Are you at work looking for wisdom, or to be validated as wise yourself? Proverbs can help. They’ve stood tests of time and place, and there’s at least one for every occasion. Found one that proves you wrong? Don’t worry, seek a little further and there’ll be a proverb showing that you’re correct after all.

Here are some pairs of contradictory proverbs. Be humble in the knowledge that, in the world of the proverb, you are always right … and always wrong.

On being decisive:

  • He who hesitates is lost.  versus  Look before you leap.


On time management:

  • Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.  versus  Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.
  • Haste makes waste.  versus  The early bird catches the worm.
  • Measure twice, cut once.  versus  A stitch in time saves nine.


On the value of eloquence:

  • A word to the wise is sufficient.  versus  Talk is cheap.
  • The squeaky wheel gets the oil.  versus  Silence is golden.


On teamwork:

  • Many hands make light work.  versus  Too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • Two heads are better than one.  versus  Paddle your own canoe.


On the value of diversity:

  • Opposites attract.  versus  Birds of a feather flock together.


On competition policy:

  • Attack is the best form of defence.  versus  Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.


On planning:

  • Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.  versus  Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.


On telecommuting:

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


On having comedy at business events:

  • Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.  versus  Misery loves company.

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