The great river and the sea
rule the ten thousand valleys
by virtue of lying below them.

Therefore, the Consultant,
in order to stand above other developers,
must present himself as below them;
in order to lead the world,
he must leave his self-interest behind.

That way, although he is on top,
he does not feel like a burden;
although he is in front,
he does not appear to block the way:
the world itself promotes him tirelessly.

Well, it is only because he does not compete
that nobody can compete with him.

 


chapter notes:

In the first verse, I have again gratuitously used “ten thousand” where it did not originally appear. Otherwise, this is a pretty straightforward translation — although the chapter title picks a target example of particular modern relevance.