The oriental culture leaves us with great pearls of wisdom transmitted from one generation to another, reaching our days. Many of these Chinese proverbs can become authentic mantras for the most difficult moments or enlighten us when we have to make an important decision in our life. They can also remind us that from time to time we need to keep calm and maintain mental balance.
Chinese sayings to face life in a more balanced way
- Different locks must be opened with different keys
There are no magic solutions, what worked in certain circumstances may not work in others. Life changes continuously, so it doesn’t make sense clinging to the past. Every problem we face is different, even we ourselves are not the same person, so we must analyze all possible options, with an open mind, to find the best solution.
- You can’t keep the birds of worry from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair
Life will continually pose new challenges. Sooner or later adversity will knock at our door. We can’t avoid it, but we can decide how to react to what happens. We can assume those problems as stones on the road and stay stuck in that malaise and suffering or, on the contrary, we can assume them as challenges that help us grow.
- The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now
If we want to achieve a change or undertake a new project, the best moment is now. Thinking that it’s too late is an excuse to stay in our comfort zone. This Chinese proverb reminds us that we only have the present, so complaining about what we didn’t makes no sense. Instead, we should think about what we can do and get down to work.
- Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves
Revenge is one of those feelings nourished with the hope of making suffer those who hurt us but in reality it only hurts us. Feeding revenge implies being prisoners of the past, rejoicing in suffering, without being able to move forward because blinded by rancor.
- He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears
Some things in life are inevitable, but thinking too much about them we will be anticipating and experiencing those things in our mind suffering in advance. The fear of suffering already implies suffering, so it’s better learning to flow and not anticipate misfortunes, which often do not even come. This Chinese proverb alerts us that worry is often worse than the fact itself.
- It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness
Sometimes, when adversity knocks at our door, its blow is so great to confuse us. Broken expectations, pain and frustration can be so great to block and make us get caught in a spiral of meaningless complaints. However, crying over spilled milk is useless, not only it doesn’t solve the problem but it dips us into an even more negative state of mind. For that reason, we must make sure to look for solutions, instead of just complaining of our bad luck.
- When the sage points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger
This Chinese proverb refers to the inability to see beyond small details and develop a global vision. Many times, whether due to frustration, lack of perspective or our limiting beliefs, we stop at unimportant details and turn them into obstacles. When we cling to these small details we are closing the way, without realizing that the most important thing is the final goal and that, to achieve it, there can be multiple paths.
- A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
One step will not take you very far, but at least it will take you out of where you are. Every adventure, no matter how great, always begins with the first step, which is often the most difficult because it involves making the decision to leave the comfort zone and dare to explore unknown territories.
- Dig your well before you’re thirsty
It is not necessary waiting for adversity to hit us to develop resilience, we can prepare our backpack of psychological tools for life much earlier. This Chinese saying encourages us to be cautious and develop a proactive attitude, instead of just reacting to what happens. If we dig the well before being thirsty, we can better plan the whole process, if we do it urgently, the chances of making mistakes or even not being able to finish digging that well will increase.
- Not only can water float the boat, but it can also sink it
This Chinese proverb reminds us of the yin-yang philosophy: everything contains the “negative” and “positive”, and in many cases everything depends on how we look at it. Nothing is intrinsically bad or good, it depends on how we use it and the meaning we entrust to it.
- Great souls have wills, feeble ones have only whishes
Many people spend much of their lives longing for something, never deciding to reach it. In many cases, the difference between those who fulfill their dreams and those who remain longing for them consists precisely of willpower and the decision to go for that desire. Every desire remains a dream if not transformed into concrete objectives and steps.
- The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones
The constant effort has its fruits, although they take time to arrive. Many times we focus only on big tasks, without realizing that behind the most ambitious goals there is a lot of hard and systematic work. Being aware that little by little you can go far it will encourage you along the way and allows you achieving great goals in life.
- Of the darkest clouds comes the cleanest water
Even the darkest moments hold an opportunity. When we are going through a bad run and discomfort prevents us from appreciating the positive part, we need to stop on the road and think about this Chinese proverb. Sometimes everything changes when we change perspective, and adversity can become an excellent opportunity to grow, change course and dare to do things that in other circumstances we would not even have considered.