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Pithy Aphorisms to Guide You in Life

Aphorisms are among the oldest — and shortest — literary art forms. They tend to be concise statements or phrases that offer advice or insight in easy-to-remember nuggets that can be applied to a variety of situations. These brief, pithy sayings stay with us because they often use metaphors or imagery to make their point. Think: “the early bird gets the worm” or “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Their appeal lies in their ability to reflect our own understanding of the world, and they endure because they contain universal truths that resonate across generations.

Many renowned writers through the years have used their mastery of words to spin wisdom into memorable and witty maxims. From ancient wisdom to witty one-liners, here are 15 aphorisms to guide you in life.

Life is made up of marble and mud.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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It is not length of life, but depth of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
James Baldwin

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Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
Marie Curie

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He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.
Benjamin Franklin

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Life is short, art long, occasion brief, experience fallacious, judgment difficult.
Hippocrates

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Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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We are always the same age inside.
Gertrude Stein

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The act of dying is one of the acts of life.
Marcus Aurelius

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History, like beauty, depends largely on the beholder.
Desmond Tutu

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No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt

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To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
Oscar Wilde

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There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

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Brevity is the soul of wit.
William Shakespeare

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Travel is fatal to prejudice.
Mark Twain

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Photo credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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