Saturday, August 28, 2010

Line by Line - Verse 2, Line 12

they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Working, yet not taking credit.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success

~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

They do the work without expecting any favors.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
In nature, when things happen, they just happen. The sun shines, the wind blows and the rain falls. No one bothers to take credit and Mother Nature doesn't expect any plaudits.

Whenever we undertake an activity and our chief aim is to win accolades or achieve status, our attention to what we're doing is divided. Part of our focus is on the task at hand and the rest is bound up in our expectations. And so, because we're looking ahead, we too often miss those opportunities that present themselves to us in the here and now.

While we may prove very successful in our endeavors, imagine how much more successful we could each be if we focused SOLELY on the matter at hand. When a person gives their all to a project without any expectations, once the job is done, there is no need for congratulations. You know in your heart that what you've completed is good.

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.


  1. I think what you are referring to is sometimes called being in "The Zone" ;-)


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