Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.




Never test a river’s depth with both feet – African proverb

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom 

Theodore Rubin

(American Psychiatrist and Author)



Many thanks to Ted from Recipereminiscing for sharing his African proverb. What do you make of this foreboding proverb from Africa and additionally that of Theodore Rubin’s quote? Is being kind a more feasible objective in life? Or is gathering wisdom a naturally symbiotic process with kindness? Can someone be wise, but still unkind?

Something to Ponder About

Please share your thoughts in a comment.



14 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom”

    1. Quite a logical proverb when applied in this context Mel & Suan. I think this proverb is cautionary advice to the impulsive and the risk takers among us. I am also guilty of this on occasions. If we take the ptoverb literally, jumping in with both feet could be serious, especially in Africa!!. It is better to ‘test the waters first.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wisdom comes with experience.If one is unkind with their wisdom, one will find that they will have no-one to share their wisdom with. While jumping in with both feet means that one is not considering others.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like your take on the proverb, Raewyn. Experience is the Mother of wisdom. But kindness is an overriding concern. No matter how wise a person is, they will always be lonely if they are unkind to others. Being unkind to others breeds enemies and this dispalys an unwise personality trait. Life is generally easier and more fulfilling on a personal level if one is kind. Regrets and remorse might fester if one looks back on an unkind heart.
      Wisdom to me involves the head and kindness the heart so in this way, these two characteristics may co-exist but will result in tension.


  2. I think both quotes this week are very deep. The first quote reminds me of the idea not to jump into the water with both too feet, not to rush and not be too eager. In other words, that diving headfirst into something might not be the best solution if we don’t have a backup plan. It is like how some things shouldn’t be rushed, and for me, writing is something I hate rushing. A year ago I started writing my first book, finishing the first draft in three months flat. I felt completely uninspired after that. It takse time to go down a path, do down a journey. Rivers can be long and endless, winding through a few countries sometimes, and I suppose the same can be said when we embark on a lengthy road trip or a long road to recovery or a big project like a book.

    The second quote reminds me of helping others, because that what kindness is essentially is. Kindness is about thinking of others and picking them up when they are down, or also when we ourselves feel down. sometimes we each need some self love as well. And when we learn to look our for each other and ourselves, that is when we are humble and realise how this character helps make this world a better place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is always interesting to hear what other interpret and derive from just a few words. This is why proverbs are marvellous. They impart meaning according to one’s individual experience. What else does that?
      Writing is something I also like to take time with. Some people can punch out an article quickly but I tend to be more reflective in my writing, finding clarity in the editing process. And why would we want to rush through something so enjoyable. Like a beautiful dish, we might savour each mouthful. Gorging on it does not give you a better experience. The joy is in the tasting and chewing, not the swallowing!!!!
      Kindness does indeed make the world a better place. Rigidity and ruthlessness are traits I abhor, as they display a lack of empathy for other’s situations. I find people with unkind traits seem to think it is fine to disregard the needs of others, but become very self-centred when it comes to the way they want to be treated. This is hypocritical and two-faced.- which is another personality trait I dislike and find intensely troubling! Looking out for each other shows a well developed sense of community and a community and sense of belonging is a vital human need.
      I take it from your comment that you believe that unkindness can not co-exist with wisdom?


      1. I too find clarity in the editing process. The first draft is always the hardest for me – I can’t see anything, I feel like I am writing blindly. But it can also be liberating, if it is not forced. It is a reason why I have cut down on blogging since last year.

        Personally I reckon kindness begets kindness. Sometimes unkindness makes us realise what kind is. Being unkind, intentional or unintentional, we might hurt someone and then come realise we can be a better person.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lovely sentiment in regard to your comment on the kindness quote. It is often most powerful to respond to unkindness by using kindness. More powerful than debate, I think
          I think it is great to write blindly in our first draft. Forcing it is not good at all, as the writing can then be stiff and not flow. But when faced with uncertainty about what to write it is great to get something down, however bad it might be. Ideas sometimes flow better from something else. That is how I operate anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I like both quotes. And the African one, I would say it also sounds like “not putting all your eggs in one basket” to me. Thank you always for the insight you share with these proverbs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Cocoa! I appreciate your insight, as well. Without anyone’s feedback and comments it is not as interesting!! And now you say your interpretation I can absolutely see that it could mean this as well. Putting both feet in is like a big commitment, which needs careful consideration, assessment of the consequences, and weighing up the risks. The proverbs really make me think so much about life. Aren’t they fascinating?

      Liked by 1 person

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