Lessons from the Tao Te Ching — Verse 9.
What is enough? In other words, how do you define, enough, and how do you know when you have reached enough?
The Tao Te Ching offers a wonderful paradox in Verse 9 to consider when pondering the question, “What is enough?”
“Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.”Lao-tzu. Tao Te Ching. Translated by Stephen Mitchel
If you sharpen continuously with no plan to stop putting blade to stone, blade to stone, eventually you will damage the knife by wearing away the steel.
The same is true in all areas of our lives.
How much exercise is enough?
Do you know the difference between too much and challenging your capacity?
How much eating is enough?
Why eat more when you have already had enough?
How much money is enough?
When will you be considered greedy by others or become protective of your wealth?
How much knowledge is enough?
When do you stop gathering information for the sake of information and seek understanding instead?
Perfection rests in knowing.
With any action, endeavour, or pursuit, knowing when to stop sharpening your knife is perfection.
Perfection is never attained. It is fleeting at best.
I like to say that practice makes for improvement — not perfection.
The moment you use your perfectly sharpened knife it begins to dull.
Image by Manki Kim