The Confucian Spirit in 7 Characters

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According to Alan Chan, guest blogger and honorary fellow of our Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, the Confucian spirit can be condensed into 7 Chinese Characters – 推己及人宽远深. It has been previously discussed how applying Confucian values in corporate culture and practising the 5 virtues within the 5 cardinal relationships can lead to desirable business outcomes. Would applying these 7 characters also be able to achieve business success?

The first 4 characters ‘Tuī jǐ jí rén 推己及人’means ‘put yourself in the place of others.’ This saying, derived from Confucius, forms a primary concept of his philosophy. This concept can be summarised as Shù 恕meaning reciprocity and extends to the golden rule ‘Do not unto others as you would have them unto you’ Shù ensures harmonious relationships within business environments and consequently steers away from conflicts.

The other 3 characters ‘宽远深’ contribute to the Confucian Spirit within the business environment in the following ways:

Kuān 宽 meaning ‘breadth or broad’. Alan believes practising Kuān encourages success through entrepreneurship. In order to create success one must have a broad mindset as well as be accommodating to other views, opinions and other external events that cannot be controlled. The decisions made in a business environment may have a ripple effect all over the world, and these ripples may subsequently affect a company’s situation. A narrow view will not allow one to understand the possible outcomes of a ripple effect.

Yuǎn 远 is described as ‘afar or the future’. One of the most important business rules is forecasting, whereby companies anticipate future trends within the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal Environment. ‘Yuǎn’ also encourages patience as it believes that consequences from future business events must run its natural course. When you allow that natural course, a more stronger and accurate conclusion can be made.

Shēn 深 is described within this concept as’ a great depth of insight or knowledge’. When a business undertakes a feasibility study, due diligence would require substantial depth, taking into account all possible factors.

Overall, application of these 7 characters can be useful to achieving success in today’s business environment.



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