Lao Tzu(6th century BC) also known as Laozi or Lao-Tze was an ancient Chinese philosopher, thinker, and writer. He is considered the father of Chinese Taoism. Lao Tzu has authored “Tao Te Ching”, the principal text of Taoist thought.
Taoism is both philosophy and religion. Taoism contributed to the folk religion of the people in the rural areas of China. And became the official religion of the country under the Tang Dynasty.
Lao Tzu’s philosophy encourages us to lead a natural and ecstatic way of life. Here are four lessons from Lao Tzu that will help you be a better version of yourself.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
You know the people around you well. You know your parents, your kids, your friends, your partner, your colleagues well. You need to know them well to sustain the relationship and to make ends meet.
But how well do you know yourself? Knowing yourself is equally or I must say it is even more important than knowing the people around you.
Tell me one person who knows exactly who they are, what they want, and all the little specific things about themselves. I’ll wait!
I don’t think you would able to recall any, right?
Knowing yourself should undoubtedly be your priority. Knowing yourself better gives you clarity and helps you make changes and decisions easily.
The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to control your reactions and your emotions. The better you’ll be able to get along with others.
Being able to hold ourselves – emotionally and physically in tough situations is a true sign of power.
What Should You Do? You need to start assessing your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes, your dislikes, and your ability to hold yourself together in tough situations.
You need to be aware of how you react and respond to different people, different situations. Observe how you react to the environment around you.
Assess yourself based on who you are and not based on who you want to be.
Being more self-aware would make you wiser.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Have you ever tried planting a seed or a sapling? Oh, a lot of you would have done it. Sowing the seed and watering the plant. Not a big deal, right? But just after watering the seed, did you start shouting in grief, “Where is the flower? I want it right now!”
I know you didn’t. You held your nerve, you knew it will take time. You won’t see the flower until a few days.
We are a part of nature. The process of the seed growing into a plant and having a flower takes time. You can’t expedite the process. Results won’t come instantaneously.
We live our lives in the fast lane. Our day is full of activities and excitement. But so much to do during the day brings along a lot of pressure.
When we try to make our day more productive, we tend to rush things. Hurrying often messes them up. Pressure and results have an inverse relation. The more the pressure, the less positive the results would be.
All we need is – Patience. Will. Faith.
What Should You Do? You need to understand every process takes time. Nature is the best teacher. Nature does not hurry. It takes all the time it needs and yet everything gets accomplished.
The first and foremost thing you need to do is slow down. Take a deep breath. Relax. Don’t be too harsh on yourself.
Weight loss won’t happen in a day. Your grades won’t improve in a day. You won’t develop a new habit in a day.
Nothing would happen in a day. But a lot would happen in few such days.
Give yourself time. Try not to rush things. It’ll worsen the situation rather than improving it.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
You disconnect yourself from everything that you identify as being you then only you can give yourself a new perspective and the ability to utilize your potential.
What you have achieved today is because of what has gone. If you try and stay where you are, you are not utilizing your potential.
When you let go of who you are, you give yourself the room to improve, to make the necessary changes. A caterpillar has to let go of what it is to become a beautiful butterfly.
When you are too comfortable being what you have been, changing yourself becomes way too difficult. You are not able to handle the discomforts.
If you want to change the design of your closet. You need to give up on the current layout. Only then will you be able to completely redesign your closet.
What Should You Do? Don’t get too attached to your present self. You could be so much more if you utilize your true potential.
Whatever you do becomes your identity. And not only you but all of us are attached to our identities. If your identity is blocking your path, then take a step backward always helps. You’ll find a range of possibilities.
If you have taken up photography as a hobby and you stick yourself to this identity, you’ll never be able to turn it into a business until you let go of this identity.
Change is accompanied by discomforts. You need to embrace the discomforts if at all you want to make a change.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Sometimes words are not the answer, but silence is.
I can recall another saying by Lao Tzu that resonates with this lesson, Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. – Lao Tzu
Maturity is when you realize that silence is better than proving a point.
There is no denying that the smarter you become, the less you speak. Silence makes you curious, leaves you thinking, and imagining. And thinking leads to clarity.
The secret to being heard is not to speak loud but to speak soft and slow.
What Should You Do? Take out time in silence – sometime in the morning or take some time during the day. But make sure you find time for it every day.
You’ll have ample thoughts coming to you – a mix of relevant and irrelevant thoughts.
Make sure you speak less and listen more. Also, ensure that whenever you speak, make it count. Talk relevant. Whenever you speak less but relevant, you would be heard more. People will want to listen to your thoughts on a specific topic because they know you’ll provide value.
Use fewer words to explain yourself. Whenever you speak too much, the real point, the idea is lost.