Lao-Tzu, one of the most renowned philosophers and poets of ancient China, left behind many important lessons for our souls to learn. Best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, his remarkable wisdom and messages of peace, resilience, and living cohesively remind us what really matters in life, and how we can develop ourselves as a collective. He is a central figure in Chinese culture, but his words can apply to people all over the world.
Here are 10 important lessons that we can learn from Lao Tzu:
1. You hold the answers to all of life’s most pressing questions. When you look within, you will find everything you need.
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
2. By letting go, you become free. You conquer both yourself and the world when you allow, not fight, their existence.
“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.”
“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.”
“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?”
3. Labels and egotistical desires will never grant you the pleasure of truly knowing yourself.
“He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.”
“He who has power over others can’t empower himself.”
“He who tries to shine dims his own light.”
4. Evil naturally crumbles away when you pay no attention to it.
“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”
5. Kindness and compassion for others will always win in the end, no matter how long evil reigns.
“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.”
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
6. Have the confidence to be yourself without caring what others think.
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
7. Wisdom and strength come from remaining humble.
“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
“All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”
8. Change is inevitable, so embrace it, even if it seems uncomfortable.
“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.”
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
9. A great leader realizes he is not above his followers; his is merely one of them.
“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.”
10. Strive to do nothing and be nothing; here, you will find true happiness.
“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.”