Confucius | The Art of Becoming Better (Self-Cultivation)

Confucius | The Art of Becoming Better (Self-Cultivation)

Isn’t it the case we should always stay true to ourselves? Which means that we ought to know who we are, and organize our lives in ways that are compatible with our personalities?

When we look for a partner, for example, we look for someone that we’re compatible with, and in regards to education and work, we need to do something that fits our characteristics.

However, “not knowing who we are” seems to be a problem. But luckily, this problem can be solved by taking a personality test, by talking to a counselor, or perhaps by going on a long solo-trip around the world to (quote on quote) “find ourselves”. Because, after all, our true selves lie somewhere hidden deep within.


Well, according to Michael Puett, Harvard professor of Chinese History and author of the book The Path, this way of thinking is extremely limited and even dangerous when it comes to how we live our lives.

The Path (affiliate link):

In Chinese philosophy, there’s no fixed ‘self’ the way we see it in the Western world. Who we are, and what we could become is much more tangible, than a fixed set of characteristics that define a personality.

This Eastern ‘self’ is always evolving, changing, losing, and gaining, and isn’t so much defined by what’s within, but by what we do. So, it cannot be found, but it can be cultivated.

Self-cultivation is a psychological process that’s part of the ancient Chinese system of thought called Confucianism. Its founder, Confucius, firmly believed in the power of ritual, and how it can make our lives better.

This video explores the art of becoming better, based on the teachings of Confucius.

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00:00 Intro
02:38 On Confucius
04:15 The “self”
06:52 Focusing on change
08:30 The power of ritual
10:35 Self-cultivation



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A disclaimer: the intention of this video is not to support certain governments

or indoctrination of any kind. It simply intends to highlight the effects that

ritual can have, and how we can harness this power to improve ourselves.

I'm aware that this idea goes against the usual undercurrent of this channel

with common themes like acceptance and non-conformity. I'm pretty sure the idea of

self-cultivation as presented here will be regarded as 'too simplistic' by mental health professionals.

Nevertheless, I think this idea is interesting and I want to keep an open mind

(which is what this channel does: exploring ideas).

Also, this video is not against counselors and personality tests (au contraire):

it reflects on how some people tend to cling to their 'personality types'.

Thank you.

Trevor McGuire

Well yes but actually no


This is brilliant. This is so savvy. Very impressive. Although ritual is much more a personal thinv, not collective. The rituals you speak of can be destructive. I don't need to tell you who used ritual destructively, do I?

Alex Du Bois

"A'holes can become pleasant and kind."

– Einzelgänger

vijay krishnan

Does this channel have a podcast ,someone please tell me

The Unfortunateguy

We cannot "receive" we can only "Accept"

Kasonda Leigh

I am really enjoying this channel. Thank you.

Balanced Entertainment

You should say your name in a video so I know how to Pronouns it


Your videos are brilliant and refreshing

Ignacio Celani

love your videos, they help me find my way. Thanks from the heart

Samuel Muldoon

The video preview image is a cartoon of Confucius. The cartoon is quite well done. Who is the artist? I would be willing to pay money for print (copy) of the Confucius cartoon or portrait.

Nature by Natasha

Thankyou for making this video

Cherry Warner



I'm having epiphanies as I watch/listen to your videos. Thank you for summarizing the valuable lessons from various philosophers throughout your videos!


your question was wrong! we all live in ritualized communities, those rituals just don,t make us better in a oersonal, intellectual or moralistic way( whatever this means ) but simply to function as national ants! so thereby it works to be better citicens in a way the governments want,,,,not in a general universal way…🤷‍♀️so your starting point and question kinda overlooked that , hmm? besides that , thanks for the explanation, it,s simoly training.l.everyone can train something….even behaviour🤷‍♀️it.s called behavioural therapy…🤷‍♀️welcome to the real world and accept that we all are conditioned in some way,,,,🤷‍♀️

Watermunt Economie

Ik vraag me af, kan ik contact komen met je en keer uitnodigen naar het Westland te komen voor een presentatie?

dan dvm



Man. I am in love with your content mate. Idk if you’re going to see this a year after making this but man your content adds value to my life. I am consistently self cultivating and being the change I want to see within. Thank you.

Matthew Young

Go for a 20 minute run most days. It makes all the difference

Dianne Guilfoyle

Taoism is pronounced like it has a D in the beginning. Not a T.

Полезные для жизни фразы

Dr. Seku Gathers


Robert Nielsen

Resetting your mental state, effectively gives you a sane starting place, in that time of day, every day

Guillermo Bustamante

Beautifully presented, sir. Thanks!


It’s crazy i was watching the natural flow video and i was understanding but i wasn’t really feeling it and something told me to look up Confucius and i found exactly what i needed ✅

LordOf TheRed

It's interesting to see how similar Christianity and Confucius see individuals. Both view an individual as a tangled and jumbled mess, with our desires often tugging us in different and often destructive directions. We built these habits and desires over time and we can reprogram them with effort over time with rituals and practice. Virtue is a habit, we just have to practice it.

