German Proverbs 3: Stay on Task

Proverb

Mach die Augen auf und lass den Geist ein bissl leuchten.

Translation

Open your eyes and let your mind shine a wee bit.
Open your eyes and let your mind light the way.

Meaning

‘Where is the Philips screw driver, granddad?’ Shouting as I am helping him with some sort of maintenance. This proverb would be the response. Being stuck with something, not understanding things right away, etc—just open your eyes. Aye right. Because that’s so easy. I remember that it annoyed me more often than not—this response. But I also remember that when I just stopped, and took a breath, and stopped panicking, I figured it* out in the end. So the first part of the proverb is about staying on task. Being in the moment. Paying attention. In that way this saying was all about halting, thinking, looking, figuring things out, and inevitably, and maybe even more importantly, the trust that if you try you actually will figure ‘it’ out. It communicated the unfaltering implicit belief in my ability to figure ‘it’ out.

In some strange way this proverb is a mix of ‘stop fretting’, ‘focus’, and ‘I believe in you’.

*Whatever, the ‘it’ of the moment was: learning to fix my bicycle, finding the darn screwdriver, using a saw, understanding how something fit together …

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