Confucius | The Art Of Becoming Better (Self-Cultivation)

Confucius | The Art of Becoming Better (Self-Cultivation)

Isn’t it the case we should always stay true to ourselves? Which means that we ought to know who we are, and organize our lives in ways that are compatible with our personalities?

When we look for a partner, for example, we look for someone that we’re compatible with, and in regards to education and work, we need to do something that fits our characteristics.

However, “not knowing who we are” seems to be a problem. But luckily, this problem can be solved by taking a personality test, by talking to a counselor, or perhaps by going on a long solo-trip around the world to (quote on quote) “find ourselves”. Because, after all, our true selves lie somewhere hidden deep within.


Well, according to Michael Puett, Harvard professor of Chinese History and author of the book The Path, this way of thinking is extremely limited and even dangerous when it comes to how we live our lives.

The Path (affiliate link):

In Chinese philosophy, there’s no fixed ‘self’ the way we see it in the Western world. Who we are, and what we could become is much more tangible, than a fixed set of characteristics that define a personality.

This Eastern ‘self’ is always evolving, changing, losing, and gaining, and isn’t so much defined by what’s within, but by what we do. So, it cannot be found, but it can be cultivated.

Self-cultivation is a psychological process that’s part of the ancient Chinese system of thought called Confucianism. Its founder, Confucius, firmly believed in the power of ritual, and how it can make our lives better.

This video explores the art of becoming better, based on the teachings of Confucius.

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00:00 Intro
02:38 On Confucius
04:15 The “self”
06:52 Focusing on change
08:30 The power of ritual
10:35 Self-cultivation

View it on YouTube