Wu-wei has been variously translated by scholars into English as "inaction," "not forcing," and "doing nothing." Comparative philosopher Roger Ames describes the concept of wu-wei as "responding with an awareness that enables one to maximize the creative possibilities of himself in his environment."

Philippe L. Gross, S. I. Shapiro, Roger Ames, The Tao of Photography by Philippe L. Gross, S. I. Shapiro