I am looking for an idiom or expression, conveying the same meaning as this one - Where force fails, skill and patience will prevail. I do not know whether this one is used in English, so I am looking for a different one. The implication is that one finds another way to do something, using his wit and acumen, instead of doing it with physical force. For example:

  1. He is a sharp-witted person. Instead of carrying wood logs down to his basement by hand, he came up with an idea of using a treadmill to finish the job.
  • 1
    The only thing that comes to mind is "brain over brawn". it might not be an expression, but it is simple and clean, and pretty much what you mean. Mar 19, 2019 at 21:23
  • Somewhat related is "the pen is mightier than the sword."
    – user888379
    Mar 20, 2019 at 1:14
  • I find nothing wrong with your phrase in the first place. It may not be a set phrase that's used all the time (although it sounds like it should be), but it's perfectly understandable, conveys exactly what you want, and even rhymes. I don't think that using something else would be preferable. Mar 20, 2019 at 14:33
  • I thought of 'less is more' but I think it needs more.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 20, 2019 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


Attack by Stratagem Sun Tzu SunTzuSaid

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.


Work smart, not hard

Your brain is the most powerful muscle in your body

The Mind Is The Body's Strongest Muscle

  • 1
    The nearly rhyming "smarter, not harder" is more common in my experience.
    – Davo
    Mar 20, 2019 at 1:52

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