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Experience

  • I guess experience is just learning at first hand the things you knew all along anyway.

  • Experience is what you get looking for something else.

  • The lessons of experience are always learned too late.

    • George Sand,
    • 1871, in Francis Steegmuller and Barbara Bray, eds., Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence ()
  • Experience is always a trustworthy guide; it may not tell you everything, but it never lies.

    • George Sand,
    • 1873, in Francis Steegmuller and Barbara Bray, eds., Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence ()
  • There is no such thing as vicarious experience.

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

  • ... the best things in life are secret. And must stay that way, until we find them for ourselves.

  • ... life is the only real counsellor ... wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissues.

  • Experience has no text books nor proxies.

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

  • ... he jests at quills who never felt their wound.

  • But let me say this about learning experiences: they're weird. Or put it this way: what you learn from a learning experience is generally something else.

  • Often the very commonest facts of life are not facts, only sounds, until they have been lived.

  • ... it is better to take experience, to suffer, to love, and to remember than to walk unscathed between the fires. I've had most immunities myself — the result of an independent income combined with a personality completely devoid of sexual attractions — the two fires of poverty and passion have therefore never burned me, and I am a lesser person for my safety.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • 1926, in Alice Holtby and Jean McWilliam, eds., Letters to a Friend ()
  • The tragic thing about learning from experience is I fear that one can only learn from one's own experience. Other people's — other nations' — experiences simply do not help. They can be imaginatively learned from. But people do not act on other people's experiences.

    • May Sarton,
    • 1944, in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Selected Letters 1916-1954 ()
  • Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.

  • There is no experience from which you can't learn something ... And the purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. You can do that only if you have curiosity, an unquenchable spirit of adventure. The experience can have meaning only if you understand it. You can understand it only if you have arrived at some knowledge of yourself, a knowledge based on a deliberately and usually painfully acquired self-discipline, which teaches you to cast out fear and frees you for the fullest experience for the adventure of life.

    • Eleanor Roosevelt,
    • in Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt: 1884-1932, vol. 1 ()
  • Eyes that have never wept cannot comprehend sorrow.

  • A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing ...

  • ... there are some people who never learn; indeed, few people learn by experience, so far as I have ever seen.

  • The simplest and most familiar truth seems new and wonderful the instant we ourselves experience it for the first time.

  • We don't believe in rheumatism or true love until we have been attacked by them.

  • None are so eager to gain new experience as those who don't know how to make use of the old ones.

  • It is better to see the grass than write about it / Better to see the water than write a water-song ...

  • 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.

  • What he said of heads may also be said of experience — there is a large stock on hand; but somehow or other, nobody's experience ever suits us except our own.

  • Experience teaches, it is true; but she never teaches in time.

  • Information can be passed from one to another, like a silver dollar. There's absolutely no wisdom except what you learn for yourself.

  • ... adventure is something you seek for pleasure, or even for profit, like a gold rush or invading a country; for the illusion of being more alive than ordinarily, the thing you will to occur; but experience is what really happens to you in the long run; the truth that finally overtakes you.

    • Katherine Anne Porter,
    • "St. Augustine and the Bullfight" (1955), The Collected Essays and Occasional Writings ()
  • Life comes first, an art not rooted in human experience is not worth a damn, but different kinds of minds have different kinds of experience, and all I ask of any man is validity; and there should be place for every type and kind of mind.

  • What a tragedy it was that the only thing age could offer to youth was its own experience, and that the experiences of others were never profitable.

  • One never believes other people's experience, and one is only very gradually convinced by one's own.

  • ... how poor and disheartening a thing is experience compared with hope!

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

  • Experience is always larger than language.

  • These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. ... The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • to her son, John Quincy Adams (1780), Letters of Mrs. Adams ()
  • Experience is an excellent doctor, though he never had a diploma.

  • What is it which is bought dearly, offered for nothing, and then most often refused? — Experience, old people's experience.

  • Experience teaches you how to do things you never want to do again.

    • Zelda Fitzgerald,
    • "Scandalabra" (1932), in Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed., Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings ()
  • Nobody has ever been able to experience what they have thoroughly understood — or understand what they have experienced until they have achieved a detachment that renders them incapable of repeating the experience.

    • Zelda Fitzgerald,
    • 1932, in Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed., Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings ()
  • Experience is never at bargain price.

  • ... problems cannot be solved with words, but only through experience ...

  • One can only remember what has been consciously experienced.

  • For those of us who have a ground of knowledge which we cannot transmit to outsiders, it is perhaps more profitable to act fearlessly than to argue.

  • Experience teaches us in a millennium what passion teaches us in an hour.

  • ... we can't know a road until we travel it. Hearing about it is not enough. We are obliged to travel over it.

  • If we could only use other folks' experience, this here world would be heaven in about three generations, but we're so constructed that we never believe fire'll burn till we poke our own fingers into it to see. Other folks' scars don't go no ways at all toward convincin' us.

  • ... nothing's easier than believing we understand experiences we've never had.

  • ... everything you experience is what constitutes you as a human being, but the experience passes away and the person's left. The person is the residue.

  • The older we grow, the less chance we have of really seeing a thing when we look at it; what we see is a composite of all the opinions we have ever formed about it. That, of course, is experience. It is also, however, hardening of the aesthetic arteries.

  • Although there are countless alumni of the school of hard knocks, there has not yet been a move to accredit that institution.

  • He saw his life as a good thing, and he saw happiness, towards which that life had always consciously or unconsciously struggled, as merely a relative good. The real stuff of life was experience, in which sorrow and fear and disaster had as important a part to play as beauty and joy.

  • The sight of a cage is only frightening to the bird that has once been caught.

  • We are all more than our experiences / And less than our dreams.

  • Experience — A comb life gives you after you lose your hair.

  • Unless the knowledge gained from experience is reconditioned in each new situation, it is a rigid and a dangerous guide.

    • Blanche H. Dow,
    • "Roads and Vistas," in Jean Beaven Abernethy, ed., Meditations for Women ()
  • ... an experience is gratifying to the extent that those expectations that are aroused are also fulfilled.

  • 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.

  • All experience is great providing you live through it. If it kills you, you've gone too far.

    • Alice Neel,
    • in Patricia Hill, ed., Alice Neel: The Paintings of Two Decades ()
  • Experience is a valuable thing. It enables us to recognize mistakes when we repeat them.

  • We learn from experience. A man never wakes up his second baby just to see it smile.

  • Our internal state determines our experience of our lives; our experiences do not determine our internal state.

  • Experience, they say, is the best teacher, but we get the grade first and the lesson later.

  • In love, as in everything else, experience is a physician who never comes until after the disorder is cured.

    • Madame de la Tour,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • How, after all, can one experience deny, negate, disprove, another experience? Even if I've had a lot more of it, your experience is your truth.

  • Experience is not explanation.