Remaining Open to Continuous Learning


Being proud of admitting we don’t know; resisting complacency.

Learn from experiences!



“We need to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed. It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know.’ “

Richard Feynman, Nobel-prize winning physicist


“It seems that we learn lessons when we least expect them but always when we need them the most, and, the true gift in these lessons always lies in the learning process itself.”

Cathy Lee Crosby, American actress


“You aren’t ever too smart or too invincible to stop learning and developing.”

Mary Jo Asmus,


“The only thing that we can know is that we know nothing and that is the highest flight of human wisdom.”

Leo Tolstoy


“Certainty ends inquiry.”

Jacob Brownowski


“To learn is to change.”

George B. Leonard


“I think success has no rules, but you can learn a lot from failure.”

Jean Kerr, American author and playwright


“In a humble state, you learn better. I can’t find anything else very exciting about humility, but at least there’s that.”

John Dooner, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic


“Admitting errors clears the score and proves you wiser than before.”

Arthur Guiterman


“Every person you meet—and everything you do in life—is an opportunity to learn something.”

Tom Clancy


“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.”



“Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness.”

Jean Vanier


“A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.”

Elbert Hubbard


“No matter what you do, no matter how stupid, dumb or damaging you judge it to be, there is a lesson to be learned from it. No matter what happens to you, no matter how unfair, inequitable or wrong, there’s something you can take from the situation and use for your advancement.”

Peter McWilliams, author


“There is nothing final about a mistake, except its being taken as final.”

Phyllis Bottome


“He that thinks himself the wisest is generally the least so.”

C.C. Colton


“If I could wish for my life to be perfect, it would be tempting but I would have to decline, for life would no longer teach me anything.”

Allyson Jones


“An expert is a fellow who is afraid to learn anything new because then he wouldn’t be an expert anymore.”

Harry S Truman


“We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.”

Jean Toomer


“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

Robert Maynard Hutchins


“The education of a man is never complete until he dies.”

Robert E. Lee


“Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival.”

W. Edwards Deming


“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.”



“To know that you do not know is the best.
To pretend to know when you do not know is disease.”

Lao Tsu


“The human body is river of intelligence, energy and information that is constantly renewing itself in every second of its existence.”

Deepak Chopra


“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying…that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

Alexander Pope


“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”

B. B. King


“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Aldous Huxley


“One of the most difficult problems of our age is that leaders, and perhaps academics as well, cannot readily admit that things are out of control and that we do not know what to do. We have too much information, limited cognitive abilities to think in systemic terms and an unwillingness to appear to be in control and to have solutions for our problems. We are afraid that if we admit to our confusion, we will make our followers and students anxious and disillusioned. We know we must learn how to learn, but we are afraid to admit it.”

Donald Michael


“If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.”

Dr. Robert Anthony


“Did you ever notice how difficult it is to argue with someone who is not obsessed with being right?”

Wayne W. Dyer


“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, those who make it or those who don’t. I divide the world into learners and non-learners.”

Benjamin Barber


“Those who succeed and do not push on to greater failure are the spiritual middle-classers.” 

Eugene O’Neill


“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that I don’t always have to be right.”

Jeffrey B. Swartz


“The top of the hill is but the bottom of another mountain.”

Ankit Jamwal


“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”

Niels Bohr


“The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already.”

J.N. Fadenburg


“Only in growth, reform and change… paradoxically enough… is true security to be found.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”

Richard David Bach


“When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

Bruce Barton


“Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, ‘I have failed three times,’ and what happens when he says, ‘I’m a failure.’ “

S. I. Hayakawa


“Some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up and touch everything. If you never let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.”

E. L. Konigsburg


“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

George Bernard Shaw


“The man who has ceased to learn ought not to be allowed to wander around loose in these dangerous days.”

M.M. Coady


“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch-what make you go beyond the norm.”

Cicely Tyson


“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

Gloria Steinem


“. . . this thing we call ‘failure’ is not falling down, but the staying down.”

