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Confucius Praised Him

Zeng Shen was young enough to be Confucius’s grandson, yet he won high praise from the old sage. One of the sayings for which Zeng Shen is famous goes something like this. “Every day I ask myself three questions. The first is, ‘Have I sinned in my thoughts and actions toward others?’ The second is, ‘Have I broken faith in any of my friendships?’ The third is, ‘Have I tried to teach anything to others I have not fully learned and understood myself?’” If Zeng Shen asked himself these three questions every day, resolving to make no mistakes, then, young as he was, we can well understand why Confucius praised him. Not only is each of the three questions extremely important in itself, but the practice of examining one’s own behavior every day is a habit that every leader should cultivate.

Konosuke Matsushita founder of Panasonic, in his book Velvet Glove, Iron Fist (PHP Institute, Inc.), quoted in Bits & Pieces, August 20, 1992, pp. 22-23