Confucius Quotes

Most popular Confucius Quotes

Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that carry them apart.
— Confucius

habit human nature

The cautious seldom err.
— Confucius

caution mistakes

Heaven means to be one with God.
— Confucius

heaven

One joy dispels a hundred cares.
— Confucius
When the wind blows, the grass bends.
— Confucius
It is better to play than do nothing.
— Confucius
Have no friends not equal to yourself.
— Confucius

friendship

He who will not economize will agonize.
— Confucius

thrift

Learning without thought is labor lost.
— Confucius
Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
— Confucius

enthusiasm

Seek not every quality in one individual.
— Confucius

relationships

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
— Confucius

forgiveness gratitude

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.
— Confucius
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
— Confucius
Do unto others what you want done unto you.
— Confucius

dealing with people how to live life

Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
— Confucius

silence

When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.
— Confucius
Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.
— Confucius
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
— Confucius

self-respect

If we don't know life, how can we know death?
— Confucius

life

Study the past if you would divine the future.
— Confucius
Study the past if you would define the future.
— Confucius

the past

Always and in everything let there be reverence.
— Confucius
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
— Confucius

beauty

You cannot open a book without learning something.
— Confucius

reading

The grass must bend when the wind blows across it.
— Confucius
The Essence of Knowledge is, having it, to use it.
— Confucius

action knowledge

Better a diamond with flaws than a pebble without.
— Confucius

shortcomings

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
— Confucius

shortcomings

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
— Confucius

change

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.
— Confucius
Settle one difficulty, and you keep a hundred away.
— Confucius
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
— Confucius

shortcomings

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
— Confucius

sincerity

Everything has its beauty but not every man sees it.
— Confucius
And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
— Confucius

interesting

Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.
— Confucius
The superior man is distressed by his want of ability.

ability greatness

Do not to others as you would not like done to yourself.
— Confucius
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.

knowledge knowledge and ignorance

To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.
— Confucius

inaction

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
— Confucius

revenge

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

golden rules

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.
— Confucius

action right and wrong

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
— Confucius

government

A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.
— Confucius

greatness

To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.
— Confucius

forgiveness

To be wealthy and honoured in an unjust society is a disgrace.
— Confucius

wealth

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
— Confucius
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.
— Confucius

cowardice morals

The superior man is firm in the right way, and not merely firm.
— Confucius
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.
— Confucius

names wisdom

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucius

progress

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.
— Confucius

family home

Eat at your own table as you would eat at the table of the king.
— Confucius
It is man that makes truth great, not truth that makes man great.
— Confucius
Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.
— Confucius

language words

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
— Confucius

for teachers

The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability.
— Confucius

ability greatness

Heaven will be inherited by every man who has heaven in his soul.
— Confucius
Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.
— Confucius

words

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.
— Confucius

know-it-alls

Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
— Confucius

action

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
— Confucius

greatness

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

change happiness wisdom

The strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes.
— Confucius
When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.
— Confucius

foolishness

It is a man who makes truth great, not truth which makes a man great.
— Confucius
Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than oneself.
— Confucius

friendship

If you enjoy what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.
— Confucius
Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.
— Confucius

action

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.

ignorance

Consideration for others is the basis of a good life, a good society.
— Confucius
If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
— Confucius

mistakes

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
— Confucius

ignorance

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
— Confucius

confidence education hope

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.
— Confucius
To see what is right and not do it is want of courage, or of principle.
— Confucius
The wise man wishes to be slow in his words, and earnest in his conduct.
— Confucius
Virtue is never left to stand alone. He who has it will have neighbours.
— Confucius

virtue

By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.
— Confucius

deeds human nature

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
— Confucius

trust

He who wishes to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.
— Confucius
I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.
— Confucius

be yourself

Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.
— Confucius
One who merely knows right principles is not equal to those who love them.
— Confucius
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
— Confucius

career work

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
— Confucius
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
— Confucius

virtue

Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
— Confucius

small stuff

Every one calls his son his son, whether he has talents or has not talents.
— Confucius
You will never know how sharp a sword is unless it's drawn from its sheath.
— Confucius

action

The superior man wishes to be slow in his words, and earnest in his conduct.
— Confucius
Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.
— Confucius

failure

The nature of men is always the same; it is their habits that separate them.
— Confucius

deeds human nature

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
— Confucius

modesty

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
— Confucius

learning thinking

Virtue is not left to stand alone.  He who practices it shall have neighbors.

