Is there an expression for "it doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place"?

The specific context I wish to use this in is in education: saying that it ultimately doesn't matter what book you use to start learning a subject if eventually you become an expert in the subject.

  • 3
    They do say All roads lead to Rome, but I'm not sure that necessarily implies that going to Rome should be your goal, and that nothing else matters because that's where you're bound to end up. – FumbleFingers Jun 15 '16 at 22:27
  • Learn the subject by any means necessary. – vickyace Jun 16 '16 at 5:23
  • I've always heard "It doesn't matter where you start so long as you end up in the same place." – Hot Licks Sep 9 '16 at 21:59
  • There are many phrases (similar to each other) which are antonyms of what the OP wants, e.g. "the journey is more important than the destination". Not sure there is a common phrase for the way round the OP wants it; though just switching the words in this phrase would be easily understood by most people. – AndyT Nov 8 '16 at 15:33

Perhaps, all's well that ends well!


All's well that ends well.
Prov. Cliché An event that has a good ending is good even if some things went wrong along the way.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


There is a technical term consequentialism, known better by the idiom the ends justify the means.

The concept holds that an action should be judged not by the inherent rightness or wrongness of the action, but rather by the outcome or consequences of the action.

Obviously, this idea is not without controversy, as it has been used to justify things that on the surface are outright wrong. A classic example is the atomic bombing of Japan- some historians argue that it saved millions of American and Japanese lives by ending the war before an all-out invasion could happen. These historians are using consequentialism in their arguments.

This may or may not work for your situation. For example, if you say, "It doesn't matter whether I learn complex analysis from Rudin or Palka, since the ends justify the means," some listeners will infer that one or both of those authors are inferior.

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