better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Often claimed to be an ancient Chinese proverb.
Earliest known usage is in W. L. Watkinson's sermon 'The Invincible Strategy' collected in 1907 in The Supreme Conquest..
- In the face of bad times or hopelessness, it is more worthwhile to do some good, however small, in response than to complain about the situation.
in bad times it is worthwhile to do good