50 Timeless Chinese Proverbs Worth Memorizing
Memorize them. Share them. Live them.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Plucked directly from Gerd de Ley’s Book of Chinese Proverbs: A Collection of Timeless Wisdom, Wit, Sayings & Advice, these 50 proverbs really strike a chord and are worth keeping in your back pocket. For more inspiration, check out these life-changing quotes that will stay with you forever.
On being lost in darkness
You can’t see it, but it can probably see you. Unless its eyes are doing that spooky glowing-thing. Then you can probably see it. Unless it’s not there. Take a break from looking with these cat quotes every cat-lover can appreciate.
On want and fear
Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Or dry. If cat jokes are more your speed, check out these hilarious cat memes.
Sharing your success is infinitely more worthwhile than distributing your pity. Guess which one the dog would rather have. Take a minute to reflect with these quotes for gratitude.
Don’t let people take advantage of you, and then complain about it. Boundaries are important! If these awesomely confident women in history wouldn’t stand for it, neither should you.
On acting thoughtfully
Even the best-aimed shoe can do more harm than good. The vase will thank you later. Here are 22 of the most beautiful proverbs from around the world.
What’s the point of perfection if you never reach your full potential? A little sweat never hurt anybody, and a flawed diamond still sparkles. These success quotes will help you dream big.
On speaking kindly
Personally, I have not forgotten a single nice thing someone has said to or about me, ever. If you need some ideas, try these 19 powerful kindness quotes that will stay with you.
On picking your battles
There are plenty of futile fights worth fighting regardless, but life is a lot easier when you make peace with the inevitable.
On learning from your mistakes
This proverb was written specifically about the time I got scammed out of a $30 Amazon gift card while trying to buy concert tickets from a Facebook catfish. Now, I know. So can you.
On acquired wisdom
Have you ever met someone and just known this is not their first time here? Some souls just have the ability to make it abundantly clear that this is not their first time around, even if they are easily distracted with a colorful set of oversized plastic keys. Here are 8 signs that you may have lived a past life.
On accepting yourself
There’s always someone younger, older, prettier, less attractive, taller, shorter, better at Scrabble and worse at math than you. And that’s okay! Don’t compare yourself to others; you are enough just the way you are.
On the bond of best friendship
Maybe your life’s true twin flame is none other than your best friend. Or maybe your romantic soulmate is your best friend! Either way, when you meet your soul’s counterpart, you’ll know.
On the treatment of others
Not a single person has ever rubbed someone the wrong way by being too respectful. Imagine how you’d act if your idol was coming over for dinner and keep that same energy for everyone else in your life. That’s right, even for your family.
On spreading yourself too thin
While I cannot say I myself have tried holding pumpkins underwater, I have definitely tried managing too many affairs. It does tend to pop back up if you take your hand off them, and I only have two. Hands, that is. These 15 time management tips that actually work will help you regain control of your pumpkins.
On performing to the best of your ability
You may have to accept you’ll spend pretty much the rest of your life operating at peak capacity—it’s the ceiling of that capacity that determines how much you’ll accomplish.
On the products of consistency
There are times when a single move can spell disaster, and when you start to get complacent one is much more likely to abound. This is one of those times where a bit of mindfulness can help you not to make an unthinking mistake. Wake up inspired with these beautiful morning quotes.
On avoiding a letdown
If you keep your expectations on the ground, you become impossible to disappoint. The only one with control over your destiny should be you.
On changing your life
Despite all the coordination, variables, and skill that a project might require, it really is as simple as that: just show up, and keep going. Do or do not, there is no try, as I believe someone small, green, and wise once said?
On doing the work
The hot air you are full of can’t get water to a boiling point—believe it or don’t. Talking it is fine, but eventually you’re gonna have to walk it, too. Start the year off right with these inspirational New Year’s quotes.
Being good is a skill, not a personality trait. It’s something you’ve got to constantly work at and sharpen.
If you don’t know what you’re doing it for then why do? What are you working towards? Does your work feed you in return? Passion breeds work, not the other way around. Ask yourself these 10 questions to discover your true passion.
Even the biggest project can be broken down into small, manageable parts. One thing at a time soon adds up.
On being alive
When most people are on their death’s door, their greatest regrets aren’t things they’ve done, but those they haven’t. Life: suck the marrow out of it!
On long-term change
Sure, having 20 years of performance under your belt is nice, but don’t let a late start deter you. These 15 stories prove it’s never too late to change your life.
On being a force
I don’t care what you believe, if you don’t say what you believe, and don’t do what you say. What you believe in is all you’ve got, so why not give it all you’ve got?
On keeping it real
Human beings, by nature, want to be perceived as good and not evil, regardless of the truth of their character.
On finding out for yourself
One person’s perception absolutely won’t be yours. Get out there and form your own opinion—it’s more valuable to you than anyone else’s. The 10 most extreme travel adventures in the world might be a good place to start?
On handling yourself
When you’re caught in a storm of extreme emotions, it’s the most difficult time to be rational, understanding, or kind. These wise quotes will help you stop any worsening argument in its tracks.
On working on yourself
Usually, if you try to cover them up, it’s because you’re incapable of changing them at all. To change a fault, first you have to admit that it exists.
On not getting too distracted
It’s funny how the things we do to fill our time often become the ways we ruin our lives. Why not replace those bad habits with some of the habits of naturally productive people?
On false hope
Sometimes you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. They’ll deal with it, I promise. The weird thing about life is how it just incessantly goes on.
On spicing up your life
Conversation with someone who just recycles their same thoughts over and over and over is a Circle of the Inferno through which Dante wouldn’t even pass. These reading quotes will make you crave a good book.
On the rewards of risk
Reader, explore the abyss. The unknown can be scary but the known is downright frightful. If you don’t like it, you can always go back. A metaphorical abyss, that is. Why not dive into the unknown with the best hobby for your zodiac sign?
On staying focused
Reiterating that true passion breeds work—if you can go a period of time without practicing, you might need to reevaluate.
On living your best life
Survival is incorporated into the DNA of life, but living? That’s something you have to find yourself. Go beyond just surviving, make your life worth watching and all that. That’s probably the meaning of life, after all.
You haven’t been beaten when you reach a setback—only when you decide to give up. Anything worthwhile isn’t going to come easy, so try to demonstrate an unbreakable spirit in the face of challenge.
You place a lot of stress on yourself in trying to be you at your fullest potential. Never stop blossoming, but back it down from 100 every once in a while, to check in with you. These beautiful quotes about peace will get you thinking.