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wyseguy7 t1_ius85g2 wrote


hugelung t1_iuskx9r wrote

When I was in high school like 20 years ago, this was hanging on the wall, but attributed to Gandhi hahaha


[deleted] t1_iustx3e wrote

aha, it was Ghandi all along, see


reverend-mayhem t1_iuu1jye wrote

♪ It was Ghandi all along! ♫

“And I killed British rule in India, too. Mwahaha!”


ImpossiblePlane27 t1_iut62gd wrote

True, it’s actually just an ancient Chinese proverb (so not by Lao Tzu and can’t be traced to any single Chinese philosophers per se but most probably one of them during the Spring and Autumn period 770-210 BC, in which Chinese philosophy flourished).

The original quote is this:


“Actions accumulate to become habits, habits accumulate to become character, characters accumulate to become destiny”

The current quote is apparently sourced to a Japanese scholar who studied ancient China (whom most likely was inspired by the ancient Chinese proverb); he’s been quoted to say something similar to this:


Which directly translates to:

“Thoughts change, then attitude/mindset change; attitude/mindset change, then behaviors change; behaviors change, then habits change; habits change; habits change, then character changes, character changes, then destiny changes.”

Which I think then inspired the current English version


Zephyr_Thundercock t1_iuvk7y4 wrote

Got it, said by some philosopher dude in the same time frame we went from the Arquebus to the MQ-9 Reaper Drone.


invaderpixel t1_iuw23gt wrote

Okay that's awesome, wish you could do that for all the posters hanging up in annoying middle school teacher's classrooms lol


starskip42 t1_iusidkn wrote

I did not think so, before I click your link I'm guessing Aristotle.

Edit: I need to look into Frank Outlaw


mastah-yoda t1_iusjeq9 wrote

I jumped into this post just after one about Cunningham's law.



ParaphrasesUnfairly t1_iutjezi wrote

Well if Lao Tzu didn’t say it, it’s not important or useful imo


Sirlancemehlot t1_iuu8l17 wrote

I'm pretty sure that guy on the buffalo is Dan Akroyd in costume. If Dan Akroyd said it, it has merit.


sheikhyerbouti t1_iuwhtbr wrote

"People only remember something on the internet if it's attributed to someone famous."

  • Thomas Jefferson

[deleted] t1_iuso5js wrote



[deleted] t1_iustf6u wrote

did you read it? very good link, you say bullshit, not even bs, lol, smh

the obvious give-away is the W.A.T.C.H. acronym, obviously the quote was made by an English speaking person, probably a pastor, as they love that sort of thing

it doesn't match exactly with the OP quote, but is clearly explained in the article

so, how do you attribute this to Lao Tzu? that's the real deal. What is the connection? Where is the evidence? What do you say? all you said is 'bs'


ValyrianJedi t1_ius72xr wrote

If my thoughts all became words I'd be fired and divorced tomorrow


Gainsborough-Smythe OP t1_ius88dy wrote

That's why they need watching... :)


[deleted] t1_iustzjl wrote

and destiny becomes fate


FrostyTheSasquatch t1_iutyo2o wrote

Destiny IS fate, isn’t it?


[deleted] t1_iuu4c8k wrote

destiny is what you should be if you do the right stuff

fate is where your destiny takes you, final destination. Tombstone text.


nature_remains t1_iut31kh wrote

I'm not, like, a massive fan of The Secret or the alleged 'magical powers' of what is termed the law of attraction (for the same reasons that I think any belief system can be harmful when you take it too far and shut out necessary parts of reality). However, I think that there is a lot of practical wisdom behind the principle of taking control of your thoughts - which is what I believe this quote is getting at (regardless of who said it). Although bad experiences are inevitable and negative thoughts can be both useful and necessary, I think that there is a tremendous value in training our brains to focus on the outcomes and ideas that we want more of in our lives. Unfortunately, there are quite a few folks who thoughtlessly peddle various brands of bullshit toxic positivity that bastardize this term. They tend to preach that positive thinking (positive honking if you are my phone's autocorrect) as though it is a type of supernatural force that is 100% effective at bringing about the seemingly impossible (and if you don't achieve success it is because you failed in your methodology - convenient) or alternately, it is used as a type of hollow mantra that will eventually be believed if you just say it long enough or see it frequently enough without doing the work - conveniently a great way to sell merch also.

