Learning Quotes

To inspire, to teach, to adopt!

Learning Quotes

To inspire, to teach, to adopt!

Reflection on learning quotes can be time well spent. Whether you find a spark of inspiration, or a seed of condensed wisdom, these quotes may change your life.

Perhaps you’ll find a some motivational quotes that refresh you, or that re-awaken a dormant interest in learning. Others may encourage you to carry on learning when you may have felt like giving up.

The value of lifelong learning is well made in these quotes because continual growth is an important element in the pursuit of well-being. As Mahatma Gandhi once said:

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

Learning is for Life
Where better to start than with learning quotes which remind us that learning is for life. Not just for school, college or for the duration of a course.


“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford

“If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” Saint Augustine

Exploring learning quotesCharles Handy has written thoughtfully about learning in life. The section below from his book:”The Hungry Spirit”, encapsulates why learning matters so much. It both encourages us to go on learning, and challenges us to think about the consequences if we don’t. Not all of our learning quotes are as long as this, but it’s worth reading to the end!

“I have argued that life, for most people, is a process of discovery – of who we are, what we can do, and, ultimately, why we exist and what we believe. It is a circular process, because when we discover what we are capable of and work out why we exist, it changes the way we see ourselves, which can send us off in new directions, discovering new capabilities and new reasons for our existence. This spiraling journey is the true meaning of lifelong learning, and it remains, for those who pursue it, an endlessly fascinating experience, one which enriches not only the individual but all those around.

Those who have tired of the journey, have tired of life. They come across as dull and boring, and can soon infect their friends and colleagues with their apathy.” Charles Handy

Keep it Simple
Here are some learning quotes from three great minds, providing three great insights into simplicity.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” Albert Einstein

“Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.” Winston Churchill

“To arrive at the simplest truth requires years of contemplation.” Isaac Newton

Learning is Exploring
This section of learning quotes sees learning as something else. Something which stretches us, to explore and seek new experiences.


“Do not go where the path may lead; go where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We will not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”T S Eliot ‘Little Gidding’

“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr

“I’m a big believer in growth. Life is not about achievement, it’s about learning and growth, and developing qualities like compassion, patience, perseverance, love, and joy, and so forth. And so if that is the case, then I think our goals should include something which stretches us.” Jack Canfield

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp – or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning

Seek to Understand
Crucial to effective learning is the need to first understand. For teachers to be effective, they first need to understand those they would wish to teach. These learning quotes encourage us to consider what we care about.


“Students learn what they care about…,” Stanford Ericksen has said, but Goethe knew something else: “In all things we learn only from those we love.” Add to that Emerson’s declaration: “the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.” and we have a formula something like this:

“Students learn what they care about, from people they care about and who, they know, care about them . . .” Barbara Harrell Carson, 1996, Thirty Years of Stories.

“In order to help another effectively, I must understand what he understands. If I do not know that, my greater understanding will be of no help to him… instruction begins when you put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and in the way he understands it.” Kierkegaard

“Grant that I might so much seek to understand as to be understood.” Francis of Assisi

To understand better we should learn to keep questioning, as our next section of learning quotes reveals.

Keep Questioning
One of our favourite learning quotes, and a powerful tool, Kipling’s six honest serving men offer the potential to teach you all you need to know!


“I keep six honest serving men, They taught me all I knew,Their names are What and Why and When, And How And Where And Who.” Rudyard Kipling’s The Serving Men.

To prove there’s many a good learning learning quote in popular culture, consider this from the cult film “The Matrix”. In the first Matrix film, there is a scene in a darkened night club where the character Trinity approaches the protagonist Neo. Loud music blasting away in the background, she comes close to him and says:

“It’s the question that drives us.” “It’s the question that brought you here.” Later Trinity finishes the scene saying: “The answer is out there Neo. It’s looking for you and it will find you if you want it to.”

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” Albert Einstein

Learning Leaders?
Here are some learning quotes which emphasise the importance of learning to managers and leaders.


“The leader of the past…. Is a doer; of the present, a planner; of the future, a teacher. Her job is to develop capabilities; not to plan the company’s actions but to increase its capacity to act, its responsiveness, and its repertoire….This kind of leader doesn’t need to know everything; on the contrary, she’ll want to be surrounded by people who know a whole lot more but trust her to weigh their competing claims.” T. A. Stewart

“The best leaders have the courage to act on what they know right now and the humility to change their actions when they encounter new evidence. They advocate an “attitude of wisdom” Arguing as if they are right, and listening as if they are wrong.” He quotes former Intel CEO, Andy Grove, “ I think it is very important for you to do two things: act on your temporary conviction as if it was a real conviction, and when you realize that you are wrong, correct course very quickly.” Bob Sutton

“When doctors listen to nurses, patients recover more quickly; if mining engineers pay more attention to their men than to their machines, the pits are more efficient. As in athletics and nuclear research, it is neither books nor seminars from which managers learn much, but from here and now exchanges about the operational job in hand.” Reg Revans

“Business people who are the busiest, the happiest, and the most prosperous are the ones who are the most generous with their knowledge and their expertise. People who love what they’re doing, who love to learn new things, to meet new people, and to share what and whom they know with others: these are the people who wind up creating the new economic value and, as a result, moving their companies forward.” Tim Sanders

“Those who perform love what they’re doing… Pianists have a wonderful expression I heard years ago: “I practice until I have my life in my fingers.” Peter Drucker

“Successful careers are not the products of luck or planning; they are built by people who are able to seize those opportunities that match their own strengths.” Peter Drucker

“An organistion develops people; it either forms them or deforms them.” Peter

Final Learning Quotes
To end our learning quotes article, we’ve put together a final selection to challenge your thinking.


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

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill

“Learning is an active process. We learn by doing.. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” Dale Carnegie

“Learning is experience understood in tranquility.” Charles Handy

“We learn by reflecting on what has happened. The process seldom works in reverse, although most educational processes assume that it does. We hope that we can teach people how to live before they live, or how to manage before they manage.” Charles Handy

“Take the time to read it is the seed of wisdom.” Original Irish text.

“A man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” Albert Einstein

“He who knows much about others may be learned, but he who understands himself is more intelligent. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” Lao-Tsu.

“An unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

“I am looking for people who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” Henry Ford

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese proverb

If you’ve enjoyed these learning quotes there are plenty of other motivational quotes to make you think, or perhaps to change what you think.

When you find one, why not copy it and place it somewhere prominent as a constant reminder or thought provoker.

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