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The Wisdom of Simplicity: Lao Tzu's Teachings on Living with Less


Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and the author of the Tao Te Ching, a foundational text of Taoism. He is known for his teachings on personal and spiritual development, leadership, and governance


Leadership and governance:


"A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."


"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.'"


"Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it."


"The wise leader is not one who imposes his will on others, but rather one who teaches them to follow their own inner guidance."


"A leader who governs with integrity, his people will follow him with trust and loyalty."


Nature and the natural world:


"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."


"The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself."


"Nature does not discriminate between good and evil, nor does it favor one race above another."


"To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders."


"Heaven and earth are not sentimental; they treat all things as straw dogs."


Action and inaction:


"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."


"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."


"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."


"In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present."


"The sage does not hoard. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."


Wisdom and knowledge:


"To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease."


"The wise man is one who knows what he does not know."


"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still."


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."


"The wise man does not seek to be known, he seeks to be understood."

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