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Integrity brings true happiness

I read a story this week that was very impressive. The story tells about Yan Shu in the Song Dynasty. When Yan Shu was a minor, he was recommended to enter the imperial examination presided over by the emperor himself. However, Yan Shu declined the test questions given by the emperor and suggested changing the test questions. The reason is that Yan Shu had practiced the question asked by the emperor long before the palace examination. He believed that this was unfair to other people in the palace examination.

Another time, the civil and military officials of the Manchu Dynasty held large and small banquets to drink and have fun, but Yan Shu and his younger brother were studying hard at home. The emperor heard this and hoped that Yan Shu would become the prince's teacher. But Yan Shu told the truth, saying that he did not want to have fun, but his family was poor and he had no spare money to go out for fun. If the family is rich, they will behave like others.

Each of the above two things may bring about earth-shaking changes to Yan Shu's life. But Yan Shu did not choose to take tricks in the face of huge interests, but told the truth honestly. This behavior of not climbing up the ladder and not whitewashing himself made the emperor cherish and value Yan Shu even more, and finally gave him a big job. It also cultivated ancient celebrities such as Fan Zhongyan, Ouyang Xiu, Wang Anshi and others for later generations of the Song Dynasty.

Don’t climb up the ladder, don’t whitewash yourself, use honesty as the criterion and principle of life. Perhaps such people will be ridiculed by modern society, ridiculing such people for not knowing how to understand current affairs, not knowing how to act based on looks, and not knowing how to compromise. But it is this kind of quality that enables us to live each day step by step, do everything well, and be truly trusted and valued by others. Confucius said, "Knowledge of words brings beauty, and benevolence shines brightly." I hope that all of us can treat others with sincerity and live a happier life with this quality in the future.

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