How My 2018 Will Be Modeled By Confucian Teachings

I first came across Confucius when I started studying Mandarin in school. My level one HSK Mandarin exam had to be sat in a Confucius institute, and when I asked what that was, my Mandarin teacher explained that he was a philosopher. Once I got home and googled him, I realized that many of his teachings spoke to me. Since then I’d simply had his quotes in the notes section of my phone or written randomly on my wall calendars.

Now in 2018, I’m going to make a real effort to live by those teaching as part of my self-development plan. Here are ten of his teachings I plan to live by:

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

This teaching will serve to remind me that anything worth having usually involves some level of struggle. I can’t expect personal development to occur unless I’m tested, whether it’s one big mountain to climb, or one pebble a day I have to move away.

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

I’m very young, and because of this I can sometimes fall into the trap of believing my struggles are the first of it’s kind. They aren’t. This teaching will hopefully allow me to spend 2018 being more mindful and seeking to improve my ability to acknowledge when I am being ignorant before it becomes a problem; because not knowing only becomes problematic when you refuse to learn.

3. “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”

I’ve always been a big proponent of remembering those who are kind to you, those who lent you a helping hand for no reason other than because you needed it. One of my previous posts talked about how I can’t seem to find direction in my life yet, but one thing I know for sure is that my biggest regret in life would be to disappoint those who believed in me and did their best to help me when I was down. My life is for me to be proud of, but I plan to live a life where those that helped me don’t have regret.

I hope to one day be in a position where I can be that helping hand, and in 2018 I plan to continue to live by this teaching.

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

Never give up is what this teaching boils down to. Sometimes we set ourselves these grand goals because we are so sure we can achieve them. But what we fail to realize is just because we can see the other side of the island, doesn’t mean we don’t have to build a bridge first to get there. In 2018 I plan to take more time to figuring out the steps to my plans and breaking them down into manageable chunks rather than aim high and be disappointed and discouraged that I didn’t reach the moon when my only preparation was to jump. All things are possible if you believe in yourself, but you have to dedicate yourself to playing the long game rather than seeking quick success.

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

In 2018 I plan to be more forgiving as I’m sure my hyper personality can sometimes lead to others having to take deep breaths. 2018 will not be the year of rash Tiff. I can’t promise I’ll be as zen as Buddha, but I’ll do my best to incorporate this teaching into my life.

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

This is a teaching I’m planning to apply more to my blog than my life in general since my blog needs me to muster more motivation. That’s not because I don’t want to blog; I’m really starting to enjoy it, but it’s because blogging is something so new to me and this blog is so new to the world that right now I’m essentially blogging for myself with the hopes that eventually that won’t be the case. For now, I’m the only certain viewer of my content and so I have to really work to ensure that I don’t loose site of the progress this blog will help me make, the potential connections I could make, and conversations I could be having down the line because of this blog. I chose to step out of my comfort zone. I chose to bare my mind in a way I never have before. So I’ll continue to write posts as though the world is watching, and because of that I’ll continue to develop.

7. “The man who says he can, and the man who says he can not.. Are both correct.”

I’m going to approach all opportunities with a positivity bordering on egotism. My last post spoke about being told no and why that’s not the worse thing that can happen to you, and so in 2018 I’m going to use this teaching to remind me that if I believe I can, I probably can, and if I can’t at least I tried. If I stop myself before I get to the starting line, I will never be able to finish the race. I’m smart enough not to apply to be a NASA engineer when I don’t have a background in any relevant fields, so I need to trust that when an opportunity arises that I’m considering, it’s because it’s possible for me; it’s within my reach and so I should just go for it. We should go for it.

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

I want to live a life where people are glad to have met me and have happy memories of the time they spent with me. Some people leave bad impressions, some leave no impression, and some change your life or affect you for the better. Whether I get there or not, I plan to be the latter.

I undertand that I won’t get there in 2018, as to be an influence to peoples lives takes a lot of work and only few people in life ever accomplish making such a positive impact, but this year I’m starting myself on that path, and hopefully one day I’ll be deemed worthy.

9. “Settle one difficulty, and you keep a hundred away.”

My life is currently very organized, and I own multiple year wall calendars showing the same information but in different formats so that no matter my mood, I’m always able to understand at a glance what one of them is showing me in terms of my upcoming responsibilities. This teaching will help me to continue to be methodical in how I approach my responsibilities so that they are manageable and don’t overwhelm me.

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

Here’s to personal development. Here’s to an evolving Tiff and an evolving you. I will change, and my blog will change and find it’s feet. But that’s a good thing as hopefully that will signify improvement; development I can be proud of.


Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 2.33.03 PM
Where it all began

And as for my Mandarin, I’ve lost the skills I learnt in 2013/14. But my second personal development task of 2018, besides starting this blog, was to apply for a course where I’d live, study and explore in China for three weeks this summer. Hopefully I’ll get onto the course, but if not, I tried and that is what’s important.


Photo by: 3dman_eu

Good luck in your 2018!

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