What is rooted is easy to nourish;
What is recent is easy to right.
What is brittle is easy to break;
What is small is easy to scatter.
Prevent trouble before it arises,
Put things in order before they exist.
The great pine tree grows from the smallest sprout.
The journey of a thousand miles starts beneath your feet.
Rush into action and it’s ruined.
Try to grasp and it’s gone.
Force to completion,
You ruin what was almost ripe.
The smart man takes action by letting things take their course.
He’s as calm at the end as the beginning.
He has nothing, thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire;
What he learns is to unlearn;
What he teaches is what we already know.
The smart man cares only about the Tao,
And thus he cares for all things.