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.


Failure is something we all encounter in our lives.



Failure is simply a step towards success as they wise words relate:


Don’t stop sowing just because the birds ate a few seeds. ~ Danish Proverb




Accepting its place in your life as a teacher, and moving forward despite failure, is echoed in the same theme:-



“Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.” –Socrates



 Mary Tyler Moore, a woman ahead of her time told us to :-

“Take chances, make mistakes.  That’s how you grow.  Pain nourishes your courage.  You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”


Whilst Marilyn vos Savant reminds us that:-

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.”


Several notable figures through history has reinforced that failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the chance to get back up. Then why are we so hell-bent on creating perfection?

Failure just means you have found a way that doesn’t work, and if you get hung up on every failed attempt, you will miss every new opportunity that comes your way.


Graffiti 20180105_210459 (2)


All failures are just stepping-stones along your journey to success.



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How do you handle failure?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment.


Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder Positively About

31 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom”

  1. This made me think of some of the flops I’ve had on my cooking blog. The original recipe might have been a dud but, with a little lateral thinking, I managed to transform it into something decent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A great example, Peggy. Looking for the good within the bad. Was it you that posted a broadbean and cream cheese recipe some time back? I renember making that dish, it was ever so tasty!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Failure is I tried and didn’t get the results I wanted this time and won’t try again. Success is trying until you get the results you want or you decide that’s not what you really want in the first place. People who have never failed probably haven’t tried anything out of their comfort zone. It bothered me for many years that I had 2 failed marriages, both long term. Then I realized I didn’t fail by myself and I’m much happier alone. Gave it my all and it doesn’t work for me. The areas in life where I really failed are areas where I was afraid to try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You encapsulated the message well, Marlene! And who can say that they never failed? It is how we respond to failure that is so terribly important, isn’t
      It? I am sorry to hear that you went through a tough time following the end of your marriages. That certainly is not easy to deal with. I often hear others saying that they struggle with that sense of failure, when they separate or divorce. Convention does places a lot of pressure on marriage to be forever. It is little wonder people feel that they failed with that pressure, in the back of their minds. I am all glad to hear that you didn’t take on the full burden of blame, yourself, Marlene as it can be so self-destructive. Every thing that happens in our life, be that good or bad, contributes to the person we are today. But it is important not to let that fear of failure prevent us from trying.
      I am guilty of that fear as I grew up. For me, age makes me more fearful in some ways eg. Something like bungee jumping and less fearful in other ways. Eg. Joining a new group or public speaking or voicing an unpopular opinion that needs to be said.
      Failure can be a great teaching tool if only we can use it in a positive way!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A great quote for people who have given up on trying to give up smoking. One of my girlfriends was afraid to try again after so many failures. Her latest attempt after many, many years of no attempts has seen her cigarette free now for several months. Try, try and try again…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Chris: And what a wonderful angle on the proverbs and quotes. Smoking is so addictive that one had to be super determined to give up. Perhaps your friend had been building up strength with each failed attempt? Perhaps each failed attempt was then an important stepping stone in the road to developing that sense of utter determination that meant she could overcome the cravings?
      Well done to her!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Once you realize happiness is enormously overrated, everything falls into place. It really doesn’t matter. It is the doing and trying that count. That’s what gives life its adventure. Take it and make the most of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Gerard, it is a bit sad that you think happiness is overrated, but I do agree that we should aim more for contentment as opposed to any craving for a constant state of bliss. Contentment is in a way is its own level of happiness. And absolutely the source of life is in the doing and the trying! Make the most of it indeed. Well said, Gerard.


    2. Sadness is as much part of life as happiness. They don’t exclude each other. The unending quest for it ( happiness) by people seeking it in books or through others often leads to a dead end.
      Just doing the best and make the day worthwhile is important.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Forgive me for using a sports analogy, which I know is so typically American. On a recent television program, a man recounted that his father had once told him: “You don’t have to hit the ball out of the park, but don’t be afraid to swing.”

    I have to concede that, in my previous incarnation, I didn’t handle failure well. In fact, I often avoided risking something due to my intense fear of failure. I credit that, in part, to my lack of self-esteem and a ridiculous concern for publicly making a fool of myself.

