Sunday Sayings – Change

You cannot step in the same river twice

– Middle Eastern Proverb

pond water

Can ‘change’ be a cyclic force, or is it more linear, with a beginning and an end?

Weekly Quotes

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

-Ben Franklin


“The superior man governs men, according to their nature, with what is proper to them,

and as soon as they change what is wrong,

he stops.”

― Confucius

What is your take on these sayings?

Do you agree with them?

Do you think change is always cyclic or linear, with a beginning and end?

Was Ben Franklin right? Or blind to contentment?

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment.


Background to Sunday Sayings

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog. This morphed into Sunday Sayings.

I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

Mostly anonymous, proverbs are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures.


54 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Change”

    1. Thanks, Dragon Warrior. I feel that we do change constantly, even when we are old. It is just harder to do so then. Ben may have been referring to that when he said we were finished! You are young, and you may probably find that you change radically year to year. I did, and most teens do. It is a time of intense change until you find out who you are really comfortable being. Sort of like what skin you fit into.
      Change, as you correctly pointed out, can be good or bad. Have a wonderful Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It seems to me that there are two ways of looking at change. To control it and in so doing, right a wrong; that’s the Confucius way. Alternatively, to adjust to change since nothing is so constant as change. Failure to adjust means you’re finished intellectually, spiritually or physically. That’s the Ben Franklin way. If I’d had to guess, I would have attributed the quotes differently. I agree with both POVs but I’d say it’s more invigorating to live to the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been thinking about your comment over the last day, Sandy, and I thank you for it. Correct me if I am wrong, but you think that Confucious and Franklin’s quotes could have been said by the other and sound plausible? I think that is interesting and possible. Particularly of Franklin speaking of governing and the irony of stopping the juggernaut of change. For if change is constant, how can we ever reach a conclusion?


  2. Time is a spiral not a circle. You think you’re going to get an end (or start back at the beginning again), but the world moves so you have to change to stay the same. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh. That is a wonderful analogy, Skye. And I assume it is an ever expanding spiral. It is hard for non-scientific types to understand but what I do understand is that you have to change and that is a constant in our lives. Nothing stays the same, as much as we might want it too. For if things stayed the same, we would have stagnation, an absence of challenge, of satisfaction that loses its very appeal. It is that repeated striving to stay the same against the waves of change that keep us engaged. Many thanks for your thought – provoking comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Can ‘change’ be a cyclic force, or is it more linear, with a beginning and an end? – I think it is more multi-directional, towards cyclic especially if you do not learn from the past, it will become cyclic and when you do, it becomes multi-directional – to where you want to go or where one learning when applied leads you from one to another direction…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Grace! Wonderful words. I love how you describe it. I do believe we can all learn from the past if we are open to it and thus change is multi – directional. The piggybacking of ideas; learning that opens up new possibilities and more questions, that begets more learning. Change can be the continual quest for and regeneration or evolution of knowledge. Come to think of it, evolution is a great example of change being cyclic and then multi-directional, do you think?


        1. To some extent Grace, evolutionary progress is inevitable. Yet we rail against it in many ways. Trying to preserve the old ways whilst embracing the new. When put in the framework of the history of time, our little protests are not at all significant, are they?


  4. “There is nothing new under the Sun…”
    ~ the world is a static thing which never changes in any significant ways. Whatever we do, someone has always done or invented something closely similar before. There is no evil – nor any love – which hasn’t occurred many, many times already…

    And yet …
    “Nothing lasts forever…”
    ~ everything changes, all the time. Change is the one constant of life. Whatever the difficulties, whatever the obstacles, “life will find a way”. There is no problem so intricate that it cannot be solved eventually by human ingenuity. Though conversely, there is no task so easy that human stupidity cannot foul it up! 😀 We literally, again and again, “cut off the branch on which we sit.”

    And yet, we persist…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the contradicting dichotomy of human existence, I guess. Everything may be static but around there is constant change. An ever expanding spiral without beginning or end. Sort of like that child’s toy that is an illusion of a spiral with a start and finish but when you turn it around, you can see that it continues on, and on, twisting and turning but in a different way without a defined end point. A bit like those Viking symbols.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the Ben Franklin quote. We certainly don’t have to change everything, but we should be willing to change. Of course we shouldn’t change just for the sake of change, but to enhance our lives.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all seek equilibrium and stasis in some way. Too much change is far too disruptive, unless you are someone who gets bored very, very easily. Ben Franklin appeared to associate change with growth, and likewise it sounds like you feel by and large, change is a positive force, Janet?


