When wanted, go. When set aside, then hide. – Confucius
Confucius was a Chinese educator and philosopher who flourished 500 years before Christ, as we Westerners reckon the calendar. He grew up in northeast China and by some accounts was an enthusiastic learner as a child. After a long and useful life, Confucius died near where he was born in his early 70’s, though his exact age at death isn’t known. His maxims and aphorisms continue to have influence today.
Today’s Thought speaks a lot about judgment, about when to step in make something happen and when to let matters run their own course. It is, of course, human nature to want to have influence, but sometimes human nature can get us into trouble, because it is not always in our best interest to assert ourselves.
A good example from everyday life comes when dealing with the young. There are times to step in and provide guidance and time to let experience provide lessons. For example, when your kid wants to go play in the street, it is wise to step in show the child you have something better in mind for him. On the other hand, when a child is climbing a tree, it is usually best to let the child climb the tree, even though he might fall off. Sometimes it is wise to impart wisdom – don’t play in the street – and sometimes it’s wise to let someone climb a tree and learn for themselves.
Similarly, it is good to go out and use your time and talents to make something good happen for yourself. The wise, however, realize there are times when assertion will not provide a dividend and it is time to stand back and let life run its course.
Knowing when our influence is in favor and when it is waning is wisdom that leads to a well-lived life.