All under heaven say that I am great,
great but unconventional.
precisely because I am unconventional.
I can be great;
If I were conventional,
I would long since have become a trifle.
I have always possessed three treasures
that I guard and treasure.
The first is compassion.
The second is frugality.
The third is not daring to be ahead of all under heaven.
Because I am compassionate,
I can be brave;
Because I am frugal,
I can be magnanimous;
Because I dare not be ahead of all under heaven.
I can be a leader in the completion of affairs.
If, today, I were to
Be courageous while forsaking compassion,
Be magnanimous while forsaking frugality,
Get ahead while forsaking the hindmost,
that would be death!
-Tao Te Ching