Confucius (551– 479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician. His philosophy, known as Confucianism, is mainly known for personal and governmental morality, the correctness of social relationships, justice, and honesty. Confucius is famous for being one of the most important and influential individuals shaping our history. His philosophy enormously affected people all over the world and is still dominant.
Ever since we can look back, humans collected little pieces of wisdom on how to live, love, and be. Looking back in history, humankind collected a vast number of such epigrams that can change your whole life, if you take them seriously and apply their lessons.
I know, a glimmer of inspiration and taking action are not the same. But that’s why quotes are so powerful. If applied, they can change your whole existence. If not, they might be a helpful motivation throughout your day, which is also great.
Here are 10 insightful quotes Confucius shared with humankind throughout his presence:
“The Man Who Asks a Question Is a Fool for a Minute, the Man Who Does Not Ask Is a Fool For Life”
When I first read this quote, I had to think of a former classmate of mine. She is one of the very few people I remember who never shrank back from asking questions. At school, we all hated her for doing so. We were annoyed because, especially in physics, chemistry, and mathematics, sometimes, the whole lesson was dedicated to answering her questions.
Yet, when I look back, I genuinely respect her for the courage she had to do so.
How often did you not understand something properly at school, in a seminar, in a public authority or wheresoever?
A few times, right?
Yet, how many times did you ask?
Not many, I assume. At least, that’s my reality.
Unfortunately, most of our educational systems are based on mistakes. We don’t appreciate correctness, instead, we keep emphasizing errors.
No wonder we grow up abstaining from asking questions.
What to do:
Ask. Whenever you have a question, just ask. You hardly have anything to lose, but all the wisdom to gain.
“ If Your Plan Is for 1 Year, Plant Rice. If Your Plan Is for 10 Years, Plant Trees. If Your Plan Is for 100 Years, Educate Children”
I genuinely love this one, it lights up my heart.
Ever since I can remember, I loved learning. I enjoyed going to school, studying, reading, and growing as a person. My first project as an entrepreneur was about organizing personal development workshops for students. Together with a few friends, I created one-day workshops to teach young people how to set goals, strengthen their communication skills, be disciplined, and so much more.
Education has always been a big part of my life, and I totally support any project that is dedicated to helping people to learn and grow.
What to do:
Looking at this quote, the essential thing we all should take in mind is to educate ourselves. Sometimes, we get ignorant as we think we already know everything. Yet, there’s always something new to learn and discover.
What I do regularly is taking notes on things that I want to learn and the skills I want to improve. By doing so, I never get bored and always have something that I am excited about.
“Respect Yourself and Others Will Respect You.”
Lately, I wrote an article about how to strengthen your self-respect, that’s why this quote particularly resonated with me.
A big part of my work is around confidence and self-worth. I have so many mentees whom I support through weekly calls, that want to get more respect and appreciation from others, yet, they don’t even give it to themselves.
Let’s be honest: If you don’t respect yourself, why would others?
If you don’t appreciate your work, why would others?
Your outer world is always a reflection of your inner world. If you feel insecure and worthless on the inside, that’s how people will treat you. By showing your weaknesses, you make yourself attackable.
What to do:
Practice self-love. Do things that you admire. Keep track of all your strengths and accomplishments. Start journaling and meditating, practice proper self-care, take time for yourself. There is so much you can do to make yourself feel better, just make sure to appreciate the badass magic person you are.
“ It Does Not Matter How Slowly You Go as Long as You Do Not Stop”
Most of us learn this truth the hard way. We want instant satisfaction and quick results, that’s what social media and our fast-paced world teach us nowadays.
In the past few years, I’ve read tons of books. Mostly about personal growth, success, and entrepreneurship. And if there’s one single thing that was repetitive in all the lessons about success, it’s the fact that succeeding, whatever that might mean to you, takes time.
There is no elevator to success, neither does a shortcut exist.
Maybe it does, but consistent work over a long period is the surest way to get to your desired destination.
What to do:
Whatever you do and aim for, make sure you enjoy the process. Great things never come from comfort zones, neither are they resulting from one-time-actions.
Do it because of passion, not because of the end-goal. Whenever we reach a goal, we search for the next one. It’s never about the target but about who you become on your way.
“Your Life is What Your Thoughts Make it”
Isn’t it weird to realize that the major personal growth tips we keep quoting and referring to existed before Christ?
I love how most of these statements are scientifically proven nowadays, yet, it fascinates me how thousands of years ago, people were aware of significant insights to success and a fulfilled life and how we often still fail to apply them from time to time.
What to do:
Well, if our thoughts determine our life, we better watch out what we think, right?.
Easier said than done, I KNOW.
But thank god, there are great tools, such as meditation and journaling, that help us in shaping our thoughts. Also, surrounding yourself by your goals, motivating quotes, and inspiring pictures can be a great way to stay positive throughout your days.
