Chinese Proverbs Applied to Business: Part II

Chinese Proverbs, called “yyànyŭ,” are phrases that capture the wisdom of illustrious philosophers and thinkers throughout the centuries. They not only help us understand the world around us but also prove to be of great assistance in building and maintaining prosperous business relationships.

Below, you’ll find the Chinese proverbs that continue to have a significant impact on business.

  • A single conversation with a wise person is worth a month of study.

This Chinese proverb in business emphasizes the importance of learning through experience and shared wisdom. It suggests that a meaningful conversation with a wise individual can provide knowledge and understanding equivalent to, or even greater than, a month of intensive book study.

  • Time is like the flow of a river: it doesn’t return.

Time is irreversible, much like the constant flow of a river. This phrase explains that once time passes, you cannot retrieve it. You must use it wisely and avoid wasting it. Lost opportunities do not come back.

  • The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

This other Chinese business proverb underscores the importance of timely action and long-term planning. It means that while it would have been ideal to take action a long time ago, the second-best option is to start now. Further delay only diminishes the opportunities that lie ahead.

  • It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

In both life and business, according to Chinese proverbs, it is necessary to take positive and constructive steps instead of complaining or criticizing when facing problems or difficulties. It also suggests that finding solutions and taking initiatives is more beneficial than passively lamenting the situation.

  • When the wise point at the moon, the fool only sees the finger.

This well-known phrase in the Eastern world warns about the importance of insight and deep understanding. While a wise person focuses on the goal or essence of a situation (the moon), someone less wise may get distracted by superficial or insignificant details (the pointing finger). We should look beyond the superficial and concentrate on what truly matters.

  • Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.

It highlights the difference between determination and mere aspiration. It indicates that people with strong character and ambition are willing to make efforts to achieve their goals. While those with less determination only have desires but are not willing to take decisive action.

  • The longer the rope, the higher the kite will fly.

Chinese business proverbs state that in projects, the more time and effort you invest, the greater the chances of success or achieving lofty goals. It also suggests that patience and perseverance can lead to the best results.

  • You must climb the mountain like an old man to arrive like a young one.

These words emphasize the importance of patience, wisdom, and caution in life. It suggests that when tackling challenges or goals, it’s more effective and safe to take a gradual and prudent approach, similar to how an older person would climb a mountain, rather than rushing impulsively like a young one.

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