mí bú yǒu chū, xiǎn kè yǒu zhōng 靡不有初，鲜克有终
All Things Have a Beginning, but Few Can Reach the End.
All undertakings have a beginning, but few people are able to see things through to the end. Mi (靡) means “nothing, none,” and chu (初) means “beginning.” Xian (鲜) means “few,” and ke (克) means “are able, can.” The saying comes from The Book of Songs, and was a criticism of the degenerate and immoral King Li of Zhou whose constantly changing decrees brought misery to his people. The story has both practical and philosophical implications. Starting off with a flourish is not difficult, whether in personal behavior, doing business, being an official or governing a country. It’s persevering to the end that is hardest. This is an admonition to us to not keep changing our minds, to avoid making bold early promises and then failing to live up to them. We must not give up in the middle, but should persevere so that things not only begin well but also end well.
Heaven created all people. Decrees of government must be consistent. All things have a beginning, but few people can see them through to the end. (The Book of Songs)