97 Confucius quotes to live a wiser life

Confucius, born 551 BC, was a Chinese philosopher and teacher. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, focuses on personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity.

Below are a compilation of his best quotes about love, life, family, respect, education and much more. Enjoy.

If you enjoy reading quotes by Confucius then we suggest reading the The Analects. This is a collection of Confucius’s sayings brought together by his pupils shortly after his death in 497 BC.

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We have two lives, and the second begins when we realise we only have one.
Confucius
The essence of knowledge is, having it, to use it.
Confucius
Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.
Confucius
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Confucius
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Confucius
If we don’t know life, how can we know death?
Confucius
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
Confucius
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
Confucius
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
Confucius
He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.
Confucius
Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbours.
Confucius
Roads were made for journeys not destinations.
Confucius
If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.
Confucius
To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.
Confucius
The man who says he can, and the man who says he can not… are both correct.
Confucius
If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.
Confucius
Act with kindness but do not expect gratitude.
Confucius
Your life is what your thoughts make it.
Confucius
Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
Confucius
Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.
Confucius
I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the centre of your being.
Confucius
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Confucius
I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty.
Confucius
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Confucius
When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.
Confucius
If you don’t want to do something, don’t impose on others.
Confucius
They must often change who would remain constant in happiness and wisdom.
Confucius
Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.
Confucius
Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.
Confucius
When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is knowledge.
Confucius
Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Confucius
When a person should be spoken with, and you don’t speak with them, you lose them. When a person shouldn’t be spoken with and you speak to them, you waste your breath. The wise do not lose people, nor do they waste their breath.
Confucius
Whose soever you go, go with all your heart.
Confucius
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Confucius
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.
Confucius
We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.
Confucius
The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.
Confucius
It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
Confucius
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Confucius
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
Confucius
Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.
Confucius
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Confucius
The object of the superior man is truth.
Confucius
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
Confucius
He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
Confucius
Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it.
Confucius
To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.
Confucius
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Confucius
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Confucius
You are what you think.
Confucius
No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
Confucius
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
Confucius
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.
Confucius
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
Confucius
Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour's roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
Confucius
Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
Confucius
When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
Confucius
What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
Confucius
By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.
Confucius
A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top.
Confucius
The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
Confucius
Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
Confucius
Study the past if you would define the future.
Confucius
Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
Confucius
Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.
Confucius
Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended.
Confucius
Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
Confucius
You cannot open a book without learning something.
Confucius
To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.
Confucius
Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.
Confucius
A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
Confucius
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
Confucius
Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
Confucius
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Confucius
The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later.
Confucius
To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.
Confucius
All people are the same; only their habits differ.
Confucius
If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
Confucius
Virtuous people often revenge themselves for the constraints to which they submit by the boredom which they inspire.
Confucius
Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.
Confucius
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
Confucius
He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against.
Confucius
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Confucius
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.
Confucius
Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
Confucius
The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognise the ability that he has.
Confucius
Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Confucius
The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.
Confucius
If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?
Confucius
A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.
Confucius
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius
When we see persons of worth, we should think of equalling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
Confucius
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
Confucius
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Confucius
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Confucius
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognised moral qualities of men.
Confucius
Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.
Confucius
Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honours depend upon heaven.
Confucius
Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
Confucius
To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage, or of principle.
Confucius
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Confucius
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
Confucius
To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
Confucius
What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
Confucius
Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.
Confucius
Learn avidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyse it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.
Confucius
Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.
Confucius
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