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  • Writer's pictureStephen Gardner

7 Life Lessons attributed to Confucius and how they apply to money today

7 Life Lessons attributed to Confucius that might help you in your life right now.

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During Confucius’ life he shared many nuggets of wisdom, but I have narrowed down 7 life lessons he is credited with and how they apply to today.

1. When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, but adjust the action steps.

Every year I set my personal and business goals. I refer to them often so they stay fresh in my mind. However sometimes life throws us curve balls that knock us from the path we were on towards our goal.

When this happens don’t give up on the goal, make the necessary adjustments to get back on track.

2. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.

In finance I witness people become frustrated with their lives, goals or nest egg only to stop contributing, stop taking action and give up. It’s OK to have a slow year. It’s not OK to quit or stop. Progress is the goal, not perfection. Remember Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare? The tortoise never stopped, never took a break nor became discouraged. He just kept going, believing that each step was moving him closer to his goal.

3. Never establish a friendship with someone less virtuous than yourself.

Be mindful of the people you surround yourself with. They saw you are the average of your 5 closest friends. So are your friends living the life you want? Are your friends growing and learning or has their personal progress stalled?

Be around people that motivate you and push you to be better.

4. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.

If you focus on yourself and your growth, you will grow. If you focus on others and what they have or lack, you will shrink. Make sure you are working on developing your skills and increasing your knowledge. Commit to being a life long learner.

5. Extravagance in the small things will bring a great cause to ruin.

Make sure that in addition to your material possessions such as cars, smart phones, nice clothes, etc, you also have an emergency fund. Being overly extravagant but unable to sustain yourself during hard times can lead to ruin.

Create a plan right now for how to get through hard times. How much money would you need? Do you have a few mortgage payments or rent payments set aside? Do you have some extra food and emergency money?

6. Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

This wisdom applies to investments as much as it does the jobs you take to earn money. You will spend most of your life working a job. You should be interested and passionate about what you do or you will resent the work you do. You should value the money you work so hard to earn and put it to good use. You should be committed, interested and passionate about the investments you make or you won’t be able to weather the storms that come with investing.

This advice should also apply to loved ones in your life. Be present when you are with people. Don’t be on your phone or half way engaged.

7. Respect yourself and others will respect you.

As you become more successful you will encounter haters. It’s completely natural. It is OK to have money and seek to be wealthy. Don’t let anyone shame you over your success or your wealth. It is OK to want to do more than just survive. With that said, it is also good to donate time and money to those that need help. This is a great way to stay humble and helpful and keep the spitting at your back to a minimum because no one wants to spit on someone who helps others.

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