My Favorite Chinese Proverbs

 Thought Provoking Words of Wisdom


  • To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.

  • There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.

  • Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding.

  • Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.

  • I dreamed a thousand new paths … I woke up and walked my old one.

  • If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.

  • He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself.

  • Rotten wood cannot be carved.

  • Men trip not on mountains, but on molehills.

  • A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.

  • Like weather, one's fortune may change by the evening.


  • He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

  • Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

  • A dog won't forsake his master because of his poverty; a son never deserts his mother for her homely appearance. 

  • To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

  • The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory.

  • The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.

  • Don’t open a shop unless you like to smile.

  • The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water moulds itself to the pitcher.

  • The error of one moment becomes the sorrow of a whole life.

  • To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.

  • A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion.

  • Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.

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