How Relevant Are These Age-Old Proverbs In Today’s World?

By: Barnali Bose, Editor-ICN World

Disclaimer: The following analysis is meant for amusement purpose only and the reader is requested to read it “with a pinch of salt”.

When in Rome do as the Romans do:

The reverse, I believe is true. If you do as stated, you’ll be lost in the crowd and can never be the one among many. You have to do things differently if you wish to get noticed and receive acclaim. So, ‘When in Rome, do as the Americans do, do as the Greeks do or like any other but never as the Romans do.’

No man is an island:

The literal meaning is that man cannot live alone. He is a social being and therefore likes to be in the company of others.

However, in my opinion every individual is ultimately an entity on his own. He may be in a crowded room but enveloped in his own whirlpool of thoughts, totally oblivious of all that is going on around him. No one can delve into the metaphor of island that man stands for. The mysteries of the human mind are undoubtedly very difficult to unravel. Thus, I would say ‘Every man is an island’.

Better safe than sorry:

It literally means that one must always keep safety of self in mind before embarking on any adventure or undertaking a risky job so that one does not have to regret later if things go wrong.

In my view, ‘Better safe’ is synonymous with living a monotonous existence devoid of excitement. So, if you play safe, at one point of time you’ll be sorry you didn’t take the plunge. So, my version would be,’ If you remain safe, you may be sorry’.

The Early bird catches the worm and Haste makes waste:

How contradictory these two are! On one hand you say that unless you are fast, someone else will take away what could have been yours and on the other hand you say that if you hurry, you will be a spoilsport. In today’s fast evolving world, unless you make haste and keep pace with the change if not run ahead of it, you will be nowhere.

Better late than never:

This should be rewritten as ‘Better never if late’. A person who cannot keep to the right time hardly ever reaches the right place. If you have to attend an interview and you reach late, your name will anyway be struck off the list. Thus, why take the trouble of reaching there at all and face possible humiliation and disappointment.

Great minds think alike:

A great mind has a unique way of perceiving things. Every person who innovates new ideas thinks in his own unique manner and thus such minds can never think alike. It is those people who do not create new ideas but follow those of others that think alike. How about modifying it as ‘Those that think alike are never great’?

Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst:

On one hand, you tell a person to be optimistic and keep on hoping for something good even in the most difficult circumstances while on the other, you urge him to take a pessimistic view of things. The Law of attraction says that positive thoughts beget positivity and the reverse is true for negative thoughts. Therefore, it would better be quoted as ‘Hope for the best and the best happens, fear the worst and the worst  comes true’.

There’s no time like the present:

I understand that it is the present that is ours as the past is bygone and who knows what the future holds for us. But what if a person is undergoing endless woes at present? Would this adage apply to him too? It is the hope of a better future that keeps the ball rolling, isn’t it? So why not read it as ‘ The present may be good, but the future might be better’?

Jack of all Trades, Master of none:

It is better to be a Jack of all trades rather than be a Master of only one. One has to multi-talented and capable of juggling many tasks at the same time. Being exceptionally good at something and totally useless at managing other tasks would make him a misfit in today’s world. Nowadays,it is more important to be ‘street smart’ than mere ‘book smart’. Therefore, why not modify it as ‘ Better to be a jack of all trades than a master of one’?

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today:

I would say put it off until tomorrow.  An idea is like a seed. It needs proper nurture and care to develop to its fullest potential. It is better to put it off for later, so that one may modify the idea and allow it to culminate into the best it could possibly be. Hence, it would be best quoted as ‘Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow’.

Slow and Steady wins the race:

In the cut-throat competitive world of today, one who is steady but fast will outrun one who is slow and steady. There is no place for those with slow pace as somebody else is bound to steal the show. Thus, the revised adage would definitely be ‘Only the fast and steady wins the race’.

I would like to conclude by saying that this was simply an attempt to interpret age-old proverbs from a different perspective and with an underlying sense of Humour.

Related posts