If At First You Don't Succeed...

Did you ever hear that saying when you were a child?   I used to hear it quoted by grandmothers and parents and teachers...

If at first 
you don't succeed
try, try, again.  

This is actually not the whole quote.   I found this online...
"IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN. Don't give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end. The proverb has been traced back to 'Teacher's Manual' by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and 'The Children of the New Forest' by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848). Originally a maxim used to encourage American schoolchildren to do their homework. Palmer (1782-1861) wrote in his 'Teacher's Manual': 'Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.' The saying was popularized by Edward Hickson (1803-70) in his 'Moral Song' and is now applicable to any kind of activity." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996, Page 154).
Here's the whole quote:

'Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again.

Thomas H. Palmer (1782 - 1861)
Teacher's Manual (1840) 

The trick in life is deciding which things to "try, try again" on, to decide what is worth the effort.  We are so grateful for doctors and researchers who "try, try again" and find cures for illnesses that plague us.  We are so grateful when someone we know who has struggled with addiction tries again.   Of course, there are some things that are worth giving up on.  The mystery of life is deciding what to put in the QUIT column and what to put in the TRY AGAIN column.    I have a tendency to stick with things doggedly, and this doesn't always serve me well.  But it does sometimes.   

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. 
Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it.”  

~ W. C. Fields

This is somewhat funny, but is true, too.  But on the other hand, the world is enriched because of tenacious fools who sometimes keep trying when others give up.  They find answers to questions that benefit us all.

3 comments:

  1. Did you really mean to put the lines to the quote in the wrong order the first time? Just curious if there's some sort of hidden meaning...like when you play that song on the White Album backwards and it says "Paul is dead"...

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMY. Changed THAT. ;-) LOL! The old copy and paste ended up moving something and I didn't know it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, I'm relieved. The other way, it sounded like a defeatist haiku.

    ReplyDelete

I'm so glad you visited and it is fun to read your comments. It helps me know what you think is interesting. :-)


"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden




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