Global Q&A: ‘What is your favorite proverb?’

April 6, 2011 Updated: April 13, 2011

Pearls of wisdom in the form of well-remembered proverbs help to shape some peoples' lives. This is what Epoch Times reporters from Santiago to Iasi found when they asked locals: “What is your favorite proverb?”

Katari­na Kuchynkova, Bratislava, Slovakia
Katari­na Kuchynkova, Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia
Katarína Kuchynková, 58, Operator

My favorite proverb is "Everything bad is good for something." It’s because I am an optimist myself, believing that this is indeed the case. It was confirmed in my daily life several times, so I used to mention this proverb now and then.

Daniel Pinto Monzo, Santiago, Chile
Daniel Pinto Monzo, Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile
Daniel Pinto Monzó, 72, Merchant

"God helps those who get up early," or "Early to bed, early to rise, makes the man healthy, wealthy and wise." I think this proverb is my favorite one, because I believe it tells us that divine guidance, or connection exists for those who strive to have a better pass, to fulfill the responsibilities of life, and to be better people.

William Pilco, Lima, Peru
William Pilco, Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru
William Pilco, 29, Pharmacy Technician

"Tell me with whom you are and I will tell you who you are." The meaning that I give to this proverb is that if I don’t choose my friends well, they will harm me. And the people around me will think that I am like them, with a bad reputation and people won’t have confidence in me, or I may lose many good opportunities for my life.

Restituta I. Komba, Mbeya, Tanzania
Restituta I. Komba, Mbeya, Tanzania
Mbeya, Tanzania
Restituta I. Komba, 26, Student-Teacher

Haraka haraka, haina baraka—Swahili for "Haste haste has no blessings." I like it because if you’re not careful, you won’t succeed in what you do.

Ivan Pantuyev, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Ivan Pantuyev, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Ivan Pantuyev, 25, Software Engineer

I guess one that means something to me today is ‘The frugal person pays twice.’ That is actually the translation of a Russian proverb. I moved into a new apartment, and today I am going to Bed, Bath, and Beyond [department store]. I got burned on buying cheap stuff in the past. You end up buying the same thing twice when the cheap one wears out. The worst is that it just gets thrown out. I don’t like to send something to sit in the dump.

Oana Olariu, Iasi, Romania
Oana Olariu, Iasi, Romania
Iasi, Romania
Oana Olariu, 27, Event Promoter

A gentle tongue can break a bone. I’ve been thinking these days about what catches my attention regarding a person. Only on the weekend, I realized: kindness. That kindness reflects warmth—nothing showy, only kindness, patience, and tact. What would we be like if we were gentler, more tolerant? And please think about what Mark Twain said: Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Maria Cecilia Baena Osorio, Medellin, Colombia
Maria Cecilia Baena Osorio, Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, Colombia
Maria Cecilia Baena Osorio, 46, Librarian

The expression, that I like the most is: "Constancy wins what good fortune does not achieve." I think that it is a proverb whose content says a lot, compared to the way we envision and set goals in our lives, in respect to life projects in education, in personal growth, vision, and personal achievement. I would associate this proverb with the programming that one gives oneself in face of what you project and want for your life. Closely associated with what is neurolinguistic programming.

Lisbeth Bronnum Andersen, Nassjo, Sweden
Lisbeth Bronnum Andersen, Nassjo, Sweden
Nässjö, Sweden
Lisbeth Brønnum Andersen, 47, Interior Designer

The first thing that comes to mind is to not take yourself too seriously. Another one that I made up myself is, 'Give many sincere compliments, especially to yourself.' It strengthens your self-esteem. One must first take care of oneself well, and when you have done that, you can also give energy to others. Sometimes you have to choose to stay away from people because they are stealing your energy, while other days, you have more to give and are not as easily influenced.

Neetu Kumar, Wellington, New Zealand
Neetu Kumar, Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Neetu Kumar, 35, Teacher

"Where there is a will there is a way." … Just don’t give up. Keep going on forever. There is a solution to every problem, that’s what I feel so I just totally believe in that proverb. If you have the will there is the way. It applies to everyone. There is always a solution to a problem. All you have to do is dig it out.

Kadija Yasser, Lahore, Pakistan
Kadija Yasser, Lahore, Pakistan
Lahore, Pakistan
Kadija Yasser, 26, Housewife

"The best way to teach others is through example, not advice." I like this proverb because I believe we should lead by example and do good things, to show others and maybe they will be moved to follow in our example.

Kerry Murphy, Sunshine Coast, Australia
Kerry Murphy, Sunshine Coast, Australia
Sunshine Coast, Australia
Kerry Murphy, Boutique Manager

My favorite proverb, or one of my favorites. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." And the reason why I say this—this is how I live my life, but it is the law of the universe.

Pepa Lorenzo Guillen, Santa Brigida, (Canary Islands), Spain
Pepa Lorenzo Guillen, Santa Brigida, (Canary Islands), Spain
Santa Brigida, (Canary Islands), Spain
Pepa Lorenzo Guillen, 40, Administrator

My favorite proverb is "The richest man/woman is not the one who owns the most things, but the one who needs the least." I like this proverb because it carries the message that people can live modestly and be happy anyway.

Look for the Global Q&A column every week. Epoch Times correspondents interview people around the world to learn about their lives and perspectives on local and global realities. Next week’s global question: “What would you like to say to the people in Japan?”