Always Adapt to Survive

Always Adapt to Survive
Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching. Igbo Proverb


This is an Igbo proverb quoted in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Just like the bird, we need to adapt to changing circumstances in order to succeed.

In the book itself, a rich man, Nkwaikibie, uses the quote to explain why he is not generous with his yam seeds to the young men of the generation. According to him, he has learned to be stingy because young men have become lazier. It will be a waste of his seeds. He is only ready to give some to Okongwo, who is hardworking and will work hard to grow the yams.

Note: This interpretation is our opinion. We encourage you to agree, disagree, or provide an alternate interpretation.


  • Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2018.
  • Illustration by @davidicart.