Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Miguel Guasch

Confidence

We normally think that the foundation for success consists in mainly intelligence, skill, natural abilities, and hard work. Experience however, quickly dissolves this opinion. People without much intelligence or skill frequently become quite successful and—probably more often—people of great intelligence and skill fail miserably. The missing factor? Confidence. As scam artists, politicians, and actors daily demonstrate; projecting confidence in the midst of confusion, uncertainty, and ignorance most often brings success. This proves true even when the confidence is based on deception, acting, even lying. When based on a personal experience of basic goodness and the sacredness of perception; confidence has few limits.

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Quotes (68)

“Let your thoughts flow past you, calmly; keep me near, at every moment; trust me with your life, because I am you, more than you yourself are.”

Vyasa व्यास c. 3000 BCE via Bhagavadgita
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Themes: Confidence

“Those with outer courage dare to die, those with inner courage dare to live.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Witter Bynner, Shan Dao #73
(Lǎozǐ)
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE -
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

Themes: Confidence

“For men who have no faith, it is impossible to have pure dharma, like planting a burned seed in a field and expecting a green shoot to come.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE via Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Belief Confidence

“In seeing victory, not going beyond what everyone knows is not skilled… One skilled at battle takes a stand in the ground of no defeat… Therefore, the victorious military is first victorious and after that does battle.”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

60. Less is More

“To act without needing a reason… to ride the current of what is – this is the primal virtue.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE
(Zhuangzi)

2. The Wordless Teachings

“No evil can happen to a good man either in life or after death.”

Zeno Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς 334 – 262 BCE via Edith Hamilton
(of Citium)

“Yielding is being free of self-interest. Being free of self-interest is ruling the world. Ruling the world is merging personal virtue with that of Heaven and doing this is being one with the Way.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

Anonymous -800 to present
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history

Themes: Confidence

“It must not be supposed that innate vices can be completely eradicated by education; but, the lingering traces of inborn temperament that cannot be eliminated by philosophy are so slight that there is nothing to prevent men from leading a life worthy of the gods.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE via R.E. Latham, Shan Dao
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“They can because they think they can... Fortune favors the bold.”

Virgil 70 – 19 BCE
(Publius Vergilius Maro)
from Aeneid

“God is not good, I am good.”

Meister Eckhart 1260 – 1328 CE
(Eckhart von Hochheim)

“It may quite well be that without cause you are thus in despair.
How can you tell beforehand how you'll fare?
And why must you the worst always suppose,
Although the outcome you nor no one knows?

Geoffrey Chaucer 1343 – 1400 CE via W. W. Skeat
“Father of English literature”
from Troilus and Cressida

“And therefore, at the king's court, my brother,
Each man for himself, there is no other.”

Geoffrey Chaucer 1343 – 1400 CE via The Knight's Tale
“Father of English literature”
from Canterbury Tales

Themes: Confidence

“Come where thou need not to learn from me,
For thou shalt, by thine own experience,
Be able in a professorial chair to lecture on this subject
Better than Virgil, while he was alive

Geoffrey Chaucer 1343 – 1400 CE via The Friar's Tale
“Father of English literature”
from Canterbury Tales

Themes: Confidence

“Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence, confidence, justice.”

Baruch Spinoza 1632 – 1677 CE

30. No War

“This Fire is discerned in Virgil, but discerned as through a glass, reflected from Homer, more shining than fierce, but every where equal and constant.

Alexander Pope 1688 – 1744 CE
Second most quoted English writer

Themes: Confidence

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE
from Faust, part I

Themes: Confidence

“Democracy restores to man a consciousness of his value, teaches him by the removal of authority and oppression to listen to the dictates of reason, gives him confidence to treat all other men as his fellow human beings, and induces him to regard them no loner as enemies against whom to be upon his guard, but as brethren whom it comes him to assist.”

William Godwin 1756 – 1836 CE
Provocative and influential social, political, and literary critic
from Enquiry Concerning Political Justice

“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur

Themes: Confidence

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882 CE

“I have great faith in fools - self-confidence my friends will call it.”

Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allen Poe 1809 – 1849 CE
from Marginalia​​

Themes: Confidence

“Never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. People will take you very much at your own reckoning.”

Anthony Trollope 1815 – 1882 CE
Novelist as teacher

Themes: Confidence

“if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams… In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

47. Effortless Success

“Up, up, up and up!
Face your game and play it!
The night is past, behold the sun!
The idols fall, the lie is done!”

Charles Kingsley 1819 – 1875 CE
Founder of Christian Socialism in England
from Alton Locke, 1848

“You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist

Themes: Confidence

“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“that lavishly generous confidence in the worthiness of average human nature to be told all truth, the lack of which in Goethe made him an inspiration to the few but a cold riddle to the many.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”
from Collected Essays, 1920

Themes: Confidence

“What is it that we combat in Christianity? That it aims at destroying the strong, at breaking their spirit, at exploiting their moments of weariness.. until the strong perish through their excessive self-contempt of which Pascal is the most famous example.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE

“And so, onwards... along a path of wisdom, with a hearty tread, a hearty confidence… be your own source of experience., throw off your discontent, forgive yourself, merge everything you have lived through.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE via Shan Dao, et alia
from Human All Too Human - A Book for Free Spirits

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”

Elbert Hubbard 1856 – 1915 CE

Themes: Confidence

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained”

Madame Curie 1867 – 1934 CE
(Maria Salomea Skłodowska)

“If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

Themes: Confidence

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

Themes: Confidence

“The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things... that alienation which so long separated me from the world has become transferred into my own inner world, and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“We dare to appeal to the whole man, to his capacity to think and feel, exhorting him to know himself and to be true to himself. We reaffirm our trust in the profound qualities of his nature. And our living. experiences are proving us right.”