virtue

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
— Confucius

determination failure

Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.
— Confucius

learning thinking

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
— Confucius

adversity

If a man takes no thought about the distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.
— Confucius
If what one has to say is not better than silence, then one should keep silent.
— Confucius

holding your tongue

Learning without thinking is time wasted; Thinking without learning is dangerous.
— Confucius

learning thinking

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
— Confucius

introspection

The gentleman understands what is right, whereas the petty man understands profit.
— Confucius

right and wrong

Don't worry that other people don't know you; worry that you don't know other people.
— Confucius

other people

Men may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it.
— Confucius
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
— Confucius
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
— Confucius

business capitalism

Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honours depend upon heaven.
— Confucius

destiny

Don't complain about the snow on your neighbour's roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
— Confucius
There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life - reciprocity.
— Confucius
Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.
— Confucius

changing people self-improvement

A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present.
— Confucius

teaching

Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.
— Confucius
The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.
— Confucius
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
— Confucius

thinking

The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.
— 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

asking questions

Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle.
— Confucius
Those who are meant to hear will understand. Those who are not meant to understand will not hear.
— Confucius
The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
— Confucius

parenting

If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.
— Confucius

money

If you would one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation.
— Confucius

self-improvement

If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

language truth

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
— Confucius

failure

In old days, men studied for the sake of self-improvement nowadays men study to impress other people.
— Confucius

education

We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavouring to think so ourselves.
— Confucius

happiness

Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness—do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.
— Confucius

how to live life

To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.
— Confucius

knowledge

A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present?
— Confucius

youth

A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do you know that his future will not be equal to our present?
— Confucius
Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would he in fear of losing it.
— Confucius

education

Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.
— Confucius
Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.
— Confucius

how to live life

The heart of a wise man should resemble a mirror, which reflects every object without being sullied by any.
— Confucius
Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.
— Confucius

for teachers learning

If the wise man achieves something, it is well; if he achieves nothing, it is also well; he recognizes destiny.
— Confucius
If I am building a mountain and stop before the last basketful of earth is placed on the summit, I have failed.
— Confucius

determination

Women — if you are friendly with them, they get out of hand. And if you keep them at a distance, they resent it.
— Confucius
The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.
— Confucius

wisdom

If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge, so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others.
— Confucius
The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.
— Confucius

greatness

Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge.
— Confucius

knowledge and wisdom wisdom

When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.
— Confucius
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
— Confucius

diligence

If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?
— Confucius

fear worry

Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself!
— Confucius
That which is proven by time cannot be assailed by man, while that which is disproved by time cannot be justified by man.
— Confucius
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
— Confucius

reading

They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.

truth

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.
— Confucius

how to live life

Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.
— Confucius

helping others

If names are not correct and language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
— Confucius
He who is really good can never be unhappy. He who is really wise can never be perplexed. He who is really brave is never afraid.
— Confucius
It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.
— Confucius

other people

In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
— Confucius

wealth

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
— Confucius

poverty wealth

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it—this is knowledge.
— Confucius

knowledge

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it: this is knowledge.
— Confucius
If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.
— Confucius

children education

The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability he has.
— Confucius

ability character

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.
— Confucius

leadership virtue

Women and people of low birth are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your distance, they resent it.
— Confucius

women

I am not concerned that I have no place; I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known; I seek to be worthy to be known.
— Confucius
There are three marks of a superior man: being virtuous, one is free from anxiety; being wise, one is free from perplexity; being brave, one is free from fear.
— Confucius
Shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, say that you know it; when you do not know a thing, admit that you do not know it. That is knowledge.
— Confucius

knowledge

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.
— Confucius

wisdom

To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
— Confucius
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
— Confucius

experience introspection wisdom

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

life

To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
— Confucius

virtue

In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself.

failure

Instead of being concerned that you have no office, be concerned to think how you may fit yourself for office. Instead of being concerned that you are not known, be worthy of being known.
— Confucius

motivational

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

self-improvement

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.
— Confucius
To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.
— Confucius
Lead the people with administrative injunctions and put them in their place with penal law, and they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of shame. Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously.
— Confucius

leadership