A turnaround with one step: the meaning behind a Japanese proverb

Have you ever been in a situation that felt hopeless, like there was no way out? We've all been there.

But sometimes, when we least expect it, the solution shows up in the form of a sudden burst - a complete turnaround that puts us on the path to success. This is the message behind a well-known Japanese proverb:

"To overcome a desperate situation, you must make a U-turn with a sudden burst."

Let's take a closer look at this proverb and what it means for us.

The origin of the proverb

It is believed that this proverb comes from an ancient Chinese book called Taiheiki (1345).

In its original form, it reads "ichi-issoku no mawari ni suru," which means "to turn around" (or turn) with one step. It is believed that this proverb was used in the 14th century to encourage warriors facing difficult battles to stay focused and optimistic about their chances of success.

What does this proverb mean?

The real message behind this proverb is that even when things seem impossible or insurmountable, we can act with confidence and come to an unexpected and positive outcome that can turn the tide in our favor at any time.

Sometimes all it takes is one decisive step or decision - a complete about-face in one fell swoop - to take us out of our comfort zone and onto the path of victory.

Even if we don't reach our goal immediately, taking action can be the first step to success. As Confucius put it, "It doesn't matter how slowly you walk, as long as you don't stop."

What can we learn from this proverb?

This proverb encourages us to never give up hope and reminds us that no matter how dire the circumstances, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel - we just have to find it.

No matter what challenges come our way, courageous action can help us overcome any obstacle that stands in our way and move us closer to our goals.

So don't be afraid to take risks. Sometimes it just takes one good decision or one good move to get things rolling and put you on the road to success. But none of this is possible if we remain inactive.


No matter how bleak your current situation may seem, the Japanese proverb "To overcome a desperate situation, you must make a complete turnaround in one fell swoop" reminds us that optimism can lead us out of any dilemma and bring unexpected success to our lives if we are willing to act with confidence.

Remember, no matter how slowly you progress, as long as you never give up hope or stop trying altogether, anything is possible. So don't be afraid to take risks; sometimes it just takes one bold step or decision for everything else to fall into place.

If you liked this proverb, you will find quite a few more. Like for example in this article.

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