Albert Schweitzer 1875 – 1965 CE
from Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

Themes: Reason Confidence

“Instead of narrowing your world and simplifying your soul, you will have at the last to take the whole world into your soul, cost what it may.”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE
from Steppenwolf

“Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”

Franklin Roosevelt 1882 – 1945 CE
(FDR)
Champion and creator of a more just and equitable society

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.”

Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941 CE

“My life's greatest benefactors have been journeys and dreams... I have been ashamed many times in my life because I caught my soul not daring to do what supreme folly—the essence of life—called me to do.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE via P. A. Bien
from Report to Greco

Themes: Travel Confidence

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962 CE

Themes: Confidence

“We must unlearn our ideas about an unchangeable human nature and an omnipotent environment. There is no knowable limit to change or growth; and perhaps there is nothing impossible but thinking makes it so.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from The Story of Philosophy, 1926

“Today I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once and for all,
I must turn my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again—”

Anna Akhmatova Анна Ахматова 1889 – 1966 CE via Judith Hemschemeyer
(Andreyevna Gorenko)
Russia's most loved female poet

Themes: Memory Confidence

“Even so, one step from my grave, I believe that cruelty, spite, and the powers of darkness will in time be crushed by the spirit of light.”

Boris Pasternak Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к 1890 – 1960 CE
Russia's greatest poet

Themes: Confidence

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses… the tender shoots we stifle because we lack the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty... That is why we get a heartache.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE

“I came gradually to want to prove nothing.”

Gilbert Seldes 1893 – 1970 CE
Maker of the first full-length documentary film
from The Stammering Century

“Even if, deep in my heart, I thought we were all blind atoms in a world as limited as a stroke of a pendulum, I and my sort would struggle against tradition; try, at least, to displace old cants with new ones.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 – 1940 CE
Prototype of "Jazz Age" exuberance
from This Side of Paradise (1920)

“Optimism disregards the present but is a source of inspiration, of vitality, and hope when other have given up. It empowers us with confidence and enables us to claim the future instead of abandoning it to an enemy.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906 – 1945 CE via Eberhard Bethge, Shan Dao
from After Ten Years, 1953

“When we no longer confuse ourselves with the definition of ourselves that others have given us, we are at once universal and unique.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE
from Psychotherapy East and West

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to.”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from The Catcher in the Rye

“The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they'll say he has an inferiority complex and if they don't like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they'll say he's conceited. Even smart girls do it.”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE
from Catcher in the Rye

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Charles Bukowski 1920 – 1994 CE
"Laureate of American lowlife”

Themes: Confidence Doubt

“Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.”

Warren Bennis 1925 – 2014 CE
Authentic Leadership pioneering thought leader

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

Carlos Castaneda 1925 – 1998 CE

23. Nothing and Not

“Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.”

Allen Ginsberg 1926 – 1997 CE

Themes: Moon Confidence

18. The Sick Society

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through. If you accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk.”

Rosalynn Carter 1927 CE –
Insightful and compassionate politician

“With time and a kindly librarian, any unskilled person can learn how to build a replica of the Taj Mahal.”

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 CE

Themes: Confidence

“Power expressed without foresight always returns eventually, reverses confidence into pathetic impotence.”

Thinley Norbu གདུང་སྲས་ཕྲིན་ལས་ནོར་བུ 1931 – 2011 CE
(Kyabjé Dungse)
from Magic Dance (1981)

Themes: Power Confidence

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 CE –

“The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

“You don't have to dress up in fancy costumes, you don't have to have someone—or a whole organization—behind you to prove that what you're doing is right”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE

Themes: Confidence

“The Buddhist approach is not based on hope. It would look at the chaos and problems that exist as delightful and something to work on relaxed with the turmoil in complete confidence.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from A Buddhist Approach to Politics

“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it.”

John Lennon 1940 – 1980 CE

Themes: Confidence

“I try my best to be just like I am but everybody wants you to be just like them... I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

Bob Dylan 1941 CE – via Maggie's Farm
from Bringing it all Back Home

“it is criminal to be pessimistic.”

Paulo Lugari 1944 CE –

Themes: Confidence

“If there was a single thread running through the life of Angelou it was her carpe diem approach to living... She was an 'experimentalist', someone who viewed life as a smorgasbord of possibilities and experiences there for the tasting even when it involved risk and the prospect of failure.”

Roman Krznaric c. 1964
Practical, popular, modern philosopher

from Carpe Diem Regained (2017)

Themes: Confidence

“When we make a conscious choice to seize the day, we are making a commitment to being active rather than passive beings, to pursuing our own path rather than one determined for us, to living in this moment rather than waiting for the next . And through that act of decision, we gain a sense of purpose by becoming the author of our own life.”

Roman Krznaric c. 1964
Practical, popular, modern philosopher

from Carpe Diem Regained (2017)

“Instead of rejecting the problems and emotions, or surrendering to them, we can befriend them, working through them to reach an enduring, authentic experience of our inherent wisdom, confidence, clarity, and joy.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

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