Skip to main content

Fifteen Truisms Learned in Life

Life has been a great teacher for me. I have learned more from my various jobs and experiences with people than from books.



Experience Is the Best Teacher

They say that experience is the best teacher. The experiences which I have had over my life before and after parenting have certainly confirmed that not all education is obtained from books and in school. Since my birth in 1944, I can think of at least 15 truisms learned in life. In this article, I will share this wisdom with you.

Fifteen Truisms Learned in Life

1. Nothing Ventured - Nothing Gained

If you want to get anything out of life, you have to be proactive and go after it. When I was young, I heard a lot of people refer to this as "no guts - no glory."

After I left the Navy in 1971, I was at a crossroads in my life. Should I go back to college and study to be a chemistry teacher, or should I study the Chinese language and literature and with it try to get a job in life? I was taking a chance to bank on studying more Chinese and going to Taiwan in the 1970s. There were no guarantees I would be successful, but fortunately, my Taiwan experience and Chinese training landed me a good job with the federal government.

2. There Is No Free Lunch.

Throughout my life, I have learned that you get nothing for free. In one way or another, you have to pay for anything you get. You might send your kids to tuition-free public schools, but in fact, your property taxes are paying to support these schools. Sex in marriage is also not free since you have to support a wife or husband.

3. You Get Out of Life Just What You Put Into It.

This used to be one of my father's favorite sayings when he encouraged me to be an excellent student and make something out of my life. He would contrast the successful with the unsuccessful people and note that there was a correlation between hard work and success and laziness and failure.

4. A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted.

I learned this truism when I was in the Navy. Some of my shipmates would have too much "wine, women, and song" on the night they got paid, and then be broke until the next payday.

5. You Can't Show All of Your Cards.

Being too honest has hurt me many times in my life. Some people have taken advantage of my honesty to the detriment of my family and me. This is one of the reasons why I never could be a good businessman.

6. An Idle Mind Is a Devil's Workshop.

If you have too much free time and bad friends, trouble will follow. One of my friends had too much unsupervised free time when he was in high school. Consequently, one night he and his friends were arrested for breaking into private property.

7. Dare to Be Different.

I remember my mother telling me this when I was in high school. Studying Chinese, living in Taiwan and Thailand, and being married to women from Taiwan and Thailand showed that I did indeed dare to be different.

8. You Get What You Pay For.

When I was young, I always thought that the cheapest goods were the best to buy. Over the years, however, I have learned that price and quality are related. If you want to have something really good, you have to pay more money for it.

Scroll to Continue

9. Beggars Can't Be Choosers.

This simply means that in some situations you can't dictate what you will receive. In my latest teaching job at a Bangkok school, all foreign teachers were given a free lunch. At times when some of my colleagues complained about the quality of the food, I would simply remind them that "beggars can't be choosers."

10. You Are What You Eat.

Just by looking at people, you get a good idea about what kind of things they like eating. Anyone who is overweight undoubtedly likes sweets, bakeries, and fast food.

11. Tell Me Who Your Friends Are, and I Will Tell You What You Are.

There is a saying that "birds of a feather flock together." Isn't it true that dishonest people have a lot of dishonest friends, and that the partying type runs around with partying friends?

12. Rome Wasn't Built in a Day.

Whenever I became impatient because I couldn't get something in a hurry, my mother would remind me that "Rome wasn't built in a day."

13. Haste Makes Waste.

At times, I would rush through my barn chores when young to get done faster to watch a ball game on TV. When this happened, my father would remind me to take my time and do a good job because "haste makes waste."

14. Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child.

As I interpret this, It doesn't mean using a rod to beat a misbehaving child. It means that due lawful punishment should be given to a disobedient, misbehaving child. If this is not done, the child will become spoiled.

15. If You Don't First Succeed, Try Again.

This simply means you have to have perseverance and persist in going after a goal. My sister didn't get into vet school the first two times she applied, but she didn't give up and was finally successful in getting in on the third try at the age of 28.


The fifteen truisms illustrated in this article have been learned through personal experiences. My life-long experiences have also generated other truisms that I will share in future articles.

Truisms in Life

Education for Life

  • Being in the Right Place at the Right Time
    This hub describes my good luck and fate in finding satisfying and meaningful jobs during my lifetime. Being in the right place at the right time has certainly worked to my advantage.
  • Pet Peeves of an Older American White Heterosexual Male
    In the wake of increasing political correctness and affirmative action, the lives of most older white heterosexual males are not very pleasant. Read about a white heterosexual male's pet peeves .
  • How to Make Friends and Get People to Do Things
    Man is a social animal, and for this reason knowing how to make friends and get people to do things for you is important in life. This hub points out nine tips for making friends and influencing them.
  • Ten Signs You Are Getting Old
    Most people don't want or enjoy getting old. It's a fact though that your body shows wear just like a machine over years of use. Read on for ten signs you are getting old which I have observed.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn


Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on March 12, 2016:

I'm very happy you enjoyed reading this hub, Glen. My paths in life certainly reflected the people that I knew.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on March 12, 2016:

I truly enjoyed reading through this list. I could relate to every single item. Some more than others. Although I have to say that some can be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak, most others are extremely important to understand.

