110 Confucius Quotes on Education, Family, Life, and More

If you enjoy philosophy and learning about life, you’ll love this list of the top 110 Confucius quotes that’ll have your mind reeling!

As we may have come to know today, China is one of the most ancient civilizations that has been able to establish its own way of life and thinking.

Confucius, who was born in 551 B.C., was among the many wise teachers and philosophers of this ancient land. 

Confucius was a philosopher, politician, and poet famous for his work, The Analects—a compilation of his life and everyday learnings.

Albeit in fragments, The Analects’ 20 segments fully captured the beauty and wonders of life, education, relationships, and just about everything else we could ever imagine.

No doubt, Confucius is one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. If you’re curious to know more about him, here’s a collection of his wisest and most inspiring words and insights!

Check the complete list here.

And make sure to read these Buddha quotes.

Best Confucius Quotes

1. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

2. “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”

3. “Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

4. “Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.”

5. “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”

6. “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.”

7. “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?”

8. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

9. “Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”

10. “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.”

Famous Confucius Quotes

11. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

12. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

13. “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”

14. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

15. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

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

17. “A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.”

18. “The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”

19. “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”

20. “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.”

Also read: Famous Quotes, Encouraging Quotes

Inspiring Confucius Quotes

21. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

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

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

24. “Think of tomorrow—the past can’t be mended.”

25. “They must often change who would remain constant in happiness and wisdom.”

26. “We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.”

27. “I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.”

28. “True goodness springs from a man’s own heart. All men are born good.”

Also read: Mencius Quotes, Zhuangzi Quotes

Wise Confucius Quotes to Live By

29. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

30. “Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.”

31. “Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.”

32. “When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.”

33. “Act with kindness but do not expect gratitude.”

34. “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”

35. “It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”

36. “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

37. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.”

38. “To be able, under all circumstances, to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue. These five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

39. “Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.”

Also read: Quotes to Live By, Positive Quotes

Confucius Quotes About Life

40. “Your life is what your thoughts make it.”

41. “If we don’t know life, how can we know death?”

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

43. “Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.”

44. “The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.” 

45. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

46. “I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty.”

47. “I’d rather die for speaking out than to live and be silent.”

Also read: Han Fei Quotes, Mozi Quotes

Confucius Quotes About Love

48. “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.”

49. “Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life—however, it can spoil it, too.”

50. “To love a thing means wanting it to live.”

51. “Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?”

52. “I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue would esteem nothing above it.”

53. “Love is often described as a fruit you can just reach out with your hand and pluck. However, one should beware that although glowing in color, the fruit could be poisonous, tainted, or rotten.”

Also read: True Love Quotes

Confucius Quotes on Education

54. “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

55. “You cannot open a book without learning something.”

56. “Learn avidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.”

57. “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

58. “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.”

59. “Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.”

60. “The essence of knowledge is, having it, to use it.”

61. “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.”

62. “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.”

63. “No matter how busy you make think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

Also read: Knowledge Quotes

Short Confucius Quotes That Are Full of Meaning

64. “Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.”

65. “Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.”

66. “To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.”

67. “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”

68. “Sincerity is the way of heaven.”

69. “The object of the superior man is truth.”

70. “To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.”

71. “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”

72. “One joy dispels a hundred cares.”

73. “Words are the voice of the heart.”

74. “The cautious seldom err.”

75. “To understand yourself is the key to wisdom.”

76. “Study the past if you would define the future.”

77. “When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

Interesting Confucius Quotes to Ponder On

78. “Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.”

79. “Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

80. “The man who says he can, and the man who says he can not are both correct.”

81. “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.”

82. “The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.”

83. “Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it.”

84. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

85. “When you see a good person, think of becoming like her or him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.” 

Confucius Quotes on Work

86. “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be a failure.”

87. “Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.”

88. “To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.”

89. “Do not let a leader lead you on a bad path.”

90. “Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.”

91. “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.”

92. “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

93. “The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”

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

Confucius Quotes on Family

95. “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

96. “First, there must be order and harmony within your own mind. Then, this order will spread to your family, then to the community, and finally to your entire kingdom. Only then can you have peace and harmony.”

97. “There are three degrees of filial piety. The highest is being a credit to our parents, the second is not disgracing them, the lowest is being able simply to support them.”

98. “The parents’ age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety.”

99. “It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.”

Also read: Family Quotes

Funny Confucius Quotes

100. “Anyone can find the switch after the lights are on.”

101. “The funniest people are the saddest ones.”

102. “To be wronged is nothing—unless you continue to remember it.”

103. “The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?”

Also read: Funny Quotes

More Confucius Quotes for Your Inquisitive Mind

104. “The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, ‘I shall today be uppermost.’”

105. “Think no vice so small that you may commit it, and no virtue so small that you may overlook it.”

106. “There are three things to beware of through life: when a man is young, let him beware of his appetites; when he is middle-aged, of his passions; and when old, of covetousness, especially.”

107. “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

108. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”

109. “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

110. “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.”

Were You Able to Get a Clearer Picture of Your Purpose Through These Confucius Quotes?

As time passes, Confucius’ influence on people gets stronger. Even thousands of years after his death, his words still ring true for everyone searching for their lives’ meaning and purpose.

This is no surprise as Confucianism, the way of life that Confucius established, focuses on the belief that man can change and evolve for good. To do this, one must do things purposefully and with determination.

Life isn’t meant to be lived half-heartedly, so, whatever we do, we must do so with passion, determination, and perseverance. It doesn’t matter if we’re trying to reach success, build meaningful relationships, or find who we truly are. Confucius and his teachings cover all aspects of our lives. 

So, whenever you feel lost, empty, or need guidance, make sure you revisit this list of his best quotes. We’re sure you’ll find whatever you need to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

Have you heard of Confucius before? Which of his quotes made an impact on you? Join the discussion below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.

7 thoughts on “110 Confucius Quotes on Education, Family, Life, and More”

  1. Amy: From whom are these quotes:
    He who knows and knows that he knows is wise – follow him.
    He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is asleep – wake him.
    He who knows not and knows that he knows not is simple – teach him.

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