Philosophers

94 Best Confucius Quotes About Life (PHILOSOPHY)

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Born in 551 BC in the state of Lu (Shandong province, China), Confucius (Kǒng Qiū – 孔子) was an incredibly influential Chinese teacher, philosopher, and political figure.

Confucius was the first teacher in China who advocated for education to be broadly available to everyone.

He believed that all human beings are fundamentally good and teachable especially through self-cultivation and self-creation.

The philosophy of Confucius (aka Confucianism) emphasized on morality, justice, kindness, and sincerity.

Confucius is recognized as one of the most influential individuals – not just in China – but in the world. His wise teaching greatly impacted people and remain influential today.

Further reading:

Below are the best and most famous Confucius quotes about life so you can be inspired to live deeply.

Enjoy the great wisdom of ancient China!

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Top 20 Most Famous Confucius Quotes

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.
The man who says he can, and the man who says he cannot… are both correct.
The man who says he can, and the man who says he cannot… are both correct.
Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.
Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.
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.
They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.
The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Your life is what your thoughts make it.
Your life is what your thoughts make it.
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.
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.
In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
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 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.
Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

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

50 Inspiring Confucius Quotes That Are Still True Today

He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
All people are the same; only their habits differ.
All people are the same; only their habits differ.
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
Learn advidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.
Learn advidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.
Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.
Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.
Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.
Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.
If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years educate children.
If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years educate children.
We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.
We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.
Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.
It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.

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
If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
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.
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.
If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.
If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.
Study the past, if you would divine the future.
Study the past, if you would divine the future.
Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
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.
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.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Act with kindness but do not expect gratitude.
Act with kindness but do not expect gratitude.
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.
He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.
Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.
Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.
You cannot open a book without learning something.
You cannot open a book without learning something.
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.
Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty.
I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty.
Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.
We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.
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.
The funniest people are the saddest ones.
The funniest people are the saddest ones.
Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.
Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.
To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.
Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.
The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.
Roads were made for journeys not destinations.
Roads were made for journeys not destinations.
Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
No matter how busy you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
No matter how busy you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?
If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?

24 of the Wisest Confucius Quotes for Deeper Living

Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended.
Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended.
He who will not economize will have to agonize.
He who will not economize will have to agonize.
Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.
Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.
Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.
Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.
Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.
The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.
The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.
Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.
Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.
Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.
Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.
When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.
When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.
A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.
A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.
The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.
A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.
Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.
Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.
If we don’t know life, how can we know death?
If we don’t know life, how can we know death?
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
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.
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.
Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.
Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.

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