The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Experience

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself. ~Alfred Sheinwold

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

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

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley, Texts and Pretexts, 1932

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

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, Last Chance to See

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 anymore. ~Mark Twain

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

No physician is really good before he has killed one or two patients. ~Hindu Proverb

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. ~Auguste Rodin

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes along. ~Samuel Butler, "Speech at the Somerville Club," 27 February 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

If experience was so important, we'd never have had anyone walk on the moon. ~Doug Rader

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

Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are 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

If you want to understand democracy, spend less time in the library with Plato, and more time in the buses with people. ~Simeon Strunsky

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

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 his mistakes. ~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere's Fan, 1896

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

Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't. ~Pete Seeger

Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward. ~Søren Kierkegaard

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

[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

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

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

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

A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts. ~Colette

Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl. ~Stephen Leacock, Literary Lapses, 1910

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

The problem is that when you get it, you're too damned old to do anything about it. ~Jimmy Connors, on experience

In youth we learn; in age we understand. ~Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

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

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

A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew. ~Herb Caen

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

Wisdom before experience is only words; wisdom after experience is of no avail. ~Mark van Doren

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,

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. ~John Gardner

Life, not the parson, teaches conduct. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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, speech, 1960

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,

All that I know I learned after I was thirty. ~Georges Clemenceau

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

You couldn't get hold of the things you'd done and turn them right again. Such a power might be given to the gods, but it was not given to women and men, and that was probably a good thing. Had it been otherwise, people would probably die of old age still trying to rewrite their teens. ~Stephen King, The Stand

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

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

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

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"

Life is trying things to see if they work. ~Ray Bradbury

We have two lives — the one we learn with and the life we live after that. ~Bernard Malamud, The Natural

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

We receive three educations, one from our parents, one from our schoolmasters, and one from the world. The third contradicts all that the first two teach us. ~Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu

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

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we'd all be millionaires. ~Abigail Van Buren

Information's pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience. ~Clarence Day, The Crow's Nest

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