The most effective way of doing is to follow the way of nature

Cours public du ballet national de Cuba

Lao Tze teaches us to do nothing in order to get things done effortlessly.

He described this as wuwei (无为), meaning non-doing or ‘doing nothing’, and this is apparently the key take away from the ancient book Tao De Jing, written by Lao Tzu.

The thing is: How can you ever do nothing to get more done?

One way to understand it is to interpret wuwei with the idea of flow.

The fact is: there is an order in everything we do. You can find an order in planting a tree, controlling a bicycle, persuasion and everything else.

If you follow the order, things get done. If you go against it, it takes extra efforts to get things done. In some case, nothing at all will get done, no matter how hard you try.

Some people work by following their desire, others their knowledge and experience. Whatever the approach you use, it is critical not to forget that ultimately the most effective way of doing is to follow the way of nature.  Follow the order that govern how a task can be accomplished, and you can do more without putting in more effort.

So do not water the plant more than necessary so that it get engulfed.  Do not interfere with the bicycle when it is moving along with momentum or you would risk falling.  Do not continue to talk when your listeners are no longer in the position to receive as they may shut you out.

Doing not enough cannot get things moving.  Allowing superfluous can be a waste of efforts or even harmful. Doing just right is ‘non-doing’.  It allows you to get things done without more effort.

Find out the order in any things we do, go along with the order, do just right and cut down on the superfluous.  You will be delighted to see that you are getting a lot more done effortlessly.

This is one way to live the philosophy of non-doing, or wuwei.


The Tao does nothing,
but leaves nothing undone.
If the powerful men
could observe it,
all creations would be transformed
by themselves.

Lao Tzu Tao Te Cheng quotes (37)

Thanks Jean-Pierre Dalbéra for the picture.

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