“Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone.”~ Charles Bukowski
From the depths of despair to the heights of triumph, Charles Bukowski’s unapologetic approach to life offers invaluable lessons for those seeking authenticity, resilience, and self-discovery.
In this article, we will explore some of the life-changing lessons that can be learned from his writing and discover the profound insights and truths that will inspire and transform our own journeys.
34 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Charles Bukowski
2. Don’t pay attention to what other people have to say or do.
“I am not a snob; it is simply that I am not interested with what most people have to say, or what they want to do — mostly with my time.” ~ Charles Bukowski
3. Don’t follow the crowd.
“Wherever the crowd goes run in the other direction. They’re always wrong.” ~ Charles Bukowski
4. Live your life so well that Death will tremble to take you.
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
5. Always remember how strong you are.
“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside – remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.“
“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.” ~ Charles Bukowski
7. Wisdom is doing everything the crowd does not do.
“The masses are always wrong… Wisdom is doing everything the crowd does not do. All you do is reverse the totality of their learning and you have the heaven they’re looking for.”
8. The artist will always say a hard thing in a simple way.
“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”
9. Save the spark. It can set a whole forest on fire.
“A spark can set a whole forest on fire. Just a spark. Save it.”
10. A free soul is rare, but you will know it when you see it.
“The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it—basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.”
11. Save the world by saving one man at a time.
“You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”
“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”
13. Be careful what you put your heart into.
“People are strange: they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”
14. The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind.
“The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.”
“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”
“Simplicity is always the secret, to a profound truth, to doing things, to writing, to painting. Life is profound in its simplicity.” ~ Charles Bukowski
17. “Dogs and angels are not very far apart.”~ Charles Bukowski
18. Solitude is not weakness.
“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me.”
19. “If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”~ Charles Bukowski
20. We’re all trapped in a bad movie, and we can’t break out of it.
“Sometimes I feel as if we are all trapped in a movie. We know our lines, where to walk, how to act, only there is no camera. Yet, we can’t break out of the movie. And it’s a bad one.” ~ Charles Bukowski
21. We’re all going to perish and that alone should make us love each other.
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”
22. For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered.
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries.
We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
23. “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”~ Charles Bukowski
“Don’t fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.” ~ Charles Bukowski
25. “If you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.”
26. Don’t lose what’s most important to you.
“Some lose all mind and become soul, insane. some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual. some lose both and become accepted.”
27. Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay.
“Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, you know it’s for something else.” ~ Charles Bukowski
29. Real loneliness doesn’t always mean you are alone.
“Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.”
30. There is a great difference between democracy and dictatorship.
“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.”
31. “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” ~ Charles Bukowski
32. People will always be people.
“Some people don’t like anybody who is famous. Some people don’t like anybody who isn’t.”
33. “I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.”~ Charles Bukowski
34. If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation.
Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”