For example, you don't always get what you pay for. The world can be cruel and good people don't always get a good return on their efforts.

A positive example, is the one where your friends indicate who you are. This is so true and many people don't even realize how strongly their paths in life are a reflection of the people they know.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 18, 2015:

Thanks for your comment. I am pleased that you liked this hub.

Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 17, 2015:

I t really was good

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 17, 2015:

I am extremely pleased that you liked this hub very much. I appreciate your comment.

Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 17, 2015:

Wonderful :)

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 06, 2015:

I'm very pleased that you liked and agree with my truisms. Yes, I alsoreally didn't believe in a lot of my mother's advice until I got much older. Thanks for voting this hub up.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 06, 2015:

Thank you so much for your take on my truisms in life. I definitely will check out your hub titled "Things Besides Food That Can Make You Fat ...." It's great that you found this hub interesting and worthwhile and I appreciate you sharing it. Yeah, I guess Aaron Rodgers has to be very popular now having been chosen MVP for the second time. Maybe I should do some research and write a hub about him and his girlfriend.

Mary Craig from New York on February 05, 2015:

Oh the memories Paul. It would appear all of our mothers went to the same school ;)

We learn so much from our parents but don't know it until we become parents. Well done hub with fifteen reminders.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 05, 2015:

I certainly agree with all of your truisms! I thought my mother was pretty dumb with her advice until I became older, then I realized just how wise she really way. She told me many of these truisms.

Voted this UP, etc.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 05, 2015:

Years ago when I did yard sales to raise money for our family to move to Boston so my late husband could attend law school, I did exactly what BarbRed said. If something didn't sell within a reasonable time I raised the price on it. What I really learned was that when the right person comes along they will pay the asking price without a quibble -- speaking of odd items here in most cases.

I had no peeve with haggling like some people do, but starting with a slightly high price can not only make some people imagine a thing is worth a lot, but there are some people who just have to see if they can haggle you down to a much lower price and they are so proud when they succeed. Start high and you'll be more likely to get the price you considered reasonable to begin with.

Live isn't fair, have you heard that one? It is so true. I have known many people who worked their arses off and were still dirt poor their whole lives. Not because they squandered their earnings, but because they never received fair wages to begin with.

While some people will undoubtedly allow others to take advantage of them, I think it is a person of higher character who will choose not to do so and who will try to life that person up instead.

Sometimes life happens no matter what a person does. In other words bad things happen to good people that they couldn't have avoided. Generally I agree with all of your 'truisms,' but as with most things there are always exceptions.

I recommend to you my hub titled "Things Besides Food That Can Make You Fat -- Being Overweight May Not Be Your Fault!" I listed only a few things that make people fat beyond their control. There are many more. I think it's unfortunate the way some people discriminate against people with weight issues. I would far prefer someone morbidly overweight than someone with an out of control mouth that spewed ugly hateful things because they imagined they had the right to criticize, and pass judgment on people who are overweight. There really are worse things than being fat -- only my opinion of course.

Very well written as is always the case with your articles. Voting this up and UI. You do make some very good points. Going to share with my followers as one can always learn something worthwhile from your articles.

Just to let you know, though not related, that photo of Aaron Rodgers on your hub about the Green Bay Packers in 2013 has been repinned 51 Times from my 'Sports' board.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on January 23, 2015:

I'd agree with you on all but one of these. You don't always get what you pay for. It's true you can't expect to get the best quality cheap, but you can be charged an exorbitant price for something that is not quality. We booksellers have been given the following advice by other booksellers: If you have a book that isn't selling at a fair price, raise the price. Sometimes that makes the book seem more valuable and it will sell.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 20, 2015:

Paula, It is pleasing that you enjoyed reading this hub and find agreement with my truisms. In the future, I intend to devote a single hub to only one of these truisms. Thanks for the votes.

Suzie from Carson City on January 20, 2015:

Paul.....Well put. Simple, clear concise and definitely accurate. Like you, I know there cannot be a one of us who have not learned these lessons and the common sense truth to them, at some point in our lifetime.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and nodding in agreement with each point.

Good to see you. Hope you are well & happy....Peace, Paula UP+++

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 20, 2015:

&Best of Aying I'm happy you liked this hub and voted it up. There are so many other truisms which I haven't included in this hub.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 20, 2015:

&Kathleen Cochran Thanks for reading and your comments. There are so many other things my mother told me that I will have to relate in future hubs.

Best of Aying from Philippines on January 19, 2015:

So true... A lot of these truisms were already practiced... Thanks for sharing! Voted up

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 19, 2015:

Too true. Love that there was at least one that quoted what our mothers told us in high school. It's amazing we remember, being as those were the days when we knew everything!

Related Articles