At some point in their lives, pretty much everyone has pondered the big philosophical questions: Where do we come from? Where do we go? What’s the point of it all? For ages, big minds across the planet have sought answers, to give us some guidance in the chaos that is the universe. While Western culture generally focuses on teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, and Kant, Eastern philosophy can offer us an interesting and different approach to the same questions. To help you discover new routes on your philosophical journey, we’ve collected some of the most important lessons of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius for you.
1. ALWAYS KEEP GOING
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Success is a work in progress – so don’t stress yourself if you aren’t where you expected to be at a certain point in time. Confucius teaches that it doesn’t matter if you are moving a step closer or an inch closer to your dreams – the most important thing is that you keep moving forward.
2. Go All In
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Wherever your life takes you, be there with all your being and let your energy be infectious. When you put your heart and soul into what you do, your spirit can move mountains. And it doesn’t matter what you do – once people see your passion you can truly change the world.
3. PREPARATION IS KEY
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
This sentence goes hand in hand with another Confucian principle: “The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” The meaning behind this is that for many things in life, success is all dependent on preparation. Greatness doesn’t come easy and hard work is required to become successful in life.
4. FRIENDS MATTER
“Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than yourself.”
Your friends are a guiding light to your future as you are often headed where they already are. Therefore, surround yourself with friends who are going where you want to go, who share your values and convictions, and drive each other to be the best self you can be.
5. LEARN TO FORGIVE AND FORGET
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”
Don’t sweat the small stuff because to be wronged is no great offense. Don’t let actions of others ruin your day, or external negativity into your thoughts. Learn to forgive and move on to important things.
6. YOU CAN LEARN 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.”
This is one of the great lessons of life. Everyone around you is a lesson, so learn everything you can from them. Pick out qualities in others which you admire and implement them, and use negative qualities as reminders of where you don’t want to go or get rid of bad traits you might have yourself. There is always something to be learned.