Proverbial Friday – Global 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 Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

 

Have you ever been guilty of over-thinking a problem? It is something I think we are all capable of, and the concept of which intrigues me. Why do we opt for the more difficult scenario when a simple solution might rid ourselves of worry? Confucius was surely someone that was solution-focused.

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The flip side of complicated situations might however, be seen to be over-clinical or lacking in empathy. It is then we must find a balance between our emotions and that of clear-thinking practicality. The endless battle between our heart and head. Is this one of the underlying messages in the following proverb?

 

Eyes

“Eyes that do not cry, do not see.” ~ Unknown

 

Something to Ponder About this Friday

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47 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

  1. What great proverbs! I do normally not too much overthink situations, because most times I do not think that decisions I have to make are very important to future things, although I know that everything we do does built the future. In most situation it is also easy to decide because we have preferences. If there is a Beattle between head and heart it becomes complicated, because we might not decide what is right. Hmmm, is it important to suffer for understand things better. I do not think so… of course I believe that you can honor joy much more if you have been unlucky, and healthiness when you were ill, …. but is your view more real more true? In any case the appreciation is of course higher.

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    1. I used to over think situations much more than I do now, Anie. But I see this all around me at times. The problem balloons out, either in the worker’s own mind, or in the organizations. They make mountains out of molehills, to use another cliched saying! It is good to use safe work practices, however, productivity is often stifled by processes and the need to risk assess everything one does at work. Individual common sense and responsibility should be everyone’s mantra at work anyway. Yet we are micro managed to rote learn processes that should be part of human nature already.
      The battle between heart and head. Which one do you lean to? I will vacillate from one to the other depending on the situation. But generally go with my head if it is work related and my heart if it is family related.
      Whewn you say,” honour joy if you have been unlucky,” – I assume you mean that one appreciates things more when one has had to get by on a paucity of things or poor health and that is definitely true. Whether this enables one to make the “correct” decision or not, when it comes to heart and head, I am not sure. I think we always strive to make the best decision we can at that time, but it is clear some of us have a preference towards heart. I have more logic based thought processes so I would hazard to say I let my head rule more often in decision making.

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    2. Yes, I already thought that you are more of a logic based person …; )
      I am an absolute heart person and yet I do not let myself be caught by romantic sayings, because only my heart counts and not the interpretations of others. Common sense and responsibility are head-things that I have in me through my upbringing and often struggle with the feelings of the heart. So is the mantra a head thing?
      The work with the head, the family with the heart. That’s what you’re doing right. I think that even at work, I often prefer the heart, even if it is not lucrative. And what about love? Do we decide with head or mind?
      Oha, there are many combinations for an analytic person when heart-mind-people meet …
      Yes, I meant that one appreciates things more than one had to come by on a paucity of things or poor health.

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    3. I was in the midst of answering your comment of heart versus head, Anie, when your second comment disappeared! How curious! I am a logical person Anie, so it is interesting to read your comments and perspective. In matters of love, I htink the heart must always rule out over the head, otherwise it would seem exploitative. How could one maintain a relationship with someone if it was not based on feelings of the heart?

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    4. I was in the midst of answering your comment of heart versus head, Anie, when your second comment disappeared! How curious! I am a logical person Anie, so it is interesting to read your comments and perspective. In matters of love, I think the heart must always rule out over the head, otherwise it would seem exploitative. How could one maintain a relationship with someone if it was not based on feelings of the heart?

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    5. You are right, but life is not black and white, feelings and thoughts are not only going in one direction… situation of life are always a mixture of family, love, profession and society…the difficulty is to decide after evaluation of all together. And of course you will chose your partner always because of love… but life changes each time and love can change aswell … I think we will not be able to find a solution which counts for all situations… each life each situation is unique and the miracle of heart and head battle existed always and will always exist!

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    6. Correct! We are nothing but totally different from the next person but our commonalities bring us closer together and make friendships out of strangers. Is it these common aspects that lead us to expect that others will think and feel the same as us?

