Confucius was one of the most famous Chinese thinkers and philosophers. He mainly focused on moral issues, social relationships and how to live a fulfilling life. In fact, he has had such a massive impact on Chinese society that a lot of what he said is still being taught today.
He espoused the well-known principle “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, the Golden Rule.
Below we go over some of his most potent lessons that will help us live more fulfilling and successful lives:
1. Just keep going.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
As long as you’re continually progressing and moving down the right path, you’ll eventually get to where you want to go. It takes effort to be consistent, but if you stay consistent, you’ll get what you’re looking for.
2. Your friends matter.
“Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.”
You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, so make sure you have the right friends and you treat them well.
A healthy social circle is also important for happiness. A 75-year Harvard study found that relationships are the single most important factor in a person’s happiness.
3. Good Things Come With a Price
“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.”
It can be so easy to be negative. Our brain’s are wired to do so in order to protect us against threats.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change our perspective. Consciously focus on the good, even if it takes effort. Over time you’ll rewire your brain to have a more positive outlook.
4. To be Wronged is Nothing
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”
Don’t focus too much on the past or negative situations you’re confronting. Try to focus on what will actually help you in the future.
This involves setting a goal, no matter how big it is, and then figuring the steps needed to achieve it. You’ll undoubtedly have set backs and criticisms along the way, but don’t dwell on them and continue moving ahead.
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As a simple example, if I wanted to finish reading a 450 page book in one month, I would set 30 steps of completing 15 pages each. If I fail on some of those days, I wouldn’t put myself down, but simply read 30 pages on other days.
5. Consider the Consequences
“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”
Remember this quote next time you’re angry. Being angry never really leads to anything positive. It’s much better to take a step back and take a measured response. This is where real progress is.
6. Make Adjustments
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
Keep an eye on your progress and if isn’t working out as you expect, change your approach. Pivot!
This involves taking a step back every now and then and asking yourself honestly “Am I improving?” If you’re aiming to learn a new language, then every week or so, test yourself to see whether you’re learned more new words.
7. 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.”
Everyone has life experience and there is always something to learn. If you develop this approach every time you’re meeting someone new, not only will you learn more, but you’ll also become more likeable because you’re actually interested in what they have to say.
8. All or None
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
If you want to succeed at anything, you have to give it your all! This goes for relationships just as much as for work.
9. Sharpen Your Tools First
“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”
Don’t rely on winging it. Try to be prepared for whatever you’re facing. If you want to achieve your big goals, then you then to constantly work on your skills that will help you reach them. Great things take effort and determination.
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