Mary Pickford


“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

Thomas Edison


“Other people may not have had high expectations for me…but I had high expectations for myself.”

Shannon Miller


“Knowledge is the rediscovering of our own insight.”



“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

Louis L’Amour


“There is no finish line.”

Nike Corporation


“In a time of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Eric Hoffer


“As we have come to view teaching, it begins with an act of reason, continues with a process of reasoning, culminates in performances of imparting, eliciting, involving, or enticing, and is then thought about some more until the process can begin again.”

Lee Shulman


“Perhaps for the first time in history, human-kind has the capacity to create far more information than anyone can absorb; to foster far greater interdependency than anyone can manage, and to accelerate change far faster than anyone’s ability to keep pace.”

Peter Senge


“A goal of education is. to assist growth toward greater complexity and integration and to assist in the process of self-organization—to modify individuals’ capacity to modify themselves.”

Reuven Feuerstein


“Learning is a process whereby a human being, or group, or organization, or society comes to understand and embody nature’s patterns.”

Tom Johnson


“In due course we arrive, if wit can be said that we ever fully arrive. The truth is there are destinations beyond destinations and do the confirmed sailor goes on tacking forever.”

Richard Bode


“…a person and an organization must have goals, take actions to achieve those goals, gather evidence of achievement, study and reflect on the data and from that take actions again. Thus, they are in a continuous feedback spiral toward continuous improvement.

This is what ‘Kaizan’ means.”

W. Edwards Deming


“I am forever on the way.”

Maxine Greene


“Live to learn and you will learn to live.”

Portuguese proverb


“Self-production: the characteristic of living systems to continuously renew themselves and to regulate this process in such a way that the integrity of their structure is maintained. It is a natural process which supports the quest for structure, process renewal and integrity.”

Margaret Wheatley


“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.”

T. S. Eliot


“After the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are: the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory, and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

Vince Lombardi


“Learning to explain phenomena such that one continues to be fascinated by the failure of one’s explanations creates a continuing cycle of thinking, that is the crux of intelligence. It isn’t that one person knows more than another, then. In as sense, it is important to know less than the next person, or at least to be certain of less, thus enabling more curiosity and less explaining away because one has again encountered a well-known phenomenon. The less you know the more you can find out about, and finding out for oneself is what intelligence is all about.”

Roger Schank


“There is only one thing…to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”

T.H. White


“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

Francis Bacon


“I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the artist.”

Billy Joel


“A Ph. D. in living:

P is for ‘poor in knowledge.’ Those who live best realize that they can never learn enough.
H is for ‘hungry to learn.’ Those who hunger for knowledge will always find plenty to eat.
D is for ‘desire to succeed.’ Those who desire to learn and improve, and those who persist in spite of obstacles, will live fully.

Realize you’re poor in knowledge, become hungry to learn and desire to succeed. Everybody and every occasion can become your teacher, and this is the Ph.D. that will open the door of success.”

Charlie Hough


“A man doesn’t know what he knows until he knows what he doesn’t know.”

Laurence Peter


“The greatest wisdom often consists in ignorance.”

Baltasar Gracian


“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

John Dewey


“Having to know the answers puts in terrible positions from which to learn.”

Daniel Kim


“It is a sign of strength, not of weakness, to admit that you  don’t know all the answers.”

John P. Lougbrane


“Answers given with authority negate the search for truth.”

Neil Innes


“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Truman Capote


“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. And the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep trying.”

Tom Hopkins, sales trainer and author


“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Pablo Picasso


“When you enjoy becoming wise, there is hope for you!
A bright future lies ahead!”

Proverbs 24:13-14


“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

Eartha Kitt


“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to think like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”

Barbara Sher, author


“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’ “

Carrie Fisher


“The closer one gets to the top, the more one finds there is no ‘top.’ “

Nancy Barcus


“Wisdom is knowing how little we know.”

Oscar Wilde


“Aim for success, not perfection.  Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and to move forward with your life.”

Dr. David Burns, psychiatrist and author


“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.”