    Here’s another sports analogy. As a teenager in high school, I often got forced into team activities, such as basketball, where the boys were divided up into “shirts” and “skins.” The “skins” were supposed to remove their shirts, so they could easily be identified by fellow teammates. I was so shy and introverted that I dreaded being chosen for the “skins” side. But I often ended up there – and refused to remove my tee shirt. Finally, one day, the gargantuan coach (apparently having become aware of my shyness) convinced me everything would be okay. I thought he’d switch me to the “shirts” team, but he didn’t. I was forced to remove my tee shirt. I was still incredibly embarrassed and managed to remain off to the side throughout much of the game.

    In another situation, I forgot to bring my gym clothes, so the coach (a different man who was smaller and louder than his colleague) merely handed me a spare set of gym shorts they kept in stock for just such a dilemma. Yes, only a pair of shorts – no tee shirt. He could tell I was bothered by this, but assured me no one cared and that we were in the weight lifting area, just outside the boys’ locker room. “If anyone makes fun of you,” he said, “just tell them to shut up.” No one mocked me, but the experience was enlightening.

    In those cases, I was fortunate to encounter two individuals who – despite their gruff demeanor –actually understood my timidity. Now, I virtually hate wearing a tee shirt to the gym and almost always jog bare-chested.

    But, while I overcame my apprehension over something so minor, I remained timid over more important matters. It didn’t just impact me personally; it affected my professional life. In the corporate world, I learned quickly that shyness would leave me even more vulnerable than just being bare-chested on a basketball court. It kept me from speaking up whenever someone besmirched my reputation or somehow disrespected me. When I finally started talking back to people at work, I was usually filled with such incredible anger that I probably came across as mentally or emotionally unstable. Things may have worked out for the better overall, as I made my point clear. But I unwittingly instilled fear in some people. I’m sure they wondered if I’d incite the next workplace mass shooting. Fear is not equal to respect.

    That fear of failure has certainly impacted my creativity. I should have had something published by now – a novel, short story. But, aside from my blog, I haven’t had anything professionally published. The number of times I’ve submitted something to a literary magazine or a publishing house is exceeded only by the number of times I just threw up my hands in despair and told myself they wouldn’t like it anyway; so why try.

    But I finally realized some time ago that I’m a good writer and that I just haven’t had the good luck of seeing my name in print (outside of the blog or a letter to a newspaper editor). I am now 100% confident in my writing ability, both creative and technical.

    At a small family gathering over a year ago, I advised a second cousin never to be too cautious to take a chance on something. She had been contemplating completing her college education. “Don’t make the same mistake I did,” I told her. I had left college in 1987, with a promise to myself that I’d return soon to finish. Soon didn’t get here until 2007.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I have to pull off this bulky tee shirt, before getting to work on my next blog post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Alejandro! Thanks for such a great comment. When you said you avoided risking things due to fear of failure, was that due to social anxiety or more the extent of the perceived element of risk involved?
      “Fear is not equal to respect.” No, you are correct, it is far from equal. But I do relate to the situation of the seething introvert who at first is concerned about how they were judged by others and later summons the courage to voice their opinion, letting others know how they feel. Trouble is that it is built up to such an extent, that they often blow their top and it comes out aggressively. Others around them are shocked and stunned as it seems wildly out of character with the person they know, who appeared previously submissive. It also, as you alluded to, makes them cautious of that person.
      I have learned over the years to respectfully address differences of opinions with colleagues and others early rather than have them fester into frustration. Dealing with them early means that misunderstandings can be sorted and differences prevented from developing into a disastrous downward spiral.
      I love your tee shirt analogy and it is a sobering lesson for others who use avoidance strategies, in fearful situations. You wisely knew to push yourself out of your comfort zone and it was a great oucome! It is really encouraging to hear those stories. However, I will add a caveat to advocating pushing oneself too much, referring to a newspaper story on the alarming increase in childhood anxiety due to helicopter parenting. It infuriates me that the blame for this, is totally and far too simplistically laid at the foot of the parents. Parenting strategies, in many cases do not in themselves, create the anxiety. I do think some extreme cases might, but the majority of children with anxiety have issues with school regulations, relationships with others in the schoolyard, perfectionist personalities, poor self esteem and a certain genetic makeup. To blame the helicopter parent, without due regard for these factors is an outdated view of blaming nurture over nature! We are born with our personality predispositions which are dictated genetically and then subtlety influenced by environment and circumstances as we grown. In your case, the T-shirt Gym saga could have been handled in any number of ways with differing outcomes. It was you yourself who decided how it ended up, given the circumstances imposed upon you. I love that you fully embrace your ‘skin’ now! That day in the gym could have turned out so negative and would the naysayers in that scenario resort once again to blame the parents for the anxiety the child felt? When what really made the difference lay in the way the other children and coach reacted! Well done to you and the team for handling it in a respectful and mature way.
      As for writing, publishing and blogging, persistence is everything. Do not judge your level of success by what you have or have not published. Some publish a book and it maybe read by 1/100th of the population your blog may reach! Whilst it certainly is an achievement to have a published story/book/ novel etc. one has to remember that there are loads of crappy books out there too! Be your own judge of your writing, don’t let that role lay solely in the hands of a publishing company, and at the same time, keep the submissions going. To be published is but a bonus to why we write, the cream on the top.It is not the circumstances by which you judge success!
      As Gerard said, it is in the doing and the trying that is the adventure of life. (Gerard, who I believe is in his 70’s just self published his first book a year ago!)


