Chinese Idiom Stories
One Day of Sunlight Followed By Ten Days of Cold
Meng-tz lived during the Warring States Period. He was not only very knowledgeable but also very eloquent. He often used very vivid analogies to persuade kings of that period to do good deeds.
Everyone said that the king of Ch'i was stupid, without his own ideas, and easily influenced by his wicked ministers. This greatly displeased Meng-tz, so he went to the king and said, "Don't think I'm saying you're not intelligent. Everyone knows that plants all need sunlight to grow. If you expose them to sunlight for a day, and then keep them in dark for ten days, even those plants which grow easily will not do well. In the same way, the time that I am here with you is not very long. You may develop the will to do good things, but then as soon as I leave, those other people come and lead you astray, and the good will which had just begun to sprout is again destroyed." Following this, Meng-tz drew several more analogies, urging the king to completely devote himself to governing his country.
This idiom is now often used to describe a situation in which a person is trying to learn a thing, but rarely practices.