You say this proverb when someone won’t do something a second time because they had bad experience the first time.
Example: I won’t try this drink, because last time I had a burning sensation in my throat. Once bitten twice shy, I guess.
Sometimes you get so focused on small details that you may miss the larger context.
Example: The marketers got so bogged down on creating the perfect ad campaign that they didn’t realize that the medium – Facebook – they wanted to use was no longer a viable option because of its recent algorithm updates.
If someone or something is not seen for a long time, it’ll be forgotten.
Example: Many celebrities find a way to appear in media because they know that out of sight is out of mind.
Be independent and not need help from anyone.
Example: After I went to boarding school in my teens, I started paddling my own canoe to a large extent.
Thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than use of force.
Example: After the mass killings at the newspaper office, there is a protest which is happening in the city declaring support to the paper and proving that pen is mightier than sword.
People who have faults should not criticize other people for having the same faults.
Example: The main political party in the opposition has blamed the ruling party for giving tickets to people with dubious background in the upcoming elections. But the big question is: are they themselves clean on this count? People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others.
Doing something over and over makes one better at it.
Example: You can’t expect to master guitar in two months. You’ve to keep at it for several months, as practice makes perfect.
Behave in the way that you encourage other people to behave in.
Example: You keep telling us to go for a jog in the morning, but I wish you would practice what you preach.
Important work takes time to complete.
Example: You can’t expect her to finish such a complex project in a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you don’t object to what someone says or does, you may be assumed to agree to some extent.
Example: He didn’t say anything to my proposal of going for a picnic on the weekend. I believe he is not saying ‘no’. Silence is half consent.
Slow and consistent work leads to better chance of success than quick work in spurts.
Example: X: I’ve built a strong vocabulary by learning a word a day for the last three years. Y: Mine has been much less even though I’ve had days when I polished ten words. I guess slow and steady wins the race.
If a person doesn’t speak much, it doesn’t mean they lack depth or are uninteresting.
Example: She is one of the smartest persons in the organization. She may not talk much, but still waters run deep.
Take advantage of an opportunity as soon as it exists.
Example: I thought over the job offer I got way too long. Now it has been offered to someone else. I should have struck while the iron was hot.
Despite best preparations, things may not go your way.
Example: X: I had everything covered for this project, but now I’m told that the project can’t go ahead because the Company is planning an organizational restructuring. Y: Well, that’s unfortunate, but sometimes the best-laid plans go astray.
A desired result is so important that any method, even a morally bad one, may be used to achieve it.
Example: He’s campaigning with illegal funds on the theory that if he wins the election the end will justify the means.
The harder you work, the more good ideas and chances you may make for yourself.
Example: Many think he got lucky in getting that fat contract, but few know he had been pursuing dozens of such contracts for several weeks – the harder you work, the luckier you get.
People are never satisfied with their own situation; they always think others have it better.
Example: X: When I see him post all those travel pictures on Instagram, I feel he has the perfect life. Y: It’s usually not like that in real life. I’m sure he too has his share of problems. I see your thought as grass being greener on the other side of the fence.
People should not criticize someone else for a fault that they themselves have.
Example: He accused me of being selfish. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
You can only judge the quality of something after you have tried, used, or experienced it.
Example: X: Marketers have claimed that this weight loss diet produces strong results in just two months. Y: Well, I’ll reserve my opinion till I’ve tried it myself. After all, proof of pudding is in the eating.
There is more than one way to reach the same goal.
Example: We can get around that by renting instead of buying the delivery van – there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
The best time to do something is right now. So, act now.
Example: Don’t wait until New Year to change this bad habit. There’s no time like the present.
A group offers more protection than when you are on your own.
Example: Her parents won’t allow her to date but do let her go to parties, saying there’s safety in numbers.
Good intentions do not matter if a person’s actions lead to bad outcomes.
Example: X: Well, I was only trying to be helpful by mixing those two acids. Y: But, it exploded the beaker. Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
A performance, event, etc., must continue even though there are problems.
Example: The chairman died yesterday but the show must go on.
People who complain the most are the ones who get attention or what they want.