Gary P

I didn't have my glasses on. I thought it said becoming bitter

Sad Cat in a Cowboy Hat

I don't know, I feel in some ways confusionism and Taoism can go hand. Taoism is about going with the natural order of things but I wouldn't see how it would conflict with certain aspects of confusionism like seeking self-improvement and daily rituals, if that's your nature

willie luncheonette

"These three great Masters remained individuals. Once in a while somebody was impressed by their writings, but it remained intellectual, so there is no hope in the near future of Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu or Lao Tzu being born again in China, or their influence in any way changing the course of China’s history, because in fact they have never been of any great importance in China’s mind. Confucius and Lao Tzu were contemporaries. Confucius had even gone to meet Lao Tzu, because Lao Tzu was certainly a man of tremendous qualities. Confucius was a great thinker, but only a thinker. He had nothing as far as his own inner consciousness is concerned, no experience, no idea who he is, but he had planned for the society perfectly well, a very mannered, cultured society.

Hearing that Lao Tzu was nearby, living in a cave beyond the lake, he went to see him. A few of his disciples also went, but he told them, “You wait outside the cave.” They said, “Why? It will be good, we can listen.” He said, “You don’t understand. I will tell you the reason later on. Let me go first. If I feel it right I will call you in.”

They stayed outside, Confucius went in. Lao Tzu was sitting silently. He did not say to Confucius even to sit down, and Confucius was man of manners, etiquette. He had not expected that a great sage, Lao Tzu, would not even ask. He did not say hello or even hi — even that short form, “hi.” He simply sat down, looking at Confucius, and Confucius said, “Sir, don’t you believe in manners?”

Lao Tzu laughed. He said, ‘I thought you knew all the manners — what is the need for me to tell you? If you feel like sitting, you will sit down! You are not a man who does not know manners. If you like to stand up, it is my etiquette not to disturb you. You can stand up!” Confucius said, “But you… you did not even say hello.” Lao Tzu said, “I said it. You could not hear it. It was a test: I said it silently. I wanted to know whether the famous philosopher Confucius understands silence or not. So you understand only words — that much is decided! And you have expectations. You cannot sit down on your own, you have to be told. This cave does not belong to me. When I came here, nobody said ‘sit down,’ because nobody was here. Why should I say it? It is not my cave, nothing belongs to me. Just the way I am sitting, you can sit down. You are not a child to be told.”

Confucius had never met such a man. And on each point he was rebuffed badly. Then Lao Tzu said, “If you really want to learn anything, first go and renounce all the idiots you have collected as your disciples. You don’t know anything and you have thousands of disciples. It is hilarious! You just go and tell them the truth, that you don’t know anything, and then come, because I teach only if somebody does not know. If he knows it already, why should he bother me? An old man… Leave me alone!”

Confucius came out, and he had not the courage to say to his disciples that he did not know. He had thousands of disciples, he was the most famous man at that time. Very few people knew about Lao Tzu. Confucius has remained a shadow over the whole of Chinese history. It is only somewhere in the footnotes you can find the name of Lao Tzu.

Confucius was not courageous enough to say “I do not know.” The disciples said “You didn’t ask us to come in. He said, “It was good that I didn’t ask you to come in. And please don’t ask the reason. That man is not a man; he is a dragon. He is dangerous, avoid him as far as possible. This is my first and last meeting with that old guy!”

And he was perspiring. It was a cold morning and the cave was very cool, but he was perspiring. The disciples said, “But why are you perspiring?” He said, “I am alive — that’s enough! Just take me away from here.”"

can you make your English simple please English isn't my first language but I'm really trying to understand everything you're saying, i get it sometimes but those deep unrecognize words are needed to be searched before i actually get the meaning of the line

Friendly Rift

I love being entertainned 😌

Luis F B Junqueira

Amazing channel!!


You kinda threw me off when u said rituals lol but other than that good video

Utsav Parihar

"Be the change that you want to see." quote by Mahatma Gandhi.
you should mention the name.

Tylin Kimberly


This is terrible advice

Syndakid TV

I’m doing pretty good, I’m 20 I don’t know much but I feel like I have a grasp on the reality we live in and myself, that I do know.

Wej Dwmorah

I don't need to be better I've been the best sin e 12 and will remain so please donate your organs

Allahu Akbar

Summarization: self reflection


Summary: you can become what you want by following some ritual that leads to it and be it and then don't settle to it and become something next .

Manan Sharma

"Be the change that you want to be."

Jackie Wu

Rituals have profound effects on the person and the community. So is hard drug. So why rituals ? Makes no sense.

To be better means it can be worse because better and worse cannot be separated. Not trying to be better is the key to not being worse. Just accept life the way it is and live to enjoy and appreciate life. Live according to what our hearts desire and fully enjoy every moment of life.

Confucianism is the curse of China because of its corrupted approach to life by separating humans into good, better, and best, and the inevitable result are bad, worse, and worst. To get rid of this poisonous attitude, one can learn to accept the inevitable and live life fully. Let be and never let go.

May the love and the peace of Jesus be with us.

Tetsukobu Musashi

A dead master is a good master. (Me)

James Smith

1:46 wdym or?

Arky Andy

Been sharing for a bit. Well done


Now I'm a bit Confucied


This video changed my life for the better I will become the first millionaire in my family and build my empire will doing it.

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