Confucius: Greatest Quotes and Life Lessons

“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” – Confucius

This is a short read that paraphrases and summarizes core teachings from Confucius. While the concepts are fairly simple, I noticed how so many sayings that we have about life/success have Confucian origins. For example,

  1. “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions”
  2. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

He also coined what people refer to as the “Silver Rule.”

“What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”

He tackles fundamental questions about living life, such as:

  1. How do we become our best selves?
  2. How do we motivate ourselves?
  3. How do we take action amongst uncertainty?
  4. How do we rise above anger?
  5. How do we prioritize?

There’s always power and use in studying the greats, and for me it’s most interested to see how in particular Japanese culture has held on to some of these ideals (knowingly or not) throughout the centuries. Fortunately you don’t have to read through hundreds of pages of old text and can grasp the basics through his heuristics and quotes.

My favorite quotes from the book:

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius

“If we want to live an extraordinary, happy life, we need to rise above primal anger (however hard it might be in the moment) and choose a direction we would like to go with our conscious mind. There is a battle within us all, constantly raging every day. It’s a battle between the higher and lower self. Your higher self wants to achieve great things: freedom, richness, love, and abundance. Your lower self wants to stay where it is, do nothing, be nothing”

Success is a marathon and how to move along brick by brick…

When you want to achieve something in life, however big or small, realize that success comes from laying a brick at a time until your dream is built. When people have a dream or goal they would like to accomplish, they keep looking at the big picture, at how they want the “mansion” to look like, and then get discouraged because it seems too big of a project. If you were to stand in front of a large field – the place you’d want to build your dream – don’t keep looking at all the work that needs to be done, i.e., don’t keep looking at all the bricks behind you. Instead, have a blueprint of your dream nearby (just a reminder), and keep placing a brick at a time. You want to focus all your energy on placing that single brick down each day. If you were to place just a single brick (a simple action step) a day, you’d be well on your way to achieving your dreams.

Confucius: Greatest Quotes and Life Lessons (English Edited Notebook)


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