Lao Tzu Quotes about Leadership
All the quotes posted here are taken from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching
- James Legge's translation. Don't know what Tao Te Ching is? click here to learn more...
Therefore the sage, in the exercise of his government, empties their minds, fills their bellies, weakens their wills, and strengthens their bones.
He constantly (tries to) keep them without knowledge and without desire, and where there are those who have knowledge, to keep them from presuming to
act (on it). When there is this abstinence from action, good order is universal. (3)
The excellence of a residence is in (the suitability of) the place;
that of the mind is in abysmal stillness; that of associations is in
their being with the virtuous; that of government is in its securing
good order; that of (the conduct of) affairs is in its ability; and
that of (the initiation of) any movement is in its timeliness. (8)
The Tao in its regular course does nothing (for the sake of doing it), and so there is nothing which it does not do.
If princes and kings were able to maintain it, all things would of themselves be transformed by them. (37)
Heaven which by it is bright and pure;
Earth rendered thereby firm and sure;
Spirits with powers by it supplied;
Valleys kept full throughout their void
All creatures which through it do live
Princes and kings who from it get
The model which to all they give.
All these are the results of the One (Tao). (39)
What men dislike is to be orphans, to have little virtue, to be as carriages without naves; and yet these are the designations which kings and princes use
for themselves. So it is that some things are increased by being diminished, and others are diminished by being increased. (42)
If I were suddenly to become known, and (put into a position to) conduct (a
government) according to the Great Tao, what I should be most afraid of would be a boastful display. (53)
The government that seems the most unwise,
Oft goodness to the people best supplies;
That which is meddling, touching everything,
Will work but ill, and disappointment bring. (58)