That Everyone Gets Wrong
Well-known clichés everyone gets wrong.
Money is the root of all evil
Is keeping a couple of bucks in your pocket inherently sinful? According to the Bible, where this oft-quoted condemnation originates, it’s not the concept of legal tender that’s evil, but the lust for money that drives people away from virtue and towards greed. The exact quote, from 1 Timothy 6:10 (King James version): “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Winning isn’t everything
This mot ivat ional quote isn’t as feel-good when you hear the original version. The real quote, spoken by a former university football coach, ‘Red’ Sanders, was uttered to a group of students in 1950: “Men, I’ll be honest,” Sanders said. “Winning isn’t everything. [long pause] Men, it’s the only thing!” (Take that, “trying your best” and “having a good time”!)
The proof is in the pudding
Unless you’re a baroque homicide detective trying to prove that everyone at the duke’s banquet was poisoned by the dessert chef, this saying makes no sense. The REAL, rarely quoted saying goes: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” The word pudding itself
used to refer to a kind of sausage, a potentially treacherous mixture of mixed meats. In this case the proof is the act of testing it by tasting it.
Be the change you want to see in the world
This gorgeous quote by Gandhi is probably the most inspiring thing he never said. At least, not in those words. The guru’s original statement from which this is derived: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” Sadly, that doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker as well.
Curiosity killed the cat
The earliest-known version of this expression, written by Ben Jonson and popularised by his frenemy William Shakespeare, goes: “Care killed the cat”. With ‘care’ being used here to mean ‘ worry’, the historical gist is that an anxious person (or feline) can literally worry themselves sick. It’s unclear how ‘care’ became ‘curiosity’ in the late 1800s but it is clear that modern speakers almost always forget the rejoinder first published in 1905: “Curiosity killed the cat… but satisfaction brought it back.” In other words, being nosy might get you into trouble, but learning the truth is often worth the risk.
Great minds think alike
If this quote was meant in earnest, Socrates might have penned it instead of drinking hemlock. As various books of proverbs point out, the now-ubiquitous slogan is best used sarcastically. To drive that point home is the rejoinder most of us often leave out: “Great minds think alike … and fools seldom differ.”
When one door closes, another opens
This motivational parable has its heart in the right place. But for all the positivity of this slogan, the little-uttered second half counters with a dose of reality: “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” Keep that in mind the next time a door slams shut – before the next one opens, you may need to turn around.