Instead I think the value lies in harnessing the brain's tremendous power as a muscle by strengthening your resolve to achieve xyz by specifically targeting targeting neural pathways that take you there. It's a fucking hike at first and can feel pretty unnatural and like a pointlessly difficult exercise in futility where you are trying to trick yourself (it did for me anyway as I am naturally cynical and my internal monologue trends toward being an unfairly negative self-critic of the highest order). So I was fucking stunned stupid by the impact this [initially] labored shift in thinking had on my life -- in achieving my own goals and in my attitude towards life. It unexpectedly had this incredibly transformative effect on my relationships as well. The quality of my interactions with others heightened and I found myself learning and valuing people I had long ago written off as incapable of providing me with anything. Anyway, I chose to vomit this insight out because it was just so much more worthwhile than I expected and I needed to write it down as a reminder to myself that it is worth the effort (I have let it wane as of late). Perhaps it will be useful to you in your own life. If not, I hear they're doing awesome shit with crystal balls these days.

Good luck to you! (I know you are half joking but I recommend starting by doing all you can to focus on things you genuinely value in your partner and job and go from there. If nothing else, it'll be helpful in the upcoming divorce and termination proceedings lest you inadvertently allow all the bad to spill out :)


Greenbeano_o t1_iuuuhtf wrote

Awesome stuff. Any particular books that have helped you the most in taking control of your thoughts in a beneficial way?


faahqueimmanutjawb t1_iuv30bb wrote

Thanks for the comment.

I had read a comment on another forum where the commenter talked about how your subconscious is helping you navigate life; and that the positive thoughts, affirmations, prayers etc are just you telling your subconscious what you seek. The subconscious then filters your experiences or it highlights what you seek when you come across it instead of drowning it out in the noise of experience.

Also related: my uncle who's fairly religious and I (quite agnostic) have discussions regarding spirituality. He's told me several times that it boils down to reaffirming your belief in your own capabilities and strength. The more you believe that you are strong and capable, the more you will be seeking to do and achieve - and the more successful outcomes you will likely have.


Cognitive_Spoon t1_iutc9kk wrote

Yeah, this is extra shit advice if you have OCD intrusive thoughts


v74u t1_iuwd0rn wrote

As someone with OCD anytime I hear advice about behavior or thoughts I immediately think of how that advice would apply to OCD lol. I think it’s almost like a part of OCD. Realistically it is probably just talking about the conscious thoughts you intend to have and not the unconscious thoughts you randomly have. I have noticed a correlation though that advice that would negatively affect someone with OCD is normally just bad advice because everyone has unwanted thoughts and feeling.


Human_Reference_3366 t1_ius1y4h wrote

I appreciate the sentiment here, but anyone suffering from anxiety or intrusive thoughts should remember that you are not your thoughts. It is really your words and actions that matter most, and you are not destined to follow your thoughts.

I like the saying that thoughts are like birds. You can’t stop them from landing on your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair!


SirRamics t1_ius6mp4 wrote

That's why you have to watch your thoughts, because your thoughts become you if unchecked.


[deleted] t1_ius6n9l wrote

As someone with anxiety I think Lao Tzu's words still work.

You should watch your anxious/intrusive thought. They aren't you, but if you let them run rampant they will become you.

I let my anxious thoughts control me from the time I was 15-20 and I'm 22 still working my way out.


arbydallas t1_iusimbc wrote

Ok agree. Your thoughts certainly aren't you, but if they are generated in your subconscious mind, they often still have importance that you can investigate. You shouldn't judge yourself for having thoughts, but it can be helpful to try and figure out why they came about and if there's anything that should be done about them (eg work on a problem, show yourself compassion, jerk off, etc)


Human_Reference_3366 t1_iuy1z8a wrote

I’m 35, and have realized I have to live alongside my anxiety because it’ll always be there from time to time. There’s no “out”. Hence, I don’t like sayings that imply people are deficient for having anxious thoughts; accepting our imperfect selves is important.


clamence1864 t1_iuszv2l wrote

You’re missing part of the point of the eastern philosophy being espoused here (although I doubt this Lao Tzu). From this perspective, there is no “self” and the phrase “you are not your thoughts” is incoherent. So I think the author would agree with you 100%.

Another metaphor I like is that thoughts/feelings are like logs passing on a river. They will all pass unless we start to hold onto them and build on to them. So, for the person with intrusive thoughts, it is important to recognize that the thoughts are temporary, but it is also important to take care with the type of thoughts you do hold on to. I don’t think your position is that far away from the sentiment of the quote.

Also, you may not be destined to follow your thoughts, but the types of thoughts you focus on will inevitably affect your actions. Intrusive or not. So it’s still important to keep in mind the causal connection between our passing mental states and our overall character.


