My reading continues of The Way of Life: Lao Tzu, a new translation of the Tao Te Ching by R.B. Blakney.
Entries number 67 and 68 resonated especially deeply with me and my ever-evolving concept on what characteristics define a good leader.
Check it out:
A skillful soldier is not violent;
An able fighter does not rage;
A mighty conqueror does not give battle;
A great commander is a humble man.
You may call this pacific virtue;
Or say that it is mastery of men;
Or that it is rising to the measure of God,
or to the stature of the ancients.
Here’s its more complicated corollary:
Everywhere, they say the Way, our doctrine,
Is so very like detested folly;
But greatness of its own alone explains
Why it should be thus held beyond the pale,
If it were only orthodox, long since
It would have seemed a small and petty thing!
I have to keep three treasures well secured:
The first, compassion; next frugality;
And third, I say that never would I once
Presume that I should be the whole world’s chief.
Given compassion, I can take courage;
Given frugality, I can abound;
If I can be the world’s most humble man,
Then I can be its highest instrument.
Bravery today knows no compassion;
Abundance is, without frugality,
And eminence without humility:
This is the death indeed of all our hope.
In battle, ’tis compassion wins the day;
Defending, ’tis compassion that is firm:
Compassion arms the people God would save.