A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Thankscaking (Thanksgiving + cake) (11/25)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/25)
Two Left Feet (clumsy at dancing) (11/25)
“Studying—notice how they conveniently put ‘dying’ at the end of this word” (11/24)
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Entry from December 24, 2012
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted”

"Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” is a popular saying that became even more popular when it was used by Randy Pausch (1960-2008) in his book speech “The Last Lecture” on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University (later made into a 2008 book published the year he died). The saying had been in use since about two generations before Pausch was born.

“Experience is what you get when you are looking for something else” was cited in print in June 1923, when it was credited to the Toledo (OH) Blade. A similar expression about experience is “chalk it up to experience,”


Wikiquote: Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch (1960-10-23 – 2008-07-25) was a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States and a best-selling author, who achieved worldwide fame for his speech The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and having only a few months to live.

Sourced
The Last Lecture (18 September 2007)

(...)
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

18 June 1923, Mexia (TX) Daily News, pg. 5, col. 2:
LEAK-IN-GAS-TANK NOTATION
(From the Toledo Blade.)
Experience is what you get when you are looking for something else.

14 January 1924, New Castle (PA) News, “Hints and Dints,” pg. 4, col. 3:
Experience is what you get when you buy oil stock.

4 November 1926, San Diego (CA) Union, “Roundabouts” edited by A. Roundabouter, pg. 4, col. 6:
Dear Rounder: Experience is what you get when you are looking for something else.
J. P. D.

Google News Archive
17 September 1927, Eugene (OR) Guard, “Flapper Fanny Says” comic strip, pg. 12, col. 5:
Experience is what you get when you are looking for something else.

27 April 1928, Greensboro (NC) Daily Record, pg. 11, col. 5 ad:
Experience Is What You Get When You Are Looking For Something Else.
(J. M. Hendrix Company—ed.)

Google Books
June 1942, Boys’ Life, pg. 42, col. 4:
And while you are waiting for a Wide Game to come along, one of the thousands of variations possible, here’s a thought of the month for you:

“Experience is what you get when you are looking for something else.”

Google Books
1,001 logical laws, accurate axioms, profound principles, trusty truisms, homey homilies, colorful corollaries, quotable quotes, and rambunctious ruminations for all walks of life
By John Peers and Gordon Bennett
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1979
Pg. 123:
Lenz’s Law:
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Google News Archive
4 August 1983, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “A stitch in time saves embarrassment” by Dan Chabot, Green Sheet, pg. 1, col. 5:
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Google Books
April 1984, Mother Jones magazine, pg. 61 ad:
EXPERIENCE IS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU DIDN T GET WHAT YOU WANTED
(T-shirt slogan—ed.)

14 May 1995, Palm Beach (FL) Post, “State Champ Stumbles at Nationals” by Erik Weber, pg. 12C:
“Well, they always say a good experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted,” said Watt’s coach, Tim Rand.

Google Books
Quotable Quotes
By Editors of Reader’s Digest
Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest
1997
Pg. ?:
Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. —DAN STANFORD

Google Books
Verbena: A Novel
By Nanci Kincaid
Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
2002
Pg. ?:
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
ITALIAN PROVERB

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, December 24, 2012 • Permalink