The term means human strength or capability. Strength refers to the power of one person, an organization or a country. Strength represents control or influence one exercises over oneself or something outside oneself. It should not be used as a tool by the strong to threaten the weak; rather, it should be employed in accordance with moral standards and the requirement of virtue. Whenever possible, people should endeavor to overcome obstacles and difficulties to reach goals in keeping with such standards and requirement. However, human strength has its limits; if something is beyond human strength or capability, it should be considered “fate,” and there is no need to pursue it any more.
- 子曰：“我未见好仁者，恶不仁者。好仁者，无以尚之；恶不仁者，其为仁矣，不使不仁者加乎其身。有能一日用其力于仁矣乎？我未见力不足者。盖有之矣，我未之见也。” （《论语•里仁》） （孔子说：“我没有见过爱好仁德的人和厌恶不仁的人。爱好仁德的人，再好也没有了；厌恶不仁的人，他行仁德，是不使有悖仁德之事出现在自己身上。有人能从某一日起努力践行仁德吗？我没有见过力量达不到的。大概有这样的人，我没有见过而已。”）
Confucius said, “I have never met anyone who actively practices benevolence, or anyone who consciously dislikes the non-benevolent. For the one who loves practicing benevolence, there is nothing more to say; for the one who dislikes the non-benevolent, he perhaps practices benevolence in the way that he would not allow what is un-benevolent to be inflicted on himself. Is there anyone who simply decides one day to start practicing benevolence? I have never met anyone who lacks the capability to do so. Maybe there are such people, but I have not met one.” (The Analects)
- 以力服人者，非心服也，力不赡也；以德服人者，中心悦而诚服也，如七十子之服孔子也。 （《孟子•公孙丑上》） （依靠强力而使他人服从，他们并不是真心服从，而是力量不足以抗拒；通过德行而令人服从，他们是内心喜悦而诚心服从，就像是孔子的七十余位弟子钦服孔子那样。）
Coercion can bring people in line not because they are willing, but because they do not have the strength to resist; it is virtue that will persuade others to gladly and willingly follow, just as in the case of Confucius’ more than seventy disciples who followed him out of true respect. (Mencius)