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Quotations about Experience

Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him. It is a gift for dealing with the accidents of existence, not the accidents themselves. ~Aldous Huxley

Experience is a comb which nature gives us when we are bald. ~Proverb

Experience is a patient teacher, always willing to repeat the lesson for slow learners. ~Robert Brault,

      "Son, one of the few things I've learned is that humans hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn — when they do, which isn't often — on their own, the hard way."
      "That one statement is worth recording for all time."
      "Hmm! No one would learn anything from it..." ~Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more. ~Mark Twain

Experience makes more timid men than it duz wise ones. ~Josh Billings

Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours: none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the notice so sternly to his task, and forces him with an authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe track through life's wilds: without it, how they stumble, how they stray! ~Charlotte Brontë, "The Curates at Tea," Shirley, 1849

Yesterday should be the teacher of to-day. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

On the other hand, human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See, 1990

The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson. ~Author unknown

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on. ~Samuel Butler, 1895

Experience is what you got by not having it when you need it. ~Author unknown

Who learns by Finding Out has sevenfold
The Skill of him who learned by Being Told.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Learning," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

The Tree of Knowledge always needs the sunshine of experience. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

...we find what he says true, as far as we have experienced, and we can judge no further but by larger experience — for axioms in philosophy are not axioms till they have been proved upon our pulses. We read fine things, but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the author. ~John Keats, 1818

Observation more than books, experience rather than persons, are the prime educators. ~A. Bronson Alcott (1799–1888)

I've learned this — that if you're ever going to take on a challenge, you're going to take it on before you're ready. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

an optimist is a guy
that has never had
much experience
~Don Marquis, "certain maxims of archy," archy and mehitabel, 1927

You cannot but learn more of the world's heft, as you take it now into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it. ~John Updike, 1993

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. ~Oscar Wilde

You can call it failure and let it discourage you — or you can call it experience and let it teach you. ~Robert Brault,

Experience is one teacher that takes no vacation. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived — forwards. ~Søren Kierkegaard, 1843

He can best avoid a snare who knows how to set one. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Looking back, you realize that everything would have explained itself if you had only stopped interrupting. ~Robert Brault,

The school of experience grants no diplomas and holds no reunions. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. ~Chinese proverb

Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows. ~David T. Wolf, as quoted by Robert Byrne, in The Third — and Possibly the Best — 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986

Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones. ~Author unknown

Experience enables us to recognize a mistake when we make it again. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

In youth we learn, in age we understand. ~Marie, Baroness von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Annis Lee Furness Wister, 1883

Experience is a good teacher, but charges like a specialist. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Experience is a good teacher, though she is often sarcastic. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes by Evan Esar, 1968

You start making progress in life when you realize that you don't always have to resume where you left off. ~Robert Brault,

Tell Youth to play with Wine and Love
     and never bear away the scars!
I may as well tilt up the sky
     and yet try not to spill the stars.
~Frederic Ridgely Torrence, The House of a Hundred Lights: A Psalm of Experience After Reading a Couplet of Bidpai, 1899

I learned more about economics from one South Dakota dust storm than I did in all my years in college. ~Hubert Humphrey (1911–1978)

Experience is a medicine that comes only in non-refillable bottles. ~Ethel Watts Mumford, Oliver Herford, and Addison Mizner, The Revived Cynic's Calendar!, 1917

As important as it is to keep picking yourself up and brushing yourself off, it's also important to stop tripping over your own two feet. ~Robert Brault,

The trouble with experience is that you can't inherit it. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

There's only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience. ~Laurence J. Peter

The difference between education and know-how is that one you pay for, the other you charge for. ~Robert Brault,

Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself? ~Thomas Jefferson, 1786

The road to wisdom?—Well, it's plain and simple to express:
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.
~Piet Hein, "The Road to Wisdom"

Experience is the thorn-lined road to success. ~Terri Guillemets

The experience I gained at age 21 would be useful if I were ever 21 again. But I'm 71 and new at it and keep making age 71 mistakes. ~Robert Brault,

You must learn to make the whole world your school. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Anything we tell our kids about life is a placemarker until they figure it out for themselves. ~Robert Brault,

Experience is climbing the ladder built from your mistakes. ~Terri Guillemets

They could get more information, and faster. But information's pretty thin stuff, unless mixed with experience. ~Clarence Day, Jr., "The Three Tigers," The Crow's Nest, 1921

[T]he person that had took a bull by the tail once had learnt sixty or seventy times as much as a person that hadn't, and said a person that started in to carry a cat home by the tail was gitting knowledge that was always going to be useful to him, and warn't ever going to grow dim or doubtful. ~Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself. ~Alfred Sheinwold (1912–1997), unverified

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