Establish Credibility Through Careful Choice of Words
This term means to establish credibility by careful use of language. The Chinese character xiu (修) refers to the careful selection of words and phrases as well as logical arrangement of text in writing a story, and some believe that it also refers to the cultivation of one’s mind. The Chinese character ci (辞) refers to what one says, and some interpret it as governance of public affairs and cultivation of good manners. The Chinese phrase licheng (立诚) means to establish credibility. When it comes to the writing of stories, it means what one writes about is true, the rhetoric one uses is plain and simple and one is sincere in expressing his or her feelings. Because of different written explanations in ancient books as well as different interpretations about the relationship between xiuci and licheng, this set phrase has primarily two meanings. The first addresses the overhaul of rituals and music as well as legal codes. This means that rulers must compose documents or essays with sincerity so that the principles for governance and social norms can be explicitly illustrated in documents or essays. As a result, the principles for running the country and social norms will be accepted by the public from well-written documents and essays, and be followed to the letter. The second refers to the expression of what a writer really thinks and feels when it comes to the writing of stories or essays. Confucianism holds that diction conveys what a writer thinks and feels, and hence the moral integrity of the writer can find expression in what he writes. If anything, this phrase indicates the importance Chinese people attach to the consistency between language and reality, between one’s words and actions, and between one’s appearance and inner thoughts.
A man of virtue should never stop promoting virtue and seeking improvement. Being honest and trustworthy helps in strengthening the cultivation of virtue. Establishing credibility by cultivating diction can lead to the accumulation of achievements. (The Book of Changes)