Wise Words From Confucius on Self-Improvement

I’ve been reading books quite often recently. The book I’m reading now is Confucius Analects: With Selections from Traditional Commentaries (Translated and Annotated).

Growing up in a family which believes in Confucius and his teachings, I found that many of his principles resonate with me. However, I must say that there are many areas that I have to work on.

Take this quote for example:

“When you see someone who is worthy, concentrate upon becoming their equal; when you see someone who is unworthy, use this as an opportunity to look within yourself.” — The Master

I think most of us do what the first half of the quote says. Whenever we see someone who is better than us in ways we admire, we try to emulate them.

However, upon reading the second half of the quote, I realised that it is something that I don’t do often. In fact, sometimes, I do the opposite — I would judge the person. This half of the quote taught me something very valuable.

When I see someone do something that I dislike or consider as inappropriate or make a mistake, my first thought should not be to judge him/her but ask myself, “Do I do that at times too?”.

When someone is talking loudly while I’m working, instead of judging him/her immediately, I should pause and think, “Do I do that at times too?”

When someone is being very rude, instead of judging him/her immediately, I should pause and think, “Do I do that at times too?”

When someone is behaving inappropriately, instead of judging him/her immediately, I should pause and think, “Do I do that at times too?”

If the answer is “Yes”, I believe that I’m in no position to judge the other person and should work to improve myself. If the answer is “No”, I think I should take it as a reminder to not behave that way or commit the same mistake in the future.

Having tried this for a while, I realised that sometimes I do behave the same way or make the same mistake as the other person. Such instances are chances for me to improve.

If you are interested in self-improvement, give this a shot!


If you are interested to read about Confucius and his teachings, I would recommend the book I’m reading. Confucius’s teachings are rarely self-explanatory and I think this book does a good job compiling different interpretations of Confucius teachings from various scholars.

Nevertheless, I think some meaning would have be lost due to translation. I’m quite interested to read the Analects in Traditional Chinese, 論語, even though it might pose a challenge since I learn Simplified Chinese and not Traditional Chinese. I might search for an audiobook! ☺


(This is my 28th blog post of my 30in30 challenge — 30 blog posts in 30 days. Through this challenge, I hope to feel comfortable and more confident with writing and become better at writing.)