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42 of the Best ‘Lao Tzu’ Quotes on Life, Thoughts & Knowing Yourself

This inspiring collection of Lao Tzu quotes are simple and enlightening.

Who was Lao Tzu?

Lao Tzu, born in 571 BCE and known as Li Erh or Lao Dan, was a philosopher of ancient China. He is regarded as the founder of philosophical Taoism, and is best known for his work the ‘Dao De Jing’.

What was Lao Tzu’s philosophy?

Lao Tzu was a firm believer of pursuing the Dao, which is often translated as ‘the way’ or ‘path’. This pursuit can result in a connection between all aspects of nature and the world that people inhabit.

Lao Tzu also believed that this path or journey in life should be focused on going with the flow, simplicity, compassion, harmony and letting go.

His words are calm, simple and straightforward. So much so, that you’re left feeling peaceful, inspired and even a little more ‘enlightened’.

Lao Tzu’s timeless wisdom may teach us a lot about life and improving our potential, albeit in a flow-based style.

In that light, the following are some amazing Lao Tzu quotes to inspire you to be your best and spread his timeless wisdom:


Lao Tzu Quotes on Watching Your Thoughts   


Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny. Lao Tzu


To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu


He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. Lao Tzu


In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. Lao Tzu


To see things in the seed, that is genius. Lao Tzu


He who is contented is rich. Lao Tzu


To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect. Lao Tzu


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


If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present. Lao Tzu


Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes on Knowing Yourself


Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. 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


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. Lao Tzu


If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. Lao Tzu


Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. Lao Tzu


He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. Lao Tzu


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


At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are, and you know what you want. Lao Tzu


The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. Lao Tzu


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


Be the chief but never the lord. Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes on Life

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu


To lead people, walk behind them. Lao Tzu


Simplicity, patience, compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.

Lao Tzu


Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu


Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tzu


Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. Lao Tzu


Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu


He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know. Lao Tzu


The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own. Lao Tzu


Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Lao Tzu


An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox. Lao Tzu


Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus, goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus, honesty is attained. Lao Tzu


He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted. Lao Tzu


The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be. Lao Tzu


Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu


Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy. Lao Tzu


A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. Lao Tzu


Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good. Lao Tzu


If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. Lao Tzu


Silence is a source of great strength. Lao Tzu


Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires. Lao Tzu


Great acts are made up of small deeds. Lao Tzu


By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. Lao Tzu


Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. Lao Tzu


The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days. Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes on Love


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


Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu


Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu


From caring comes courage. Lao Tzu


Because of a great love, one is courageous. Lao Tzu


For more inspiring words and positive quotes, be sure to check out:

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