Friday, November 30, 2012

Bit by Bit - Chapter 4, Part 7

Trey Smith


"However, you must have some plan in mind. Come, tell me what it is."

Yen Hui said, "If I am grave and empty-hearted, diligent and of one mind, won't that do?"

"Goodness, how could that do? You may put on a fine outward show and seem very impressive, but you can't avoid having an uncertain look on your face, any more than an ordinary man can. And then you try to gauge this man's feelings and seek to influence his mind. But with him, what is called `the virtue that advances a little each day' would not succeed, much less a great display of virtue! He will stick fast to his position and never be converted. Though he may make outward signs of agreement, inwardly he will not give it a thought! How could such an approach succeed?"

~ Burton Watson translation ~
Back in high school, I remember taking a class in the art of persuasion. We learned all sort of tricks -- like reverse psychology -- to try to convince others to do what we want. I suppose this course was provided to teach us how to succeed in this me-first world.

Interestingly enough, the most straightforward approach was not included in our coursework: Living our principles in all we say and do. When an individual serves as a good role model, often others want to emulate the way that individual comports him/herself in their own lives!

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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