Color illustration of the Chinese sage ConfuciusIn The Analects, Confucius provides us with one of the earliest maps of human development.

The Master said, at 15 I set my heart upon learning

At 30, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground.

At 40, I no longer suffered from perplexities.

At 50, I knew what were the biddings of heaven.

At 60, I heard them with docile ears.

At 70, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.


For more information about the stages of life in different cultures and traditions, see Thomas Armstrong , The Human Odyssey:  Navigating the 12 Stages of Life.

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