“He who wants to be hard must hold on to softness. He who wants to be strong must protect himself by weakness.”
- Liu An 劉安, Huainanzi 淮南子
Have you been told by Dad, your teacher, or society that you have to be hard?
That the harder, the better?
And that softness is for losers or the weak?
But have you ever noticed that the hard only overcomes what is not as hard as itself?
Hold on for a second and think about it.
A weapon that's too stiff will shatter.
A piece of wood that's too hard will break.
A piece of leather that's too brittle will tear.
And if something hard meets an equivalent hardness, nobody wins.
On the other hand:
Have you ever observed how water behaves?
If you hit the water, it flows around your fist.
If it encounters a stone, it flows around.
If it fills into a bottle, it takes the form of the bottle.
That’s because water is soft.
But if the water turns into ice, it breaks.
That's because it's hard in this state.
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. What is soft is strong.”
- Laozi 老子, Dao De Jing 道德經
Interestingly, the soft overcomes what is superior to it.
The power of softness is immeasurable.
Have you ever considered being soft instead of hard?
Maybe now it’s time to try out another perspective.