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Nine proverbs about resilience from around the world

By Memrise Team

Today is International Mother Language Day. And if there’s one thing we love at Memrise, it’s language (and mothers, of course).

If you haven’t heard of this very famous day before, don’t worry. The UN started recognising it in the year 2000 to promote different languages and cultures. And this year, IMLD is celebrating proverbs in mother languages.

Languages preserve knowledge and wisdom – especially in proverbs. With a different language disappearing every two weeks, it’s becoming even more important to protect languages, and the wisdom they provide.

So today, we’re sharing some of our favourite wisdom-soaked proverbs from around the world – all on the theme of resilience. Read on for some tips from around the world about unlocking your most resilient self!

P.S. Do you have a favourite proverb in your mother tongue? Let us know in the comments.

1. À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire 🇫🇷

To conquer without perils is to triumph without glory

If you want to achieve anything in life, you’re probably going to come up against a little resistance. Maybe even a little peril (which sounds slightly terrifying). However, the French know that peril is what makes the triumph – the achievement – glorious. So the next time things get a little tough, don’t worry. Glory’s on the other side.

2. Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein 🇩🇪

Constant dropping wears the stone

Stones are tough things. Have you ever tried chewing one? Not a good idea. But if you drop a stone enough times, it’ll sure as heck start wearing down. It’s the same thing with life’s tough challenges. Keep working on them, bit by bit, and they’ll start to get a little easier.

3. Sbagliando s’impara 🇮🇹

Making mistakes, one learns

We all make mistakes. And we’re all guilty of beating ourselves up about them. Not the Italians, though. They recognise that making mistakes is how we learn our finest lessons and become the best person we can be. Aw.

happy rain GIF by Hertha BSC

4. Al mal tiempo, buena cara 🇪🇸

Good face to bad weather

The weather might be a miserable but that doesn’t mean that you have to be miserable, too. Get your game face on. Smile! It’s going to be okay. Mind, that’s easy for the Spanish to say with their perfectly temperate climate.

benedict cumberbatch GIF

5. Where there’s a will, there’s a way 🇬🇧

The UK’s contribution to our list sums up the country’s stiff upper lip mentality. No matter how tough things get – and how much you want to give up – just keep calm and carry on.

jim carrey lol GIF

6. 웃음은 최고의 명약이다 🇰🇷

Laughter is the best medicine

Sometimes, no matter how resilient you try to be, everything feels hopeless. But you can always try laughter. The Koreans think it’s the best medicine – and they might be right.


love and hip hop hollywood fizz GIF by VH1

7. 千里之行,始于足下 🇨🇳

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

Starting a task is always the hardest part. But once you’ve taken that first step, everything gets a little easier. Just ask our pals in China.

music video question GIF

8. 聞くは一時の恥、聞かぬは一生の恥(きくはいっときのはじ、きかぬねはいっしょうのはじ)🇯🇵

Asking may be embarrassing for a moment, but not asking will be embarrassing for life

Everyone gets scared about asking a question that might make them look like… well, a bit of a dummy. But, as our Japanese friends know, it’ll make you smarter in the long run.

water sea GIF

9. Вода камень точит 🇷🇺

Water cuts through a stone

Water might look tame, gently lapping away on shores and keeping you hydrated. But you better believe that water is tough. That wet stuff never stops chipping away. Heck, it moves mountains! We can all learn a lot about resilience from water.


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Memrise is the app that helps you unlock your language-learning superpowers. Download it for free on Android or iOS.