Lao Tzu’s enduring soft power of influence


If you want to lead the people, be part of the people.  Only then that the people can identify with you — and you can establish an enduring influence on them.  To be part of the people, you’d have to brunt your sharpness and untangle the knots, tone the glare and settle like dust.

The same thing applies to other things you do.  If you want to perform excellent music, be part of the music.  If you want to enjoy the fun of a game, be a part of the game.  If you cannot let yourself go and be part of what you do, you leave tangles and gaps that keep you away from the true enjoyment.

Blunt the sharpness.
Untangle the knots.
Soften the glare.
Settle like dust.
Let your wheel moving along old ruts.

The translation is done by Karl Hohne,  The passage appears in both Chapter 4 and 56 of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.   The last phrase ‘let your wheel moving along old ruts’ does not seem to be a direct reflection of the original text, but it makes the whole passage sound logical and easy to grasp.

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