Why Taoism?

Americans are quite obsessed with the idea of productivity. A quick google search will lead you to a billion articles about fighting procrastination, optimizing your work flow, and prioritizing tasks. We believe that if we just accomplish a little more, we’ll achieve all our dreams and be validated in our pursuits. Productivity is a sort of individualistic moral cause in that while we can choose what we want to do, the only sin is to not do it efficiently.

While I don’t have anything against productivity techniques per se, it is overly focused on doing something, which is only one half of the equation. Not doing anything can be equally important.

To explore an alternative to modern productivity culture, I chose Taoism. Taoism is focused on living according to the Tao, “the totality of natural processes.” Taoists believe that nature has it’s own way of doing things, and it is senseless to try to work against the Tao. To cross a river you don’t swim upstream. You let the current guide you. Don’t force it. | Expand



  • Lao Tzu is considered to be the “founder” of Taoism as his teachings were aggregated into the classic Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching circa 4th century BCE.
  • Wu-Wei, loosely translated as “non-action,” is one of the core idea in Taoism. It teaches that not forcing thing, or not going against the Tao, is often the correct path.
  • Taoism is fond of paradox, often saying that we must try to not try, be both strong and weak, and to seek knowledge by not seeking knowledge

Read More

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

taoismThe essential text of Taoism


The Tao of Pooh

taoismAn excellent, accessible explanation of Taoism through the lens of Winnie the Pooh stories


The Te of Piglet

taoismLike the Tao of Pooh, an exploration of the feminine or submissive side of Taoism through the lens of Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh Stories

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Taoism

taoismA handy reference guide to the core concepts and history of Taoism

In a Modern World...

The lifehacker productivity culture is all about trying to force things to happen to improve your life. But when these methods fail or lead to marginal results, we become frustrated with ourselves and either give up completely or double down and try to find some other magical method to make us productive. But Taoism teaches that we shouldn’t force things, and that there are times to put in a strong effort, and times to not do anything at all.

Taoist Wisdom

  • My favorite personal development blogs and how ancient wisdom makes them better
  • Is life going great or terribly?
  • You already won
  • Good luck or bad luck? You don’t know
  • My 30 Day Experiment

    My Practice: Practice Tai Chi, take nature walks, and work naturally

  • Taoism – Learning the Art of Non-Action
  • Naps and Long Walks
  • Fast-forwarding through Tai Chi
  • I Quit My Job and Started My Own Business, Taoist Style
  • Don’t be smart
  • Taoism Week 1 Recap
  • The Taoist Manager
  • Disgrace and Misfortune are Normal
  • Re-Learning to Walk
  • Everything that has happened to you has led you to now
  • Dealing with Disappointment using Wu-Wei
  • Bring Café Culture to Work
  • The Uncarved Wood Theory of Productivity
  • Three Applications of Non-Action
  • Doing Nothing: The Taoist and Scientific Way of Generating Creativity
  • Welcoming Variability
  • Don’t be productive: Lessons from my Taoist experiment