We can understand that no norms can tell us exactly what to do once we are out in the messy world, juggling myriad roles and emotions and scenarios. The only norm is goodness. For Confucius, cultivating and expressing goodness are the only ways to become an ethical person.
(Goodness means: moral excellence; virtue; kindness; generosity.)
The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life
Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh
Background on Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh
Background on Confucius