"The sage changes like a leopard, the inferior person discards the face."
One of my favorite lines in the I Ching.
How does a leopard change?
Leopards do it very subtly, they don't shed their whole skin like snakes, nor their tail like tadpoles, nor transform drastically into something else like caterpillars. They shed some fur in accordance with the season, grow thicker fur when the time is right, change the glossiness, the fluid play of movement under the surface, so the light refracts differently and waxes iridescent on their body. They change as subtly and gradually as day changes into night, night into day. They turn into a play of light and darkness, of shade and brightness, but they do it with and within the body they have.
The "inferior person" seeks "total transformation" and "transcendence" and "discarding the body" as something unwanted, discarding the "me," the "who I am" as something alien or inferior or bothersome -- "ego," "ignorance," "gross matter," etc.. For all purposes it's similar to betraying and abandoning an unwanted child. They seek to discard who they are because they feel that who they are is not that great.
The sage does not do that. She seeks to cultivate herself if she's dissatisfied -- not erase herself, not eradicate who she is. She plays with and within who she is... trying on a different kind of sensitivity, a different kind of interactions with a different kind of phenomena, a different kind of strength, a different kind of beauty, a different kind of wisdom... but not discarding herself. She is the leopard. Not the tadpole.