Of German Proverbs and Work Attitude

Some years back my eldest niece and I spend several hours collating pages and pages of proverbs, and wordsmith results we grew up with. I realised much later how much my family’s wordsmithery had impacted on pretty much every aspect of my life but most so on attitudes about work and self.

So I figured for a bit of summer fun honing translation skills and introducing some German and family-owned proverbs might be nice.


Wo gehobelt wird fallen Späne.


  • Planing causes wood chips.
  • Where there is woodwork there are shavings.


The meaning behind this proverb is about the nature of failure. My granddad used to say this when I made a mistake, or I broke something experimenting. It means that mistakes are part of the process. He also said that if you don’t make mistakes this means you never really applied yourself or tried something really hard. Because if you really try, if you really work hard, making mistakes is inevitable.




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