Being busy and idioms to help


A lot has been keeping me occupied lately which is why I haven’t been so frequent with my uploads. Being busy is a good sign of progress in my eyes, as I believe that there is always something for a person to be doing. There is definitely a lot in store for me (as well as other fellow students) for the rest of the year, but I do not wish to mark this as excuse. Instead I want to outline that I am not abandoning my blog and leaving it dormant, but that I would rather devote time to write posts that I am pleased with once my timetable is more…concrete? I have in fact prepared a list of topics that I wish to cover, and it seems like the list is forever growing. It’s quite beneficial to take a moment to reflect on your progress and then accordingly build on your strengths and weaknesses (like how you may encounter target setting in a school environment); therefore I feel that the past two weeks have allowed me to prepare greater resources and additionally organise separate endeavours. Since this current academic half term I have been acting as a confidant for a few friends, and also helping students manage the stresses of University applications. Because of this I have been particularly focused on future goals, and I hope that this short message can act as food for thought for you during the busy period that you too are experiencing.

Bearing in mind the theme of this post I thought it would be appropriate for me to unveil the grandeur of Chinese idioms by sharing idioms related to being busy and striving forward. Idiom in Chinese is 成语(cheng yu). They are not exclusive to China and can be found in almost all cultures. The word ‘idiom’ has Linguistic usage, however the idioms that I am concerned with are short phrases with a moral that can be learnt from its explanatory story. I suppose the best way for me to define an idiom is by describing that they are like short fables. In order for me to elaborate allow me to give a few example of phrases you may be familiar with that are in fact classed as idioms: ‘’Hit the books’’, ‘’When pigs fly’’, ‘’Scratch someone’s back’’ and ‘’Don’t judge a book by its cover’’. These idioms all remain quite popular and so it is likely you may have you heard these being used. I personally find most English idioms that I have come across to be rather strange, especially when I cared to compare them with the few Chinese idioms that I have learnt. For example to ‘scratch someone’s back’ is not designed to convey an unsightly image of a person scratching someone’s back; but is actually meant to communicate that a person is willing to help someone with a task, so long as they return the favour!

Chinese idioms interest me because their teachings can be implemented into our daily lives, as well as the fact that the stories are so inventive and can be appreciated by people of all ages. There are a couple of idioms that I have learnt in greater depth which I can share on a separate post, however as promised here are some idioms that could motivate you to strive on with work.

今天的第一个成语是(today’s first idiom is): 脚踏实地 (jiǎo tà shí dì). The literal meaning of this is ‘to step on solid ground’. Logically it follows that walking on ground that is solid will be more stable than ground that is cracked. In the same way the idiom illustrates that people ought to work hard and proceed with work in a steady and stable manner. For example, a student should plan or organise their tasks in advance so that they can eventually carry them out with stability.

第二个是 (the second is): 全力以赴 (quán lì yǐ fù) which has the literal meaning of exerting all of one’s strength. The messages in Chinese idioms are based on common ideas. To exert one’s strength is to say that a person should try their best in a task or to work towards a goal. This particular idiom has a tone of formality, but is still used in everyday speech. It should also be noted that it is usually used when discussing actions that are yet to be completed. For example it could be used to say that ‘The little boy should try his best to finish reading the book’.

最后第三个是 (lastly, the third is): 半途而废 (bàn tú ér fèi) literally means to walk half the road and give up half way. This is an example of a negative idiom, which aims to show you how you ought not to behave. The idiom is about starting a task without seeing it through because you leave it incomplete halfway through the task. In the instance of a negative message, the idiom would be understood by telling someone that they should not ‘walk half the road and give up’. In the simplest terms this would be conveyed by using the word 不 (bu) which means ‘no’. So for this particular idiom you can say ‘你应该不半途而废’, which means that ‘You should not leave a task incomplete’.

I tried to include idioms that weren’t too random and fitted in with the theme of being busy and involved in tasks, but still working hard. I hope that you were able to relate to what I discussed and that you can use the idioms to motivate you.

If you find yourself wanting to leave a task unfinished but strive to complete it; good luck 世界.

从欣妍 – From Xinyan.


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