10 Chinese Proverbs That Will Help You Put Everything Into Perspective

China Hangzhou West Lake

Life is a funny thing; one minute it can be going great and we can feel like we’re on top of the world. Next it can all come crashing down and feel like we’ve hit rock bottom. No matter where you’re in life, if you feel like you need a bit of a push in the right direction or some inspiration to keep on going try reading a few of these Chinese proverbs and their meaning.

1. “He who asks remains a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever"

Sometimes when we have a question we consider ’dumb’ we can be afraid to ask it. However it’s better to ask the question, know the answer and feel embarrassed for those few minutes than to never ask and never know.

2. "When you want to test the depths of a stream, don't use both feet"

When you’re trying something for the first time, and you’re not really sure what you’re getting into, don’t dive straight in. Be a little cautious before you put your whole heart into something.

3. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"

While it can be nice to receive handouts and not have to work for something, this isn’t a way to live. Learning how to do things for yourself and knowing how to help yourself will make life easier and more rewarding.

4. “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of only standing still"

Growing and changing, whether it’s fast or slow, is a good thing. We should always be trying to learn and change, and not worried about the rate at which we are doing it, but rather whether we are or not.

5. "If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it"

Pretty straightforward and self-explanatory really. It’s a similar to idea to ’if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ except in relation to your actions. If you wouldn’t want people finding out about you doing it, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

6. “A child’s life is a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark"

Children are extremely impressionable, and though they may not remember everything they see in detail, it doesn’t mean they don’t remember it. Children learn a lot by watching what happens around them, so if you have younger people in your life treat them well and teach them the right things so they can grow up to be the best version of themselves.

7. "Don't stand by the water and long for fish; go home and weave a net"

Instead of complaining about something you don’t have, you should go out and do what you can to get it. Things don’t just come to us by standing around and wishing for them, we need to go out and work for them.

8. “A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers"

The kind act of giving someone something, particularly if they are in need, can truly make a difference. You can never lose the fact you have given to someone, and the positivity and good karma you put out into the world for doing so will never leave you and may even reward you later.

9. “Good advice is like bitter medicine"

Good advice tends to be something we don’t want to hear. We know it is right and we know it is good for us, but our first reaction to it is usually negative. Next time you find yourself in such a situation, have a real good think about what following that good advice could do for you before you push it aside.

10. “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song"

There are people in the world who can talk all day long, usually about nothing in particular or just about themselves. It’s chatter that most people don’t really want to listen to. There are others in the world who don’t tend to say a whole lot, but when they do speak people listen because what they have to say is usually quite meaningful and well thought out. Try being the second person.

See Also: 10 Quotes About Turning Your Failure Around

The interesting thing about a quote or proverb is that everyone can interpret them differently. Do you take a different meaning from any of the Chinese proverbs above?