Welcome back to Part 5 of Sayings & Proverbs!
Today’s a special topic! You’ll learn Japanese proverbs and sayings about success. And before we start, so you know, the Japanese word and kanji (symbol) for success are:
You’re going to see it all over this article. This a great way to learn Japanese. A great way to get motivated. And get some insight into famous Japanese proverbs as well. Let’s start with the sayings first.
1. Repeated failures lead to success.
- Shippai wo kurikaesu koto de, seikou ni itaru.
Everyone hopes to get it right on the first try. The truth is, you need to try, fail, try, fail and try again and again til you get good at something. Especially the Japanese language.
2. It’s more important to not fail than to succeed.
- Seikou suru koto yori mo, shippai shinai koto no hou ga juuyou da.
In case you really don’t wait to fail – as in quit. That is true “failure.”
3. You’ll get better as time goes by!
- Dan dan jouzu ni natte kuru yo!
Everybody wonders how people get so talented and skilled. It’s just time and work.
4. That’s enough for me to keep going!
- Sore dake de ganbaremasu!
Sometimes, all you need is a coffee to keep going. Great saying to know in Japanese.
5. I’ll do my best to find my dreams and goals.
- Shikkari to shita mejirushi, yume mitsukete makezuni ganbarou.
For those of you that didn’t set their goals and dreams. Well, if anything, you should be learning Japanese – that should be your goal and dream. But yeah, choose something. It won’t come to you because… see #56.
6. You create your own opportunities.
- Chansu wa jibun de tsukuru mono.
Things won’t come to you. You have to go to them. Want to learn Japanese, you’ll need create the opportunity to get better by studying. You need to get up. You need to go. Or, you can choose to sit here and not create opportunities.
7. People learn from their mistakes.
- Hito wa shippai kara manabu.
That’s one thing books can’t teach us. They can tell us facts and instructions. But it’s by us doing, practicing and making mistakes is when we learn what to do and “not” to do.
8. Don’t be swayed by those around you! Believe in yourself!
- Mawari ni nagasareru na! Onore wo shinjiro!
Not everyone has your best interests in mind. Even parents and friends often do not despite thinking that they do.
9. “Stay positive”
- Mae muki ni ne.
And of course, this one. A good phrase to know in Japanese and to use when you’re down.
The above are just sayings. Here are some actual proverbs:
10. He who runs after two hares will catch neither.
- Nito ou mono itto mo ezu.
If you try doing two things at once, you’ll fail both of them. In this case, you cannot catch two rabbits at once. Choose one. Focus on it. Choose one thing for now. Focus on becoming really good at it.
11. The sum of the year is on New Year’s day.
- Ichinen no kei wa gantan ni ari.
- Meaning: Preparation and planning are the foundations of success.
The translation is “The sum of the year is on New Year’s day.”
What’s the connection between the literal translation and the meaning?
Well, if you worked at something for 365 days of the year, you’ve been preparing and improving all year round. That builds up. That way, on the next New Year’s Day, your ability/skill the sum of your hard work from the past year.
12. To rush is good.
- Zen wa isoge.
- Meaning: “It is good to hurry” or “strike while the iron’s hot.”
Sure, rushing all the time isn’t always good, but when an opportunity presents itself – you better grab it. It’s zen to rush.
13. Haste makes waste.
- Isogaba maware
- Meaning: Haste makes waste.
So, the translation is: “If you rush, you’ll go around in circles.”
A bit contradictory given the previous proverb, right? Well, not all rushing and busyness is necessary. Most of the time, people make themselves busy with useless things… instead of focusing on what’s important.
Besides, if you rush through your work, you won’t be doing a good job.
14. Failure is the stepping stone to success.
- Shippai wa seikou no moto
- Meaning: Failure is the stepping stone to success
The literal translation is “Failure is the origin/foundation of success.” You get the point. In other words, failure teaches us what actions should we change in order to achieve success.
15. Even Buddhist teachings scrolls have brush slips.
- Koubou ni mo fude no ayamari.
- Meaning: Even the greatest expert or master sometimes fails.
The literal translation is: Even Buddhist teaching scrolls/scripts have some brush slips.
Anyone can make a mistake. Nobody’s perfect. This is another Japanese proverb variation for “everyone makes mistakes.” And in this case, it’s the Buddhist scrolls that have brush slips and errors.
And that’s it!
What are your favorite Japanese proverbs about success?
Or do you have any favorite success quotes in general?
What else belongs on this list? I’ll read all of your answers.
Leave me a comment below!
Other lessons you will absolutely love:
- How to Learn Japanese in 5 Minutes (Study Tools Inside)
- Successful Learning: How To Self Study Japanese Alone.
– The Main Junkie
P.S. I highly recommend this for Japanese learners. If you REALLY want to learn to Japanese with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!