doesn’t cook rice.
Chinese Proverb

Don’t curse the darkness — light a candle.
Chinese Proverb

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
Chinese Proverb

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Chinese Proverb

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
Chinese Proverb

What you cannot avoid, welcome.
Chinese Proverb

Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes silk.
Chinese Proverb

Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.
Chinese Proverb

Slander cannot destroy the man … when the flood recedes, the rock is there.
Chinese Proverb

If you want your dinner, don’t offend the cook.
Chinese Proverb

Flowers leave their fragrance on the hand that bestows them.
Chinese Proverb

When you put on your clothes, remember the weaver’s labor; when you take your daily food, remember the husbandman’s work.
Chinese Proverb

Gold cannot be pure, and people cannot be perfect.
Chinese Proverb

Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.
Chinese Proverb

Towers are measured by their shadows, and men of merit by those who are envious of them.
Chinese Proverb

Leadership and the Tao; Greetings for the New Year

Leadership and the Tao; Greetings for the New Year

About 2400 years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote in his classic Tao Te Ching,

The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence
the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.

The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words.
When his task is accomplished and things have been completed,
All the people say, “We ourselves have achieved it!”

Are your people the core of your own leadership model? In the New Year, how will use this ancient wisdom to inspire people around you to grow and contribute? How will you empower them?

Wish you all a bright, prosperous, inspired New Year!