What do you understand by: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?”

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Abideen Muhammed

Have you heard of the above proverb before or it is new to you? Either of the case, what is the application and its understanding.  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.

Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable.

The phrase was initially coined by Christian anarchist writer Elbert Hubbard in a 1915 obituary he penned and published for dwarf actor Marshall Pinckney Wilder. The obituary, entitled The King of Jesters, praises Wilder’s optimistic attitude and achievements in the face of his disabilities:

“He was a walking refutation of that dogmatic statement, Mens sana in corpore sano. His was a sound mind in an unsound body. He proved the eternal paradox of things. He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.”

Although the expression was coined by Hubbard, many modern authors attribute the expression to Dale Carnegie who used it in his 1948 book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

The proverb has different variations.

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