Day 310: Idiom Challenge # 1

This is the beginning of my post, where I explain the title.


In this post:

  1. I intend to challenge some idioms I’ve internalized, and
  2. I am including a number in the title (#1) because I like numbers, I like indicating beginnings, and I like leaving room for the continuation of a process.


Idiom #1: Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of a Stream.

Meaning (according to

To make major changes in an activity that has already begun; to choose someone or something else after it is too late. (Alludes to someone trying to move from one horse to another while crossing a stream.) I’m already baking a cherry pie. I can’t bake an apple pie. It’s too late to change horses in the middle of the stream. The house is half-built. It’s too late to hire a different architect. You can’t change horses in midstream. Jane: I’ve written a rough draft of my research paper, but the topic doesn’t interest me as much as I thought. Maybe I ought to pick a different one. Jill: Don’t change horses in midstream.

Looking at the last example in that definition: I’m not convinced that Jane should listen to Jill. Isn’t Jane the expert on her own experience? And wouldn’t it be better, for all involved, if Jane wrote about something that interested her?

Before I continue challenging this idiom, let me insert some results of a Google Image search:


(thanks to (and by the way, I am not familiar with that Tower of Power tune)



(thanks to for a full page of horse quotes!)

It’s interesting that both images I’ve chosen are related to music. (I love music.)

I got a little distracted, I have to say, by some of the other Google Images that came up for this idiom ….

Hold on …. refocusing ….

… And back to my intention: to challenge this internalized idiom! (And thanks to James Taylor for starting the challenging.)

Here we go:

I’m sorry, but I don’t find this a helpful warning. I just don’t.  It tells me to be afraid of change, of taking control, of doing something different. For heaven’s sake,  we are ALWAYS mid-stream, aren’t we?  And if I never change horses, then I’ll never get a chance to do something different, change direction, ride in a new way, and pursue new goals.


Idiom #2:  Don’t toot your own horn.

Meaning?  Let’s go to, again:

To brag. Gary sure likes to toot his own horn. “I hate to blow my own horn,” said Bill, “but I am always right.”

I’m not sure what happened to Jill and Jane, our previous Idiom Players.  Maybe Jane is busy re-writing her paper, and Jill has gone off in a huff, after Jane politely and firmly told her to keep her opinions to herself.

In any case, this time we get Gary and Bill.  And the implication, as usual, is that bragging is risky, if not down-right obnoxious. (See here, for one of several posts I’ve written about bragging, this year.)

Let’s see what Google Images has to show, about this:


(Thanks to  eslculips,com, for the image and further explanation of this idiom. )


(thanks to, a site that looks at proverbs from around the world)

Again, my second image has started arguing with this idiom, for me.

Let’s see what else I can come up with, to challenge it …

Hey!  How about this poem from Marianne Williamson? I’ve quoted this poem previously this year (see this post), but I can’t imagine a better way to go:

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Thanks to Marianne Williamson, for that glorious challenge.

And before I end this post, I just wanted to say one more thing:

Tower of Power, who created that song, “Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of the Stream”?

Man, those guys sure toot their own horns, and I’m so glad they do!

Thanks for listening, reading, and all of it, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Day 310: Idiom Challenge # 1

  1. Gene Phillips

    This was a very entertaining post. I’m glad this is where I checked in after a long time. I would probably call these adages, and looking into the matter led me to this fun Wikipedia list: But I digress. You are right. I drives me crazy when folks on Facebook post sayings of various sorts as if they were divine wisdom. I am not sure, however, that simply disregarding adages is a good idea. If one causes you to pause and reflect on your behavior, that is not always a bad thing.

  2. Regarding the first point, I agree that sometimes you DO have to make a change, if you suddenly realise that you are going in the wrong direction.
    Regarding the second. I think you need to do both, meaning keep telling yourself that you are good enough, yet at the same time being humble enough not to brag and trip over yourself.
    Great life lessons today.

  3. Pingback: Day 393: Left holding the bag (more idioms from Ann) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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