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BASIC CENTS: The Tao of behavior

An American authored a book a few years ago on a way to examine key aspects of finding the right path for an organization. I have found it appears to be derived from an old Japanese philosophy with the same three key aspects, plus one for the right path for a career for an individual. There is much to learn from old societies.

Recently, I picked up an old book on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Tao. It means the "how" or "way" of living in harmony with nature. I partitioned the sayings into three groups:

• Tao of being aware of the moment

• Tao of leadership

• Tao of behavior

The last two articles addressed the Tao of the moment and the Tao of leadership. Today, we wrap up by looking inward at the Tao of behavior. We seldom realize how much others watch and emulate us. That places a burden on us, and we have to be aware of our behavior because behavior influences others with a ripple effect. Behavior is like water: It is flexible and yielding, runs downhill and tends to expand. Make sure that your behavior is what you want to see reflected in others.

Be humble, flexible, listen to others and be willing to bend. In that way, you will learn and grow. You don't learn by talking; you learn by listening.

There is value in simplicity. Be content with what you have, remove clutter from your mind, simplify your work and do not be envious of others. People get possessions by manipulating other people, but that seldom brings happiness.

What is it that truly makes you happy? Is it joy in your work or home life? Is it a satisfaction in doing something worthwhile? Is it serenity and peace with the world and its inhabitants? If you know, seek it.

Address encounters as they occur, neither seek nor avoid them. Address and resolve them calmly as soon as you can. There is no point in delaying resolution of an encounter; it will only weigh on you until it is resolved.

Understand others may be superior to you in some facets, so restrain your ego. A moderate ego demonstrates wisdom.

Silence, humility and learning are great sources of strength and happiness. If you have inner security, you will have what you want.