Humankind’s chief fault is that they have so many small ones.
—Jean Paul (1763–1825) German Novelist, Humorist
Errors look so very ugly in persons of small means—one feels they are taking quite a liberty in going astray; whereas people of fortune may naturally indulge in a few delinquencies.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
The sooner you make your first five thousand mistakes the sooner you will be able to correct them.
—Kimon Nicolaides (1891–1938) Greek-American Artist
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
There is no original truth, only original error.
—Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962) French Philosopher, Psychoanalyst, Poet
Mistakes are stepping stones to success.
—Charles E. Popplestone (1901–49) American Self-Help Book
The best brewer sometimes makes bad beer.
The cautious seldom err.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
No one is listening until you make a mistake.
A man who never made a mistake, never made anything worth a darn.
As it can be maintained that all the great advances have come from men under forty, so the history of the world shows that a very large proportion of the evils may be traced to the sexagenarians, nearly all the great mistakes politically and socially, all of the worst poems, most of the bad pictures, a majority of the bad novels and not a few of the bad sermons and speeches.
—William Osler (1849–1919) Canadian Physician
Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
—Franklin P. Jones
If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out.
—Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) Bengali Poet, Polymath
I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.
—Sophocles (495–405 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in Providence, than to see their real import and value.
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) German Philosopher
There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
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
I hate all bungling like sin, but most of all bungling in state affairs, which produces nothing but mischief to thousands and millions.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
To err is human; to admit it, superhuman.
—Doug Larson (1926–2017) American Columnist
If I ran a school, I’d give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for being good parrots. I’d give the top grades to those who made a lot of mistakes and told me about them, and then told me what they learned from them.
—Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) American Inventor, Philosopher
Without music, life would be an error. The German imagines even God singing songs
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
What is defeat?—Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.
—Wendell Phillips (1811–84) American Abolitionist, Lawyer, Orator
The greatest blunders, like the thickest ropes, are often compounded of a multitude of strands. Take the rope apart, separate it into the small threads that compose it, and you can break them one by one. You think, “That is all there was!” But twist them all together and you have something tremendous.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
One loss is good for the soul Too many losses are not good for the coach.
—Knute Rockne (1888–1931) American College Football Coach
He who covers up his mistakes intends to make some more.
Thinking you know when in fact you don’t is a fatal mistake, to which we are all prone
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.
—William C. Durant (1861–1947) American Industrialist
War is a series of catastrophes that results in victory.
—Georges Clemenceau (1841–1929) French Head of State, Physician, Publisher, Political leader
Make the mistakes of yesterday your lessons for today.