31 Famous Quotations You’ve Been Getting Wrong

Thought Catalog

Whether its a Facebook status or a bumper sticker, everyone loves a great quote. However, some of the most famous quotes in history, from Gandhi to Mark Twain, aren’t what you think they are. Gandhi didn’t tell you to “be the change” and Twain didn’t only believe in “death and taxes.” Sometimes quotes take on new lives after their authors’ deaths, changing from the original phrasing. Or they find out they said something that they never said at all, which happened to George Carlin all the time.

Here are 31 of the most famous misquotes in history, from the slightly altered to the completely changed. In life, it turns out that there’s no phrase so great that you can’t totally butcher it.

1. “Great minds think alike.”

This is actually a shortened version of a longer quote, of which there are two versions. For the full quote, you want to…

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A Proposal

If I had an offer to propose, would anyone accept? The offer is simple; I’ll be kind to you, and you’ll be kind to me. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

I’ll be nice to that old man, walking on the streets, all alone on a rainy day. I’ll offer him an umbrella, and hope that maybe if I’m drenching in the rain someday, you’ll offer one to me too. I’ll be nice to the child who dropped his ice cream and buy him a new one. You too need one standing under a scorching sun. It won’t make a hole in my pocket, but the child’s sorrowful face will definitely make one in my heart. I’ll buy you one too, for maybe me being kind to you will somehow lead to you being kind to someone else who will in turn be kind to another somebody. How wonderful would it be if this would somehow cause a chain of acts, linking one person to another. A trail left by kindness that grows with each helping hand extended, and a little mark left reminding us that the world we live in is good, and is beautiful. This isn’t just about a you and a me; it’s about all of us.

Now it’s your turn. What would you do? Would you offer a biscuit to the stray dog who sits on the street outside your house everyday? It crossed your mind once, but you didn’t do it. Would you bother to smile at the bus driver or say thank you? The very same bus driver who drops you off at your destination? You see, it’s these little acts that count. It’s these little things that can brighten up someone’s day.

Now I come back to my question-do you accept my offer? Do we have a deal?

Ah, what’s your benefit you say? If you think about it, do you even need to benefit from it? This isn’t about doing something good for a place in heaven, or to look good in someone else’s eyes. When you ask yourself years later while you sit in a rocking chair, ‘What have I achieved in my life?’- what answer do you want to give yourself? Those certificates and awards will definitely be there, the money will come and go, and loved ones will someday leave too. But what will shine out will be the place you have made in the hearts of others and your kindness.

Why bother with all of this? Why not carry on with your own life? Dear friend, now your questions trouble me. I ask you, why not bother with all of this? I’ll tell you why. Because I think that this is the only way left. Big terms like freedom, liberty, harmony and fraternity seem ginormous in front of our little world. They are too big for our little hearts to understand. I don’t see how they have made us any better than before. I don’t see how big motivational speeches and parades bought peace. I don’t see everyone happy. Maybe a simple act of random kindness will be enough to bring us back on the right path. Help us make a better home. Yes, there are bigger problems like terrorism and climate change, but if you want to eradicate something completely, start at its roots. Don’t say you will be kind, don’t just utter those false words. Be kind and stay kind, for kindness is the way, and kindness is the escape.