DROP wisdom, abandon cleverness,
And the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Drop humanity, abandon justice,
And the people will return to their natural affections.
Drop shrewdness, abandon sharpness,
And robbers and thieves will cease to be.
These three are the criss-cross of Tao,
And are not sufficient in themselves.
Therefore, they should be subordinated to the higher principle:
See the Simple and embrace the Primal,
Diminish the self and curb the desires!
Stop trying to be “wise” and clever,
Stop trying to be “fair” and “just”
Stop trying to be the “smartest” or the “sharpest”
But above all remember this:
Keep it simple, be humble, you have all you need.
As a child, I wanted to be wise, as a teenager I wanted to be clever.
As a college student I wanted to bring fairness and justice to the world.
And as a young professional, I wanted to be the smartest and sharpest employee.
But cultivating these things in a quest for success or accolades is meaningless.
Make yourself simple and humble, and share this with others,
And you will be rich beyond measure.