zhī chǐ ér hòu yǒng 知耻而后勇
Having a Feeling of Shame Gives Rise to Courage.
The notion that having a feeling of shame gives rise to courage comes from the saying that “to have a feeling of shame is to be near to having courage.” Having a feeling of shame means to be ashamed of one’s own mistakes as well as to hate the misbehavior of others. Mencius believed this to be one of the basic things humans must do. In Confucian thought courage is one of three universal virtues along with wisdom and love for others. Linking shame and courage was meant to impel people to face their shortcomings squarely and work hard for improvement and perfection. The concept embodies the spirit of individuals, companies, organizations, ethnic groups, and the whole nation in achieving self-respect, self-motivation, and self-improvement.
Wisdom, love for others, and courage, these three are the universal virtues of all under heaven. (The Book of Rites)
To love learning is to be near to wisdom, to practice with vigor is to be near to love for others, and to have a feeling of shame is to be near to courage. (The Book of Rites)