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亡羊補牢 (Wángyángbǔláo)


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亡羊補牢 (Wángyángbǔláo) - Take failure as a lesson to be better

Translation - Lost Goat, Repair Fence

Once upon a time during the Warring States, the King of Chu was an incompetent ruler that never cared for his kingdom's welfare. Soon, the Qin army began waging war on Chu. Chu got defeated badly in battle and had lost a lot of land. The King of Chu summoned his advisor and that he should've listened to his advisor and blamed himself for everything. The advisor then told the King of Chu a story.

The story goes like this: A long time ago there lived a couple of herders, one day one of their goats managed to break the fence and escaped, the husband ran after the escaped goat hoping to catch it but forgot that about the broken fence. The wive then called her husband and told him to stop chasing and get back to fix the fence or all the goats will run away. After fixing the fence, the husband said that although one goat escaped, at least the others are still here.

The King understood his advisors meaning and from that day onwards, changed into a better ruler.

亡羊補牢 (Wángyángbǔláo) is used to tell that one shouldn't focus on the failure alone but instead use it as a reminder.

Example:

"雖然這一次考試不及格, 不過只要你會『亡羊補牢』, 下一次一定會有進步的"

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