How many idioms or proverbs can you recite about being careful to say certain things, or not saying anything at all? For example, if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all, or any of 21 examples just from the Biblical book of Proverbs.
There are many proverbial warnings about keeping one’s mouth shut in most cultures, if not all cultures. Some are specific, while others are general. From what I knew of such warnings in English, I was not too impressed with any, so I wrote a general one for myself – many things said are best done with a closed mouth.
I try to tell myself this quote in contemplating whether or not to say something, rather than in regret afterward. From experience, I can tell you it works just as well in both situations, and also sounds equally epicly Confucian. This quote is all about the proverbial writing skills, and not any wise or modernized insight I had into the matter.