jūnzǐ móu dào bù móu shí 君子谋道不谋食
A Man of Virtue Seeks Dao, Not Livelihood.
A man of virtue seeks to establish and practice Dao rather than pursue his own livelihood. Men of virtue originally referred to males from the ruling class and aristocracy, but later referred generally to virtuous and talented individuals. Dao here means fundamental principles and way of life; “livelihood” means basic resources for subsistence. As social elites, men of virtue should take upon themselves to establish and practice Dao. That is not an excessive requirement for them. As men of virtue, they should not put daily necessities at priority. Instead, they should think about the expectations placed upon them as social elites to lead the common folks.
Confucius said, “Men of virtue seek to establish and practice Dao rather than pursue their own livelihood. Those doing farming may still suffer from hunger, while those engaged in scholarly studies may end up in official positions. Men of virtue, however, worry about the achievement of Dao or its implementation rather than about their own poverty.” (The Analects)