Archibald McLeish, poet


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

Auguste Rodin


“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”

John Dewey


“Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t know.”

George Boas


“The fact that you are willing to say, ‘I do not understand, and it is fine,’ is the greatest understanding you could exhibit.”

Wayne Dyer, author and speaker


“Certitude is not the test of certainty.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


“I’ve learned that you’ll never be disappointed if you always keep an eye on uncharted territory, where you’ll be challenged and growing and having fun.”

Kirstie Alley


“The more the years go by, the less I know. But if you give explanations and understand everything, then nothing can happen. What helps me go forward is that I stay receptive, I feel that anything can happen.”

Anouk Aimee


“My work, which I’ve done for a long time, was not pursued in order to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge, which I notice resides in me more than in most other men.”

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, renowned biologist


“No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.”

Congolese proverb


“To be fond of learning is to be at the gate of knowledge.”

Chinese proverb


“What you know is just a point of departure. So let’s move!”

Keorapetse Kgositsile, South African poet


“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”

Henry Ford


“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Abigail Adams


“The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.”

John Locke


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi


“Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.”

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne


“An education isn’t how much you’ve committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t know.”

William Feather, author and publisher


“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows, we guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

Agnes de Mile


“Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”



“If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.”

Japanese proverb


“Whoever cares to learn will always find a teacher.”

German proverb


“If you are not learning, no one will ever let you down.”

Robert Anthony


“Every failure teaches a man something, to wit, that he will probably fail again next time.”

H.L. Mencken


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Alvin Toffler


“Dare to be naive.”

Buckminster Fuller


“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Thomas H. Huxley, biologist


“I was still learning when I taught my last class.”

Claude M. Fuess, Phillips Academy educator


“Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance.”

S. Leonard Rubinstein


“Until you are willing to be confused about what you already know, what you know will never become wider, bigger or deeper.”

Milton Erikson


“Conversation would be vastly improved by the constant use of 4 simple words: I do not know.”

Andre Maurois, author


“People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher or better than themselves.”

Tyrone Edwards, author


“The best people know that there are two phases in every crisis: the one where you manage it and the other where you learn from it. To succeed you have to do both.”

M. H. McCormack


“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer


“A man learns to skate by staggering about and making a fool of himself; indeed, he progresses in all things by making a fool of himself.”

George Bernard Shaw, playwright


“To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance.”

John Ruskin


“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.”

Isaac Asimov


“Success is the intelligent use of mistakes in self renewing schools. The moral imperative of the school is for its members to move into their areas of incompetence: if we already knew exactly how to do this work, we would not have the purposeless cycles of educational reform that schools are endlessly caught in. We all need to learn new roles and relationships.”

Carl Glickman


“The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.”

Lord David Cecil, literary critic and educator


“The search for the lessons of the new science is still in progress, really in its infancy. In this realm, three is a new kind of freedom, where it is more rewarding to explore than to reach conclusions, more satisfying to wonder than to know, and more exciting to search than to stay put. Curiosity, not certainty, becomes the saving grace.”

Margaret Wheatley


“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

commonly attributed to Carl Sagan; actually from a 1977 Newsweek profile of Carl Sagan by Sharon Begley


“There is no top. There are always further heights to reach.”

Jascha Heifetz, violinist


“In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“We have to cross the boundary between knowing and not knowing many times before we achieve understanding.”

David Hawkins


“Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st Century.”

Sydney Joseph Perelman, writer


“Why stay on the earth except to grow.”

Robert Browning


“Explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.”

John J. McCloy, American diplomat and lawyer


“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“We need people who are pathological learners, people who have no fear.”

Christopher Lochhead, futurist at Scient Corp.


“Until you are willing to become confused about what you already know, what you know will never grow bigger, better, or more useful.”

Milton Erickson, psychiatrist and hypnotherapist


“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”

Will Rogers


“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”



“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

John Wooden, basketball coach


“I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out, that’s when I’ve really learned.”

Carol Burnett, actress, comedienne


“Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worth all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable.”

