Every philosophy enthusiast would surely be familiar with Confucius and his teachings. He was the greatest Eastern philosopher of all time, whose teachings deeply influenced East Asian life and thought. The lessons imparted by the philosopher are still being taught to the upcoming generation.
He was a firm believer in equality and better social relationships, Confucius’s philosophical ideas emphasized the necessity for inner moral harmony.
In a short statement, Confucius summarised his entire life which now guides us as the principle of wisdom.
Confucius says, “When I was fifteen, I was focused on my studies; when I was thirty, my understanding of life [as it stands] was set firmly; when I was forty, I no longer hesitated about making my life decisions; when I was fifty, I understood the origins of all; when I was sixty, I could hear all – the positive and the negative – and not be upset; when I was seventy, I had the freedom to do whatever my heart desires, within the rules of this world [that I have observed throughout all of my life].”
The majority of Confucius’ teachings revolved around joys and fulfillment of life.
Mentioned below are some lessons that can prove to be beneficial in our lives:
1. Make constant progress
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ― Confucius
Identifying the right path and constantly making advancements on it would eventually take you to your desired goal. With continuous efforts and hard work, success is inevitable, and you will achieve your targets.
2. Your friends and the quality of your social circle matter
“Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.” ― Confucius
“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” ― Confucius
Surrounding yourself with positive friends, who push your limits and help you become a better person, would shower you with positive energy and would always keep you motivated.
Friendship is a 2-way street and you should treat your friends in the same manner as they do. Research proves that friends play a pivotal factor in an individual’s happiness and thus a healthy social circle proves to be beneficial.
3. Wonderful things do cost something
“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.” ― Confucius
To safeguard ourselves from threats, our brains are adapted to think negatively regarding some scenarios. This can be harmful if it becomes a regular practice.
Yet, adjusting our approach consciously towards positive thinking could help us overcome this malpractice. All good things come at a price.
Without efforts and determination to think positively, the ability to achieve wonderful things reduces significantly. A dedicated approach over a period of time will help you develop a positive outlook towards things.
4. Learn from the past, live in the present, look forward to the future
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” ― Confucius
“Study the past if you would define the future.” ― Confucius
“If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” ― Confucius
“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” ― Confucius
A lot of precious time and brainpower is wasted by focusing on past or present dilemmas you are facing.
Instead, focusing on the brighter parts and centering your mind around them would not only help you set goals for the future, but it would also give you an opportunity to reflect on the mistakes and would aid you to rectify them for the future.
Along with this journey, many obstacles, such as criticism, would try to block your progress towards the ultimate goal, yet it should be neglected and the individual should continue progressing ahead.
5. Keep in mind the consequences of any action
“When anger rises, think of the consequences” ― Confucius
“Respect yourself and others will respect you.” – ― Confucius
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
Newton’s third law states: “Every action has an equal and opposite action.” This law goes hand in hand with Confucius’ teaching of consequences. Anger doesn’t pave the way to any positive advancements.
In fact, it can cost you if you haven’t taken appropriate measures. Instead of taking a step back and patiently and tactically thinking about careful feedback is a valuable deed.
6. Learn to adapt and adjust
“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” ― Confucius
“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” ― Confucius
By keeping a close check on your progress, you will identify factors stopping it. It also helps you figure if your plans are working as expected.
If the expectations aren’t being met, then take a step back and change your approach. Failure to adapt and adjust would lead to failure in progress too.
By asking yourself, “Am I succeeding?” at regular intervals, make sure that you comfortably move along the right path. If there are any obstacles, immediately stop and adapt and adjust your strategies. This would lead to a swifter and obstacle-free journey to your ultimate goal.
7. Knowledge can be gained from everyone
“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” ― Confucius
“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.” – ― Confucius
“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” ― Confucius
Each individual has their own experiences in life. These experiences can vary from another individual, which opens up the possibilities to learn more.
Adapting an approach, where these experiences serve as lessons would help you pick up good points (which can be applied in real life) and bad points (which once learned can be avoided.)
This opens up the opportunity to learn more and also increases your likeability as you are genuinely interested in what the other person wants to communicate.
8. All in or nothing
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ― Confucius
The success mantra for anything involves the principle of giving your 100% to it. A half-hearted approach and inadequacy to give in anything is equivalent to not providing at all.
A genuine effort towards a goal helps you progress ahead and also motivates you to work harder. This principle should widely be adopted in all aspects of life including relationships.
9. Sharpen your tools
“The expectations of life depend upon diligence the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ” ― Confucius
To evolve and establish a particular skill set, a great mass of practice, aspiration and integrity is required. Failing to accommodate them would cost you your goals.
In order to use a pencil efficiently, the blunt tip should be sharpened. Only a sharpened pencil will provide accurate results.
Similarly, to provide results in actual life, it is necessary to push yourself. Doing so would improve your skill sets and drive you closer to your goals.
Here are some bonus quotes by Confucius to add more wisdom to your day
If you hate a person, then you’re defeated by them. ― Confucius –
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Confucius
“The funniest people are the saddest ones”― Confucius
“When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.”― Confucius
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”― Confucius
“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” ― Confucius
“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others” – Confucius