The Master remarked to Yan Hui, “It is said, ‘When he is employed, he moves forward; when he is removed from office, he holds himself in reserve.’ Surely this applies only to you and me?”
Zilu interposed, “If you, Master, were to lead the three armies into battle, who would you want by your side?”
The Master replied, “I would not want by my side the kind of person who would attack a tiger barehanded or attempt to swim the Yellow River, because he was willing to ‘die without regret.’ Surely I would want someone who approached such undertakings with a proper sense of trepidation, and who came to a decision only after having thoroughly considered the matter.”Confucius, & Slingerland, E. (2003). Analects: With selections from traditional commentaries. Hackett Publishing.
The Master said to Yan Yuan, When needed, to act; when cast aside, to retire—only you and I know how to do that—isn’t that so?
Zilu said, If you, Master, were directing the Three Armies, who would you take with you?
The Master said, Someone who faces a tiger bare-handed or wades the Yellow River, going to his death with no regrets—I wouldn’t take anyone like that. If I must answer, then I’d take someone who directs affairs in a mood of apprehension, who plans carefully and thereby succeeds.Confucius, & Watson, B. (2007). The Analects of Confucius. Columbia University Press.