Confucius said, “A noble person is not competitive, but they do take part in the archery contest. They ascend to their positions, bowing and deferring to each other. After descending, they offer toasts to each other. This is how noble people compete.”


A man from Daxiang said, “How great Confucius is! His learning is so broad, but he hasn’t made a name for himself in anything in particular.”

When Confucius heard this, he remarked to his students, “What should I specialize in? Charioteering? Archery? I think I’ll go with charioteering!”


Nangong Kuo asked Confucius, “How is it that Yi was a master of archery and Ao could drive his enemy’s ships onto dry land, but neither died a natural death? Yet Yu and Hou Ji were farmers and ended up ruling the world?”

Confucius didn’t answer at the time, but after Nangong Kuo left, he said, “Now there’s a noble person! There’s someone who values virtue!”