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Alan’s Fifth Law

Alan’s Fifth Law

For every aphorism there is an equal and opposite aphorism, Alan’s Fifth Law of Linguistic Reversals. For example:

Haste makes waste. But: The early bird catches the worm. (The early worm is eaten.)

Actions speak louder than words. But: The pen is mightier than the sword.

Look before you leap. But: He who hesitates is lost.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But: Better safe than sorry.


This is exactly the kind of platitudinal nonsense that shows up all over the web, especially on LinkedIn. Stop thinking there are “magic phrases” that can propel you to wisdom or success. Life is about judgment and intelligence, and the abandonment of dumb sayings fostered by people without any depth or street smarts.

Jesus said to “turn the other cheek,” but He never said to allow them to keep hitting you!

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.”

Well, “Misery love company.”

Snap out of it.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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