75 Confucius Quotes (About Life, Wisdom, Goodness…)

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Confucius was one of China’s most notable and esteemed editor, teacher, politician, and philosopher.

One of the reasons why his teachings are so immortalized is because of its powerful messages, with a distinct emphasis on the importance of the family as well as social unity. He argued that the pursuit of virtue should be every individual’s highest aim.

His philosophy, also known as Confucianism, highlighted equity, personal and political morality, good social relationships, and sincerity. A common idea of Confucianism is that human beings are adaptable; which means they can always develop and improve themselves if they try hard enough.

He promoted the well-known principle “Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself,” or most commonly known as the Golden Rule.

We have collected the best Confucius quotes and sayings that will boost your desire for knowledge and help you see things from a sharper perspective.

Confucius Quotes About Life

1. “Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.”

2. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated - Confucius. #quotes #life #simple #complicated

3. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

4. “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

5. “If we don’t know life, how can we know death?”

Confucius Quotes About Wisdom

1. “They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.”

2. “A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” 

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions - Confucius. #quotes #wisdom #speech #actions

3. “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”

4. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

5. “The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest success only comes later.”

6. “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.”

7. “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.”

8. “Learning without thought is labor lost thought without learning is perilous.”

9. “The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterward speaks according to his action.”

10. “Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.”

11. “You cannot open a book without learning something.” 

You cannot open a book without learning something - Confucius. #quotes #wisdom #book #learning

12. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

13. “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.”

14. “There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius Quotes About Goodness

1. “He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.”

2. “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

3. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” 

Wherever you go, go with all your heart - Confucius. #quotes #goodness #heart

4. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

5. “The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.”

6. “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.”

7. “The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”

8. “Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.”

9. “The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.”

10. “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.”

11. “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” 

Silence is a true friend who never betrays - Confucius. #quotes #goodness #silence

12. “Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.”

13. “When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”

Confucius, More Quotes And Sayings

1. “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.”

2. “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”

3. “Study the past, if you would divine the future.” 

Study the past, if you would divine the future - Confucius. #quotes #study #past #future

4. “We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.”

5. “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

6. “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”

7. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

8. “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.”

9. “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”

10. “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

11. “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”

12. “To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.”

13. “Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself!”

14. “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” 

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? - Confucius. #quotes #respect

15. “To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.”

16. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

17. “To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.”

18. “The object of the superior man is truth.”

19. “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

20. “Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.”

21. “I hear, I know. I see I remember. I do, I understand.”

22. “I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.”

23. “Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.”

24. “The book salesman should be honored because he brings to our attention, as a rule, the very books we need most and neglect most.”

25. “Heaven means to be one with God.”

26. “When anger rises, think of the consequences.” 

When anger rises, think of the consequences - Confucius. #quotes #anger #consequences

27. “I will not be concerned at other men’s not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.”

28. “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, see to the (be?) worthy of being known.”

29. “The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”

30. “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”

31. “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.”

32. “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

33. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop - Confucius. #quotes #stop

34. “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 that he has.”

35. “When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.”

36. “He who learns but does not think is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

37. “An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.”

38. “It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”

39. “Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.”

40. “The cautious seldom err.”

41. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

42. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” 

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without - Confucius. #quotes #flaw

43. “Virtuous people often revenge themselves for the constraints to which they submit by the boredom which they inspire.”

If you want to know more about Confucius’ works and writings, we would suggest you read, The Analects (Penguin Classics).