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    7. yes, I think May be it is like this! I think there are people who are on the same wavelength and who somehow understand each other blind. To feel and to think what the other feels and thinks is fatal without direct communication, because this is where the fight of the mind against the belly begins. And the mind will always have the strongest argument: if we’re so close we can mutually pronounce that and speak to one another, then there’s no need for speculation. And the stomach still does not want to give up and does not want to admit it.

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    8. I think if you have a feeling about something and this is strong enough, it does not mean a lot, what your mind is telling you… a Kind of stubbornness of feelings?

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    9. If the feelings are strong enough I would say yes. But it can also be an endless fight if your logic thoughts get no answer. Hmmm how to explain? If for example a person says something to you and your feeling tell you that this is a lie and exactly the opposite is the truth. Your logic search for reasons and tell you again and again that your feelings are wrong… but your feelings are fighting and stay stronger and are waiting that the mind will agree….🤔

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    10. i am not sure where my comment is gone, so I will rewrite it. I think you may be right.Commonalities brings us closer even when we are strangers. To think and feel what the other think and feel, ís a kind of intuition, when we feel “connected” in a special way. But it can end up in a bad battle betweed head and belly, when there is no real communication….because our mind will always tall us that everything what we feel or thing is only a assumption and not fact!

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    11. This sense of things that are unsaid, or our “gut feeling” have been useful to me on many occasions throughout life. When I am undecided about something or unsure of what to do, I trust my “gut feeling” – ie. what my “stomach” is intrinsically trying to tell me to do, or what “feels” right. This is always after I have used my head over and over, thinking and thinking, and not being able to produce an answer. Usually one’s gut feeling or vibe about a person is invariably right!

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    12. Yes I think You are right, my possibility for overthinking are very easy overstressed…if I can not keep my thoughts and everything goes round, it‘s surely the time to calm down and just follow the gut feeling.

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    13. For some reason, I found your comment in the spam section! But when I had checked this earlier, it wasn’t there? Perhaps it got lost in cyberspace for a short while before ending up in spam. Ah the vagaries of WordPress!! I see it now though, Anie, and hopefully now it won’t happen again as I have marked them all NOT SPAM!

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  2. Right now I’m overthinking how to find a house and dog sitter at short notice! The one we had lined up can’t do it now. Ugh, ugh, ugh! Otherwise I don’t worry about much, but the proverb is too true for many.

    As for the second. When I lectured in journalism in the USA, a mature-aged student wrote an editorial about the scars—visible and invisible—we pick up in life. His sentiment was much the same—if there aren’t any scars, you haven’t lived. It was one of the pieces I liked best in four years of lecturing.

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    1. Haha Peggy! I’d love to mind your Schnauzer if you want to pop up here to me, on the way through. As for scars, that is very true if you haven’t lived there won’t be any scars, or actually it’s better way if you say, “if you haven’t any scars you haven’t lived.” Even in the disability world they talk about wounds from rejection leaving scars. Negative interaction in dealings with people leaves scars on a psyche which sometimes run very deep but all can be an opportunity to learn something about human nature and how we choose to deal with negativity, one way or another.
      It sounds like a wonderful piece of writing. It would be great to read it.

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  3. Indeed, overthinking can complicate matters – and not something I’m often guilty of. I have a friend who suffers ‘paralyses by analysis’ (did I read read that first on your blog). She over thinks things to just an extent that she’s almost paralysed. I feel so sorry for her sometimes.

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    1. No I don’t know that we have heard that term on my blog, Chris. But it does effectively articulate what is happening with your friend. She sounds obsessively perfectionist? So preoccupied with choosing the right decision, she can’t make any decision at all.
      What a shame she doesn’t realize that we all make mistakes in our decision-making and when we decide anything, it is with good intentions, making the best choice we can, with the information we have at hand, at that moment in time.

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    2. Absolutely. It’s both sad and frustrating to see her analysing so intently, and being fearful of making a bad decision. In the meantime wonderful opportunities are passing her by. I’m talking big things here too, the saddest was – just two more years of work before their round Australia trip, just in case there wasn’t quite enough money to see them through into old age. In the meantime her partner developed Alzheimer’s that progressed rapidly…. now they’ve both missed out on their planned retirement trip. Forgive me for sharing, but it’s just so sad.

