Experience seems to be the only thing of any value that’s widely distributed.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
Experience is the best of schoolmasters, only the school fees are heavy.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
My mind withdrew its thoughts from experience, extracting itself from the contradictory throng of sensuous images, that it might find out what that light was wherein it was bathed…. And thus, with the flash of one hurried glance, it attained to the vision of That Which Is.
—Augustine of Hippo (354–430) Roman-African Christian Philosopher
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
—Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) American Jurist
Women have been conditioned to believe that to be powerful is unfeminine and unattractive. It is my experience that nothing could be further from the truth.
—Susan Jeffers (1938–2012) American Psychologist, Self-Help Author
Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn’t often, on their own, the hard way.
—Robert A. Heinlein (1907–88) American Science Fiction Writer
It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.
—Napoleon Hill (1883–1970) American Author, Journalist, Attorney, Lecturer
Experience is the only prophecy of wise men.
—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) French Poet, Politician, Historian
Take time to gather up the past so that you will be able to draw from your experience and invest them in the future.
—Jim Rohn (1930–2009) American Entrepreneur, Author, Motivational Speaker
If you take all the experience and judgment of men over fifty out of the world, there wouldn’t be enough left to run it.
—Henry Ford (1863–1947) American Businessperson, Engineer
We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
I’ve watched a lot of mid-career people, and Yogi Berra says you can observe a lot just by watching. I’ve concluded that most people enjoy learning and growing. And many are dearly troubled by the self-assessments of mid-career. Such self-assessments are no great problem at your age. You’re young and moving up. The drama of your own rise is enough. But when you reach middle age, when your energies aren’t what they used to be, then you’ll begin to wonder what it all added up to; you’ll begin to look for the figure in the carpet of your life. I have some simple advice for you when you begin that process. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Look ahead. Someone said that Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. And above all don’t imagine that the story is over. Life has a lot of chapters.
—John W. Gardner (1912–2002) American Activist
My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson.
What is the good of experience if you do not reflect.
—Frederick II of Prussia (1712–86) Prussian Monarch
Experience proves that none is so cruel as the disillusioned sentimentalist
—William Motter Inge (1913–73) American Playwright, Novelist
We have two lives – the one we learn with and the life we live after that.
—Bernard Malamud (1914–86) American Novelist, Short-Story Writer
The years teach much that the days never know.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.
—Donald Trump (b.1946) American Businessperson, Head of State
It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.
—Ram Dass (1931–2019) American Hindu, New Age Pioneer
I think we are a product of all our experiences.
—Sanford I. Weill (b.1933) American Financier, Philanthropist
It is the experience of living that is important, not searching for meaning. We bring meaning by how we love the world.
—Bernie S. Siegel (b.1932) American Physician, Writer
Adventure is something you seek for pleasure, or even for profit, like a gold rush or invading a country; … but experience is what really happens to you in the long run; the truth that finally overtakes you.
—Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) American Short-Story Writer, Novelist
An optimist is a man who has never had much experience.
—Don Marquis (1878–1937) American Humorist, Journalist, Author
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 (1952–2001) English Novelist, Scriptwriter
The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself-always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity.
—Jimmy Carter (b.1924) American Head of State, Military Leader
A burnt child dreads the fire.
Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
—James Joyce (1882–1941) Irish Novelist, Poet
Out of the multitude of our sense experiences we take, mentally and arbitrarily, certain repeatedly occurring complexes of sense impression (partly in conjunction with sense impressions which are interpreted as signs for sense experiences of others), and we attribute to them a meaning the meaning of the bodily object.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
We all want to fall in love. Why? Because that experience makes us feel completely alive. Where every sense is heightened, every emotion is magnified, our everyday reality is shattered and we are flying into the heavens. It may only last a moment, an hour, an afternoon. But that doesn’t diminish its value. Because we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives.