Proverbs are interesting and complex things. They appear, on the surface, to be gems of wisdom which have been passed down through the ages.  I don’t know how many times I have nodded my head and accepted without further discussion until someone pointed out to me  that most proverbs have an opposite. It seems so obvious to me now that I can’t believe I didn’t note the contradictions myself. Next time you find yourself nodding along to a proverb, stop and think of its opposite.

Look before you leap.
He who hesitates is lost.

Opposites attract.
Birds of a feather flock together.

Hitch your wagon to a star.
Don’t bite off more that you can chew.

Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Clothes make the man.

The squeaking wheel gets the grease.
Silence is golden.

Clothes make the man.
You cannot judge a book by its cover.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Don’t beat your head against a stone wall.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.

Two heads are better than one.
Paddle your own canoe.

Haste makes waste.
Time waits for no man.

You’re never too old to learn.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

A word to the wise is sufficient.
Talk is cheap.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Nice guys finish last.

Strike while the iron is hot

All good things happen for those who wait.


2 thoughts on “Contradictions

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