Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. Genuine ignorance is profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.
—John Dewey (1859–1952) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Educator
Commonly, people believe that defeat is characterized by a general bustle and a feverish rush. Bustle and rush are the signs of victory, not of defeat. Victory is a thing of action. It is a house in the act of being built. Every participant in victory sweats and puffs, carrying the stones for the building of the house. But defeat is a thing of weariness, of incoherence, of boredom. And above all of futility.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
And what if I did run my ship aground; oh, still it was splendid to sail it.
—Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) Norwegian Playwright
He is always right who suspects that he makes mistakes.
The psychotherapist learns little or nothing from his successes. They mainly confirm him in his mistakes, while his failures, on the other hand, are priceless experiences in that they not only open up the way to a deeper truth, but force him to change his views and methods.
—Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) Swiss Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Philosopher
There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.
—Richard Bach (b.1936) American Novelist, Aviator
There is only one real failure possible; and that is, not to be true to the best one knows.
—Frederic William Farrar (1831–1903) English Clergyman, Writer
The most considerable difference I note among men is not in their readiness to fall into error, but in their readiness to acknowledge these inevitable lapses.
—Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) English Biologist
Failure is delay, but not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.
—William Arthur Ward (1921–94) American Author
Whatever task you undertake, do it with all your heart and soul. Always be courteous, never be discouraged. Beware of him who promises something for nothing. Do not blame anybody for your mistakes and failures. Do not look for approval except the consciousness of doing your best.
—Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965) American Financier, Economic Consultant
We need to teach the highly educated man that it is not a disgrace to fail and that he must analyze every failure to find its cause. He must learn how to fail intelligently, for failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.
—Charles F. Kettering (1876–1958) American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Businessperson
From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.
—Publilius Syrus (fl.85–43 BCE) Syrian-born Roman Latin Writer
It ain’t no disgrace for a man to fall, but to lie there and grunt is.
—Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–85) American Humorist, Author, Lecturer
Failure comes only when we forget our ideals and objectives and principles.
—Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) Indian Head of State
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
—William Faulkner (1897–1962) American Novelist
What is to be got at to make the air sweet, the ground good under the feet, can only be got at by failure, trial, again and again and again failure.
—Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
Many a man never fails because he never tries.
—Norman MacEwen (1881–1953) British Military Leader
Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.
—Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) German Poet, Playwright, Theater Personality
If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
—John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) Canadian-Born American Economist
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. Just don’t respond with encores.
He who is shipwrecked the second time cannot lay the blame on Neptune.
The errors of great men are venerable because they are more fruitful than the truths of little men.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
If you’re not failing, you’re not trying anything.
—Woody Allen (b.1935) American Film Actor, Director
The action of a fool cannot serve as a precedent.
—The Talmud Sacred Text of the Jewish Faith
Do not be afraid of mistakes, providing you do not make the same one twice.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Humanitarian
He who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great.
—Herman Melville (1819–91) American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.
—Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) British Children’s Books Writer, Short story, Novelist, Poet, Journalist
All men are liable to error, and most men are … by passion or interest, under temptation to it.
—John Locke (1632–1704) English Philosopher, Physician
No man is a failure who is enjoying life.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author