The gentleman understands righteousness, the petty man understands profit.
All men will be confronted with three paths in life.
The path of the Petty Man
The petty man does not grasp the value of virtues and seeks only immediate gains. He is egotistic and does not consider the consequences of his action in the overall scheme of things. Should you surround yourself with petty men, you will due to their small-mindness. Examples of such individuals can range from those who continually indulge in sensual and emotional pleasures all day to the career politician who is interested merely in power and fame; neither sincerely aims for the long-term benefit of others.
The path of the Noble Man
The Noble Man, or Gentleman, is loyal, obedient and knowledgeable. Noble Man disciplines himself, since he does more and speaks less. He is raised to have a superior ethical and moral position while gaining inner peace through his virtue. The Noble Man sets an example by acting virtuously himself. It is thought that his pure virtue would lead others to follow his example.
The path of the By-Stander
The By-Stander simply is. He will accept things as they are and might even complain about them, but does nothing to change them. He will sway sides, between the Noble Man and the Petty Man, based on where he’s standing at the moment. His inaction and lack of determination are an action.