What – To Strive For

Here’s a quote from ancient Tao wisdom:

“Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. Be like the Tao. It can’t be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honoured or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures.” – Lao Tzu

Now initially, and to put it in descriptive, layman’s terms, I though this was utter bollocks! However, I have since given this some thought, and now realise it is in fact very clever, very clever indeed, and I’ll tell you why.

“It’s recently come to my understanding, that the only true way to influence people, is through example. It’s not what you say; it’s not what you write, it’s all about what you do.”


What you do and how you act will ultimately be reflected on the inside. In other words, how you behave toward others, becomes your internal reality, as the behaviour of others, becomes a direct reflection of you.

Treat people unkindly and they will seemingly return this behaviour. This also works in the opposite direction. In other words, if your mind is full of conflict, confusion, anger and bitterness, ultimately, you will become an angry and bitter individual on the outside also.

And so with this in mind, let’s say you adopted the attitude of the Tao and simply pretended to be a calm, well adjusted individual. Would this mean that in time you’d become that very person? Well, you would if you knew how to ‘act’ in a calm and well adjusted, manner.

This is where the living by example comes into play. Living by example means you need not say anything, write anything or indeed strive for anything, other than what you are at root: a calm, loving and well adjusted individual.


Believe it or not that is exactly what you are. The keywords used here are: “at root.” When we get to the root of who we are, we’ve cracked it, and the way to do this is to follow someone who sows this example. Simple.

“In actual fact, this is the true power of counselling and mentoring. The counselling-mentor need not tell you anything of themselves or advise you in any way whatsoever.”

Quite simply, the age old questions such as: “and how does that make you feel?” Or “what do you imagine would be the best solution?” are a cleverness we often overlook.

However infuriating it might seem, when the counselling-mentor simply reflects back your thoughts and words, so as to act as a sounding board, they’re following (albeit unknowingly) the ‘way of the Tao.’

Time, they say, is a great healer, and when it comes to the time it might take to discover peace of mind, and therefore understand what truly matters in life, through following simple example… well… what can I say? It could take a lifetime. Perhaps the real secret, is to have more than one. Who knows.


All in all, if you’ve been shown good example through your childhood or early adulthood, from those you love, it makes you a very lucky and fortunate individual indeed. If not, find someone whom you believe to have a beautiful life, and study how and what they do; follow their example.

You may think wealth, and all it brings, is the way to a beautiful life. You might have some people in mind you could model yourself on. If so, good luck. It’s my belief though, that it really doesn’t have much to do with money at all, it’s more about love. I see – we all see – that money is important, and we also see the importance of love.

And so to break the rules of the Tao for a moment, I will share this small piece of wisdom with you, if I may:

“love and money are a little like oil and water, they simply don’t mix. So, if you want a beautiful life, find some people to model yourself on, who have plenty of that magic ingredient called love, in theirs.” א