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'Practice makes perfect' are the most influential words of wisdom

It is a phrase only too familiar to youngsters slaving away at their studies - and now "practice makes perfect" has been revealed as the most influential saying.

The expression topped a poll of words of wisdom people picked up in childhood and continue to use well into their older years.

Other oft-repeated maxims include "the grass is always greener on the other side" and "good things come to those who wait".

The poll of 2,000 people was put together by British children's charity the NSPCC.

Wordsmith Stephen Fry is among the stars backing the campaign. He will join a host of celebrities who will this week be tweeting the pearls of wisdom.

Of all the words of wisdom, "treat others how you'd like to be treated" (62pc) and "if at first you don't succeed try, try and try again" (54pc) were among the most common.


A few old wives' tales, such as "eating carrots will help you see in the dark" (30pc), also appeared.

According to the research, parents are the biggest source of childhood wisdom (85pc), with grandparents (49pc) and teachers (28pc) also cited as sources of sage words.

Top 10 words of childhood wisdom:

1. Practice makes perfect (63pc)

2. Treat others how you'd like to be treated (62pc)

3. If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again (54pc)

4. Manners cost nothing (52pc)

5. You can't judge a book by its cover (45pc)

6. Good things come to those who wait (47pc)

7. Two wrongs don't make a right (41pc)

8. It's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts (38pc)

9. Never say never (37pc)

10. No time like the present (34pc)