千里之行,始于足下 – Chinese philosophy and culture

qiān lǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zú xià 千里之行,始于足下

A Journey of a Thousand Li Begins with the First Step.

千里远的行程,要从迈第一步开始。比喻远大目标的实现,要从小的、基础的事情做起。足下:脚所站立的地方。语出《老子》。《老子》以大树、高台、千里之行一方面说明在问题或祸乱发生之前一定要提前防范或处置妥当,以免量变引起质变;另一方面说明任何事情都需要从头做起,一个好的开始往往是事情成败的关键,远大的理想和抱负需要脚踏实地地推进,才能在一个个具体目标的实现中完成看似不可能完成的任务。

Any major undertaking must start small from the basics. The expression comes from Laozi. Zuxia (足下) means the place where one is standing. Laozi used the metaphors of a giant tree, a high platform, a long journey to represent two different ideas. 1. Proper preventive measures must be taken before problems or troubles occur lest things become worse; 2. All undertakings must start from the very beginning, because success or failure often depends on a good start; an extension of this is that reaching distant ideals and aspirations depends on many practical steps along the way to attain the seemingly impossible goal.

引例 Citation:

◎合抱之木,生于毫末;九层之台,起于垒土;千里之行,始于足下。(《老子·六十四章》)

(合抱的大树,是从细小的萌芽生长起来的;九层的高台,是一筐筐土筑起来的;千里远的行程,是从迈第一步开始的。)

The giant tree that needs several people to encircle grew from a tiny sapling; the platform nine stories high was built from piling many baskets of earth; and the journey of a thousand li begins with the first step. (Laozi)

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