It hit me the other day how many times I have used the same funny (but true) phrases to describe situations that come up again and again in life and business. They usually elicit a chuckle from people who have not heard them before. Some of my favorites are:
"You can’t push on a rope" - I learned this one from my Engineering Mechanics professor in relation to solving certain EMech problems, but I find it applies really well to business, in that there are certain situations in which no matter how hard you push nothing will happen
"Like herding cats" - This is an old favorite that is appropriate in the situation where you have the unenviable task of leadind a group of poor followers
"Anal-cranial inversion" - We have all dealt with people like this - self explanatory 'medical' condition
"A business partnership is like being married except you don’t love the other person" - I learned early on from other people's mistakes (see below) that there is nothing more perilous than a business partnership and should be treated as such if you are seriously considering one
"Be careful; once you know everything God pulls the plug" - This is one of my own, illustrating that there is always something new to learn
"Some people live and learn, other people just live" - Heard this one from a 9 year old on my son's baseball team when he arrived at the game without his cleats for the umpteenth time. Remarkably self-aware...
"Some people learn from others' mistakes, some learn from their own mistakes, and some just don’t learn" - a corollary to the above. Always strive for the first, but the second is also acceptable
"X didn’t get rich by writing checks" - I think I heard this on the Simpsons referring to Bill Gates. I think it is true in general and a good response to those who say "X is so rich, it should be nothing for him to write me a check"
I am sure I will think of more as relevant situations crop up. Do you have any favorites to add to the list?