Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Proverbs for problem-solvers

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George Pólya

It could be an interesting task to collect and group proverbs about planning, seeking means, and choosing between lines of action, in short, proverbs about solving problems. Of the space needed for such a task only a small fraction is available here; the best we can do is to quote a few…

A good idea is a piece of good fortune, an inspiration, a gift of the gods, and we have to deserve it: Diligence is the mother of good luck. Perseverance kills the game. An oak is not felled at one stroke. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It is not enough however to try repeatedly, we must try different means, vary our trials. Try all the keys in the bunch. Arrows are made of all sorts of wood. We must adapt our trials to the circumstances. As the wind blows you must set your sail. Cut your coat according to the cloth. We must do as we may if we can’t do as we should. If we have failed, we must try something else. A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does. We should even be prepared from the outset for a possible failure of our scheme and have another one in reserve. Have two strings to your bow. We may, of course, overdo this sort of changing from one scheme to another and lose time. Then we may hear the ironical comment: Do and undo, the day is long enough. We are likely to blunder less if we do not lose sight of our aim. The end of fishing is not angling but catching.

George Pólya, How to Solve It

Written by nevalalee

August 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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