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Home Qunshu Zhiyao 360 Correcting our own mistakes

The Way Of A Leader

The Governing Principles of Ancient China - Qunshu Zhiyao 360

Correcting our own mistakes

Confucius said: “To make a mistake and not correct it is a real mistake.”

Scroll 9: Lun Yu

Zigong said: “The faults of a superior person are analogous to the eclipses of the sun and the moon. When he is at fault, everyone can see his faults clearly. But when he corrects his faults, everyone will look up to him with respect.”

Scroll 9: Lun Yu

The government of the ancient sage-kings had official historians who recorded the mistakes made by the ruler, and official musicians to sing ballads to remind the ruler of his mistakes. Ordinary folk could be heard making criticisms against the ruler on the roadside, and businessmen could be heard discussing the ruler’s faulty actions in the marketplace. Thus, sage rulers were able to hear about their mistakes and correct them, and to implement sensible policies that were just and honorable. These were factors that contributed to the longevity of their government.

Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5

The most serious blunder we can make is in knowing we have failings and yet we refuse to correct them until such failings harm and cost our life.

Scroll 31: Yu Zi

The ancients said: “There are two things that individuals will find difficult to achieve in life—One is a willingness to accept and correct their own faults; another is the wisdom to know when to point out and correct the faults of others.”

Scroll 46: Zhong Lun