  6. I personally believe we can all learn from the past but we should also be open to change if it is to our advantage and not be set in our ways but it depends on the individual. For instance, my cousin has lived in the same house all her life and never changed jobs whereas I have moved several times both for housing and employment. We are both very happy but have taken different paths!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good example of stasis versus change. You perhaps are more comfortable with change than your cousin. Each path is not right or wrong. It is more important how or why we chose it.


  7. Dear Amanda 🙂
    They are actually, all of them, great – and right in all their different ways! 🙂 And our lives, it seems to me, are more like rivers – trying to find their windy ways to the sea…
    Of course, some of them run more straight than others … 😀
    But on the big scale of things, I imagine it more like a spiral: we are turning in circles at the same time as we are moving forward, striving for better (and, appallingly at times, more…!)

    I hope you will have a wonderful week ahead!
    And may your river be large and strong – clear and pure – and wind its way through all the most enchanting places on Earth!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is such a beautiful sentiment and a beautiful mental image to leave me with, Elena. Thank you so much for that. The spiral idea is also interesting.
      It seems to be a lot of people’s nature to want more. They can not be satisfied and settle for something less. They feel happier when they have the most prized items in their own mind. But is this the type of happiness that lasts, or is it temporary?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The problem is, I think, when people people want more and more because they are missing something in their hearts and souls. And their ego push them to buy, to consume, to own…
        Like a sugar rush, it is quite temporary…

        Have a really good and insightful week, dear Amanda! 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “[They] want more and more because they are missing something from their hearts and souls.” Yes I absolutely think this is why, Elena.
          How can they be assisted to see that it is just a temporary fix and think more in a longer time frame?

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Nothing much to add just the first saying sounded familiar so I googled it: ‘It’s a quote by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born in 544 BC. He actually said “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the essence of the proverb, and clearly that is the origin. I think it is true. Every day brings some subtle difference to us, and we change ever so slightly. If in no other way, than in getting that little bit older and hopefully also wiser!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. That makes sense, Bushboy. Death does put us into a static form of a sort, except for the physical body, as you rightly pointed out. Nevertheless, Ben was advocating change, was he not? I wonder in what context the quote was framed. That would be interesting to find out.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Loujen Haxm Yor. One river could be preferable than another. One river could feel better on one’s skin than another. Every interaction we have with another person leaves a small imprint, and that I think is the change the quote refers to. Do you agree?


  9. I have always loved the first quote. I say it all the time. Nothing ever stays the same. Change is the only certainty in life. I agree with Ben Franklin. If you keep changing and growing, you are still alive, if not, close the lid. I’ve not hear the last one but I like it. Good luck finding someone like that to govern. This post just opened up an awareness in me that was stuck inside. I feel like I just struck gold. Timing was perfect for reading this. Thank you, Amanda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marlene- that is kind and I am glad it found meaning for you. That is the best way to approach this sayings – seek the interpretation that meaningful for you. Change is the only constant indeed. We should not fear it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have changed my blog so often since 2015 that actually I can not remember to my first blog name, may be it was desertwoofer, I am not absolutely sure, so change requires some kind of chaotic procedures and notions, as otherwise the same procedure as every year to occurr tomorrow.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Engineered Change! I like it! Change that arises from an inner desire to eradicate boredom or forge new paths! There is not many of us that say we haven’t felt bored and hungry for change at least once in our lives, don’t you think, “desertwoofer”?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do not feel bored by my life, where I live new things to discover each and everywhere around the corner. You just have to look, and for this you need also the essential time, as a pensioneer now no problem. Change is not a question of age, ir is an attitude. Cheers 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A thoughtful post, Amanda. Can change’ be a cyclic force, or is it more linear, with a beginning and an end’- I don’t think change can have a beginning and an end cause that would imply that a couple of changes, tweaks here and there and we are done. It, to me, would mean I am perfect the way I am, i do not need to adapt to the changing circumstances and I am the happy with the way things are- could be an unhealthy way of thinking and as a result, an unhealthy way of living! Change keeps us hopeful, makes us look for things to enjoy, explore and learn from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Change does keep us hopeful, as I think the majority of us are a, ‘constant work in progress.’ Perhaps you might agree with the quote about – when you stop changing, you are finished?

      Liked by 1 person

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