Proverb – Vietnam

“Ð??ng ?i khó, không khó vì ng?n sông cách núi, mà khó vì lòng ng??i ng?i núi, e sông.”

“The road is hard, not hard because of mountains and rivers, but hard because your heart is not willing to take that road.”

A true statement about perseverance and self-determination, this proverb is one of my father’s favorites.  Told to him by his own father when he was growing up, the proverb reiterates the importance of believing in oneself and one’s willpower and courage to continue along the journey; it is not the obstacles that accompany the journey that make it difficult but rather one’s level of determination and battle with one’s own demons.  My father said that as he was complaining about various difficulties and injustices in his adolescent life, his father would pull out the proverb and remind him to stay strong and unwavering.  When he immigrated to America, my dad said, learning English and adapting to the new culture was infinitely difficult, but whenever he would find himself complaining about it or on the verge of giving up, his father’s words would find their way into his mind again, providing him with the next push he needed to become a successful Vietnamese-American.  In this sense, the proverb can be particularly addressable to immigrants and all others who set out on a risky path.  This proverb is indeed a piece of “wisdom for the ages” and proves to be inspiring, timeless, and eternally meaningful.