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12 Chinese Proverbs About Work

This time, we are going to study 12 Chinese proverbs about Work. The Chinese people have accumulated many vivid proverbs that are thought-provoking and which reflect the attitude and point-of-view of the Chinese towards work. May they inspire and stimulate everyone to work hard and, as a result of this, live well.

1. 今日事,今日毕。(Jīnrì shì,jīnrì bì.)


Never put off what you can do today for tomorrow.

If you can finish your work for today, then do so.


2. 一口吃不成胖子 (Yì kǒu chī bù chénɡ pànɡzi)


One meal won’t make a fat man.

Rome was not built in one day.

It takes time, effort, and consistency to get things done, not just an action done once.


3. 三百六十行,行行出状元。(Sānbǎi liùshí hánɡ,hánɡhánɡ chū zhuànɡyuɑn.)


Among three hundred and sixty trades, every profession produces its own top experts.

There are experts for all skills.


4. 说千道万,不如做事一件。(Shuō qiān dào wàn,bùrú zuòshì yíjiàn.)


Doing is better than talking on and on, stating one’s own points.


5. 有志者,事竟成。(Yǒuzhìzhě,shì jìnɡ chénɡ.)


Where there is a will there is a way.

If you are serious about getting something done, you will find a way.


6. 世上无难事,只怕有心人。(shìshàng wú nánshì,zhǐ pà yǒuxīn rén.)


Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.

Almost the same as “有志者,事竟成”, where if you really want to do something, you will find the willpower and ways to do it.


7.巧妇难为无米之炊。(Qiǎofù nán wéi wúmǐ zhī chuī.)


Nobody can accomplish anything without the necessary means.

To get your work done, you will need the proper tools and resources.


8. 笨人先起身,笨鸟早出林。(Bèn rén xiān qǐshēn,bèn niǎo zǎo chūlín.)


He who is clumsy needs to start early.

If you don’t know how to get your work done, you’ll need to start as soon as possible to learn how to do it properly and finish the job.


9. 千里之行,始于足下。(Qiānlǐ zhī xínɡ,shǐ yú zú xià.)


A journey of a thousand li begins by taking the first step.

The greatest things have the smallest beginnings.


10. 众人拾柴火焰高 (Zhònɡrén shíchái huoyàn ɡāo.)


Many hands make light work.

When everybody adds fuel, the flames rise high.

When many people work together, the job gets done faster and it is easier for everyone.


11. 熟能生巧 (Shú nénɡ shēnɡ qiǎo)


Practice makes perfect.


12. 干一行,爱一行。(Gān yìhánɡ,ài yìhánɡ.)


Love whatever job one takes up (because if you love your work, you will not only do it well, you will enjoy it).


Of course, these are just a small number of Chinese proverbs about work. If you want to learn more, you can find corresponding articles in our site. Hope this helps you with your studies, and that these proverbs also give you a greater appreciation and understanding about doing your work well.

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Cecilia He

Cecilia majored in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. She has vast experience in educating her students on how to listen to and speak Chinese, and is trained to teach HSK courses. She has mastered the method and practice of teaching the structure, historical development, and relationships of languages as an academic subject, and has also done extensive research on Intercultural Communication and Sinology.

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