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Memorable Lines From The Tao Te Ching

    1. Comparing & Competition

    When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

    The best athlete wants his opponent at his/her best. The best general enters the mind of his enemy. The best business man serves the communal good. The best leaders follow the will of the people. All of them embody the virtue of non-competition. Not that they don't love to compete, but they do it in the spirit of play. In this, they are like children and in harmony with the way.

    2. Leadership/Governance

    When the master governs, the people are hardly aware that he/she exists. The master doesn't talk, he/she acts. When his/her work is done, the people say, "Amazing. We did it, all by ourselves."

    Next best is a leader that is loved.

    Next, one that is feared.

    The worst is one that is despised.

    3. Violence

    Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds on oneself. Weapons are the tools of violence. All decent men/women detest them. Weapons are the tools of fear. A decent man/woman will avoid them, except in the direst necessity. And if compelled, will use them only in the utmost restraint. Peace is the good man/woman's highest value.

    4. Success/Failure/Wealth

    Success is as dangerous as failure. Whether you go up or down the ladder, your position is shaky. When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.

    Chase after money and security, and your heart will never unclench.

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore, the master fulfills his own obligations and corrects his own mistakes. He does what they need to do, and demands nothing of others.

    The master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is. He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough."

    5. Change/Death

    If you realize that all things change, there is nothing that you will try to hold onto.

    If you aren't afraid of dying, there is nothing you can't achieve.

    Men are born soft and supple. Dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant. Dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail. The gentle overcomes the rigid.

    6. Power

    As it acts in the world, the tao is like the bending of a bow. The top is bent downward, the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance. It takes from what is too much and gives to what isn't enough. Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the tao. They take from those who don't have enough and give to those who have far too much. The master can keep giving, because there is no end to his/her wealth. The master acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit, and doesn't think that he/she is better than anyone else.

    7. Wisdom

    Those who know, don't talk. Those who talk, don't know.

    Wise men don't need to prove their point. Men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

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