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longest the longest journey begins with a single step proverbial saying, late 20th century, often used to emphasize how important a single decision may be. The saying is ultimately derived from the Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism Lao Tzu (c.604–c.531 bc), who says in the Tao-te Ching, ‘the journey of a thousand li starts from where one stands.’
the longest way round is the shortest way home proverbial saying, mid 17th century, meaning that not trying to take a short cut is often the most effective way. The idea is found earlier in Lyly's Euphues and his England (1580), ‘Thou goes about (but yet the nearest way) to hang me up for holy-days’, in which the context is of a person metaphorically described as a hat which can be taken up and put down at will; go about is used equivocatingly to mean both ‘endeavour’ and ‘go around or roundabout’.