Taoism and the martial arts it has influenced teach the importance of being centered, balanced, and therefore having the maximum number of options in a given situation.
Staying centered is important in every endeavor, particularly when it comes to the complexity of our social environments.
By way of example, one day I returned to work only to find an employee was upset with me for requiring something of him. My first response was, “He is in the wrong for behaving this way to me, and I am going to let him know it.”
Then I remembered my balance, yin yang, and the principle of Wei Wu Wei, which is “Do by not doing.”
I invited him into my office, gestured for him to sit down, and said, “I’m concerned. Tell me what is on your mind.”
I did not attack. I did not talk down to him. I did not remind him of why my actions were completely justified.
He then explained why he was upset. I understood parts of his perspective that, in my mind’s own self-righteousness, I did not understand before. I explained my point of view, made apologies where necessary, and checked to make sure he was OK. He was.
Had I come on strongly and been the unwavering supervisor, I would have missed a lot and created an antagonist. Instead I settled a misunderstanding, and learned a thing or two.
Middle path. Wei Wu Wei. Playing close to the vest.
A much more harmonious life.