You Don’t Have to Look for Trouble; Trouble Finds You

Item (direct transcription):

You don’t have to look for trouble; trouble finds you.

Background Information:

The informant learned the proverb from her father.

To her, the proverb means that it’s foolish to take unnecessary risks in life, since even without “looking for trouble,” more than enough trouble is bound to work its way into your life.

Contextual Information:

The informant says she would use this proverb to warn someone against taking an unnecessary risk.


This saying meets at least three out of the four canonical criteria for a proverb. It is (1) short, (2) fixed-phrase, and (3) rhetorical. It is also somewhat metaphorical due to its personification of “trouble.”