What is secure is easily grasped,
What has no omens is easily forstalled,
What is brittle is easily split,
What is miniscule is easily dispersed.
Act before there is a problem,
Bring order before there is disorder.
A tree that fills the arms' embrace
is born from a downy shoot;
A terrace nine layers high
starts from a basketful of earth,
An ascent of a hundred strides
begins beneath one's foot.
Who acts fails;
Who grasps loses.
For this reason
The sage does not act,
He does not fail.
He does not grasp;
He does not lose.
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