Confucius: Commitment as human fulfillment

“Now, to be a successful man, is it necessary to have all these qualities? He who, in the presence of profit, remembers justice; who, in the face of danger, risks his life; who, even after many years, does not forget his commitments; this too can be considered a complete man.”

Confucius, Lun You – The Confucian Talks


Confucius is a Chinese sage, whose teachings served as doctrine in China until the 20th century. Confucius was born in 551 BC and died in 479 BC.

In this passage from Talkshe shows how following one’s commitments to the end is an authentic way for a man to achieve his full potential.

Commitment is linked to courage, implicit in the expression“who, in the face of danger, risks his life”. Keeping one’s commitments also represents a test of time. The main challenge lies in the continuity of actions and commitments:“even after many years, do not forget”.

It is because he has kept his commitments after a long time, that is to say, whatever happens, faithfully, and without forgetting – whether it is an involuntary or voluntary forgetfulness – that man is fulfilled.