As I mentioned in the glossary, a chengyu is an expression or saying. Chinese is chock-full of them, and I always love to learn new ones. This is one my roommate taught me a few nights ago:
(tai shang yi fenzhong, tai xia shi nian gong)
Translation: One minute on the stage, 10 years working backstage.
Meaning: Mastering anything, no matter how small, takes an enormous amount of work.
I really like this one because I think it applies to just about everything I’ve done with regard to performing or academia. Walking across the podium on May 26th at Wesleyan was the result of 17 years of preparing for that very moment. The day I go to the front of my classroom (tomorrow) is the result of a huge amount of blood, sweat, tears, and unreliable internet. But no one will see your ten years under the stage when you go out into the spotlight; they just see how you perform.