      1. Amanda, regarding your first question, the response is both! I had always feared failure, but I often overestimated the degree of whatever risk might be involved. I believe I’d mentioned the analysis paralysis conundrum in a previous post. I would always examine a situation until it practically eliminated itself; whereupon I encountered a new worry: the dreaded ‘what if’ scenario. Regardless, I ended up getting nothing done in some cases.

        I don’t have a vitriolic temper. But, in the past, I’d hold in my frustration to the point it would mutate into anger and spill out in a flurry of profanity, a booming voice and eyes bearing the look of drug-fueled psychosis. I would literally scare people who felt I was one step away from violence. That was never my intent. But, for the longest time, I equated that fear with respect. I thought, ‘Well, at least they won’t mess with me now.’ Still, it proves that suffocating one’s true sentiments doesn’t make a problem get better or go away. That’s like ignoring a bacterial infection.

        I agree about the dilemma with “helicopter parents.” I thought that was a uniquely American pathology. Recently, a grade school teacher in Austin, Texas resigned her position because she was tired of dealing with spoiled, self-entitled students whose parents blamed HER for the bad grades their little monsters were getting. Teachers across the U.S. have been walking out in large numbers over the past few weeks to protest low salaries and depleted pensions. I commented on Facebook that their grievances should also include butting heads with these coddles children and their enabling parents.

        I’ve never had children (another lost dream), but I realize a how-to manual doesn’t arrive with every newborn. Still, I’ve had to confront more than a few rude, disrespectful children in recent years; something that was unheard of in my own youth. Parents need to be parents (not tyrants) to their children and not best friends.

        I’ll never give up my lust for reading and writing. I started reading around age 2 and writing about the age of 5. My parents kept stuff I’d written all those presidents ago, which I have now. I could write down my name by the time I started kindergarten. I write fiction primarily because I have such a love for it. Being a shy only child meant I had to create my own forms of entertainment. Constructing stories was the only thing that came out of all that isolation. It suited me best. I also liked to draw, but developing various fictional scenarios was primary. I would get so wrapped up in them that – even now – I consider my story characters as actual people one would get to know. Some are open and forthcoming and let you know who they are and what they’re all about from the start; while others are more introverted and reticent about their lives. That mindset helps me present more realistic individuals.

        If I don’t get published outside of my blog in this lifetime, then I won’t get published. It would be disappointing, but I wouldn’t feel like an absolute failure. If you try your best to get something done, you really haven’t failed. The circumstances around you may have prevented you from achieving your goals. But I still might get something published afterwards. And actually, that’s not a bad thing!

