15 powerful life lessons from Confucius

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Ever heard of Confucius?

If not, he was one of the most influential thinkers in Chinese history.

In fact, he had such a massive impact on Chinese society that a lot of what he said is still being taught today.

He espoused the well-known principle called ‘The Golden Rule’: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”.

He also offered incredible wisdom on how to live a fulfilling and happy life.

Below we’ve gone over some of his most potent lessons that we all can benefit from.

1. Just keep going.

As long as you’re continually progressing and moving down the right path, you’ll eventually get to where you want to go. It takes an effort to be consistent, but if you stay consistent, you’ll get what you’re looking for.

2. Your friends matter.

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, so make sure you have the right friends and you treat them well.

A healthy social circle is also important for happiness. A 75-year Harvard study found that relationships are the single most important factor in a person’s happiness.

3. Good Things Come With a Price

It can be so easy to be negative. Our brains are wired to do so in order to protect us against threats.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t change our perspective. Consciously focus on the good, even if it takes effort. Over time you’ll rewire your brain to have a more positive outlook.

4. To be Wronged is Nothing

Don’t focus too much on the past or negative situations you’re confronting. Try to focus on what will actually help you in the future.

This involves setting a goal, no matter how big it is, and then figuring the steps needed to achieve it. You’ll undoubtedly have set backs and criticisms along the way, but don’t dwell on them and continue moving ahead.

As a simple example, if I wanted to finish reading a 450-page book in one month, I would set 30 steps of completing 15 pages each. If I fail on some of those days, I wouldn’t put myself down, but simply read 30 pages on other days.

5. Consider the Consequences

Remember this quote next time you’re angry. Being angry never really leads to anything positive. It’s much better to take a step back and take a measured response. This is where real progress is.

6. Make Adjustments

Keep an eye on your progress and if isn’t working out as you expect, change your approach. Pivot!

This involves taking a step back every now and then and asking yourself honestly “Am I improving?” If you’re aiming to learn a new language, then every week or so, test yourself to see whether you’re learned more new words.

7. You Can Learn From Everyone

Everyone has life experience and there is always something to learn. If you develop this approach every time you’re meeting someone new, not only will you learn more, but you’ll also become more likable because you’re actually interested in what they have to say.

8. All or None

If you want to succeed at anything, you have to give it your all! This goes for relationships just as much as for work.

9. Sharpen Your Tools First

Don’t rely on winging it. Try to be prepared for whatever you’re facing. If you want to achieve your big goals, then you then to constantly work on your skills that will help you reach them. Great things take effort and determination.

[Not only does Buddhism provide a spiritual outlet for many people, it can also improve the quality of our personal relationships. Check out my new no-nonsense guide to using Buddhism for a better life here].

10. Learn From Other People

One of the best ways to learn is by observing and modeling other people.

If you’re looking to be a more successful person, one of the best things you can do is learn from someone who is more successful than you.

And in the same vein, we can learn more about ourselves when we find things we don’t like about others. A lot of the time, we tend to find some of the same weak points in ourselves that we find in others.

Once we understand what they are, it then becomes a great opportunity for personal growth.

11. Remain Curious and Always Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Keeping an open-mind and critically thinking for yourself is so important in the information age.

Never take what someone says as truth. Do your research, keep asking questions and learn as much as you can about life and the universe.

12. Improve Yourself Before You Criticize Others

It’s so easy to sit back and criticize other people. But when you’re attacking someone, it doesn’t help them. In fact, it hurts them.

What’s more, it doesn’t help you. You’re just bringing yourself down with toxic energy.

Be more positive. Focus on yourself and what you can improve.

13. Don’t Always Focus on Yourself. Focus on Other People

In today’s self-obsessed world, so many of us care what other people think. And when you get down when someone has a bad opinion of you, it means that you’re giving them power.

Take power back yourself and forget about what other’s think. Focus on yourself and the best that you can do with your actions.

Once you know you’re doing your best, you can focus on helping other people. When you dedicate your life to this, your life becomes much more fulfilling.

14. Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

Don’t live life with a double-standard and treat other people the way you want to be treated. Show respect, think of other people and life will become a lot better (for everyone!).

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15. See Reality For What It Is

In the age of automated sensationalized news feeds and fake news, it’s more important than ever to see reality for what it is. Think for yourself and don’t let other people manipulate your opinion.

If you’re looking more Confucius wisdom, check out his most inspiring quotes here.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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