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    3. Oh that is so sad to hear as it would have been a wonderful time for them both. It is a valuable lesson for all of us, to take hold of life and live it, don’t plan to do it one day, do it now, if indeed you can. My neighbour, is at this moment in his final days, and he too left some things until it was too late, and those opportunities have passed by, never to come again. I think this is his legacy to remind me of this every time I think of him.

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  4. We have reached the stage of ditching boxes of long gone memories. Instead, prefer to store them in our mind. I don’t know how many photos I took of Carcassonne’s impressive towers but we kept just one. How many copies of rate notices or old gas bills does one keep?
    Life does leave scars but do we have to keep them in boxes as well.?

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    1. Interesting question, Gerard. One does accumulate so much ‘stuff’ in one ‘s life and we too are starting also to de -clutter with the intention of down sizing. It is nice to have possessions that are meaningful but too many is not so good. As age makes the memories diminish, perhaps a few boxes are useful?

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  5. It’s odd because we modern humans all have a tendency to make things worse than they really are. But sometimes, when a situation truly is dire, we want to simplify it. I had a serious case of the former: analysis paralysis. I’ve regretted thinking too much about stuff – often unimportant – instead of paying attention to what was really important. I’ve trained myself not to do that anymore.

    If we deal with matters as they land in our laps, without exaggeration or hyperbole, we’ll be able to find a resolution and keep moving forward.

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    1. I so look forward to your insightful comments on Proverbial Friday, Alejandro! And it is funny, that you mention Analysis paralysis, because Chris Riley just posted that she had heard that expression somewhere recently!! It certainly does paint a picture of someone so caught up in their thoughts they can’t make a decision. And I also believe as you mentioned, that you can train yourself not to do it! We just have to deal with the facts as they arrives, keep solution focused and without kitchen sinking the matters. When it is really terrible or heart breaking we can still deal with it but console ourselves with the thought that everything passes.
      The tendency to simplify things when they are so awful might be our way of processing information without it being too painful. A bit like breaking down a difficult task into smaller more manageable pieces.

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    2. Thank you, Amanda! And I look forward to these proverbs as well. I have an MS Word document where I copy various proverbs / sayings for future reading. The ones you’ve presented since I began been following your blog often land there. Thanks again!

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  6. I think the idea of overthinking, as you brought up, fits very well with the first quote. But as a planner, I do think there is a need to plan and doesn’t hurt to think of different possibilities, outcomes, scenarios and solutions. It makes me wonder what really is that is so simple: maybe it’s living a life that makes us happy and appreciating what we’ve got – which I think can be hard to define and happiness our life situations are often in a constant state of change. Definitely agree that thinking too much and being analytical and practical can be seen as lacking in empathy. Maybe these are the times where we forget to feel with our head and instead let the mind lead…not that that is always a bad outcome but sometimes intuition goes a long way. The other day I read an articles saying that intuition is the highest form of intelligence. Not sure where I am going with this and seem to have gone on a bit of a tangent.

    But I think this leads us to the second quote. In some cultures crying is looked down upon. In Chinese culture, it can be seen as sign of weakness; no crying over spilt milk is more like the mantra that I grew up with. When we cry, it’s a sign of emotion – can be a sign of happiness or sadness, and can be an emotional release and some form of letting go and letting be and goes towards helping us feel alive again.

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    1. Interesting that intuition is regarded by some as a high form of intelligence as in some other quarters it is laughed off as hocus pocus. I personally trust my intuition as it is usually correct even though that is not apparent to begin with. And this leads me to a salient point in the heart/head debate. You pointed out that we should remember to ‘feel’ with our head. That would make for a great combination of emotions and thinking. ie: To examine our emotions and how they might correlate with logical thought. This might then dampen down the emotions of excitement or anger and in turn, gives us a slightly different perspective than when we throw caution to the wind and think merely with our hearts!!

