Top 10 Confucius Quotes For Preppers

Top ten Confucius quotes for preppers

Confucius was a Chinese politician and philosopher who lived in the 6th century BC. Also known as Kong Qiu, or Master Kong, his legacy is a collection of wise phrases and proverbs that are still relevant and offer strong moral guidance in our age. Many of his quotes apply to preparedness, and we’re going to explore the top ten.

Confucius’ philosophy is sometimes compared to that of Jesus Christ (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”), the Stoics, and other ancient religious thinkers. He bases his timeless, sensible beliefs and philosophy on the tenets of love and tolerance.

He also led a political life, working for the Duke of the Chinese state of Lu. Confucius lived in a difficult time when China was going through an ideological upheaval. There was injustice, conflict, and evil all around.

After contradicting the wealthy nobility, he was banished for over twenty years, much like the other Greek and Roman sages and philosophers who got involved with emperors and politicians. Like them, he continued to teach and disseminate his theories in the countryside while in exile.

Confucianism has recently had a resurgence, showing that his philosophy and proverbs are timeless and still relevant today. He bases his code of living on universal values of love, morality, self-awareness, and decent behavior. Like Stoicism, these practical lessons are meant to be utilized in daily life rather than only being read for reflection or entertainment.

Top 10 Confucius Quotes For Preppers

We don’t have to look very far to find a strong connection to readiness in many of his quotes, so we’ve chosen ten of them to highlight here:

1. “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.”

What better way to get things going than with a quote that captures the very spirit of preparedness? As many wise men do, Confucius believed that people living in complacency, denial, ignorance, and normalcy are destined to be easy pickings when difficulties and challenges appear. Prepare ahead of time to stray from the standard.

Just keep moving, no matter how slow you need to go2. “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”

Confucius taught us the value of perseverance, discipline, patience, and hard effort to accomplish our objectives in any field. These ideas also apply to preppinh, where it’s important to recognize the power of compounding, or cumulative activities and steps.

Whatever you can, do it as soon as you can. But be persistent in your efforts, constantly pushing forward and getting better every day, even if it’s just a little.

3. “The small man searches in others; the superior man seeks in himself.”

The blame game is fruitless. Advancement is only possible by taking responsibility for our actions and concentrating energy and efforts on those areas we can control. Too many people become enraged and base their decisions and actions on outside factors, including other people’s opinions and behaviors, social media, politics, etc.

We can change ourselves, and by doing so, we can change our reality, even though we have little influence on the outer world. Once more, the real strength lies in traits that foster human progress, whether physical, spiritual, or material.

4. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.”

For survival, especially in the medium and long term, adaptation is essential. We prepare to soften the blow, but we can only respond to the changes caused by a disaster or SHTF over a longer timeline by being flexible, mobile, and adaptive. It’s impossible to predict how long or deep a crisis will be. Avoid falling in love with plans, strategies, or equipment.

5. “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.”

That is Confucius’ version of one of my favorite quotations by the ancient Greek philosopher Archilochus, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training.”

It highlights the importance of practice for internalizing what we learn. Of course, reading, watching videos, and studying can teach a lot. But when it comes to being ready for disasters and SHTFs, nothing can substitute practice and training.

6. “The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security, he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.”

Confucius, a wise man, understood the necessity of planning. Prepare when conditions are normal and resources are plenty, because life is unpredictable.

It’s also a nod to the Stoic tenet of “Premeditato Malorum,” or “premeditation of ills,” which entails contemplating or pondering potential evils before experiencing them.

7. “He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

Here is another succinct sentence that captures the very spirit of preparedness. Use the good times to get things done and gather resources for when things get tough or when life throws a curveball. Invest in, increase, and save your wealth, health, skills, and stockpiles for the challenging times ahead.

8. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

There are various ways to interpret this proverb, but when it comes to prepping, it implies, “Better a based yet imperfect plan (and preparations) than no plans (nor preparations) at all.” That appeals to the perfectionists and obsessives among us, and I’d contend that these characteristics are shared by driven individuals like preppers, so we should pay attention.

Taking action is the best method to advance any preparation. Start with a sound principle and a workable plan, then keep moving forward.

Learn from the past. Plan for the future

9. “Study the past if you would define the future.”

This is quite straightforward, and related to the more contemporary version, which states that “Those who don’t learn from the past are bound to repeat it.”

We frequently hear that the world changes in cycles and that history rhymes rather than repeats itself. For the prepper, the past is the best indicator of future events as well as of how people handled the cyclical problems that humanity has experienced throughout history (and avoid its mistakes, too).

10. “When wealth is centralized, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together.”

We are experiencing the height of wealth concentration as the Fourth Turning’s apex draws near, therefore witnessing Confucius’ insightful observation unfold in real time. Inequality is a major contributing factor to the divisiveness, rage, and revolt that are both cause and effect on the decline of contemporary civilization.

Amazingly, this saying still applies now, as it did to the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, and to Confucius’ period more than 2,500 years ago. It just goes to demonstrate that some social dynamics never change, perhaps because humans always react the same to abundance and scarcity.

Bonus quote: “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”

This one relates to #8 above, but it bears remembering because it’s one of Confucius’ most well-known and influential sayings. If the idea of getting ready for SHTF, the collapse of the economy, or any other disaster sounds too intimidating, just get started. Break it down into smaller steps, put your head down and take action. One day at a time.

And remember: being prepared isn’t an end, but a constant journey and a lifestyle.

Additional Resources:


Top 10 Confucius Quotes For Preppers

Don't Miss Out!

Join the thousands of people who rely on Mind4Survival preparedness advice by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

  • Practical preparedness information
  • Zero Spam
  • < 0.25% of people unsubscribe
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Fabian Ommar

Fabian Ommar is a middle-class worker from Brazil devoted to self-reliance, outdoor activities, and life in big cities. He’s been writing about Thirdworldization, or the slow-burning SHTF typical of less privileged places, since the 2008 financial crisis. His Street Survivalism e-book is a practical training guide for city dwellers looking to prepare for the harsh reality of the urban environment. It’s based on the lifestyle of real-life street survivors, the homeless. You can follow Fabian on Instagram at @stoicsurvivor.

Free Download with Brain Header
Start Prepping Header
SHTF Prepping Header
Gear Reviews Header

Join Mind4Survival!

Stay informed by joining the Mind4Survival! 100% Secure! 0% Spam!

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Follow Us!

Affiliate Disclosure

Mind4Survival is a free, reader-supported information resource. If you make a purchase through our link, we may, at no cost to you, receive an affiliate commission.


  1. Randy on December 6, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    I especially embrace “Those who don’t learn from the past are bound to repeat it.” I’ve tried to teach this to my children, but unfortunately they are too connected to social media to understand it.

  2. Christine Chavez on September 29, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    It is smart to prepare. Ideas and examples are building blocks. Try not to get stuck in same place for to long.

Leave a Comment