The Early Bird Gets the Worm

My title gives reference to what we know as an adage. Briefly defined, an adage is “an old and well known saying that expresses a general truth.” We know that the truth imparted by this particular saying has nothing to do with a bird nor a worm.

Some may call an adage by a number of synonyms, the most popular is probably “proverb”.  For me, many of the adages I’ve learned along the way have become mantras, phrases I use to remind myself – or others – to make a point.  Most adages are meant as words of encouragement or to assist in personal growth, so many of them do make excellent mantras.

However, there are a few adages out there, which, when spoken, can cause negative feelings. Whose parents never said, “I’ll give you something to cry about”? Or perhaps you’ve heard from a parent, “This is going to hurt me worse than it hurts you.” A child, upon hearing those phrases, understands frustration/anger or guilt, but certainly nothing positive or encouraging.

If you read my post entitled, “It’s a Small, Small World”, then you may recall me writing about one I remember from my childhood, my mother saying to me, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”. Again, I had no clue what she was attempting to tell me until much later in life, so there was nothing I gained from those words. Then again, the adages “Patience is a virtue” and “The path to hell is paved with good intentions” worry me a bit. I’m not the world’s most patient person (I’d reckon not even my town’s most patient person) so apparently, I’m not virtuous. And I know I often fall short of my intentions, so… Nonetheless, many of these adages/proverbs/mantras serve me well and so I will continue to use and share them.

And, if you’re interested in the history of some of these adages, I have it on good authority that a fellow blogger will soon be offering a weekly post, called “Friday’s Phrase”, delving into the creation of these lines and their history. You might want to check him out for that – and other great writings, too. His blog can be found at

Do you have a favorite adage/proverb/manta in your life that serves you well? Please share it with us!

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