The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered - A Japanese Proverb

'The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered'
'The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered'

“The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered” is an old Japanese saying, and is one of the most famous Japanese proverbs. I personally liked this quote a lot as it is a pretty sensible and logical one. But I have a conflict with this saying as well; and that is what I will try to pen down in this article. The main purpose of this article is to have as many opinions as I can, about the two contrasting views that arise in my mind regarding this proverb.

To carry on with the debate, first I will try to discuss the points, to which I agree with, about this proverb and then I will try to list down the contrasting points i.e. in against with the above mentioned saying.

The first thing i.e. to agree with the saying that the nail that sticks out gets hammered is, it is pretty logical. As there is another saying that goes as “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Means at some place, you have to compromise and adjust even if it is against your will. There is not point to oppose things as a rebellion every time. You have to blend in, in order to survive. Especially, if you are a foreigner in a country, a dependent kid in the family, so on so forth.

But I saw this proverb with the eyes of a writer, who judges and evaluates both sides of the coin. If I instantly agree on the above paragraph i.e. in compliance with the proverb, then where vanishes the question of creativity and thinking-out-of-the-box approach?

I reckon that when a person thinks out of the box and imply and apply his thoughts in the real world, he is supposed to be that nail that sticks out. But if everyone believes the saying and do nothing out of the box and blend in with the people; in the society they exist, then there will be no extra-ordinary innovation, no creativity, nothing at all!

People who brought revolution and innovation in this world usually tended to be somewhat different from us. Different in a way, that they had the courage to bring a change. It means that they were those nails that stuck out and were ready to get hammered but still they pushed their efforts all the way to success and glory.

So the two opinions that come into my mind regarding this saying, I mentioned above. It is a matter of debate and different views and opinions. After reading my article about the two different ideas we can perceive from this saying, I would like if you people choose your views in the below given poll, and reason and justifies your thoughts in the comments section and let us gather as many different views as we may get about the difference of opinions.

POLL TIME!

Do you agree with the saying?

See results without voting

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Comments 20 comments

Naima 5 years ago

very nice, indeed =)


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@ Naima: Thanks :)


MOEFLATS profile image

MOEFLATS 5 years ago

Well, we now live in a government that allows it's citizens to be tortured for merely expressing opinions contrary to the "utopia" they are attempting to build. Psychological warfare, Electronic Harassment and Gangstalking are used on anyone who does not fit the Procrustean demands of the new: "unspoken, un-written Laws".

I could not vote either way because it takes a little bit of both to "make waves" and keep going. One thing you get "punished" for is your "attitude". You are only "punished" while you exhibit this attitude......so the wise thing to do is what our ancestors did back in The Revolutionary War: attack this "Shadow Government" by showing people how to defend themselves (psychologically-speaking)and then believing that everything is absolutely fine. As long as you are convinced that "All is Fine" and have a positive attitude towards the people you are around, this "hammer" quits hitting you. You may have to move slower and think virtually nothing to make the hammer "miss" you.

In conclusion: the nail that sticks out will have an attempt made to strike it, but if it can duck into the very woodwork (think differently), the hammer will MISS......giving "the nail that sticks out" a chance to stick out again when it has the inner-reserve to do so!


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@ MOEFLATS: Very insightful comment indeed. You scratched out the root-causes, the problems and the solution and you pretty much NAILED down the topic :)

Thanks for taking the time out to participate in this difference of opinions' sort of hub :)


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

Interesting read. I do agree with the saying. But harder part is that if someone thinks you a nail.


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@Binaya: Thanks for the appreciation. And people will always think of us a distinctive nail when we do not adopt the same way as theirs.


MOEFLATS profile image

MOEFLATS 5 years ago

Thanks!!!!!


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Enjoyed your hub, Hunbbel Meer, and I do love the oriental philosophies. I spent time in the Orient while in the navy, and came to love the people, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Filopinos, and, later in life, the Vietnamese. I took two 6-month trainings in Taequando (sp?) and earned the first belt both times, and would have loved to continue, not just in the martial arts but in the philosophies that go along with the martial arts. But "time" points me toward other priorities. Thanks for the good hub and the follow.