Local-Program404 t1_iust8po wrote

The best tool for intrusive thought disorder is to take action. Certainly don't own the thoughts as your entire being, but take action to make them more pleasant. I have an extreme intrusive though disorder. 10 years ago it was literal non-stop suicidal idealation coming from my intrusive thoughts, that lasted for years. Now I am happy and past that, because I watched my thoughts and took action to think better.


IMSOGIRL t1_iuuqrjk wrote

The quote doesn't mean thoughts with the context of mental illness in mind. It means intentions.


[deleted] t1_ius8niv wrote



notenoughroomtofitmy t1_iusrvg2 wrote

Anyone who is trained to believe that any culture is totally evil with no redeeming qualities is a total idiot. Chinese culture is what, 5000 years old or so? A lot happens over that time, good and bad things. Lao Tzu is far from Chinese propaganda, he is a tool to rid yourself off your own propaganda, whatever that may be.

The “woke seemingly philosophically inclined hipster” kids are showing more empathy and nuance in their thinking than people of the same age did say 10 or 20 years ago. For every tidepod eating kid there may as well be a handful more who want to be the change and make the world a better place, kids who are curing ancestral abuse normalized as being “tough”, kids who are being more responsible adults than adults who have social media inspired blinders of hate and ignorance.

Even as far as 2500 years ago we have had quotes lamenting at the “kids these days”. The sentiment is stale, and adds nothing to the conversation anymore.


emmanuelxxx t1_ius1pfx wrote

Lao Tzu Lived in a Hut and Ate Straw!


bumbletowne t1_ius5rke wrote

Is this a reference to something? Humans cannot eat straw, straw is made of lots of plant sugars like Cellulose (probably mostly cellulose). Cellulose is a 12 carbon sugar like Sucrose but your body can't unfold it (mutorotate) due to an extra Hydroxide group sticking up that keeps your sugar-digesting enzyme from fitting around it.

Cellulose stays intact in your gut and in long strands that physically rake the interior of your gut and bind up your digestive contents. Yes, its 'fiber'.

All vertebrates lack the ability to unfold cellulose. Some animals have retained special bacteria in their gut that they house in a special organ called the cecum. This bacteria requires lots of time to break down cellulose. Animals with a cecum that can break down cellulose have a VERY slow digestive system. Some have multiple stomachs, like a cow. Others practice coprophagia, the practice of eating feces. Rabbits and deer eat their first couple bowel movements of the morning in order to give bacteria time to break down cellulose. They also need to do this to help retain that bacteria.

Our guts move food through relatively quick. Much too fast for cellulose to break things down. This is in part because we stand upright and are subsistance runners but also because we are omnivores. Mammals that eat meat tend to have extremely fast digestive systems to prevent necrotizing (flesh eating) bacterias in our food from infecting us.

TLDR: It is highly unlikely the man lived off of eating straw.


Halvus_I t1_ius6xki wrote

Yes, its a reference to an episode of the TV show 'King of the Hill'. The Son Also Roses, Season 6, Episode 7.

Sooo you wrote all that to rebut a throwaway TV show reference.


KingZant t1_iusbiai wrote

That can happen when you shout references without reading the room. I don't think references are a good replacement for humor. "Haha you said the thing," okay, cool, what else?

I like OP's response because they try to create a learning opportunity, even if it is a bit of a bloated response.

This is my opinion and I'm sorry if I sound pretentious lol.

Edit: not OP's response but the other guy, mb


YesplzMm t1_ius8352 wrote

Got dang bumbletowne, what's wrong with you?


bumbletowne t1_iusissp wrote

University education, mostly.


Doufee t1_iusla5v wrote

Ah, so you're ruined financially. Got it. /s

At least it's not a hospital bill. (Wish that WAS sarcasm)


YesplzMm t1_iuu2py0 wrote

Now that explains why I understand your argument...


Hyval_the_Emolga t1_ius8ts2 wrote

To elaborate on Halvus’s comment: Lao Tzu was being pushed as an inspiration by these two hippy/stoner characters that were initially against entering a contest because the air of competition hurt their feng shui, basically.

When they came very close to winning but failed they get upset at the main character who they sponsored to win for them. When he tries to calm them down by quoting Lao Tzu, they respond with the quote.


DJ_Spark_Shot t1_iut0qfz wrote

I needed this right now. It reminded me of another quote I try to always be mindful of:

"There are many chains which bind us; the so called 'natural laws', the set passage of time, the vessel we think of as our body, the spirit we think of as the mind. These are the chains that bind all living things. These are the bonds from which we cannot break free. But did you know there is one chain that humans can wield all on their own?" ...

