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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have a great day!

Your day, like mine, is flooded with sentences like "Have a good one!"

We mean it.  But, sentences flung over our shoulders or used as an exiting strategy because saying good-bye when you are leaving feels so final, can also lose their significance.  Further, they can camouflage sentences that look like them in structure but still have real, intentional power.

In short, there are many sentences that look and even sound alike, but they have a different purpose and different levels of powers.

Parting shots:  Have a good day.  Take care!   These are breezy sentences that aid us in transitioning from one place or person to the next.  They don't mean very much in the scheme of human relationships.  And, they have no intrinsic wisdom.

Slogans:  Eat more chikin.  You can do it, we can help.  Have it your way. 
Companies try to sell the spirit of their identity in slogans that they hope we will repeat and associate with them.  They are memory builders.  Oddly, because they sound and look like other types of sentences, cliches, for example, they rarely have power, except for a short while when they exist as buzz phrases or tongue twisters. 

Mantras:  I can do it.  I can do it.  Just do it.  Nike's slogan is also a mantra.  These sentences are meant to be motivational, and for people who believe in the power of talking yourself into a more successful way of life, they have meaning for the people speaking.  But one person's mantra cannot be another person's mantra in the same way that your personal epiphanic moments can't translate into other people's places of catalytic change.

Cliches:  The early bird gets the worm.  A stitch in time saves nine.  Watch your p's and q's.
Often cliches are practical portions of wisdom reduced to a memorable nugget. They are meant to help keep you on the straight and narrow, working for success, while keeping your hands clean and your nose to the grindstone.  Get the idea?  They resemble the kind of advice your mother gave you:  Always say thank you, obey the speed limit and if you don't have anything good to say about someone else, don't say anything.
Cliches help us to feel safe because they are so familiar, but they don't necessarily have motivational power in them.

Proverbs:  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Here you have one of many proverbs from the Bible that alerts you to the power of language and how to use it.  The meaning is not readily clear, and you have to live with the idea for a while before the fruit of its meaning blossoms in you,  which is the pace of wisdom growing, not the pace of technology or how fast you can type or read.

That's the primary difference between proverbs and other types of sentences that look like them.

I invite you to read through the book of Proverbs and post your own favorite words of wisdom in a comment for others to see.  Chances are they won't know it, and you will be doing them a favor.  It's always a good idea to share wisdom, and sharing proverbs is as simple an act as telling someone to have a good day. The difference is that proverbs can actually help a person to do that.


  1. Proverbs 14:7
    Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.

  2. Good choice. Good advice. Proverbs pack a lot of wisdom.

  3. The lips of an adulteress drip with honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword.
    -- Proverbs 5:3-4

  4. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

  5. Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

  6. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Proverbs 8:33

  7. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!

  8. A bad workman blames his tools.
    -George Herbert

  9. The slack hand impoverishes, but the hand of the diligent enriches.
    -- Proverbs 10:4

  10. Proverbs 10:4-Lazy people are soon poor;
    hard workers get rich.

  11. Proverbs 1:31
    they will eat the fruit of their ways
    and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

  12. Proverbs 25:19
    Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

    Proverbs 25:27
    It is not good to eat much honey:
    so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

  13. Proverbs 4:6-7
    Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding

  14. Sun Tsu's Art of War displays many proverbs about the military and war, but these to can be applied to business.

    My favorite of his provers is
    "He who does not know the harm from employing the military, cannot thouroughly know the advantage from employing the military."

    this wise proverb most throughly applies to business management and leaders but it can also apply to subordinates, it fully speaks to every person saying that if you do not know how it will harm yourself or others then you do not know or understand the advantage. Before taking any action one should always know the advantage that will come as a resultant of the action.