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@SubRon7: It was a pleasure to hear all your life-worthy experiences. I hope I also get the same experiences you did. I was a player of martial art too by the way :)

I used to play Taekwondo in my early teens. I was a green belt by then, I had a really good time then :)


Jennuhlee profile image

Jennuhlee 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Interesting hub, I do agree there is a time for conformity and a time for rebellion, many people go overboard rebelling to anything and everything, in situations it doesn't even make sense.

Great hub thanks for sharing:]


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@Jennuhlee: I'm glad that you liked it :)


Karkadin profile image

Karkadin 5 years ago from Middle of Nowhere, USA

I couldn't vote in the poll because I think there is a third side to this argument. All innovators get "hammered" when they first start out. The ones who can persevere until they succeed will change history, but they have to learn to live with the hammer strikes. I think the proverb could be seen as a warning to innovators of what they will have to overcome in order to succeed. In other words: If you can't take the heat don't light the fire.

I also agree with Jennuhlee. Really successful innovators know when to rebel and when not to.

Great discussion. Thanks for posting it.


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. Author

@Karkadin: Excellent point you raised up in there. You are pretty much spot on when you said "All innovators get hammmered when they first start out. It is just the warning for who can take the heat and stand up till the end."

100% agreed, and those who take up the heat, only their names are written in history :)


MOEFLATS profile image

MOEFLATS 5 years ago

Oh, I take the "heat" for real, but in a techno-fascist regime like we have.....you better know how to dodge a bullet. These weasels tried to convince me that I was going to die one morning about a week back. I took several 40 mg Propranolol, a little Kratom and listened to music to ESCAPE this attempt on my mind (if not my life!) I laid there while they pulled most of my upper-body muscles, caused me to have weird pains in the chest and subliminal thoughts or impending death. I ignored all this crap, focusing only upon the music and any pleasant thoughts my mind could think of.

Before the "fake heart attack", they made me listen to "Hotel California" for 4 hours. It sounded like it was coming from every direction. During this time, I was getting all these thoughts that I would die. These dorks have a flair for the dramatic, but I outwitted them.

So the lesson from THIS is: it isn't enough to persevere and "take your knocks"......no. I'm sure many of our potential: prophets, revolutionaries and social reformists have either had their brains crushed by this Brainwashing "treatment" or else committed suicide.

You'd better be as crafty, slick and mentally-elusive as possible unless you want to be dead or brainwashed. I've got my I-Pod earphones in and I even SLEEP with this music on BECAUSE most of the ELECTRONIC HARASSMENT comes in through your ears. This nail is sticking out, bobbing and weaving, hiding in the woodwork, mocking the hammer and wearing teflon. To save the world, you must first know how to save your ##s!


tlmcgaa70 profile image

tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

very nice hub, but i couldn't vote on your poll because i think it is both. we must blend in to a certain degree in order to get along...and we must be individuals to a certain degree in order to survive.


uzma shaheen profile image

uzma shaheen 4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

I agree with both opinions, as some times we need to adjust with situation and society and sometimes we need to rebell. It depends upon the wisdom of a person that how he/she decides, when to blend in and when to reteliat?


uzma shaheen profile image

uzma shaheen 4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

nice hub,voted up and shared.


Tim 3 years ago

I feel you have to keep the proverb in context to the funtion of the nail. All the nails are used to keep the roof in place so serve the funtion of protecting the contents of the home. You cant have free thinking or spirited nails just doing whatever they wish. There is a time and place for conformity. It is extreamly important and needed in society. Without it NOTHING will get done. A work force. The military. Yelling fire in a theater. I can go on and on....


MOEFLATS profile image

MOEFLATS 3 years ago

Frankly, the conformity required to be accepted by this society is so constricting that it's a rip-off at the very least and a 21st-century inquisition at the worst. People are being: stressed, molested and tortured un-necessarily to attain a state of synchronicity that resembles an ant colony more than a human society. Yelling fire in a theatre? You can get mentally-invaded by only God-knows what all at once for simply having the wrong attitude. The fire is on! If you value your mind, watch yourself. It should not be this way: but it is.


ew0054 2 years ago

Very good article and I agree. As with everything there is always proper a time and place. Life has taught me that when in school or at a job, it is NOT the time to be a nail sticking up, even with good ideas. If you have an idea for a new product or method, it is better to become a "midnight engineer" and go it alone, and see where it takes you.

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