What Does The Phrase "Don't Borrow Trouble" Mean?


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Will Martin answered
There are several versions of this saying, including "Don't meet trouble half way" and "Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you." They all have the same basic meaning, which is that it's not a good idea to try and look for future or possible difficulties. The implication is that there are always enough problems needing to be dealt with immediately without looking for more. Another version of this idea was 18th century Prime Minister Robert Walpole's comment, "Let sleeping dogs lie." Again, the idea is that if something isn't causing obvious problems at the moment, you may as well get on with something more pressing.

While this approach obviously makes more sense than worrying about things that may never happen, it does contradict other proverbs such as "A stitch in time saves nine," which advise you to deal with tasks before they get too big. Possibly the Boy Scout motto "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst" gives the best answer!

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