Bertrand Russell


“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed.  The future is yet in your power.”

Hugh White, U.S. politician


“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.”

John Locke


“You’re going to make mistakes in life. It’s what you do after the mistakes that counts.”

Brandi Chastain, soccer star


“Failure isn’t a crime. Failure to learn from failure is the crime.”

Walter Wriston, former chairman of Citicorp


“What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.”



“It is the true nature of mankind to learn from mistakes, not from examples.”

Fred Hoyle


“The years teach what the days never know.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.”

Samuel Butler


“To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge.”



“Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.”

Thomas J. Watson Jr., computer executive


“To teach is to learn.”

Japanese proverb


“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

Winston Churchill


“The brighter you are, the more you have to learn.”

Don Herold


“I am not young enough to know everything.”

Oscar Wilde


“Learning without thought is labor lost.”



“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

Alan Alda


“If you want to live creatively, you must be willing to suffer the humiliations of the novice.” 

Kinji Akagawa, sculptor


“Many would be wise if they did not think themselves wise.”

Baltasar Gracian, Spanish writer


“The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.”

John F. Kennedy


“Teach the tongue to say ‘I do not know.’ “



“Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.”

Karl Popper


“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.”

Proverbs 1:5


“He is no wise man that cannot play the fool on occasion.”

Thomas Fuller


“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.”



“He who learns but does not think is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”



“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”

Francis Bacon


“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”

Henry Doherty, American engineer and investor


“The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.”

Malcolm Forbes, American publisher


“I am still learning”



“I’m still learning about music. The best way to learn is to listen to the audience. When you listen to the audience, they will tell you what they like. I wish these big corporations, instead of telling the audience what they should have, would listen.”

Tony Bennett, double Grammy winner


“Learning from experience is a faculty almost never practiced.”

Barbara Tuchman, historian and writer


“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss, author


“People who are cocky and arrogant say, ‘I know that’ and move along. People who are confident and positive ask themselves, ‘How good am I at that?’ and seek to improve.”

Jeffrey Gitomer, author and speaker


“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Winston Churchill


“It’s never too late to give up your prejudices.”

Henry David Thoreau


“It is not so important to know everything as to appreciate what we learn.”

Hannah More,  British philanthropist


“See that any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn’t work. Dare to let go and you won’t lose a thing except for a punishing idea.”

Guy Finley, author and speaker


“You have to study a great deal to know a little.”



“Knowledge creates enthusiasm.”

Thomas Watson Sr.  I. B. M.


“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.”

Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist and satirist


“Successful workers will be those who embrace a lifetime of learning. Those who don’t will be left behind.”

Rupert Murdoch


“All of the top achievers I know are lifelong learners…looking for new skills, insights and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing…not moving toward excellence.”

Denis Waitley


“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

Will Durant


“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn…and change.”

Carl Rogers


“It’s what you learn after you know it all that’s important.”

Jimmy Williams


“Since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself. The criterion of the value of school education is the extent in which it creates a desire for continuous growth and supplies means for making the desire effective in fact.”

John Dewey


“Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they don’t know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.”

Sir William Haley, British newspaper editor and broadcasting administrator


“It’s important to get in the habit of growing as a human being, developing and refining leadership and management skills and entrepreneurial instincts and changing to accommodate the times.”

Ivanka Trump


“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”

Gene Fowler, American journalist, author and dramatist


“It’s unbelievable how  much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life.”

Mickey Mantle, American baseball player


“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.”

Newton D. Baker, American politician


“Once you accept you don’t know it all, you’ve opened your mind to being better at what you do.”

Mike Figliuolo, writing at the ThoughtLeaders blog


“It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows.”



“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”

Henri Bergson, French philosopher


“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Leonardo da Vinci


“It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know.’ The disposition to continue to learn throughout life is perhaps one of the most important contributions that schools can make to an individual’s development.”

Elliot W. Eisner


“It is necessary for us to learn from others’ mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Hyman Rickover, American admiral

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