Tag Archives: Chinese philosophy

Managing mistakes

“The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.”

~ Wang Yang-Ming (1472-1529) Chinese Philosopher

Wang Yangming (1472–1529), considered the most...

Wang Yangming (1472–1529), considered the most influential Confucian thinker since Zhu Xi.

Correcting mistakes you’ve made is more important than making them in the first place. We all know that life isn’t perfect, so there’s no point in trying not to make any mistakes. Instead, be very aware of all the mistakes you make in life so that you can make sure you don’t make them anymore. This is very simple in theory to understand but not so easy to physically do. I suppose it’s because humans are creatures of habit and can’t easily change or adapt themselves to a new environment. The ones that can will surely succeed in ways that most cannot. Part of being a wise person is knowing where and when to navigate in the path of life. The mistakes we have made (and will continue to make!) in life will teach us how to be wise as souls and happier as people. To me, life is simply about trying to be better human beings, and to be better we must constantly be sharpening our souls so that we can live renewed lives as much as possible.

Forgetting all the wrongs

“To be WRONGED is nothing unless you continue… to REMEMBER it”

~ Confucius 

Confucius, illustrated in Myths & Legends of C...

We’ve all been wronged before to some extent. No matter how badly you’ve been hurt by someone, there is only one real method of erasing it from your life – forgetting about it. If you allow it to fester in your mind and eat away at the part of you that is strong and good, then you will become diseased by it and it will erode away at your soul. If something is bothering you about what somebody did or said to you and it is somehow destroying your life, then stop thinking about it. If whatever they did to you hasn’t hurt you physically, then don’t let that action get the better of you. If you want to move forward with your life and grow bolder from the experience, then forgive them and you’ll be able to go about your life all the wiser and emotionally stronger. Now that’s something you never want to forget.

Mistakes = more opportunities

American self-help writer Napoleon Hill (1883-...

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970)

“Opportunity often comes in disguised in the form of
misfortune, or temporary defeat.”

~ Napoleon Hill

“What is defeat? Nothing but education. Nothing but the first step to something better.”

~ Wendell Phillips

Make a mistake and consider yourself more educated. Smart people learn from making mistakes. Mistakes are nothing more than something not going exactly as you or someone else had planned. Since life and humans are not perfect, we must accept our imperfections in the form of errors, mistakes, sins, etc. Remember, if you’re not making mistakes in life, then you’re not trying hard enough. The biggest mistake in life is to not admit you made one.

How much is life worth?

Tenzin Gyatso gives a characteristic hands-rai...

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, said:

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Live each day to its fullest and never be a slave to money or anything else that sacrifices friendships, health, love and life’s simple pleasures. These are the very things you will remember the most at the end of your life – NOT how much money you have or how popular you are. Live and love for today and in the moment!

Make a wish

Statue of Confucius at the Confucius Temple of...

Statue of Confucius in Shenyang, China

“What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”

~ Confucius

Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?”
The Master replied: “How about ‘shu’ [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?”

If you want to make a substantial improvement in your life, then start by doing more for yourself rather than asking others to do things for you. Don’t be a burden to others if you’re able to do something by yourself. You’d be surprised how much we ask of our family and friends. You’d also be surprised to know that doing more yourself will make you smarter, more confident and less dependent. Start today by doing more for yourself which will allow others to do more for themselves. Liberate others and yourself!

Take me higher and higher

A Tang Dynasty portrait of Confucius (by Wu Da...

Confucius (ChunQui Dynasty)

“The higher type of man clings to virtue, the lower type of man clings to material comfort.  The higher type of man cherishes justice, the lower type of man cherishes the hope of favors to be received.”

~ Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

If you want to know what defines some people from the masses, read the quote above from Confucius again. It’s easy to be like most people who seek to have as much stuff as possible and expect much to be given to them. The virtuous people aspire to be great by doing things for other people without any expectation or anything in return. The person in the mainstream of life will do their best to acquire as many material things as they can even at the cost of their dignity and/or at the cost of others, including friends. Don’t allow yourself to cling to a place in life where you feel you need stuff to be happy. Let go and cling to another place where you can find your true self by doing things you never thought possible. Get liberated and you’ll find enlightenment.

Mistaken identity

“The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.”

~ Wang Yang-Ming (1472-1529) Chinese Philosopher

Making mistakes is a part of life but correcting them isn’t something we work hard enough at doing. A surefire way to improve yourself is to always be looking for ways to do things better than the way you did when you failed. Since we are not born with a life manual and instruction booklet, we must use our experiences to get us through life which sometimes have favorable outcomes and not so favorable outcomes. So, next time you make a mistake – big or small – carry on and virtue will come to you.