An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.


Cleveland Amory (1887-1950, American animal rights activist)


Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.


Minna Antrim (1861-1950, American epigrammist)


Don't learn to do, but learn in doing. Let your falls not be on a prepared ground, but let them be bona fide falls in the rough and tumble of the world.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


Experience is a private, and a very largely speechless affair.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


Experience that destroys innocence also leads one back to it.


James Baldwin (1924-1987, American author)


You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing.


Arnold Bax (1883-1953, British composer)


Experience is determined by yourself -- not the circumstances of your life.


Gita Bellin


Only he who can view his own past as an abortion sprung from compulsion and need can use it to full advantage in the present. For what one has lived is at best comparable to a beautiful statue which has had all its limbs knocked off in transit, and now yields nothing but the precious block out of which the image of one's future must be hewn.


Walter Benjamin (1982-1940, German critic, philosopher)


Bad experience is a school that only fools keep going to.


Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994, American government official and religious leader)


Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


Experience. The wisdom that enables us to recognize in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


Experience increases our wisdom but doesn't reduce our follies.


Josh Billings (1815-1885, American humorist, lecturer)


Experience is a school where a man learns what a big fool he has been.


Josh Billings (1815-1885, American humorist, lecturer)


Experience isn't interesting till it begins to repeat itself -- in fact, till it does that, it hardly is experience.


Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973, Anglo-Irish novelist)


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 D. Brandeis (1856-1941, American judge)


Experience, like a pale musician, holds a dulcimer of patience in his hand.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861, British poet)


I reached in experience the nirvana which is unborn, unrivalled, secure from attachment, undecaying and unstained. This condition is indeed reached by me which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, tranquil, excellent, beyond the reach of mere logic, subtle, and to be realized only by the wise.


Buddha (568-488 BC, Indian born, founder of Buddhism)


It isn't the experience of today that drives men mad. It is the remorse for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may disclose.


Robert Jones Burdette


Where you are in consciousness has everything to do with what you see in experience.


Eric Butterworth


A little experience often upsets a lot of theory.


Samuel Parkes Cadman


I don't have to have faith. I have experience.


Joseph Campbell (1904-1987, American scholar, writer, teacher)


You can't create experience. You must undergo it.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.


Angela Carter (1940-1992, British author)


Experience is a dim lamp, which only lights the one who bears it.


Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961, French author)


Experience is a dim lamp, which only lights the one who bears it.


Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1894-1961, French author)


Man arrives as a novice at each age of his life.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


Nothing which has entered into our experience is ever lost.


William Ellery Channing (1780-1842, American Unitarian minister, author)


There is a sort of veteran woman of condition, who, having lived always in the grand monde, and having possibly had some gallantries, together with the experience of five and twenty or thirty years, form a young fellow better than all the rules that can be given him. Wherever you go, make some of those women your friends; which a very little matter will do. Ask their advice, tell them your doubts or difficulties as to your behavior; but take great care not to drop one word of their experience; for experience implies age, and the suspicion of age, no woman, let her be ever so old, ever forgives.


Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield (1694-1773, British statesman, author)


When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


You're never too old to be naive.


Ronny M. Cole (1955-, American author, goal and reading coach)

Author's website:


To most men experience is like the stern lights of a ship, which illuminate only the track it has passed.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834, British poet, critic, philosopher)


Experience is how life catches up with us and teaches us to love and forgive each other.


Judy Collins


Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience, you're too damned old to do anything about it.


Jimmy Connors (1952-, American tennis player)


Experience does not err. Only your judgments err by expecting from her what is not in her power.


Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519, Italian inventor, architect, painter, scientist, sculptor)


My works are the issue of pure and simple experience, which is the one true mistress.


Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519, Italian inventor, architect, painter, scientist, sculptor)


Common experience is the gold reserve which confers an exchange value on the currency which words are; without this reserve of shared experiences, all our pronouncements are checks drawn on insufficient funds.


Rene Daumal (1908-1944, French poet, critic)


I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad.


E. L. Doctorow (1931-, American novelist)


You learn from a conglomeration of the incredible past -- whatever experience gotten in any way whatsoever.


Bob Dylan (1941-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


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 American physicist)


The only source of knowledge is experience.


Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American physicist)


But human experience is usually paradoxical, that means incongruous with the phrases of current talk or even current philosophy.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


Is it not rather what we expect in men, that they should have numerous strands of experience lying side by side and never compare them with each other?


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.


Patrick Henry (1736-1799, American orator, patriot)


I probably hold the distinction of being one movie star who, by all laws of logic, should never have made it. At each stage of my career, I lacked the experience.


Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993, American actress, dancer, model)


Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


The more experiments you make the better.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


No one is so eager to gain new experiences as he who doesn't know how to make use of the old ones.


Marie E. Eschenbach


Experience may be hard but we claim its gifts because they are real, even though our feet bleed on its stones.


Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933, American author)


I had a lot of experience with people smarter than I am.


Gerald R. Ford (1913-, American President (38th))


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 industrialist, founder of Ford Motor Company)


In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.


Harold S. Geneen (1910-1977, American accountant, industrialist)


In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.


J. Paul Getty (1892-1976, American oil tycoon, arts patron)


No matter how vital experience might be while you lived it, no sooner was it ended and dead than it became as lifeless as the piles of dry dust in a school history book.


Ellen Glasgow (1874-1945, American novelist)


One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are.


