Russian wisdom: Who rides slower, arrives faster

Kira Lisitskaya (Photo: Keystone Press Agency/Global Look Press, Pixabay)
The Russian language has a huge number of popular expressions that reflect paradoxical cultural peculiarities. Here’s one of them.

How on earth is it possible that those who move slower could reach the goal faster? But yes, this essential Russian wisdom always works (maybe only if it’s not a line for a new iPhone)!

According to a poll that we conducted with our readers, they named it as one of the most important Russian proverbs and, for sure, it reflects the Russian national character alright! 

What does it mean?

Тише едешь дальше будешь - Tishe yedesh dalshe budesh. Literally, it can be translated as: “If you drive quietly, you would go further” or “The quieter you go, the further you’ll get”.

There are some English equivalents that have similar meaning, which are: “Haste makes waste” “Slowly but surely” or “Slow and steady wins the race”.

This is what a Russian hears from parents from a very early childhood. Don’t be in a rush! Don’t hurry when it goes about something really important. Those who hurry frequently make mistakes and they have to start everything from scratch or fix their mistakes. In any case, they waste time which they could have spared if they had prepared in advance.

The essential Russian character threat

In the Russian language, there are a number of proverbs that are synonymous with this one. All of them prevent one from doing things fast. Here are some bold expressions:

  • When you rush, you make people laugh (Only fools rush in)
  • Measure seven times, cut once (Look before you leap)
  • A spoken word is not a sparrow. Once it flies out, you can’t catch it (What is said can’t be unsaid)

All these proverbs recommend carefully preparing before doing something, because you have only one chance. And because of hearing this all the time in childhood, many Russians grow up with this feeling that it is better NOT to do or say something. Many are constantly afraid to look foolish or that someone would think they are fools. Of course, this gives rise to a lot of peoples’ complexes and they sometimes just lose their once-in-a-life-time opportunities.

At the same time, this brings us to a great paradox of Russians’ life. Being so careful in their decisions, suffering from taking important steps (or changing their lives)... In the same breath, Russians do love fast driving and extreme activities, something that is connected with physical, not emotional or existential spheres of life. 

And, while Russians don’t like to be mocked, many, in fact, can easily laugh at themselves.

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