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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"Because one believes in oneself..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others...

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her."






The perspective of these lines is self-oriented. It's all about how splendid it is to be pleased with oneself. That is definitely not something Lao Tzu would say or applaud. To him, it was not at all about praising oneself - quite the opposite.

       His ideal was modesty and humility. For example, in chapter 2 he stated that the sage never demands honor for his deed, adding (my version):


Because he demands no honor,
He will never be dishonored.


       And in chapter 7:


The sage puts himself last and becomes the first,
Neglects himself and is preserved.
Is it not because he is unselfish that he fulfills himself?


       Again about the sage, in chapter 22:


He does not show off, therefore he shines.
He does not justify himself, therefore he is revered.
He does not boast, therefore he is honored.
He does not praise himself, therefore he remains.


       Chapter 63 explains that because the sage does not strive for greatness, he can accomplish it, and chapter 77 says that the sage acts without taking credit, accomplishing without dwelling on it.


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90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.


       The oldest book I have found with the complete quote examined here is Comfortable in Your Own Skin from as late as 2014, by Leandie du Randt. The following year there were three books published with the quote. They all ascribed it to Lao Tzu.

       The quote appeared several years earlier on the Internet. The oldest occurrence would be on the Goodreads website, where the quote, accredited to Lao Tzu, got its first like on December 19, 2009. On Facebook, the first appearance was in May 2011, also naming Lao Tzu as the author.

       So, it is safe to say that the quote in this wording had its origin on the web.

       There is a text with similar wording and content to be found on the Internet, but not in any book:


When you believe in yourself, you don't try to convince others. Because you are content with yourself, you don't need others' approval. When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you also.


       It is not ascribed to Lao Tzu - or to anyone else, as far as I have found. But the similarities with the quote examined here are striking. It is not unlikely that they have the same source, which then has been paraphrased in different directions. I don't know what that source is, but it is not Lao Tzu.

Stefan Stenudd
September 13, 2020.



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Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Fake Lao Tzu Quotes

Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. 90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

       More about the book here.



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