Common Korean Proverb

Informant SL is a junior studying business communication at the University of Southern California. She is of Korean descent and only moved to America at the age of 16. Here, she performs the proverb she is most familiar with because it is very commonly stated in Korean society.

Original Proverb: 오늘 걷지 않으면, 내일 뛰어야 한다

English Translation: “If you don’t walk today, you must run tomorrow.”

The informant explained that this proverb means that if you don’t do something easier today, it’ll be even harder tomorrow. She likes the proverb because it’s not something she lives by, but it motivates her to hear it. Since Korean is her first language, it feels deeper to her. She heard this proverb from her father who told her because she was not doing her work back in elementary school, and it has stuck with her ever since.

This proverb resonated with me because procrastination is something I often find myself struggling with. I have heard many different versions of this proverb, like the “journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”, yet none really stuck with me like this one did. This proverb articulated my thoughts on procrastination by putting it into very simple terms. Essentially, everything is made easier by splitting it up into more manageable parts. However, if things are put off, the effort to complete it is a lot more uncomfortable and unmanageable. The analogy between procrastination and running is very accurate. Both are very uncomfortable, yet very often unavoidable due to human nature.