115 Quotes By Lao Tzu To Guide Your Spiritual Journey

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In this article, we’re going to dive into some of the most eye-opening quotes by Lao Tzu about finding contentment in your life.

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher who lived during the 6th century BCE. He’s widely known to be the founder of Taoism, a philosophy that emphasizes living in harmony with the natural world and finding inner peace.

The pinnacle of his work was the Tao Te Ching, which is considered one of the most influential works of Chinese philosophy.

In the book, he emphasized a great many things, such as the importance of simplicity, humility, and the art of letting go.

Even to this day, his life-changing wisdom continues to remain poignant and inspire people to find contentment in their daily lives.

So whether you’re familiar with Tzu’s teachings or are stumbling across them for the first time, the following words will offer unique insight into the mind of this great philosopher.

Let’s dive in!


Inspirational Quotes By Lao Tzu


  • “There is no illusion greater than fear. ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Every step is on the path.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Make your heart a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “There is a time to live and a time to die but never to reject the moment.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession.” ~ Lao Tzu


woman chanting quotes by lao tzu


  • “True words are not fancy. Fancy words are not true. The good do not debate. Debaters are not good.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Perseverance is a sign of willpower. He who stays where he is endures. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.” ~ Lao Tzu 


  • “A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for a whole day.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Where the mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” ~ Lao Tzu 


Lao Tzu Quotes On Knowing Yourself

Enjoying this list of quotes so far? Then you may also enjoy this collection of the best spartan quotes or this list of motivational warrior quotes.

If you’d just prefer to keep reading, then here’s some more powerful quotes by lao tzu on knowing yourself.


  • “Freedom from desire leads to inner peace.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “We shape clay into a pot; but it is the emptiness inside that holds all that we want.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “He who tries to shine dimes his own light. He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.” ~ Lao Tzu


woman standing on mountain


  • “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Perfection is the willingness to be imperfect.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait. Be still and allow the mud to settle.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for himself.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. He prefers what is within to what is without.” ~ Lao Tzu


Famous Quotes By Lao Tzu

Let’s keep this list rolling with some of the most famous Lao Tzu quotes of all-time!


  • “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “People in their handling of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Why do you run around looking for the truth? Be still and there it is, within yourself.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Knowledge is treasure, but practice is the key to it.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Remind yourself daily, that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Act without expectation.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu


man sitting in silence


  • “Colors blind the eye. Sounds deafen the ear. Flavors numb the taste. Thoughts weaken the mind. Desires weaken the heart.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Silence is a great source of strength.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The truth is not always beautiful, nor are beautiful words the truth.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes On Leadership

Throughout his life, Tzu shared many important lessons on what it meant to be an inspiring leader.

So without further ado, let’s dive into some of the best quotes by lao tzu on leadership.


  • “If you wish to be out in front, then act as if you were behind.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear all by itself.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “He who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim is fulfilled, they will say; we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you show yourself, you will not be seen. If you affirm yourself, you will not shine. If you boast, you will have no merit. If you promote yourself, you will have no success.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “One who is too insistent on his own views finds few to agree with them.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you want to lead them you must place yourself behind them.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Our enemies are not demons, but human beings like ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The hard and mighty lie beneath the ground while the tender and the weak dance on the breeze above.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “He who controls others is powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The moral man does something, and when no one responds he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “A skillful soldier is not violent; an able fighter does not rage, a mighty conqueror does not give battle, a great commander is a humble man.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Respond to anger with virtue. Deal with difficulties while they are still easy. Handle the great while it is still small.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done without using violence.” ~ Lao Tzu


More Lao Tzu Motivational Quotes

Here’s some more motivational lao tzu quotes that will inspire you to find inner peace and live fully.


  • “In the end, the treasure of life is missed by those who hold on and gained by those who let go.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you lack faith, then existence does not believe in you.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way to heaven.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “All great things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time, is like saying, “I don’t want to.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The mind of a perfect man is like a mirror. It grasps nothing; it expects nothing; it reflects but does not hold.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” ~ Lao Tzu


woman practicing meditation


  • “The soul has no secret that the behavior does not reveal.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “A good traveler has no fixed plans is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Your own positive future begins at this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “It is not wise to rush about. If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows. This is not the way of the Tao.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place. When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.” ~ Lao Tzu


Quotes By Lao Tzu On Simplicity


  • “Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Being still does not mean don’t move. It means to move in peace.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Simple in actions and results, you return to the source of being.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Best be still; best be empty. In stillness and emptiness we find where to abide. Talking and moving we lose the place.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Never think too much about a dilemma. Answers always come to a relaxed mind. Time allows things to fall into place. A calm attitude yields the best results.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”  ~ Lao Tzu


  • “I have just three things to teach; simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Act without doing. Strive for the effortless. Enjoy the plain and simple. See simplicity in the complicated. Achieve greatness in little things.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.” ~ Lao Tzu


woman by the ocean


  • “If you close your mind in judgements and traffic with desires, your heart will be troubled. If you keep your mind from judging and aren’t led by the senses, your heart will find peace.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” ~ Lao Tzu


  • “There is no greater disaster than not being content. There is no misfortune greater than being covetous.” ~ Lao Tzu


Final Thoughts

Lao Tzu’s wisdom continues to resonate with people around the world, even centuries after his death. 

These quotes by Lao Tzu remind us to live in harmony with the natural world, embrace simplicity, and cultivate inner peace. 

His teachings can help us navigate the challenges of life with grace and wisdom, and find meaning in the journey to inner peace. 

As he once famously said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” 

So what’s one small step you can take today to move towards happiness and contentment in your life?

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