Chinese proverbs to help with modern life

It is the Chinese New Year this coming Friday and will be the year of the Ox so perhaps we should be practicing Cow Face Pose! Here are some Chinese proverbs to ponder on.

  • Different locks must be opened with different keys: Every problem we face in life will require a different set of skills to overcome so a “one key fits all” approach won’t work. Be flexible and face each new challenge with a fresh outlook and the right tools.
  • A blind horse always frightens itself: Most of us will, at some point or another, have wound ourselves up into a state of anxiety of rear when going in to a situation ill-informed. Feeling unprepared and out of your depth can easily lead to panic. This proverb reminds us that learning the lay of the land will help us to keep calm and know what plan of action to take.
  • You must enter the tiger’s den to catch his cubs: This is an animal based alternative to the expression “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. It reminds us we need to sometimes take a few risks and to make ourselves vulnerable to achieve what we want.
  • Dig the well before you are thirsty: The message here is to plan ahead. Prepare for any eventuality before it occurs to avoid any unwelcome scenarios.
  • The longer the string, the higher the kite will fly: Play the long game. Making a long-term plan, rather than rushing into things or expecting instant results, will reap benefits over time. In the digital age, many of us expect instant gratification but good things come to those who wait.
  • A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books: In an age when we spend all day with our eyes glued to our phones or laptops, it’s important to remember the value of a good old conversation. Personal experience is a valuable resource that we should all tap into.
  • The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now: Don’t put things off. If you want success and growth in the future, the best time to act is now. In a literal sense, this proverb has added poignancy. We need to act today to protect our planet from the effects of pollution before it is too late.