It’s not easy to control your thinking all day long. I’ve been working on it for years, and I still fail from time to time. And I don’t believe there’s anybody who never has a single negative thought. I always thought of Tony Robbins being a super-human and having full control over anything that happens in his life, but after I’ve read that he married his first wife even though he knew she was not the right one, I am not that convinced of his super-humanness anymore. I guess we all make mistakes.
“By Three Methods We May Learn Wisdom: First, by Reflection, Which Is Noblest; Second, by Imitation, Which Is Easiest; And Third by Experience, Which Is the Bitterest”
I try to learn a lot. It’s part of my job, but it’s also my biggest passion. As mentioned above, education always played a big role in my life.
However, just until three years ago, my learning was mainly tied to formal education. When I came into touch with personal development and entrepreneurship, my perspective on growth and studying suddenly changed.
Whenever I get interviewed about personal growth and what I think about specific strategies, I mention that self-reflection is the most significant personal growth tool out there.
No matter how much great content you read or consume otherwise, as long as you don’t reflect on your own actions and results, your space for growth stays limited.
What to do:
I didn’t even remember anymore, but obviously, on Christmas Eve in 2018, I’ve written a whole article on how to implement self-reflection into your daily life.
My family is from Turkey, we don’t celebrate Christmas, so I’m spending that special day with my boyfriend’s family, and usually, I have a fantastic time there, so I don’t know why I’ve written an article on that day, but I hope it’s useful!
“If You See What is Right, and Fail to Act on it, You Lack Courage”
This one’s deep, huh?
When I prepared this article, most quotes resonated with me in terms of personal growth, this one, however, goes way beyond it. I connect it to philanthropy.
I try to be a good human on each of my days. I give my best to support people in need, be kind, respectful, and understanding.
Yet, I don’t succeed all the time. I don’t know about you, but I honestly admit that sometimes, I fail to offer help, out of fear or stubbornness. Not because I don’t want to help but because I am afraid something could happen to myself while trying to support a homeless or drunk person. That’s quite hard to admit, as I expect all of us to be great, supportive humans, yet, it’s the bitter truth.
A few days after I’ve published this article, one of my beautiful readers Joe Hurley left a thoughtful comment, saying the following:
…The only one I struggle with is… ‘If you see what is right…’ I continue to be sceptical about the human construct right. I would be more comfortable if it said…If you see what feels right…. In my headspace I can’t find room for absolutes or universal definitions unless they have the ability to hold up faultlessly over time. Right fails this test because it really doesn’t exist in nature.
Admittedly, this response opened a new perspective for me, and I am beyond grateful for any critical response that helps us to reflect on ourselves and our ways of living.
What to do:
If your intuition tells you to do something, the odds are high that you really should. If you pass by a homeless person and feel bad, there’s probably a good reason.
Don’t let your fears be greater than yourself.
In the end, we don’t remember the things that we were afraid of, but the things that make us proud. I don’t tell you to hazard, but make sure to act somehow, if you believe that you should.
“If You Hate a Person, You are Defeated by them”
Just like love, hate is a powerful emotion. If we say we hate a person, there must be a point deep within us that gets triggered. We wouldn’t hate if we could let go and ignore.
Hating a person indicates a deep relationship. It might be an expression of jealousy or a lack of our own self-worth.
What to do:
Every time you feel extreme dislike towards something, take a look at your inside. What is it that you really feel? Would you like to be in their shoes? Did they harm you? Do you believe they have an unfair advantage compared to yourself?
Exploring the reasons for your emotions is the very first step in controlling them.
“You Cannot Open a Book Without Learning Something”
I love books, and I read quite a lot, averagely I finish one book per week. And unfortunately, I found myself saying, “This book is too bad, I can’t learn anything new.” too often in the past few months.
This excerpt reminds me of the fact that we always have something to learn. No matter if it’s a bad book, a failed relationship, or a horrible experience we make. We can leave all these situations with priceless lessons.
What to do:
Always be eager to learn and grow. None of us will ever be aware of all the wisdom in the world. So let’s act according to it.
Self-reflection is the key to personal growth, and if we’d all try to learn from mistakes and hard situations, the world would probably be a better, wiser place.
“He Who Chases Two Rabbits Catches None”
Alright, it’s hard to admit, but if I had to summarize all my learnings from 2019, it would probably end up being this quote.
We, as human beings, sometimes tend to be quite greedy. We think we can have it all without sacrificing anything. And in general, I believe that you can have (almost) all of it. Yet, not all at once.
Going after too many things at once hardly ends up in success, but rather in confusion and disappointment.
What to do:
We should make more choices.
Sometimes, we overcomplicate decisions as if our lives depend on them. And I know, sometimes your life revolves around a single decision, but let’s be honest: most of these decisions are reversible.
Even if we make mistakes, we can correct our course. Without focusing on what to chase, however, it becomes really tough to get to the finish line.
Instead of spending hundreds of hours worrying our brains, we should make quick decisions, focus, get shit done, move forward, and make corrections along the way if they are needed.