"Indeed. Frightening things, these words. Once they have left a person's lips they cannot be returned. Once heard, they can never be ignored. Still, people throw them out far too lightly; often unaware of the chains they create. Words are alive and they have the power to change the course of a person's future."

"It is not only the words we say aloud that bind. Often it is the words we think to ourselves that are the most powerful of all. "

-Yuuko Ichihara, xxxHolic


akivamu t1_iuspe5m wrote

Better go straight from thoughts to actions.


Bugbrain_04 t1_iutjtuz wrote

Also, both words and actions shape thoughts.


decayingskullz t1_iuu8ug8 wrote

Fuuuuuuuucccckkkkk I needed to hear this thank you


CruelMetatron t1_ius3k43 wrote

'Watch your thoughts' is a very chinese thing to say.


GayPudding t1_iusfx5q wrote

Observe fits better here. Pay attention to your thoughts, don't suppress them, but also don't dwell on them.


sagatzomby t1_iuwrld8 wrote

i think watch is better. To observe something is more casual and easy to do. But to watch something you are engaging more with the thing your watching. It requires more deliberet thought.


lamelumi_ t1_iut0fqd wrote

Watch your destiny, it becomes your life. -me


SaphirePool t1_iut56yu wrote

The Way of the Tao Te Ching is what I try to live by. It's the closest thing to religion I have.


all_too_familiar t1_iutw458 wrote

Only believe one percent of what you read on the internet, the one percent that provides sources- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address


Kon-Tiki66 t1_iuun9yk wrote

He beat the shit out of Uma Thurman.


Omegawolf83 t1_iuure6j wrote



b0dhisattvah t1_iuustj1 wrote

Watch your watching or you'll trip over stuff you missed while you were busy watching everything else.


Cyber_Connor t1_iuv6awi wrote

Big tiddy goth GF

The seed has been planted


[deleted] t1_iutc1nh wrote

Nice I really don't understand this quote tho can explain? ❤️


slugmister t1_iuu4h8a wrote

This is so true, but I find that holding words in is not good as it just builds up and then you end you spewing insults at people who do deserve it. The desire to call a guy a jerk and not do it is quite unhealthy.


matthew0001 t1_iuujq2f wrote

Ha that's why I'm mute by choice, take that Lao tzu!


thecwestions t1_iuukvtn wrote

I feel like the anonymity of the internet and covid lockdown divisiveness drive a lot of the bad behavior and character we see nowadays.


keeperrr t1_iuunkox wrote

What is destiny


usagi421 t1_iuuz5dq wrote

... this doesn't motivate me, it overwhelms me😭


Tasbogan t1_iuuz9cl wrote

Character equals destiny when a plane doesn't fall on your house


zaphod4th t1_iuvcpfh wrote

I can fly, I can fly, I can fly



jusmoua t1_iuvhp1a wrote

RemindMe! 6 months!


Dumguy1214 t1_iuw9a5f wrote

humans are a creature of habit

each flat in my block takes care of the trashing bin

I rented the flat for a 1 year and such is the way in Iceland that they dont have to do that

I have been back in my flat for 2 years, still the trash kay never stops with me


shaddowkhan t1_iuwjzsj wrote

I like that statue, anybody have a link?


_far-seeker_ t1_iusam8s wrote

Wow I didn't know Babe, Paul Bunyan's giant blue ox, had Chinese ancestors!


KagemasaUchiha t1_iusg516 wrote

I believe I heard this same quote from Imam Ibn Al Qayyim.


C4L1 t1_iusoora wrote

Nice to see Lao Tzu drinkin an Arizona green tea.


LunaticGear t1_iutvq88 wrote

Watch your wallet that guy just ran off with it


Atcoroo t1_iutztrs wrote

"I am a little man, and I carry a broom" - Lu Tze


rodman517 t1_iuu4kr8 wrote

Lol. I saw this quote attached to Jackie Chan before.


glassmemama t1_iuu84w1 wrote

Watch your six, it’s open for dicks

-Winston Churchill


Upst8r t1_iuucu04 wrote

Watch Netflix.


darknetwork t1_iuum69w wrote

Watch your browsing history


Sh4kyj4wz t1_iuuxxl8 wrote

Refuse to take life advice from a lil bald gremlin sitting sideways on a bull... Sorry


fxckfxckgames t1_iut08sn wrote

Watch your hot pocket

for it will burn your tongue


Unethical_Castrator t1_iutovu0 wrote

GOP is at the “They become character” phase. Let’s stop them from reaching their final form, yeah?


Gsquat t1_iuuq0ys wrote

All summed up much better when Christ said "love God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself."