With the fast pace of modern society, every aspect of the environment seems to be getting more complex. People feel overwhelmed and don’t always know how to cope with things in daily life. As the old saying goes: “What goes up must come down.” There is a limit for everything.
Maybe it’s time to get some guidance for modern life from the ancients. Here are 10 warnings from Chinese philosophy that may help you to meet the challenges you face in your daily life:
1. Exuberance can turn anyone into a chatterbox
When overjoyed, people naturally want to share their good feelings with others. At such times, whatever comes to mind is easily said. Just remember that whatever is spoken cannot be unspoken, and anyone listening may spread those words far and wide, so it is wise to always think before you speak.
2. Anger can lead to bad behavior
Anger, if not controlled, may cause people to act out in ways that are harmful and inappropriate. The best action to take when angry is to get control of yourself before you do something you’ll regret later.
3. Panic can result in a loss of self-control
When people panic, it may be difficult for them to remain calm and maintain their composure. A story from ancient China involving two warlords from the Three Kingdoms period tells of Cao Cao and Liu Bei dining together. At the time, Liu Bei was serving under Cao Cao while secretly plotting to assassinate him. Cao Cao led the conversation to the discussion of true heroes. Liu Bei panicked, thinking his plot had been discovered, and dropped his chopsticks. If a leader and warrior such as Liu Bei could lose his composure so easily, how much more likely is it to happen to a regular person?
4. Indulging in sadness can cause one to lose the respect of others
In the face of sadness, people need some time to deal with their feelings and process their situation. However, some people begin to crave the condolences of others and remain perpetually gloomy just so they can be cheered up. It’s better to overcome sorrow after expressing your feelings and then move forward.
5. Elation can lead you to misjudge the situation
When you are elated, you tend to have no worries and feel that everything is good. At this juncture, your discernment may be weakened, causing you to overlook real problems.
6. Fear may cause you to abandon your principles
Those who are not strong-willed may abandon their principles in the face of fear. Be brave and stick to your convictions no matter the circumstances.
7. Overthinking may cause you to lose love
A head full of complicated or conflicting thoughts can lead to a change of heart. Full dedication to another will get true love in return.
8. Getting drunk will easily lead to irrational behavior
In moderation, alcohol can help one feel relaxed. On the other hand, drinking too much can cause one to act irrationally. You may lose all inhibitions, saying and doing things that are inappropriate. Chronic overindulgence in alcohol is also damaging to the body.
9. Overpromising makes others lose confidence in you
Be realistic in what you promise, and be sure to keep your promises. If you don’t come through for others, they will stop taking you seriously and see you as undependable.
10. Endless desire can consume your life
When driven by desire, a person focuses all their efforts on obtaining something they want. It is better to put your effort into being content with what you have, or else you can waste your life chasing after things you may never get. The ancients believed that blessings were obtained through one’s own good deeds, so no good would come from trying to seize something from others. Improving your heart and mind will lead to unexpected benefits.
Translated by Chua BC and edited by Mikel Davis.