Daily Chinese Proverb: Over-Confidence

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 6 October 2009
This Chinese proverb speaks of something I am certainly cursed with sometimes, and something we all might get affected by from time to time. Overconfidence is usually shortly followed by the feeling of stupidity when you realise you were not as good as you thought you were. Sometimes this is a good dose of humility, other times it can be disastrous...

bù zì liàng lì
Overconfident /
To overestimate capabilities

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  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. There's actually another set of saying that precedes 不自量力, did you know that?

    It's 螳臂当车 (lit. praying mantis arm stop cart).
    Just imagine a praying mantis using its forelegs to stop a cart.

  3. Haha, wow. No, I didnt know this one.

    Thanks for that, it is really interesting makes sense.

    I love that the Chinese always refer to animals in their proverbs.

  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. Ha ha... Hence, we have lots of animal kung fu styles?!

    There's a typo mistake in 螳臂当车.
    The 当 should actually be 挡.

  6. Maybe, I think there is a certain degree of respect the Chinese have for animals more so than Westeners.

    Zodiac, The Proverbs, Kung Fu i guess too. Yet Westerners from my experience are always very very critical of the way Chinese, and many Asian cultures treat animals with respect to medicines and food.

    It is soething I may look into further when I understand a bit more about Chinese culture myself. It would be very interesting to persue.

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. China has long been an agricultural society, along with influences from Taoism and Buddhism, so the nature including animals has always been the origin and inspiration of the science, philosophy, literature and art in China.

    I am not sure about the West but I guess Christianity and Humanity, which value God and human more than the nature, were the dominant ideologies in ancient time, right?

    For the medical use and food,I do think some of them are cruel because the animals are not only being killed but tortured, with which I believe are the ways modern people come up. Yet many of the products are sold to overseas markets. Chinese medical classics do mention about animals but mostly about plants.

    I personally don't eat any rare species of animals but I cannot decide whether it is something cruel or not since people of different regions have grown different eating habits.



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