Going Too Far Is as Bad as Falling Short.
It is just as bad to go beyond a given standard as to fall short of it. Confucian scholars use rites as the standards both for individuals’ words and actions, and for their relationship with everything in the world. They also judge people’s words or actions against the requirements of the rites to see whether they have gone too far or fallen short. Confucius evaluated one of his students as “going too far” and another as “falling short,” considering them to be the same in both failing the requirements set by the rites. If a person can follow the middle way by not going too far or falling short, then he has achieved the virtue of “the Golden Mean.”
Zigong asked Confucius, “Which one is more virtuous, Zizhang or Zixia?” Confucius replied, “Zizhang tends to go too far, while Zixia often falls short.” Zigong further asked, “In that case, is Zizhang better?” Confucius said, “Going too far is just as bad as falling short.” (The Analects)