Example: If you’re not satisfied with the service at the hotel, then you should call up the manager there. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, after all.
If the tail is wagging the dog, then a small or unimportant part of something is becoming too important and is controlling the whole thing.
Example: Their group is small but very vocal, so be sure that management doesn’t give in to their demands. We don’t want the tail wagging the dog, after all.
You’ve no control over passage of time; it’ll keep slipping. So don’t procrastinate, don’t delay things.
Example: We need to hurry up or else we’ll miss the flight. Time and tide wait for no man.
Be aware of where one’s best interests lie.
Example: I know which side my bread is buttered on. So, I was very nice to the recruiter and promptly sent her a thank you card after our interview.
When too many people work together on a project, the result is inferior.
Example: This proposal has received feedback from too many parliamentary committees, and that’s probably the reason why it lacks clear actionables. I’ve no doubt that too many cooks spoil the broth.
You shouldn’t harm a person who has harmed you, even if you think that person deserves it.
Example: Just because he insulted you doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to start a rumor about him – two wrongs don’t make a right.
If someone treats other people badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else.
Example: He tormented me back in high school, and now he has his own bully. What goes around comes around.
When visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of local people.
Example: I don’t love cotton candy, but we are at a carnival. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?
When conditions become difficult, strong people take action.
Example: I know you’re not used to climbing at such heights, but come on when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
If you are determined enough, you can find a way to achieve what you want, even if it is very difficult.
Example: He had little resources to start his business, but he eventually did through a small opening – blog. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If there are rumors or signs that something is true so it must be at least partly true.
Example: X: Do you believe those rumors about the mayor? Y: Well, you know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
When you lose an opportunity to do one thing, an opportunity to do something else appears.
Example: X: I failed to get into my dream college. Y: Don’t worry, this has happened to many. I’m sure something better is waiting for you. Where one door shuts, another opens.
Without supervision, people will do as they please, especially in disregarding or breaking rules.
Example: As soon as their parents left, the children invited all their friends over – when the cat’s away, you know.
It’s easier to win people to your side by persuasion and politeness than by confrontation and threats.
Example: X: The courier service has taken more time to deliver than they had promised. I want to take the issue up with them and get a refund. Y: I would suggest you deal with them politely. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
You can show people the way to do things, but you can’t force them to act.
Example: X: He has received all the resources one needs to start a business, but even after six months I don’t see anything happening. Y: Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
Sometimes you may face disappointments in your pursuits or your wishes may not be fulfilled.
Example: X: I want a bike on my birthday. Y: Sorry, you can’t always get what you want.
You can’t force someone into a role for which s/he is not suited.
Example: It took me a while, but I eventually understood that I was a round peg in a square hole in the firm. That’s why I quit for a better fitting role.
To have two things that one desires, but they’re normally impossible to get simultaneously.
Example: If you want more local services, you can’t expect to pay less tax. Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
It is hard to achieve something important without causing unpleasant effects.
Example: If I don’t slash people’s salaries, the company is going to go bankrupt. It’s unfortunate, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.
If you’ve to work with one arm tied behind, you work with a big handicap.
Example: How do you expect me to win that deal without the flexibility to reduce price? You can’t expect me to deliver results with one arm tied behind my back.
You can’t support both sides of a conflict or dispute.
Example: How can you be taken seriously as a reformer when you have continued to accept gifts? You can’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, Senator.
People who have long been used to doing things in a particular way will not abandon their habits.
Example: I bet you can’t get him to get up at 5 AM and go out for a walk. After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
It is not possible to succeed at everything you do.
Example: I know you’re disappointed to not convert that interview, but you can’t win them all.
If you help me, I’ll help you.
Example: If you help me get customers, I’ll put in a good word for you. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
Anticipate how a certain plan or situation will likely unfold.
Example: I think I’ll see which way the wind is blowing before I vote at the board meeting.
Rules change depending on how influential or powerful the person likely to be affected by the rules is.
Example: X: He has been treated leniently by the police. Y: That’s why they say – you show me the man and I’ll show you the rule.