I came across “knowing when to stop” recently in a book by Wayne Dyer,Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, which is his study of the Tao Te Ching. The idea of practicing knowing when to stop comes from verse 44. Although Dyer’s discussion focuses on non-attachment to (stopping) the pursuit of possessions and recognition, for me the applications are endless. Am I pushing my body too hard? Am I expecting too much of others or of myself? Am I spending precious time ruminating on past events that I cannot change? Am I trying to change an unchangeable circumstance? Am I carrying on a conversation where no one is communicating any longer? Am I angry? It’s time to stop.
Here’s Verse 44:
“Which means more to you,
you or your renown?
Which brings more to you,
you or what you own?
I say what you gain
is more trouble than what you lose.
Love is the fruit of sacrifice.
Wealth is the fruit of generosity.
A contented woman is never disappointed.
She who knows when to stop is preserved from peril,
only thus can you endure long.”