Applying Past Knowledge


Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.

Use what you learn!



“We do not learn from our experiences; we learn by reflecting on our experiences.”

John Dewey


“If the process don’t transfer, they cannot even be called thinking. They can be called learning, memory, or habit, but not thinking.

The purpose of a course on thinking is to enhance student’s abilities to face new challenges and to attack novel problems confidently, rationally and productively.”

Marilyn J.  Adams


“The work will teach you how to do it.”

Estonian proverb


“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.”

Samuel Smiles


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

Jean Toomer


“If you can react the same way to winning and losing, that’s a big accomplishment.

That quality is important because it stays with you the rest of your life.”

Chris Evert


“Learning is the ability to make sense out of something you observe based on your past experience and being able to take that observations and associate it with meaning.”

Ruth and Art Winter


“I’ve never made a mistake.  I’ve only learned from experience.”

Thomas A. Edison


“People fall forward to success.”

Mary Kay Ash


“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


“The main fuel to speed the world’s progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brake is our lack of imagination.”

Julian Simon


“If I have learnt anything it is that life forms no logical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return.”

Margot Fonteym


“It is only after a fair portion of one’s life that one really knows what are the things that matter, the things that will remain until the end.”

Esther Meynell


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

Eugene O’Neill


“Once people learn something, they’re reluctant to let it go.”

Robert Easton


“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


“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


“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


“I got a fortune cookie that said, ‘To remember is to understand.’ I have never forgotten it. A good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.”

Anna Quindlen


“As important as your past is related to your current performance, it is not nearly as important as how you see your future.”

Denis Waitley


“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


“Everything we do seeds the future.  No action is an empty one.”

Joan Chittister


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

George Bernard Shaw


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

Hyman Rickover


“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

Sophia Loren


“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.”

Bishop W. C. Magee


“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.”

Colin Powell


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

Thomas Edison


“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”

Henry Drummond


“Your past is not your potential.  In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.”

Marilyn Ferguson


“Knowledge is the rediscovering of our own insight.”



“Nothing we learn in this world is ever wasted.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”

Kahlil Gibran


“It is from the fond memories of our past that we gather courage to face the future.”

Elizabeth Andrews


“The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.”

L. Thomas Holdcroft


“Look back to learn how to look forward.”

Joe Girard


“Life can be real rough… you can either learn from your problems, or keep repeating them over and over.”

Marie Osmond


“When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr,


“Life must be understood backwards. But it must be lived forward.”

Soren Kierkegaard


“What I’ve been doing in practice will carry over into the game.”

Randall Cunningham, Professional Football Player


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

Archibald McLeish


“The only time you don’t fail is the last time you try anything—and it works.”

William Strong


“No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.”

Ian E. Wilson


“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”



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

Keorapetse Kgositsile, South African Poet


“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


“There is glory in a great mistake.”

Nathalia Crane, writer and poet


“Life is divided into three terms—that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.”



“Failures are but mileposts on the road to success.”

Italian Proverb


“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein


“Experience is not always the kindest of teachers, but it is surely the best.”

Spanish Proverb


“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Chinese Proverb


“Think about the impact of today’s decisions, for tomorrow is much longer than today.”

Don Raiff, economist


“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

John Wayne


“I don’t avoid pain by not remembering something; I try to remember…Memory is empowering, and it’s what gives you your sense of continuity in the world.”

Melinda W. Popham


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

Auguste Rodin


“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”

Alfred Sheinwold


“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.”

Pete Seeger


“Education is knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it’s knowing how to use the information you get.”

William Feather, author and publisher


“Use the losses and failures of the past as a reason for action, not inaction.”

Charles J. Givens, businessman and author


“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

John Powell


“Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom.”

Phyllis Theroux


“Making mistakes simply means you are learning faster.”

Weston H. Agor


“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.”

John Foster Dulles


“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

Winston Churchill


“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.”

Nikki Giovanni, poet


“There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.”

Buckminster Fuller


“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


“What looks like a loss may be the very event which is subsequently responsible for helping to produce the major achievement of your life.”

Srully D. Blotnick


“Making mental connections is our most crucial learning tool, the essence of human intelligence; to forge links; to go beyond the given; to see patterns, relationships, context.”

Marilyn Ferguson


“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


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

Truman Capote


“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.”

Denis Waitley, author and speaker


“What we know is far less important than what we use.”

Kevin Eikenberry


“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure—or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side of failure.”

Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM


“Remember your past mistakes just long enough to profit by them.”

Dan McKinnon, Folk Singer


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

William Saroyan


“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


“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”

Aldous Huxley


“We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led us to the present.”

Adlai Stevenson


“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.”

G. K. Chesterton


“You’ve always got to be aware of why you don’t win, otherwise you’ll keep losing. Every mistake is a learning experience and, hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake again.”

Layne Beachley


“It is a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”

Lewis Carroll


“God gave us memory that we might have roses in December.”

James Barrie


“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”

Aldous Huxley


“Memory performs the impossible for man; holds together past and present, gives continuity and dignity to human life.”

Mark Van Doren


“Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also.”

Carl Jung


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayhana


“Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future.”



“Miss not the discourse of the elders: for they also learned of their fathers, and of them thou shalt learn understanding, and to give answer as need requireth.”

Ecclesiastes 8:9


“By the time you’re 80 years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.”

George Burns


“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”

Pearl Buck


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

Barbara Tuchman, historian and writer


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

Kurt Vonnegut, novelist and satirist


“Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes.”

Oscar Wilde


“I’ve learned that failure preceded success, and the right decisions are an extension of the wrong ones.”

Alex Spanos, founder of A.G. Spanos Cos.


“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill, author


“The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn.”

H. G. Wells


“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

James Allen


“I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan


“I now know that I learn by solving problems as they arise. Rarely do we learn significant lessons, or significantly improve, any other way.”

Bob Parsons, Internet entrepreneur


“Analyze the past, consider the present and visualize the future.”

Thomas Watson Sr. I.B.M.


“Focus on the future, but understand the past.”

Amy Butte, CFO, New York Stock Exchange


“The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.”

Wang Yang-Ming, Chinese Philosopher


“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward.”

Margaret Fairless Barber, author


“Any experience can be transformed into something of value.”

Vash Young, author


“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.”

David Brinkley


“We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.”

Lyndon B. Johnson


“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou


“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt


“People sometimes have to make their own mistakes. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, but sometimes messing up is one of the best lessons.”

Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises


“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

James Joyce


“To find new things, take the path you took yesterday.”

John Burroughs, American naturalist and essayist


“The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”

Juliette Gordon Low, founded the Girl Scouts on March 12, 1912


“In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.”

Robert Collier, American self-help author


“It’s OK to make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes. Learn from them.”

Lars Bjork, chief executive of QlikTech


“I have great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift.”

Septima Clark, American educator and civil rights activist


“Failure: A man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience.”

Elbert Hubbard, American writer, philosopher



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