Apr 282015

Are you up for a challenge in longevity?  Why not author a few great quotes? One of the puzzles that I find truly interesting is what makes a quotation survive the test of time, thriving long after the person who authored it has passed away. Not many people out of the billions of people before you and I have had a quote survive at all.

It is a challenge in striking a cord with the reader or listener, capturing an essential truth, keeping it short and sweet, and having it go viral. Books and books try to solve “how a business idea goes viral” but no strategy or formula seems to be reliable as yet.

It stands to reason, then, that long-standing quotes must have something special, the right stuff that transcends generations, cultures, and languages. All this tends to fit in less than ten words that resonate. Its quite like the fact that all music stems from only a few available notes.

Who is on the all time all-star list of quotation authors? Top of the list must be Kong Fuzi, or as we know him, Confucius, the “latinized” version of his name that given to his legacy by Jesuit missionaries around 2,000 years after he lived.

Here are twenty-one quotes from Confucius. Twenty-one quotes that thrive today, more than 2,500 years later. Are there lessons to learn in twenty-one quotes that have survived 2,500 years and 125 generations of people? You betcha!


It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of a year, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

Respect yourself and others will respect you.

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

What the superior man seeks is in himself. What the mean man seeks is in others.

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.


They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.

When you complain about something unpleasant you double it, when you laugh at it, you destroy it.

Forget injuries, never forget kindness.

Learn! Change yourself. Be wiser and live wiser today than yesterday.

I.M. OptimismMan


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.