Mandarin on Mondays, 临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网

临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网;
扬汤止沸,不如釜底抽薪

1. 临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网。
lín yuān xiàn yú,bù rú tuì ér jié wǎng
《汉书·董仲书传》《han shū · dǒng zhòng shū zhuàn 》

Rather than admire the abundance of fish [opportunities in front] of the lake, why not retreat to sew your net [to catch the fish].

This proverb was used as a parable from 董仲舒, a politician and a philosopher, who warned the emperor to use systematic manner to govern a country.

Does having a grandeur vision or goal justify the means/process? While having a grand goal is important, the “how to” accomplish is equally important.
Otherwise, is it not like “building castles in the air”, an illusion.

This proverb is a useful reminder not to fixate too much on our goals but work also on strategies. Strategies need to be revised, irrelevant ones discarded and opportune ones devised to adapt to changing trends.

《汉书·董仲舒传》,书中说:“故汉得天下以来,常欲治而至今不可善治者,失之于当更化而不更化也。

古人有言曰:‘临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网。’”意思是说,汉朝希望国家能得到很好的治理,却没有达到这个目的,原因在于“当更化而不更化”,也就是没有在观念上、制度上做出必要的改革和调整,于是他借“临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网”这句古训,来告诫统治者,要治理好国家,必须抓住观念、制度这个根本。

“临渊羡鱼,不如退而结网”这一典故,也告诫人们,在目的与手段之间,有明确的目的固然重要,但如果没有实现这一目的的必要手段,目的将是空幻而不切实际的。
Source of Chinese meaning from
https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1302103067889920139.html

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