Gail Godwin


Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856, German poet, journalist)


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 Heinlein (1907-1988, American science fiction writer)


Experience is the extract of suffering.


Sir Arthur Helps (1813-1875, British historian, novelist, essayist)


The fool knows after he's suffered.


Hesiod (8th century BC Greek poet)


It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.


Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American speaker, author, "Think And Grow Rich")


One of the most valuable things any person can learn is the art of using the knowledge and experience of others.


Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American speaker, author, "Think And Grow Rich")


One of the most valuable things any person can learn is the art of using the knowledge and experience of others.


Napoleon Hill (1883-1970, American speaker, author, "Think And Grow Rich")


Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


Experience teaches only the teachable.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


From their experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


You can work at something for twenty years and come away with twenty years' worth of valuable experience, or you can come away with one year's experience twenty times.


Gwen Jackson


It is all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.


Mick Jagger (1943-, British-born American musician, singer)


Deep experience is never peaceful.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implications of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it -- this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.


Franklin P. Jones


It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.


Franz Kafka (1883-1924, German novelist, short-story writer)


Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


It is much easier to seem fitted for posts we do not fill, than for those we do.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


A strong and secure man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds alike) just as he digests his meat, even when he has some bits to swallow.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Experience is the only prophecy of wise men.


Alphonse De Lamartine (1790-1869, French poet, statesman, historian)


Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.


Vernon S. Law


Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time.


Greg LeMond (1961-, American cyclist, 3 times winner of the Tour de France)


What is the good of drawing conclusions from experience? I don't deny we sometimes draw the right conclusions, but don't we just as often draw the wrong ones?


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


We know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience.


John Locke (1632-1704, British philosopher)


One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


Experience praises the most happy, the one who made the most people happy.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Experience is what keeps a man who makes the same mistake twice from admitting it the third time around.


Terry McCormick


Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum.


Menander of Athens (BC 342-291, Greek dramatic poet)


There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.


John Stuart Mill (1806-1873, British philosopher, economist)


Experience shows that exceptions are as true as rules.


Edith Ronald Mirrielees


Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


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


Auguste Rodin (1840-1917, French sculptor)


Two things control men's nature; instinct and experience.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


Not the fruit of experience but experience itself, is the end.


Walter Pater (1839-1894, British essayist, critic)


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)


Each trip gives you its own uniqueness.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


If you have not been to two different bazaars, then you do not know what the best value is.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


Walk a mile in my moccasins to learn where they pinch.


Canadian Proverb


Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


A burnt child dreads the fire.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


I know by my own pot how the others boil.


French Proverb (Sayings of French origin)


Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.


Italian Proverb (Sayings of Italian origin)


As long as you live, you learn.


Latvian Proverb (Sayings of Latvian origin)


The one who has had no experience of evil cannot know the worth of what is good.


Maltese Proverb


He who has been bitten by a snake fears a piece of string.


Persian Proverb (Sayings of Persian origin)


A single bad experience is worth a thousand threats.


Turkish Proverb (Sayings of Turkish origin)


In a person who is open to experience each stimulus is freely relayed through the nervous system, without being distorted by any process of defensiveness.


Carl Rogers (1902-1987, American psychotherapist)


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 (American businessman, author, speaker, philosopher)

Author's website:


Experience comprises illusions lost, rather than wisdom gained.


Joseph Roux (1834-1905, French priest, writer)


All is but lip-wisdom which wants experience.


Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586, British author, courtier)


Experience is largely non-transferable.


Author Unknown


Experience is often what you get when you were expecting something else.


Author Unknown


Experience is something you get too late to do anything about the mistakes you made while getting it.


Author Unknown


In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word "experience" have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience!


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


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 (American doctor, author, lecturer)


We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. This is as true for the infant moving from kicking to crawling to walking as it is for the scientist with his equations. If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses to learn; and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach.


Viola Spolin (1911-, American theatrical director, producer)


Experience is a comb that life gives you after you lose your hair.


Judith Stern


The rules which experience suggest are better than those which theorists elaborate in their libraries.


R. S. Storrs


Men may rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things.


Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892, British poet)


To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience.


St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582, Spanish saint, mystic)


Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Whatever you dwell on in the conscious grows in your experience.


Brian Tracy (1944-, Canadian-born American trainer, speaker, author, businessman)

Author's website:


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 (1946-, American businessman, actor)


The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


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 (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


A careful inventory of all your past experiences may disclose the startling fact that everything has happened for the best.


Author Unknown


Everyone has 20/20 hindsight.


Author Unknown


If what happens does not make us richer, we must welcome it if it makes us wiser.


Author Unknown


Jumping to conclusions can be a bad exercise


Author Unknown


One thing about the school of experience is that it will repeat the lesson if you flunk the first time.


Author Unknown


Our wisdom comes usually from our experience, and our experience comes largely from our experience.


Author Unknown


If we could sell our experience for what they cost us, we'd all be millionaires.


Abigail Van Buren (1918-, American advice columnist, "Dear Abby")


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


Author Unknown


Experience is the key to greatness.


Arthur Williams


There is no wider gulf in the universe than yawns between those on the hither and thither side of vital experience.


Rebecca West (1892-1983, British author)


An enormous part of our mature experience cannot not be expressed in words.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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 (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Good judgment comes from experience, and experience -- well, that comes from poor judgment.


Cousin Woodman


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