10 Life Lessons From Lao Tzu

The Wisdom of Lao Tzu

Long ago, a wise man name Lao Tzu created one of the most important Chinese texts, the Tao Te Ching. It’s said every time you read this book, you discover something new that imparts wisdom into your life. Here are 10 quotes from Lao Tzu that will hopefully have a similar effect on you.

SEE ALSO: How To Learn From Your Greatest Enemy


“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” ~ Lao Tzu

Nothing is permanent in this world. In eastern philosophy, this isn’t a reason to be sad, but a reason to find a deeper level of strength. If you know nothing can really be permanently held onto, then what’s the reason for holding back in life?


“He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.” ~ Lao Tzu

Placing a label on yourself- even one as simple as “father”, “son”, or “boss” is maybe true, but it doesn’t fully describe your nature. At the heart of it, your true being can’t be described with such terms; you’re actually beyond that.


“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.” ~ Lao Tzu

Regardless of how people treat you, you have the opportunity to give kindness and honesty. No matter where you go, or who you interact with, there’s an opportunity to uplift others.


“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” ~ Lao Tzu

Have you ever noticed the more you battle someone or something in life, the more it seems to flair up? Sometimes you have to be honest with yourself: letting go of a difficult situation can be the best way to go.


“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu

Beyond all the BS and all the ridiculous things we try and convince ourselves of, we have the core of our being. This core is the version of yourself that’s beyond the influence of others. Go to that place when you’re making your decisions.




“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?” ~ Lao Tzu

As the saying goes, patience is a virtue. Having the ability to stand calmly in the raging storm of life, waiting for the right moment to act isn’t easy; but it is necessary if you want to be able to make difficult decisions the right way.


“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~ Lao Tzu

Many times, life is challenging; things begin and end before we can have time to get a grasp on our own thoughts about the situation. But the good news is, after that energy clears, something new comes out of it. We have to let the old disappear before something new comes into our lives.


“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu

Too many people- myself included, sometimes- try and get other people’s approval before making decisions. This can really hold you back and keep you from leading the type of life you want. Be free! Make decisions from your center.


“Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.” ~ Lao Tzu

Don’t let yourself fret over everything and continuously lose your composure at every turn. Instead, let situations arise naturally and deal with them then. Just as an example, if you try and patch up a relationship again and again you’ll most likely end up making things worse.


“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu

We’re all heading in a certain direction, whether we know it or not. The key is to recognize what direction that is, and if you really want to be heading there. Many people are heading in a direction that they are unaware of; a path that they may be wasting their time pursuing. Be conscious, and make decisions for what’s truly best for you.



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Matt Caron

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Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. He strives to inspire…

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