30 Lao Tzu Quotes On Love, Life and Leadership That Keep Inspiring

Compassion, Moderation and Humility-3 jewels of Taoism.

Sanjana Iyengar

Feb 5, 2021|6 min read


Lao Tzu, also known as Laozi is regarded as a pivotal figure in Chinese culture. He is also deemed as a deity in traditional Chinese religions and the father of Chinese Taoism and existed during the 6th century B.C.

Lao Tzu Quotes
Lao Tzu Quotes

Lao Tzu was also an ancient Chinese writer and philosopher. He was the founded  Taoism  ( a Chinese philosophy which contributed to the folk religion)  and authored the book Tao Te Ching translated to“The Way of Virtue (a collection of texts illustrating the fundamental Taoist teachings).

Laozi was a native of the Chu, a southern state in the Zhou dynasty where he served as a keeper of archival records at the court of Zhou. Lao Tzu was a man of great wisdom and that is reflected through his quotes and sayings.

Here are the best and famous Lao Tzu quotes that will take you through fragments of his enlightened mind:

1) The best fighter is never angry.

This motivating Lao Tzu quote throws light on the importance of having a calm mind while on our path to success. We must think through our actions and be prepared for its consequences.

2) Love is of all the passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.

This Lao Tzu quote on love comes with a deep, impactful meaning. The quote talks about the power of love and its ability to conquer everyone’s minds and hearts.

3) Act without expectation.

This Lao Tzu quote tells us to put in our maximum effort into whatever we are doing irrespective of the outcome.

4) Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.

This Lao Tzu quote on life teaches us the importance of the independence of thoughts. We must not pay heed to others’ negative quotes on our perspective as that would only hinder our personal growth.

5) Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?

This quote is presented to us in the form of a rhetorical question. Lao Tzu makes us wonder if we really will withstand the test of time and have the patience to wait for actions and efforts to become fruitful.

6) To see things in the seed, that is genius.

The above mentioned Lao Tzu’s quote on life tells us to foresee or have an idea about the consequences of our actions. With every step in our journey, we must be able to see the path unfold for itself.

7) There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.

This quote by Lao Tzu on life teaches us to respect everyone and never undermine their abilities even if they are your enemy/opponent.

8) The way to do is to be.

This quote can be translated to-“One exists if and only if one is involved in doing something. Lao Tzu quotes give us deep meaning and insight on life.

9) The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. 

This life quote by Lao Tzu emphasizes on the hard reality of life. He tells us that most of the time, the truth is bitter but it is the reality.

10) The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

This motivational quote by Lao Tzu instils the motivation and confidence in us to muster up the courage and take the initial step for our journey in life to be successful.

11) Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.

Lao Tzu quotes shed light on the effective use of time and emphasize on productivity.

12) He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. 

Those who conquer others prove to the world that they are strong. But those who conquer themselves by attaining inner peace have a permanent sway over the society and hence are mighty.

13) The way of heaven is to help and not harm.

This inspirational quote by Lao Tzu conveys the important message of brotherhood and the importance of living in harmony with our fellow beings.

14) I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.

Through this quote, Lao Tzu shares his mantra for leading a righteous life.

15) To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.

This quote implies that he who has a still mind, a one without an ego will witness the universe and nature unfolding in front of his eyes.

16) He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.

Through this thoughtful quote, Lao Tzu wishes to convey that one must know the other’s strengths and capabilities to leverage his own.

17) To understand the limitation of things, desire them. 

This philosophical Lao Tzu quote implies that on the attainment of our materialistic they become meaningless with time

18) 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.

This quote on life by Lao Tzu focuses on the importance of self-belief and self-awareness.

19) Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.

Through this quote, the philosopher once again throws light on self-belief and taking the initial step to achieving our goals and transforming our journey into a fruitful one.

20) There is no illusion greater than fear.

Lao Tzu quotes really make us retrospect on life and question our knowledge and understanding, doesn’t it?

21) Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

This quote by Lao Tzu tells us to develop self-discipline, self-confidence and self-control in ourselves. It is tough to master your heart and one who does is truly powerful. 

22) The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.

The knowledge and ability to lead a crowd comes only with time and observation. Therefore, we must gain the crowd’s perspective in order to know what motivates them.

23) When I let go of what I am I become what I might be.

This inspirational quote by Lao Tzu talks about personal growth. He says that if we  let go of what they are now, they give ourselves the necessary space to grow into the person they could become

24) When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. 

This quote once again gives importance to respecting and not undermining others’ capabilities.

25) An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

This life quote by Lao Tzu implies that making even a small amount of effort is better than making no effort at all.

26) He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.

Lao Tzu says that for trust to be mutual in a relationship, it must be given and taken by both the parties of that relationship.

27) How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?

This quote questions the beliefs and ideologies of humanity and condemns the joy found in war.

28) He who talks more is sooner exhausted.

This Lao Tzu quote tells us to think before we talk and talk only what is needed. If you speak too much, you will be exhausted and you will lose your worth.

29) One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.

Through this quote, Lao Tzu tells us that effective communication can take place only when one is open to criticism and is open-minded.

30) Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.

This quote once again throws light on the cautious use of words and it also sends out the message that sometimes silence is the best response.

Many historians believe that Lao Tzu was not real but merely a fictional character. Yet, the philosophy he may or may not have founded long ago has taken on a life of its own and continues to develop as it attracts more adherents intrigued by the vision it presents of a life lived in accord with the natural world as opposed to one which struggles against it.

His philosophies and ideologies have influenced thousands of people worldwide and in the present day, Taoism is not only seen as a philosophy but also recognized as a religion and in one aspect, a pop-culture phenomenon. The above mentioned Lao Tzu quotes to motivate and inspire us and impart lessons and leadership.

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Sanjana Iyengar

Passionate writer. Find what you love and let it kill you ~ Charles Bukowski



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