gōng yù shàn qí shì, bì xiān lì qí qì 工欲善其事，必先利其器
A Craftsman Must Sharpen His Tools to Do His Job.
This saying by Confucius (551-479 BC) is recorded in The Analects. By this Confucius originally meant that talented and virtuous people in the upper class were “tools” for realizing the ideals of benevolence. Working for them and becoming friends with these people was an opportunity to realize the ideals of benevolence in the interest of the country and society. Later, this concept came to be used as a metaphor meaning that to do something well, one needs to make preparations. The implied reasoning of this saying is as follows: objectives determine the choice of methods, and methods determine the realization of objectives.
Confucius said, “A craftsman must sharpen his tools to do his job. When you are in a state, you should serve its capable officials and befriend the virtuous people.” (The Analects)
An ancient saying goes, “A craftsman must sharpen his tools to do his job.” Soldiers are like craftsmen, and their weapons are like tools. Good tools enable good work; good weapons enable their users to take a superior position in battle. This is the tested truth. (Zeng Gongliang and Ding Du: Military Essentials)