STRAIGHT TALK

Every language has its own collection of wise sayings, which offer advice about how to live and also transfer some underlying ideas, principles and values of a given culture and society. The English language has many such idioms and some of them are: 'A penny for your thoughts' - This idiom is a way of asking what someone is thinking.

'Actions speak louder than words'- Refers to a person's intentions, which can be judged better by what they do than from what they say. 'Add insult to injury' means to further a loss, with mockery or indignity or to worsen an unfavourable situation by saying the wrong thing. 'At the drop of a hat', meaning without any hesitation and instantly.

'Back to the drawing board' means when an attempt fails and it's time to start all over. The ball is in your court' means it is up to the next person to make the next decision or to take the next step. 'Barking up the wrong tree' refers to looking in the wrong place or accusing the wrong person. 'Beat around the bush' means avoiding the main topic and not speaking directly about the issue. 'Bite off more than you can chew' means to take on a task that is too big for a person to handle.

'Once bitten, twice shy', meaning if you have made a mistake that has resulted to be painful, then you are more careful next time. Another is 'A stitch in time saves nine, meaning, it takes less time if you take immediate action to resolve an issue then to wait, as it would take more time to solve it.    

Some more are 'Look before you leap' means that you study or examine an action before you start it.

'Fools rush in where angels dare to tread', means only a foolish person will venture into a situation which is full of danger.

If these idioms are practiced in letter and spirit, they would make our lives less stressful and tense.

For instance, the old saying, 'We live and learn', which has many interpretations, one of which is: 'Eventually people will realize that mistakes are meant for learning and not repeating'. Another interpretation is 'Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow'.

Basically the above sayings mean that we learn from our mistakes and try to avoid them as we live. Unfortunately, we and especially our world leaders seem to forget this significant fact and instead of learning from our mistakes, keep repeating them.

World leaders never learn from their mistakes, especially the leaders of Pakistan and India, who are once again at logger heads over the same old dispute of Kashmir and the war drums are once again echoing through the mountains and valleys of Kashmir, forgetting that both these nuclear power nations have been through several wars on this issue, without finding any solution or reaching any conclusion to resolve the issue.

The same problem exists in the Middle East and the hostilities between Palestine and Israel and other parts of the world and repeated conflict between nations over the years, has destroyed cities, killed thousands of innocent men, women and children and disrupted their lives, without resolving the issue and yet our leaders do not learn from these mistakes.

Another example is our political leaders and politicians, who try to fool the citizens through false promises and hopes.

The glaring example is the two leading parties in Pakistan, which at one time had the respect and trust of the citizens, but because of their repeated mistakes, lost both.

We have the PPP, whose leaders repeatedly kept promising 'Roti - Kapra - Makan' to the citizens but never fulfilled their promise nor learned from their past mistakes and now the party has lost its credibility and support of the people.

Then there is Imran Khan of PTI and Dr Tahirul Qadri of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, who have not learnt from their past mistakes and have repeatedly failed to remove Nawaz Sharif by force through marches and dharnas and yet they have announced similar action in the coming months. And in the process, they have lost the credibility and respect of the people.

At the same time, Sheikh Rasheed, the man for all seasons and colors, has also not learnt from his mistakes and continues to make outlandish statements and remarks that have resulted in the loss of respect for him in the electronic media and the public and now nobody takes him seriously.

Other examples of failing to learn from ones mistakes is our former cricketers, Inzi and Mr Boom-Boom, who, though great batsmen, were unable to change themselves. Inzi was repeatedly run out while trying to take a run where none existed and Mr Boom-Boom would repeatedly attack the ball and be bowled out or caught. Both these great cricketers were unable to learn from their mistakes.    

Unless our leaders, politicians and we, the people, learn from our mistakes, we will never be able to improve the quality of our lives and will continue to endure the hardships of life.

Email: trust@helplinetrust.org.pk