Saturday, April 30, 2022

19. Approach

The Lines

Bottom. [9] At the outset, the time is favorable for beginning worthwhile projects, and these are supported by some important people. Superior men are encouraged by this and gladly become part of the joint effort. But it is important that a person not be swept along by the general enthusiasm and lose his sense of direction. Only by persisting in what is right can good fortune be assured.
2. [9] If those in a higher position favor the expansion and a man has the ability to work diligently and carefully without the need of an overseer to direct his every move, things will turn out well. Although he is well aware of the nature of such times of growth and expansion and realizes that after a period of rapid growth, a time of decline inevitably sets in, yet he does not allow such sober thoughts to deter him. For the time being, everything furthers his advancement, and he goes along with it without hesitation, living fully in the present moment.
3. [6] In a time of expansion, a man enjoys the fruits of his abilities. He is at the height of his powers, has been able to accomplish great things, and he is viewed with honor and respect. But it is at just such a time that he easily slips into being overconfident. He begins to act careless, as if nothing could reduce his position. But this is a mistake, and will surely lead to disaster. Nevertheless, all need not be lost. If he comes to his senses in time and sees the extent of his carelessness, he can begin to act more responsibly and rescue himself from an unhappy fate. The moment of weakness can be rectified, and any damage caused by his temporary lapse can be corrected.
4. [6] The superior man identifies competent subordinates in whom he confides, and whom he elevates to serve as trusted assistants. In selecting such persons, he pays no heed to judgments based on superficial distinctions and unrelated marks of status, but looks at their character, their abilities, and their dedication to the work that needs to be done. He puts such competent persons in positions of influence, and this move makes a substantial contribution to the success of his efforts.
5. [6] A man in a high position needs assistants who are able to help with the various parts of his activities. In selecting such persons, he is careful to choose those who are highly capable, and those who have the ability to work on their own without constant supervision. He then allows them to function independently, knowing that he can depend upon them to do what is right and to work efficiently for the success of the enterprise. He places his trust in such highly competent assistants, knowing that the best, most competent people are unwilling to work in situations where they do not have the freedom to make decisions and to act in accordance with their own best determinations, being responsible to higher authority for the results, but not dependent on those in higher positions for how to proceed.
Top. [6] The superior man who has left the everyday world in order to pursue the life of a wise sage may sometimes be persuaded to return and lead others for a particular endeavor. This is highly beneficial to all those with whom he works, for he is able to give them the benefits of wisdom acquired over many years of experience and through long hours of study. Such a return to the mundane world of man may seem like a lowering of his standing in the eyes of some, but it does him no harm, and it contributes greatly to the benefit of all concerned.
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