It is translated as ,
If trees shed their bark, it will definitely die.
If a man shed his face [ie sense of shame], he will be invincible!
A long time ago, my dad, in one of his experience sharing sessions with me, told me that a man, if desperate enough, will shed his sense of shame, his dignity as well as his pride, because he already has nothing to lose and will do anything to survive.
And the best examples will be the beggars on the street. They are on the brink of their lives, and will not hesitate to give up their pride and dignity to kneel down and kowtow to any passersby to ask for spare change. In return for giving up pride and dignity, they also have to face rejections even after paying homage to passerbys.
To most whom find them a social problem and brand them as lazy people that chooses the easy way out, consider this penny of a thought from me....
If these poor beggars are willing to give up their sense of pride and dignity and embrace shame wholeheartedly by reaching out their hands for spare change which amounts to a insignificant sum to the average passerby, do think about what have these people given up. To trade the basic dignity of a human being for loose change, that is not an easy pill to swallow.
Would you kneel for a stranger for a few coins?
But to look at it from a more positive perspective.
Probably, by giving up some pride and dignity will allow or empower one to do things in a certain manner in which most normal individuals wouldn't do.
And if success come by means of travelling the less trodden path, then probably the one whom dares to sacrifice his dignity and pride (and if pride and dignity is already the last 2 assets he own, he'd have nothing much to lose anyway), would have everything to gain from decision to go down the lesser trodden path that may be difficult at first but will most definitely bring him to the peak faster than anyone else.
And I am sure that is what this Chinese proverb is all about....