At the end of the Warring States period, the state of Wei, once the strongest state at the beginning of the period, had crumbled and fallen. Yet, the king of Wei did not realize that, and still frequently launched wars against neighboring states.
One year, he planed to attack the state of Zhao. Ji Liang, a minister of Wei, heard of this and turned back in the middle of his journey. He was in such a hurry that he did not even straighten out the crease in his garments and removed the dust from his head.
Seeing the king, he said, " Your Majesty, on my way to your palace, I met a friend who told me that he was going to the state of Chu in south. But I saw his carriage was heading for the north. So I asked, 'If you, Sir, are going to the south, why is your carriage heading north？'
He answered, ' My horse is good at running.'
He said, ' I have plenty of money for the trip.'
I said, ' Though you plenty of money, but it is not the road to Chu,'
He said, ' My driver is highly skilled at driving a carriage.'
The man didn't know the better his conditions were, the further he was away from his destination. Now Your Majesty want to became the hegemony and expand your territory, but you are trying to do these by military force. Your Majesty, it is just like traveling northwards to get to the state Chu."
Background and Writer Comment:
This idiom story is from Intrigues of the Warring States (战国策Zhan Guo Ce)
The idiom of Go South By Driving The Carriage North--Nan Yuan Bei Zhe is now used to describe the case in which one's actions hinder, rather than help, the completion of his/her goal .
Watch the Catoon of Go South By Driving The Carriage North--Nan Yuan Bei Zhe。