The Experienced Man

Jan 19, 2021

The inexperienced man defends his ideas for their purity and generosity; the experienced man does not feel much need to defend his ideas.

The inexperienced man prides himself on his ideas; the experienced man is happy he has not yet starved.

The inexperienced man knows how men ought to be; the experienced man knows how men are.

The inexperienced man trusts human beings; the experienced man trusts human nature.

Nature is known through experience; if a man rejects nature, he will always remain inexperienced.

The inexperienced man believes the time for alarm has finally come; the experienced man is the sound of alarm which the inexperienced man cannot hear. 

The inexperienced man finds common sense offensive and cruel; the experienced man knows the alternatives to common sense are crueler still.

The experienced man is unimpressed by a few exceptions to the rule.

The inexperienced man speaks of problems, which have answers; the experienced man speaks of temptations, which never go away.

The experienced man tells many stories, but he knows that a cautionary tale has never once prevented anything from happening. 

When the inexperienced man borrows, he does well; when the experienced man lends, he does well.

The inexperienced man believes his ideas are pure; the experienced man does not waste time thinking of ways to describe his ideas.

Cynicism is not a sign of maturity, but it is a sign of experience.

The experienced man knows how much is on the line, so he is generous; the inexperienced man does not know how much is on the line, so he is generous.

The inexperienced man wants to be believed; the experienced man wants to be obeyed.

The inexperienced man demands an explanation up front; the experienced men receives his explanation slowly.

The inexperienced man wants to make things better; the experienced man wants to make things last.

A heavy heart keeps the experienced man anchored in place; optimism drives the inexperienced man far from home.

The inexperienced man believes his questions are a sign of his wisdom; the experienced man believes his silence is a sign of his experience.

The inexperienced man hopes to say something interesting; the experienced man hopes to see something interesting.

The inexperienced man readily judges other men cynical; the experienced readily judges other men naïve; Solomon judges the end better than the beginning.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches online classes at He is the author of How To Be UnluckySomething They Will Not Forget, and Blasphemers. His wife is generous and his children are funny.

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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