close Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn
8 mins

Top 10 Lao Tzu (or Laozi) Quotes to Inspire Inner Peace and Wisdom

Discover the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu (or Laozi) through his timeless quotes. Immerse yourself in Taoism quotes, philosophical insights, and wisdom quotes that will inspire and enlighten your journey.
by The Blinkist Team | Nov 5 2023
Lao Tzu, also known as Laozi, was an ancient Chinese philosopher and the author of the “Tao Te Ching“. This influential book was written around the 6th century BCE and continues to be relevant today. Lao Tzu’s teachings on the Tao, or the Way, offer profound insights into living a balanced and harmonious life. With its emphasis on simplicity, humility, and the natural flow of life, the Tao Te Ching remains a valuable guide for navigating the complexities of the modern world.

In the pursuit of inner peace and wisdom, few figures have had as profound an impact as Lao Tzu (or Laozi), the ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism. Lao Tzu’s teachings have resonated with people for centuries, offering profound insights into the nature of existence, the power of simplicity, and the importance of living in harmony with the natural world. In this article, we have compiled a list of the top 10 Lao Tzu quotes that will inspire you to cultivate inner peace, embrace wisdom, and find serenity in the midst of life’s challenges. Whether you are seeking guidance on your spiritual journey or simply looking for words of wisdom to reflect upon, these quotes are sure to leave a lasting impact on your life.

10 Inspiring Lao Tzu Quotes to Guide You on Your Journey

Those who understand others are clever, those who understand themselves are wise.


This line emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and empathy. It suggests that while it is clever to understand others and their perspectives, true wisdom comes from understanding oneself. By gaining insight into our own thoughts, emotions, and motivations, we can better navigate our own lives and relationships. Understanding ourselves allows us to make informed decisions, cultivate self-compassion, and develop a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Kind words elicit trust. Kind thoughts create depth. Kind deeds bring love.


This quote emphasizes the power and impact of kindness in our interactions with others and within ourselves. It suggests that kind words have the ability to build trust and foster positive relationships, while kind thoughts have the potential to cultivate a deeper understanding and connection with ourselves and the world around us. Furthermore, kind deeds are seen as a way to express love and compassion, creating a ripple effect of positivity and goodwill. This quote encourages us to embrace kindness as a guiding principle in our thoughts, words, and actions, recognizing its ability to bring about positive change and foster a more loving and harmonious existence.

The wise man doesn’t compete; therefore nobody can compete with him.


Laozi offers a profound insight into the nature of wisdom and competition. This quote suggests that true wisdom lies in transcending the need to compete with others. By not engaging in competition, the wise man sets himself apart and becomes untouchable. This quote encourages us to shift our focus from external validation and comparison to inner growth and self-improvement. It reminds us that true strength and success come from within, rather than from outdoing others.

The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.


This quote reminds us of the importance of letting go of the past and living in the present moment. It emphasizes that the past itself has no power to hold us back; it is only our grievances and attachments to the past that can hinder our ability to fully experience the present. The quote defines grievance as the baggage of old thoughts and emotions, suggesting that holding onto past grievances can weigh us down and prevent us from moving forward. By releasing our grievances and embracing the present, we can free ourselves from the limitations of the past and live more fully in the here and now.

Wise men hear and see as little children do.


This quote highlights the wisdom and insight that can be gained from approaching the world with childlike curiosity and openness. It suggests that wise individuals are able to see and hear things with a fresh perspective, unburdened by preconceived notions or biases. By observing the world with the innocence and wonder of a child, we can tap into a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world around us. This quote encourages us to cultivate a sense of childlike curiosity and openness in order to gain new insights and wisdom.

Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.’


Once again, Laozi provides a thought-provoking perspective on the concept of time and our relationship with it. This quote challenges the common excuse of not having enough time, suggesting that it is not a matter of lacking time but rather a matter of priorities. By stating that to say “I don’t have time” is equivalent to saying “I don’t want to,” Laozi emphasizes the importance of personal choice and intention in how we allocate our time. It serves as a reminder that we have the power to shape our lives and make time for what truly matters to us.

The usefulness of the pot lies in its emptiness.


This quote, attributed to Laozi, encapsulates the essence of the Taoist philosophy. It suggests that the true value of something lies not in its material form or its fullness, but rather in its emptiness and potential. In Taoism, emptiness is seen as a state of openness and receptivity, allowing for new possibilities and growth. This quote serves as a reminder to embrace emptiness and simplicity, as they can lead to greater fulfillment and purpose in life. It encourages us to let go of attachments and expectations, and instead embrace the inherent potential within ourselves and the world around us.

Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.


This line emphasizes the importance of the power of softness and flexibility. It highlights the idea that even though water is gentle and soft, it has the ability to overcome obstacles that are hard and rigid, such as mountains and earth. This quote serves as a reminder that sometimes, being adaptable and flexible can be more effective than being forceful and rigid. It encourages us to approach challenges with a mindset of resilience and adaptability, understanding that sometimes, a gentle and flexible approach can yield greater results than brute force.

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.


Laozi offers a thought-provoking insight into the nature of new beginnings. This quote suggests that new beginnings are not always easily recognizable, as they often come disguised as painful endings. It reminds us that change and growth can be uncomfortable and challenging, but they also present opportunities for personal transformation and renewal. By reframing our perspective on endings, we can embrace the potential for new beginnings and approach them with resilience and optimism. Laozi’s words encourage us to embrace the unknown and trust in the process of change.

Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.


This quote emphasizes the significance of being mindful of the thoughts and emotions we invest in our dreams and aspirations. It suggests that if we constantly feed our dreams with worry and fear, we will inadvertently cultivate negative outcomes that hinder the growth and realization of our aspirations. This quote serves as a reminder to nurture our dreams with positivity, belief, and optimism, as these qualities will help them flourish and thrive. It encourages us to be conscious of the energy we bring to our dreams and to choose thoughts and emotions that support their manifestation.

In conclusion, Lao Tzu’s words of wisdom continue to resonate with people from all walks of life, offering guidance and inspiration in their pursuit of inner peace and wisdom. These top 10 quotes serve as a reminder to embrace simplicity, live in harmony with the natural world, and cultivate a sense of serenity amidst life’s challenges. By incorporating these teachings into our daily lives, we can find solace, clarity, and a deep sense of fulfillment. Let Lao Tzu’s timeless wisdom be a guiding light on your own personal journey towards inner peace and wisdom.


Are you intrigued by the captivating and thought-provoking quotes you’ve just discovered? Imagine having access to a treasure trove of knowledge, where you can explore those topics and more. With Blinkist, you can delve deeper into the ideas and concepts that inspire you. Expand your knowledge by reading or listening to over 6,500 bestsellers, summarized in just 15 minutes.


Take a leap into a world of insights. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. Join Blinkist now and embark on a journey of discovery! Try Blinkist today with our 7-day free trial!

Start your free 7-day trial

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Email Print