9 Common sayings that are actually total nonsense (ReadersDigest)

9 Common sayings that are actually total nonsense (ReadersDigest)

ALWAYS cry over spilled milk, NEVER pick the low-hanging fruit, and 7 more common sayings improved by science.

“No use crying over spilled milk”

Bad things are going to happen, and that’s the way the cookie crumbles according to one the most common sayings out there. But while dwelling on past losses can prolong your pain, suppressing your emotions can be even worse. As reported in The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, “Bereaved people who make the most effort to avoid feeling grief take the longest to recover from their loss.” Or, to put it in more lactose-tolerant terms, “Sometimes we should cry over spilled milk,” philosopher Aaron Ben-Zeév writes, “otherwise how will we learn to value milk and how will we avoid spilling it again?”

“Money can’t buy happiness”

Long-term happiness is fleeting no matter what your bank account looks like, but research shows that money can, in fact, buy you short-term bursts of joy—if you spend wisely. Buying yourself experiences like concerts or vacations has been linked to greater happiness than material purchases, and even the anticipation of a fun event can cause substantial enjoyment, regardless of whether the experience delivers. But maybe most importantly, people who spend money on others are proven to be measurably happier than those who spend on themselves. So do yourself a favor: buy happiness for someone else. If you’re guilty of saying this, check out 70 words (and phrases) you’re probably using all wrong, too.

“Pick the low-hanging fruit first”

In business, going for the easiest win first can mean a quick payoff, even if the fruits of your labor are, well, a bit misshapen. But according to 30-year apple-picking veteran Henry Rueda, starting with “low-hanging fruit” is a load of horse apples. Rueda says its common practice to pick trees from top to bottom, so that the sacks of apples that pickers carry around their necks grow heavier as they work downward. To pick the low-hanging fruit first would mean climbing against gravity with an increasingly heavy load—and also preventing heavily-shaded fruit from ripening. “Fruit that is high up, exposed to the sun, ripens the fastest,” adds USDA plant breeder Gennaro Fazio. “You want to pick the low-hanging fruit last, so it has more time to develop.” Using this phrase can make you look less than intelligent even though its one of the most common sayings. Read more

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