head of her father’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump has tweeted out an important piece of wisdom from an ancient Chinese sage: “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.”
“Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.” -Chinese Proverb
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 11, 2018
However, despite Ivanka’s attribution, there is no evidence that this quote comes from China and it doesn’t match any Chinese proverb that we know of. Actually, the saying has been occasionally ascribed to the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, though there’s no evidence of him ever having used it.
The website Quote Investigator looked into this saying a few years ago and the earliest usage they could find was in 1903 in a Chicago periodical. Since then, the quote has gone through a number of variations and attributions. By 1962, it had been put behind the words “Confucius say” by another periodical.
On the internet, there are a number of other instances of the quote being described as a Chinese proverb. Of course, the same can be said of anything which sounds relatively wise.
"You can call any old shit a Chinese proverb on the internet."
— Brendan O'Kane (@bokane) June 11, 2018
What proverb is she referring to. Could it be 你行你上 不行别bb 😏 https://t.co/fSbnr5O7dD
— Lulu Yilun Chen (@luluyilun) June 11, 2018
Maybe she just saw it on a fortune cookie?