Culture Corner: 世间无难事,只要有心人

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author photoLearning is a lifelong process of discovery, exploration, and ever expanding knowledge. Learning something new oftentimes has more to do with one’s attitude and determination than one’s inherent ability… although a little of that never hurt either!

Today’s Culture Corner post is about exploring the perfect Chinese phrase for giving yourself and your friends the determination to strive towards success no matter how impossible the task may seem.

Nothing in the world is impossible for one who sets their mind to it

(T) 世間無難事,只要有心人
(S) 世间无难事,只要有心人
(P) Shì jiān wú nán shì, zhǐ yào yǒu xīn rén


(T) 世上無難事,只怕有心人
(S) 世上无难事,只怕有心人
(P) Shìshàng wú nánshì, zhǐpà yǒu xīn rén


These common phrases are used quite often in China and Taiwan, especially by parents or teachers who want to give kids that extra bit of encouragement. To better understand the phrase let’s take a look at some of critical vocabulary: 

  1. 世間/世间 shìjiān earth; world
  2. 世上 shìshàng in the world; on earth
  3. 無 wú not have; there is not
  4. 難事/难事  nánshì difficult task/matter 
  5. 有心人 yǒuxīnrén person with set purpose
I find this expression particularly useful for studying Chinese. Although things like tones, grammar, and learning to read and write thousands of characters might seem difficult, they’re certainly not impossible… especially with the right amount of encouragement and determination.

So next time the going gets tough, just remember these useful phrases and just push a little harder! 

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