Give an Inch, Take a Mile

A very interesting conversation with some friends came up today that led to the analysis of this idiom – Give an inch, take a mile. You might not know, the Chinese version of this idiom, “得寸进尺” (de cun jin chi), is heavily drilled into Chinese kids since young. Ask any Chinese kids in the streets and they will be able to explain to you the meaning of this.

What’s interesting is not whether these Chinese kids know about this idiom or not but rather, how much impact those words actually (and secretly) have in their lives. The answer? A LOT!

You see, Chinese kids are not just taught this. They are constantly reminded to avoid being someone who will give an inch, take a mile. So much negative connotation has been associated with this idiom that Chinese people actually avoid doing so, in the hopes of staying within their lanes and not causing inconvenience to others.

And what does that result in? Generations and generations of Chinese people who remained humble and unassuming but unable to breakthrough their mindset of mediocrity.

To be successful, really successful, one must have the mentality to always push their limits. If that’s the case, striving to attain that mile, regardless of whether there is an inch, two inches, or no inch taken, will always be a necessity.

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