Wisdom Quotes

Most popular wisdom quotes

Wisdom knows what feelings are present without being lost in them.
β€” Jack Kornfield (The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology)

buddhist feelings

I know no wise person who doesn't read a lot.


Acknowledging what you don't know is the dawning of wisdom.


When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.

communication empathy persuasion

Even death is not to be feared by he who has lived wisely.


Wisdom begins in wonder.


Cleverness is not wisdom.
Wisdom begins at the end.
Wisdom outweighs any wealth.
No man was ever wise by chance.
Wisdom comes by disillusionment.
Knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows.

knowledge and ignorance

Wisdom at times is found in folly.
Patience is the companion of wisdom.


Some children are wiser than adults.


Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

knowledge and ignorance knowledge and wisdom

Silence is true wisdom's best reply.


Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.


Be happy. It's one way of being wise.
Curiosity is the beginning of wisdom.


Wisdom comes alone through suffering.


Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.
Every wise man lives in an observatory.


Self reflection is the school of wisdom.
A short saying oft contains much wisdom.
A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

asking questions

It is better to be wise than to seem wise.
A wise man turns chance into good fortune.


Wisdom is experience employed effectively.
The more a man knows, the more he forgives.


Never bet your money on another man's game.


To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.


Some folks are wise and some are otherwise.
Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.
He who truly knows has no occasion to shout.


The wise man reads both books and life itself.


A wise man's question contains half the answer.

asking questions

Science may be learned by rote, but Wisdom not.


The most important things in life aren't things.


When you know how to listen everyone is the guru.


Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body.
To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.

asking questions

To my extreme mortification I grow wiser every day.
The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.
In order to act wisely it is not enough to be wise.
Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

foolishness trees

The wise person questions himself, the fool others.
People get wisdom from thinking, not from learning.


Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.
Experience is what you get looking for something else.


It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

human nature

Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.
Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it.
It is easier to be wise for others than for one's self.
A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.
β€” African proverb

African proverbs know-it-alls proverbs

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?


Remedy it, or welcome it: a wise man's only two choices.


Wisdom is
the booby prize
given when you've been
Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.

beliefs ignorance

It is more easy to be wise for others than for ourselves.
There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.
Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can't bring down.
The most exquisite folly is made of wisdom spun too fine.


Science is organized knowledge, wisdom is organized life.


It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.
Wisdom that don't make us happier ain't worth plowing for.
Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.
Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop
Than when we soar.
We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.
β€” Talmud


The most manifest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness.
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

enemies food for thought

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
There is a wisdom of the head, and ... a wisdom of the heart.
Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom.

experience mistakes

True strength is the flower of Wisdom, but its seed is action.

action Strength

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.


All human wisdom is summed up in these two wordsβ€”Wait and Hope.
It is the duty of a wise man to foresee evil and to prevent it.
There are 40 kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense.
β€” African proverb

African proverbs common sense foolishness proverbs

A wise man is superior to any insults which may be put upon him.


Common-sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.

common sense

There is little room left for wisdom when one is full of judgment.


The older I grow, the more I listen to people who don't talk much.


Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.

action silence

Wisdom hath her excesses, and no less need of moderation than folly.


Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure.

failure Goodness virtue

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

change happiness

The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.


There's no joy even in beautiful Wisdom, unless one have holy Health.


You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

action responsibility

The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.


Everyone complains of his memory, and nobody complains of his judgment.

human nature

The wise don't expect lo find life worth living; they make it that way.

attitude purpose of life

Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.


A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.

Chinese proverbs proverbs

Mixing one's wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.
Wisdom makes but a slow defense against trouble, though at last a sure one.


To admit you don't know everything is the first step on the road to wisdom.


The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.


People are never so near playing the fool as when they think themselves wise.
He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.

knowledge and wisdom

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


The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.


We do not need more knowledge but more wisdom. Wisdom comes from our own attention.

knowledge and wisdom

It is wise to remember that you are one of those who can be fooled some of the time.
Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.


Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.


It requires wisdom to understand wisdom; the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
Wisdom is greater than knowledge, for wisdom includes knowledge and the due use of it.