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    2. Also interesting to read of the stoicism in regard to openly showing sorrow sadness or grief in the Chinese culture. This is a more practical perspective of solution -focus. The opposing perspective appears to be one where we might process thoughts and feelings by way of openly releasing one’s emotions. This, is then expressed as crying or verbal lamentations. Does it feel like it comprises a feeling of living? I am not sure I would describe it as living. We say that we are in the grip of grief, as if it is something we must escape from. Such intense emotion isn’t pleasant but when it passes, we can start concentrating on other aspects and activities again.

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    3. Many view the practical side of the solution as the safe way out, the way of lesser risk. I don’t know if it’s a compromise…because we feel what we feel. Then again, we can change the way we feel if we train our brain to think in another way…or maybe not.

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    4. I think it is definitely possible, but not very easy to train our brain to think in a different way. Brainwashing methods prove it can be done, even with an unwilling participant. However, is the motivation strong enough to faciliatate that change? Indeed, Mabel, feelings are just that – feelings, but restraint of emotions might also be viewed as a more mature, sophisticated method of dealing with intense emotions. An illusion of control that breeds confidence, perhaps?

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    5. These are some great questions, and I had to pause for a moment and ponder them. Brainwashing is possible, especially when you tell someone what they want to hear, directly or indirectly – which ultimately makes them feel in control. Which arises the illusion of control. I’m not sure what else to say on this but I feel there is more to say on this topic. Maybe you can build upon what we’ve said.

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  7. @Mabel Kwong:
    The danger with ‘building the illusion of saying what someone wants to hear,’ is that the speaker might end up believing what is said, if it is said externally or internally for long enough. Thismight be beneficial if a person would like to re-train their brain to eradicate undesirable behaviours or behaviours that hurt or bother themselves or others.

    In this instance, I am thinking of the man or woman prone to violent outbursts, who needs anger management to re- train their brain to respond differently to certain triggers or frustrations that led to said violent behaviour. This reasoning or validation of brainwashing, might also apply to persons who suffer anxiety. They might develop confidence in coping with situations, by a positive form of brainwashing.
    After all, the anxiety response helps noone, it definitely doesn’t help others and most definitively is not a desirable feeling for anyone. Furthermore, it has unwanted impacts on others around the affected person. So in this sense, I feel that brainwashing, for want of a better term might be justified.
    However,
    It is the method by which the brainwashing is is done that is perhaps the critical factor in judging this issue. Can it be done in a morally responsible way, or is the power to alter one’s thought patterns perverse in itself? Shouldn’t this be done by choice by a willing participant? The majority of us want to feel in control of our lives, so that is what we all seek, but the brainwashing methods could be perverted to have undesired consequences, where the paradox is that control itself might even be lost, and the desired response, in the person, becomes one that is merely automatic and not at all heartfelt or voluntary, (due to the brainwashing eradicating any kind of choice) .
    What do you think about the illusion of control, Mabel?

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  8. I missed this one somehow. A lot going on here so not enough screen time. 🙂 But it’s all good.
    “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”― Confucius I’m having to paste the quote here so I don’t lose my thoughts in the comments. We do complicate life by our thinking. We have expectations of things and people and want things to go a certain way and believe we can make that happen. We forget to just find joy in that moment. We create drama from everything. We misinterpret words or intentions. etc..
    “Eyes that do not cry, do not see.” ~ Unknown This one tells me that if we never cry, happy or sad, we are not observant of the world or ourselves. Emotions are our guide. Without them, we wouldn’t know when we are going in the wrong direction and need to turn around. Empathy is essential as well. Empathy connects us to each other. At least that is my take on it.

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    1. And a very good summary, Marlene! Empathy does connect us to each other. And finding joy in the moment is the key to living a contented, happy life. Sometimes it is very difficult to find joy in the moment, and sometimes it isn’t so hard, however, we may overthink a little too much which makes the issue more complex than it really needs to be. Each person involved has a different degree of investment in any given issue, and perhaps that is why it is tempting to over-complicate matters at times. Too much at stake?

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    2. I’m definitely an over thinker and making a point to be aware of it when it happens. Noticed it yesterday and sat quiet to work at letting it go. It’s another day already and still sizzling through my mind. Oh, dear. 🙂

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