1. A bad workman always blames his tools.
This proverb is used when someone blames the quality of their equipment or other external factors when they perform a task poorly.
2. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Certainty of having something in hand is better than mere probability of having even more things.
3. Absence makes heart grow fonder.
When we’re away from loved ones, we long for their company more than in normal times.
4. A cat has nine lives.
Cat can survive seemingly fatal events.
5. A diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect.
A rare, precious opportunity that comes with some problems is better than a regular opportunity that seems to be perfect.
6. A fool and his money are soon parted.
Fools lose money because of their foolish conduct.
7. After victory, tighten your helmet chord.
There is no room for complacency. Get down to work after a victory. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, calls it Day 0 mentality.
8. A good listener is a silent flatterer.
Human beings have an innate desire to be listened, but only few are good listeners. So, if you listen to someone attentively, you’ll flatter them.
9. A jack of all trades is master of none.
A person with some knowledge of several fields (jack of all trades) can’t be a master in any of them.
10. A lean agreement is better than a fat lawsuit.
In disputes, it’s better to compromise and get only part of the potential outcome than to contest an expensive lawsuit for years, with no guarantee on the outcome.
11. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
People can’t change their innate character, especially bad.
12. All lay loads on a willing horse.
A person who says ‘yes’, even if hesitatingly, to any work given to him will soon find himself overloaded with work.
13. Among the blind, one-eyed man is king.
An incapable person can gain powerful position if others in the fray are even more incapable.
14. An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.
This proverb exemplifies importance of leadership. A strong army (lions) led by a weak leader (sheep) can lose to a weak army (sheep) led by a strong leader (lion).
15. An empty vessel makes much noise.
Fools and persons with shallow knowledge often talk a lot.
16. An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.
A little precaution before a crisis is better than lot of firefighting afterwards.
17. A picture is worth a thousand words.
It is easier to explain something through a picture than through words.
18. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A person who is constantly changing his job and relationships won’t have depth in any of them and would be unfulfilled.
19. A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is for.
Get out of your comfort zone to grow and fulfill your potential.
20. Ask no questions and hear no lies.
Don’t ask questions which people can’t or don’t want to answer. If you ask such questions, you’ll hear only lies.
21. A stitch in time saves nine.
It’s better to deal with problems immediately than wait, by when they worsen and become much bigger.
22. As you sow, so you shall reap.
Your actions – good or bad – determine what you get.
23. A thing begun is half done.
A good beginning makes it easier to accomplish rest of the project.
24. A tree is known by its fruit.
Like a tree is known by the fruit it bears, people are known by their character and actions (and not by their appearance).
25. Beauty is in the eye of beholder.
What may seem beautiful to one person may not seem to another.
26. Beauty is only skin deep.
A person’s character, intellect, and other inner qualities are more important than his/her physical appearance.
27. Beggars can’t be choosers.
People who depend on the generosity of others can’t pick & choose things as per their liking. They’ve to accept what is given to them.
28. Begin to weave and God will give the thread.
When taking up a task that has no playbook to follow, we plan a lot and think a lot but don’t act. In such pursuits, you can’t foresee everything in advance and lot of assumptions will come to naught. What’s required is action. Plan, but act. Often, new paths open as you move forward.
29. Be slow in choosing, but slower in changing.
Choose things or people after diligence, but once you choose, stick for long.
30. Best things in life are free.
Most valuable things are often free.
31. Clothes do not make a man.
A person’s character can’t be judged by his/her clothing and outward appearance.
32. Cowards die many times before their death.
Cowards suffer the feared effects of death many times in their lives.
33. Cross the stream where it is shallowest.
Do things in the easiest possible way.
34. Curiosity killed the cat.
Enquiring into others’ work can be dangerous. One should mind own business.
35. Discretion is the better part of valor.
It is wise to be careful and not show unnecessary bravery.
36. Do as you would be done by.
Treat others like the way you would like to be treated. Some people, for example, ingratiate themselves with the powerful but treat less powerful with contempt. Don’t be like them.
37. Doctors make the worst patients.
It’s difficult to advice a person on a matter in which he is an expert. This is because he thinks that he already knows the best about what to do.
38. Don’t carry coals to Newcastle.
In the past, Newcastle was known for its coal mines. Coal was mined here and taken to other parts of England. So, if you carry coal to Newcastle, you’re doing unnecessary work.
39. Don’t cast pearls before swine.
Don’t offer something valuable to someone who doesn’t value it.
40. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Don’t make plans based on future events that may not happen.
41. Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it.
Deal with a situation when it happens and not unnecessarily worry about it in advance.
42. Don’t empty the water jar until the rain falls.
Don’t quit something, say a job, before securing its replacement.
43. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Don’t put all your effort into a single course of action, venture, investment, goal, or the like, because if it doesn’t work, you lose everything.
44. Don’t think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.
Everything calm and peaceful doesn’t mean there are no dangers around.
45. Don’t throw the baby with the bathwater.
Don’t discard something valuable while getting rid of something worthless.
46. Eagles don’t catch flies.
Eagles catch bigger prey than flies, don’t they? Don’t take trivial matters to senior leaders in your organization. You have to resolve them, not they.
47. Early bird catches the worm.
One who starts early on the work has higher chance of success.
48. Empty bags can’t stand upright.
A poor or hungry person cannot discharge his duties well.
49. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Bad times will eventually give way to better times. (The presence of silver lining means that the sun is behind the cloud and will eventually emerge.)
50. Flattery, like perfume, should be smelled but not swallowed.
Enjoy the flattery you receive, but don’t believe it because people often flatter to meet their own selfish interests.