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Three On Thursday

On the Happier podcast a few weeks back Gretchen and Elizabeth had a discussion about aphorisms. It’s not a term I’m especially familiar with but it’s defined as a concise statement of a principle. Examples include statements such as actions speak louder than words, he who hesitates is lost, and don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes. This discussion got me thinking about phrases and expressions that I say a lot. Mine own personal aphorisms, if you will. Guess what? It’s Thursday so I came up with 3!

  1. Done is better than perfect. I started saying this when I learned how to sew. Seriously. You can rip out that seam over and over and try it get it perfect or you can accept that it’s done and just move on. It can be applied to so much more than sewing, too! Blog posts? Done is better than perfect. Dinner? Done is better than perfect. I’m looking at my to-do list right now and thinking that I could use this phrase for pretty much everything on there except payroll. Payroll needs to be done and perfect.
  2. It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. This is one that a good friend said to me over 30 years ago and I took it to heart at that very moment. My attitude about it changed slightly when I became a mother and I always told Hannah this was a rule for grown ups only! But still. It’s a good philosophy for those times when you just need to . . . bend/ignore/push the rules a smidge. Becomes sometimes it’s easier to just make a decision and potentially have to apologize later than to do nothing in the moment.
  3. I’ll alert the media. This one comes from the movie Arthur starring Dudley Moore. Arthur turns to his butler Hobson and says, do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take a bath. And Hobson says, I’ll alert the media. It’s the most perfect, most sarcastic, most wonderful way of saying: I don’t care without actually saying I don’t care because that might be mean. I say it a lot when Dale announces something: I’m going to the garage, I’m going to take a shower, I’m going to bring in firewood, etc. I look at him deadpan and I say: I’ll alert the media. Usually he laughs. Emphasis on usually.

Do you have aphorisms that you use? It’s kind of fun to think about them so please tell me what yours are in the comments.

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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. I like all three of these, the last one is a keeper 😉
    I tend to say “it will be alright” (well, the Dutch version of it) a lot, but often I add “or it won’t be”. When I still drank wine, I used to cite the bible: “Use a little wine” (longer version: “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”)

  2. “No one needs to know it isn’t right.” I use this with my team of volunteers when we’re cooking at church. Occasionally something goes sideways and we have to improvise because we suddenly need more food, something didn’t cook as expected or we have a last minute problem. They tend to take it personally if they’re involved in whatever happened. We still put out a delicious and nutritious meal and I remind them that outside of the kitchen no one knows what our original plan was, unless they blab about it. I’ve been told that after they embrace this knowledge, it works well in their kitchen at home, too. ?

  3. When one of my kids questions if I forgot to take care of such-and-such, I point to my forehead and say “does it say stupid here?”

  4. This is one my grandmother used to tell me — “Always be yourself because the people that matter don’t mind and the ones that mind don’t matter.” I’ve found it to be true!

  5. I use “done is better than perfect” lots… and it is so true (for everything except payroll… lol) But, when my kids were home our mantra was “A job worth doing is worth doing well.” This was true for things from homework to the dreaded cleaning of the bathroom… lol.

  6. “Take your sail out of their wind” They have every right to be upset if they’d like, they just can’t make me a partner in it if it’s not my issue. Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow… (I first came across this in _Children the Challenge_ by Rudolf Dreikurs in 1991. Works with adults, also.

  7. I like “done is better than perfect,” and it’s something I really need to say to myself more often because I am definitely a perfectionist and it gets in the way of getting things done more often than it should.

    I’m going to try to work #3 into my repertoire only because it’s so funny!

  8. I use #2 and #3 a lot, but #1 is not something I have heard. I think it is so useful, especially for self-talk. I like to say something my mother always used to say to me to keep things in perspective. It sounds a little harsh to some people, but it’s true. “In hundred years, we will all be dead, and none of this will matter.” Good post, Carole!

  9. The saying, “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission,” was coined by Admiral Grace Hopper. She was a genius working in a bureaucracy – the United States Navy. The saying works well if you are a genius and the bureaucracy realizes you are a genius. If you are not in that situation, you may be in peril if you follow the saying. Her accomplishments are over the top – a Navy destroyer was named after her. A summary of her accomplishments can be found here:

  10. Yea, payroll that must be perfect, and re-checked. Double checked-take a screen shot to ensure that yes I did submit it on time. Compare against last payroll to ensure the gross amount is the same because some people would absolutely flip out if they were short $1. Oy.

  11. First – I love that graphic! Second – such a cool topic! Marc and I agreed on these two: Nothing good ever happens after midnight and Stay between the lines; the lines are your friends 🙂

  12. Great sayings, and apparently I’m using the first one now. I’m a little late reading blog posts, but better late than never… which translates to done is better than perfect. 🙂

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