Life stages and pursuit of wisdom
zǐ yuē：“wú shí yǒu wǔ ér zhì yú xué，sān shí ér lì，sì shí ér bú huò，wǔ shí ér zhī tiān mìng，liù shí ér ěr shùn，qī shí ér cóng xīn suǒ yù，bù yú jǔ。”《lùn yǔ》
Humans go through physiological life stages from baby to child to teenager then to old age. What about psychological life stages?
Here, I would like to share the life stages presented by Confucius, and it puts into perspective the advice given by Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.
The best interpretation, or one that helped me make sense of Confucius’ saying is this post on the following site:
(I do not vouch for the site)
“When I was fifteen, I started on my pursuit of life’s path/ career (being open to questioning and devote in finding my path);
(After many years of hard work)
when I was thirty, my understanding of life, my path was set firmly;
when I was forty, I no longer doubt my life decisions (my career path is set);
when I was fifty, my inner and outer world finds alignment. I have found (act out) my mission in life. I practice what I preach (No mid life crisis here) 五十而知天命.
when I was sixty, I realised that life is complex and I begin to accept – the positive and the negative views – and not be upset;
when I was seventy, I had the freedom to do whatever my heart desires, within the rules of this world [that I have observed throughout all of my life].”
Examining Confucius, I realised that Jack Ma’s sayings are built on philosophical foundations, just like in the Western world if you quote Socrates.
What Jack Ma says (probably building on the sayings of Confuscius) :
“When you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss [and] join a good company to learn how to do things properly,” Ma said. (Learn as much as you can.)
“When you are 30 to 40 years old, if you want to do something yourself, just do it. You still can afford to lose, to fail,”
“When you’re 40 to 50 years old, my suggestion is you should do things you are good at.” Instead of diving into a new field or subject toward the later years in your career.
“When you are 50 to 60 years old, spend time training and developing young people, the next generation,” Ma added.
“When you are over 60 years old, you better stay with your grandchildren.”