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

how to live life inspirational

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

knowledge and ignorance

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


The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left.
β€” β€œSMILE” ZINGERS in Chicago Tribune


Humanity has to travel a hard road to wisdom, and it has to travel it with bleeding feet.
Learning sleeps and snores in libraries, but wisdom is everywhere, wide awake, on tiptoe.

knowledge and wisdom learning

If wisdom and diamonds grew on the same tree we could soon tell how much men loved wisdom.
Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.


Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.

listening talking

Science at best is not wisdom; it is knowledge. Wisdom is knowledge tempered with judgment.

judgment knowledge science

The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under his feet.


The art of living consists in knowing which impulses to obey and which must be made to obey.
Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.


Wisdom is a solid and entire building, of which every piece keeps its place and bears its mark.
The steadfastness of the wise is but the art of keeping their agitation locked in their hearts.
When we shift attention from experience to the spacious consciousness that knows, wisdom arises.
β€” Jack Kornfield (The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology)

buddhist experience

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.


We can be Knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.

knowledge and wisdom

Before strongly desiring anything, we should look carefully into the happiness of its present owner.

contentment happiness

To understand the actual world as it is, not as we should wish it to be, is the beginning of wisdom.
People far prefer happiness to wisdom, but that is like wanting to be immortal without getting older.


Hope resides in the future, while perspective and wisdom are almost always found by looking to the past.

future the past

Youth is harmed by having wisdom thrust upon it. Youth must gather wisdom slowly, in laughter and tears.


The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful, and then only for a short while.
β€” Albert Einstein (Essays Presented to Leo Baeck on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday)


Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance.

genius moderation

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day.  Wisdom consists in not exceeding that limit.


The true mark of a well-educated man is that he never tries to answer a question before being asked to do so.
A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going. A perfect traveler does not know where he came from.


Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequencesβ€”and I remind you that consequences can be both good and bad.


If one is too lazy to think, too vain to do a thing badly, too cowardly to admit it, one will never attain wisdom.
The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.
The road to wisdom? -- Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.


Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge.

knowledge and wisdom

Wisdom stands at the turn in the road and calls upon us publicly, but we consider it false and despise its adherents.
I believe that all wisdom consists in caring immensely for a few right things, and not caring a straw about the rest.


Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.


To know how to grow old is the masterwork of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.


Wisdomβ€”meaning judgment acting on experience, common sense, available knowledge, and a decent appreciation of probability.
Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.

True wisdom knows
it must comprise
some nonsense
as a compromise,
lest fools should fail
to find it wise.
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.


A wise man is cured of ambition by ambition itself; his aim is so exalted that riches, office, fortune, and favour cannot satisfy him.
If you knew
what you will know
when your candle
has burnt low,
it would greatly
ease your plight
while your candle
still burns bright.


If a wise man's way you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care:
Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.


It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy, is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities.
β€” Frances Wright (A Few Days in Athens: Being the Translation of a Greek Manuscript)
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

greatness how to live life philosophy

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can change, And wisdom to know the difference.
Who is wise? He that learns from every One. Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don't be disappointed when they are not; it helps them to keep trying.

how to live life relationships

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
I am on the side of those who believe that vice comes from stupidity and consequently that the nearer one draws to wisdom the farther one gets from vice.

stupidity vice

Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.  One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

knowledge and ignorance

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

doing nothing

I wish there were shortcuts to wisdom and self-knowledge: cuter abysses or three-day spa wilderness experiences.  Sadly, it doesn't work that way.  I so resent this.
β€” Anne Lamott (Stiches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair)
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.

experience introspection

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself he becomes wise.


We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success; we often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

failure success success & failure

For many system shoppers it's
a good-for-nothing system
that classifies as opposites
stupidity and wisdom.
because by logic-choppers it's
accepted with avidity:
stupidity's true opposite's
the opposite stupidity.


Whether the succeeding generation is to be more virtuous than their predecessors, I cannot say; but I am sure they will have more worldly wisdom, and enough, I hope, to know that honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.


Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.


We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it β€” 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 β€” and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
β€” Mark Twain (Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar in Following the Equator (1897))


Old age, they say, is the seat of wisdom. The old ones have the wisdom that they have earned from walking through life, like old Simeon and Anna at the temple, whose wisdom allowed them to recognize Jesus. Let us give with wisdom to the youth: like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.