        I’m a true writer. I don’t write to get rich and famous. Of course, that would be incredible and preferable. But I comprehend the brutal reality of being a professional artist. I’m no fool either way.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t think anyone would consider you a fool, Alejandro! Quite the opposite. And yet, I can well understand the anger or “bacterial infection,” you speak of, as my husband has commented about my own”angry eyes” when I raise my voice over something I am passionate about. So it is interesting that describe a similar experience yet any kind of violence to me is abhorrent.
          Helicopter parents are no doubt a universal phenomenon in the western world and the petulant brats you describe and their parents who are prone to expect the school to instill manners, education, good values and everything in their child is apparent here too, to some extent. Parents only want the best for their child, and their fear is that if their child fails, it reflects badly on them. This is not fair on the child nor the teacher who has to deal with their unreasonable demands. The home is where the child should be learning basic values, manners and behaviour. Schools do not raise children, parents do! (even though who spend long hours in day care!) However, I think the anxiety issue is another dilemma, quite separate. The petulant badly behavioured child is not always the same as the fearful, quiet or anxious child. Generally anxious children have a reason to be anxious. Environment, abuse, genetics, personality. Your comment about parents being parents, not tyrants and not best friends is so very true. Parents these days want to be very involved in their child’s life, particularly as families are smaller these days and children are had at an older age and very much wanted. That investment puts pressure on the child to be the best and certain parents may not cope if the child doesn’t meet their expectations!
          You are indeed a true writer and obviously drawn to the written word from a very early age. Such imagination in the stories that you speak of, should definitely be shared with the world, one way or another!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. These two quotes touch on the subject of failure, and I think I’ll talk about failure as a whole. I really like Socrates interpretation of failure. If we keep moving, there’s always the chance another opportunity can come our way and we will get what we want or where we want to go. Failure is also a matter of perception – just like anything else in life really (such as how truth is also perception but that’s another topic altogether). Sometimes maybe we have to fail. Sometimes a certain path or desire is just not meant to be or is not the best for us. So in that sense, we stop what we are doing, fail, and then pick ourselves up and try to move on in some other direction – and maybe failure isn’t failure of the big picture, but failure in a given moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, the only way to possibly experience success after a failure is to keep moving, as you say. It doesn’t magically happen without determination and persistence.. if it does happen by way of luck or magic, then it has not really been earned and might not be valued so highly. In that regard, the potential lesson we can learn from the failures along the road to success are essentially wasted!
      Then you raised an important point. Failure of a given moment or a small angle within the bigger picture. This refers to the perspective or as you suggested, perception. If we perceive the failure to be more significant, it might send us into a negative loop, but maintaining an overview of any given situation, the failure is seen as a mild setback. Why do some maintain a narrow focus and refuse to see the big picture. Their heads become full of thoughts that prevent them from moving forward. Is it because it is painful in the present moment, and they need to look for a way to end the immediate pain?
      Show me a person who hasn’t failed and I will show you a liar!!
      It seems that from the comments on this post, most understand failure is a potential learning tool, and a inescapable part of life.
      Bearing this in mind, what interests me is that many jobs emphasize a high level of accuracy, when education facilities mostly aim for a pass that is well below 100%. What do you think of this disparity, Mabel?


      1. Your question at end got me thinking. Some jobs do emphasise a high level of accuracy, for instance jobs in the medical profession or building industry. The slightest mistake or mishap can put one’s life at risk or change their lives forever. In other words, there might not be room for failure. True, not all educational facilities require us to get 100% to make it a pass. I have seen some subjects where a pass could be 40 out of 100. I suppose a pass and fail isn’t definitive…but for some ambitions you go have to go all out to make it and stay there. The more I think about your question, the more divided I am on this idea.


        1. It also puts me in a dilemma too. Why isn’t it possible to know 100% of a subject we study? Would that not be the objective of study? Is study merely an introduction? Why is the pass mark so low? Is the theory level too difficult? At some vocational college, you need to get 100% and yet perhaps only 40% at University? Perhaps we could try a completely different method of teaching?


          1. These are all very good questions. It made me think of perfection: if we get 100%, does that mean we are perfect in that subject? I wouldn’t say so because it could be that one moment where we did very well. There is so much more out there to discover, research and piece together, that perfection really is an elusive concept – which would answer the question of whether or not it’s possible to know 100% of a subject we study. Also, ideas and the way we live and how we do things change over time, so what we know will always be challenged.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Excellent point, Mabel.Education, knowledge and indeed life is dynamic. So 100% perfect is a momentary event. Extremely transient. But then if we dont aim for perfection, what level do we aim for? 50% 75% or 40%? If course we always aim to do our best whatever level it is.


      1. Yes. There was some research I read in the 80’s about “successful” people. No significant difference with others except for that: the most successful people consider the possibility of failure before starting. Evaluate the risks. And decide they can live with failure. (And that attitude helps them rebound if failure occurs).
        I immediately decided to always apply that research. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oo. Interesting. Evidence based practice! I like it. I think I will adopt a more formalized approach to new projects from now on. One you have accepted the project is worth commencing, you also accept all the inherent risks and this leads to success or no guilt failure!

          Liked by 1 person

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