Don't follow proverbs blindly
Proverbs in Go correspond quite closely to the idea of heuristics in the field of knowledge engineering. There is a distinction between a heuristic, which helps you find a solution to a problem in many cases, and a rule, which has a strict logical status.
Proverbs that have exceptions are not so much broken, as a way in to further concepts. If a proverb is only a fairly useful insight, rather than an absolute rule (as some relating to life and death are), then one can learn something about the game by looking at expert play when it seems to contradict the elementary teachings.
Proverbs do not apply to White
Some Go proverbs are paradoxical and thus hard to follow or must be applied with judgement. A good example is "Give your opponent what they want".