Is there a proverb that advises not to panic in bad times and not be overjoyed in the good times? I mean to be patient in both the good and the bad times.

Or, in other words

● Don't be overly delighted in happiness and don't panic in sorrow. Keep balance/be patient in both.

● Life has its ups and down, don't be overjoyed in good times and don't panic in bad times.

Is there a commonly used 'Proverb/phrase' in English that says it ?

  • I think you mean "don't panic in bad times and don't be overjoyed in good times" -- you flipped them. Dec 3 '16 at 7:20
  • Hi @yubrajsharma! I've edited your question title to be clearer, and tweaked your question (including the good/bad swap that JeremyDouglass mentioned). Please feel free to edit further or to roll back my changes.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 3 '16 at 7:26
  • There's always the currently overused keep calm and carry on.
    – JonLarby
    Dec 3 '16 at 7:31
  • I haven't found an exact proverb for my question
    – yubraj
    Dec 3 '16 at 15:42
  • Is that proverb I'm looking for ?- Don't panic in good times and don't be overjoyed in bad times. Or, is there a commonly used proverb in English for this ?
    – yubraj
    Dec 3 '16 at 15:47

"This too shall pass" … is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary.
The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy.

For me, Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 interpretation of the adage connects it well with the idea you describe of staying balanced and not letting anything get you too down with panic or too high with jubilation:

“… . "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

(from Wikipedia)

“[Keeping] on an even keel” also comes close to capturing the notion of patient balance that you seek:

on an even keel

regular and well-balanced and not likely to change suddenly

(from Cambridge Dictionary)


The idiomatic expression "stiff upper lip" is quite close to what you want.


One who has a stiff upper lip displays fortitude in the face of adversity, or exercises great self-restraint in the expression of emotion.

  • @JohnLarby 's comment suggestion of "keep calm and carry on" also seems related to this answer. Dec 3 '16 at 17:07
  • Whenever I am asked, " Where is your stiff upper lip?", I tell them that "It's on top of my loose flabby chin!" Dec 5 '16 at 10:28

There are many proverbs that say good times and bad times are connected, or that good and bad come one after the other.

Some old examples from Curiosities in Proverbs (D.E. Marvin, 1916):

Fortune and misfortune are neighbors. (German).
Fortune and misfortune are two buckets in a well. (German).
Fortune and misfortune dwell in the same courtyard. (Russian).

Some emphasize accepting misfortunes, as good will also come:

You win some, you lose some.

What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.

While this doesn't specifically advise calm, "you win some, you lose some" is a saying that emphasizes taking setbacks in stride and expecting both successes and failures over the long term.


If I have understood the OP's request, they are looking for any expression or idiomatic phrase that suggests a person should avoid overreacting or feeling overly enthusiastic.

One proverb which advises people to be cautious even when they have received good news, is the following:

don't count your chickens before they're hatched (OLD)
Don't be too confident in anticipating success or good fortune before it is certain:

If the OP wishes to emphasize the aspect of being patient, then I suggest this very well-known proverb

Patience is a virtue (TFD)
It is good to be patient.

  • Fred: The doctor has kept us waiting for half an hour! If he doesn't call us into his office pretty soon, I may do something violent. Ellen: Calm down, dear. Patience is a virtue.

Alternative expressions, which mean to look at something with objectivity and impartiality, are the following:

  1. put (something) in(to) perspective (TFD)
    To clarify, appraise, or assess the true value, importance, or significance of something
    • Let's try to keep everything in perspective. If we put the matter into perspective, I think we can discuss it reasonably.


  1. sense of proportion (OLD)
    The ability to judge the relative importance or seriousness of things:
    • ‘Day-to-day life can grind away a sense of proportion and a sense of what is really important.’

OLD = Oxford Living Dictionaries
TFD = The Free Dictionary

  • @Mari-LouAThanks for dictionary definitions,The statement 'papa paula' mentioned. "staying balanced and not letting anything get you too down with panic or too high with jubilation" is quite similar to "Don't be overjoyed in happiness and don't be panic in sorrows"
    – yubraj
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:19
  • @yubrajsharma you might find this link helpful, the author has a wider interpretation of the phrase ahrengot.com/opinions/this-too-shall-pass which mirors your request.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:30
  • I went through the site , the theme of this phrase means "Every situation is temporary, because every form and every feeling in life is temporary."
    – yubraj
    Dec 4 '16 at 8:56
  • So if that is the meaning you wanted to convey, then you should accept Paula's answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 4 '16 at 9:02
  • Yes that works with my question but I don't think that's common and idiomatic to use because people don't understand the context of the phrase, and thus it might be difficult for people to understand what I say. Isn't there any commonly used proverb/phrase which can convey the same meaning as I'm looking for ? More or less all answers work with my questions, though.
    – yubraj
    Dec 4 '16 at 9:48

There's a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson you might like:

Keep cool: it will be all one a hundred years hence.

This means that whatever is provoking your big reaction today will have very little importance 100 years from now.


Abstract of poem If___

Rudyard Kipling (English poet 1865-1936)

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

...You'll be a Man, my son!


Rosalind Fergusson, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (1983) lists several proverbs that tend to support the idea of avoiding extremes, whether positive or negative:

Moderation in all things.

Virtue is found in the middle.

Extremes are dangerous.

Too far east is west.

Fergusson also cites this, which she identifies as a Chinese proverb:

It is good to be neither too high nor too low.

—although I could swear I've heard that one all my life in the United States. Another proverbial expression in a similar vein that I've heard at various times is this one:

Keep your cool when everyone around you is losing theirs.

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